THE Afrobarometer/ Mass Public Opinion Institute of Zimbabwe report has sent tongues wagging and had been received with mixed feelings locally and abroad.
The survey which found that Mugabe enjoys greater support in the rural areas where 70 percent trust him while he only enjoys 45 percent trust of the urban people has left many in disbelief in that, despite his age, Mugabe enjoys more trust than any other politician in the land.
For the opposition, obviously they are still failing to come to terms with the survey, which also found out that the opposition parties were the least supported institutions, trusted by only 34 percent of Zimbabweans. Some have dismissed the survey as ‘dodged’, ‘rigged’, ‘nikuved’ and all sorts of dismissive terms.
However we all know for a fact that such allusions have become synonymous with the opposition since time immemorial. In 2013, they dismissed the Susan Booysen (they actually rejected two surveys: the Freedom House one done by Booysen and another internal one done by MDC IRI another Afrobarometer one) survey, whose findings were mirrored by the results of the elections.
Dismissing such surveys is not only dangerous but disastrous. Rather they should help in developing political strategies based on the worst case scenarios otherwise we would be failing to appreciate and taking cognisant the fact that surveys constitute free political consultancy.
The broad democratic movement (workers, civil society etc.) must ask hard questions why Mugabe is popular in the rural areas where there is rampant violence at the time of elections. Is it because the ‘urban based’ movements for democracy have themselves not had a deep understanding of the actual prevailing political economy which includes swathes of ‘rural poverty’?
Hence any serious political outfit should take such findings seriously without necessarily being dismissive and emotive. On the opposition being least trusted, I think it might be as a result that the view that the MDC is steeped in the same political culture of intolerance, violence, corruption, selfishness and private accumulation (‘personalisation’ of the struggle has become a cocktail for disaster’.
However, the contributions made by the MDC towards some incremental reforms over the past 15 years cannot be ignored although, sadly, the splits have left the party thin. To be frank at the present moment the political future of opposition politics is in the intensive care unit and it needs urgent and practical solutions; the results of the survey points to that.
For me, I think most Zimbabweans have lost faith in the existing opposition parties and I posit that the country now needs new strategies, ‘new’ ideas and thinking which will drive the next revolution.
I am not in any way obsessed with attacking the MDC-T and neither do I sympathise with Zanu PF, but the fact of the matter is that the people of Zimbabwe are now tired of the opposition because of its failure to remove Mugabe from power.
Many others are no longer participating in elections because they have failed to bring about the change we are yearning for. The spirit of change is slowly dying down, those who have claimed to be leading that struggle have failed to bring hope and inspire the masses. The faces have remained the same, strategies have not changed and this is an opportunity for this generation to define a new narrative.
As proponents of democracy, we should at all times be able to carry the obligation to tell the truth, claim no easy victories and take the masses with us in everything we do and say. Without telling the truth is not only counter-revolutionary, but a recipe for disaster which will lead us to a bottomless pit.
It is important to note that political activity in the world is a result of conscious human action, not a supernatural phenomenon. There is need for massive groundwork and mobilisation to re-energise the masses in the struggle for a social democratic state.
And the MDC is not the Alpha and Omega of Zimbabwean revolutionary politics. Many major political events have transpired in Zimbabwe without the involvement of the MDC, and to think that it is only the MDC that will carry the struggle forward is not only myopic but foolishness of the highest magnitude.
Already Zimbabwe made a huge blunder and set a wrong precedence in portraying an incapable Zanu PF (and lately the opposition) that it cannot outgrow its individual leaders. This is an unfortunate part of our politics where it happens that both sides of the political options are disastrous, thus the call for a new alternative to drive the democratic struggle.
Our greatest challenge as a born free generation is accepting the false illusion and insinuations that Morgan Tsvangirai is the ‘face of the struggle’ and that Mugabe is a ‘champion of revolutionary politics’ while failing to appreciate that the struggle and politics should outgrow individuals.
There is no doubt that the environment is now ripe for a post-colonial, post-liberation, post-nationalist movement which places the people at the centre of power, participation, opportunities and material improvement?
Our rallying point is the People’s Charter, a document of the people of Zimbabwe, hoisted by civil society and pro-democratic formations as the torchbearer that should lead Zimbabwe to the total political, social and economic emancipation of all citizens. The Peoples Charter is therefore an expression of the social, political and economic will of Zimbabweans.
Blessing ‘Vuvuzela’ Vava is a defender of the Peoples Charter. He writes from Chipinge and can be contacted on [email protected] Views expressed in this article are personal.Post published in: Analysis