In the first Government of National Unity between Zanu PF and the Opposition, a one-party state was created were the new ruling elite was not accountable to anyone. As a result, and as lamented by former president Robert Mugabe, this was the period when the infamous $15 billion in diamond revenue went missing and disappeared into the pockets of politically connected individuals.
Sometimes politicians have a short memory; this is the same Government of National Unity between 2009 and 2013 which left the Opposition so powerless that Morgan Tsvangirai was reduced to a lame duck Prime Minister whose main duty was belittled to just drinking tea with a cunning and slippery Mugabe. Even with the Opposition just sending individuals to assist the Mnangagwa administration, it will not be beneficial to the nation as long as those individuals do not have the political power to carry out their ministerial mandate.
It does not hold water for the Opposition to accept to be frog marched into a Government of National Unity because of the so-called putting the nation’s interest first and rebuilding the country. The Opposition can still remain patriotic and put the nation’s interest first by holding the new Mnangagwa administration to account from the opposition benches in parliament and push for democratic space from a political perspective. The Opposition must refuse to be bamboozled by Mnangagwa’s political rhetoric of a new era which is full of milk and honey.
Instead of joining the Mnangagwa administration as junior partners with no influence over the government’s policy, the opposition must demand to see tangible proof of Mnangagwa’s promise of an era full of democracy and economic progress. The Opposition must demand for the new Mnangagwa administration to walk the talk in fulfilling its promise of a new era full of democracy to the people of Zimbabwe.
It is understandable that the Opposition is unsettled with the euphoria and political momentum that is currently blowing across Zimbabwe in favour of new President Emmerson Mnangagwa. However, this euphoria is based on the people of Zimbabwe giving Zanu PF a second chance to redeem itself and perform better under a new leadership, but this political momentum is going to die down as reality check sets in. The new Mnangagwa administration will face both political and historical impediments that will prove challenging to resolve to the satisfaction of all Zimbabweans.
Surely, the Opposition joining the new Mnangagwa Administration is not in the interest of the nation and neither is it in the opposition’s long-term interest, but it is a betrayal of democracy. The nation needs the ruling party to be kept in check by a strong and formidable opposition which will prevent Zanu PF from growing arrogant again like it did in the last 37 years of misrule. The Opposition must take advantage of Mnangagwa’s inaugural speech and push for the full implementation of the new Constitution and for the respect of the rule of law.
If indeed the Opposition is genuinely interested in showing the people of Zimbabwe that it can govern, rather than join the new Mnangagwa Administration as a junior partner, it must push for the implementation of devolution which is clearly spelt out in the Constitution. While the Opposition will hold the National Government to account, it can govern in the provinces that it won in 2013 and show the nation of Zimbabwe that it is indeed a government in waiting which can deliver on its promises.
Zimbabwe’s Opposition must stop flogging a dead horse in the hope that the results will come out different than the last time. If the Unity pact between Zapu and Zanu resulted in Zapu being swallowed. And the first Government of National Unity resulted in the Opposition getting thumped in the 2013 election, how will a junior partnership with the new Mnangagwa Administration assist the Opposition’s electoral prospects in 2018.
It has been proven worldwide that if a political party joins a Government of National Unity as a junior partner, its medium to long-term prospects will decline. A close look at the United Kingdom political dynamics will reveal that when David Cameroon’s Conservative Party invited a junior partner in the Liberal Democrats, the partnership was successful. But in the next election, the Liberal Democrats were wiped out whilst the Conservatives became the majority Party.
And a look at South Africa also reveals that the Inkatha Freedom Party as a junior partner in the Government of National Unity helped the ANC stabilise and bring confidence in the government soon after independence in 1994. But now the Inkatha Freedom Party has declined from being a national party into being a small regional party. Even in Kenya, Raila Odinga and the Opposition thought they were in the so called Transitional Government, but the opposition has lost the last two elections mainly because it was used to stabilise government as junior partner and dumped when the ruling parted had regrouped.
In conclusion, Zimbabwe does not need a second Government of National Unity, but it needs the new Mnangagwa Administration to work for the people, by the people and with the people. Above all, the country needs a transparent Government which is held accountable by the people through a strong and formidable opposition. After all, a second Government of National Unity will be a betrayal to the nation of Zimbabwe as it will leave the new Mnangagwa Administration unaccountable to the nation.
The Writer: Darlington Nyambiya is the President of the Local Solutions Council (LSC) , a leading Zimbabwe Think Tank. The LSC is a Think Tank with members from diverse Zimbabwean communities in politics, business , religion and sports. He is also a Pro Democracy Activist , Political Strategist , Human Rights Defender , Social Media Commentator , Writer and a Business Executive. Contact Details – Mobile Number : +44 74 823 56315 , Twitter handle: D_Nyambiya, Email : [email protected] , Corporate Twitter Handle : lsc_thinktank ,Website :www.localsolutionscouncil.com. © 2017 All Rights Reserved. The Article may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permissionPost published in: Featured