The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of Zimbabwe has insisted that the only likely way to defeat President Robert Mugabe in the upcoming 2018 Presidential election is to form a strong united grand coalition, which will contest against the president. The leader of the PDP Tendai Biti believes that to challenge President Mugabe by various different parties without a strong, cohesive grand coalition would be too fragmented a challenge, which is tantamount to helping Mugabe to win easily again.
Interestingly, Tendai Biti’s idea has worked effectively in Nigeria and miraculously in the Gambia as well, where dictator Yahya Jammeh was defeated after 22 years in power by Adama Barrow, the sole candidate for the country’s grand coalition party. The question is: would personal and political ambitions and greed of the various opposition party leaders in Zimbabwe allow them to present a single opposition candidate, who will challenge President Mugabe in the 2018 Presidential election? This is the biggest challenge facing many opposition leaders in Africa, which has contributed immensely to the long reign of many African dictators.
In the Zimbabwean political terrain, each opposition party believes its leader is the most qualified candidate to challenge President Mugabe in the 2018 election. While some believe Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC ), the largest opposition party in the country, is the most qualified and formidable opponent against Mugabe, others argue that he has challenged and lost to Mugabe three times; hence he is a spent force with little or no new ideas. Yet, despite the enthusiasm of Joice Mujuru’s supporters, who counts on her experience and no-nonsense attitude, another group believes that the sole candidacy of the leader of the People First would yield less political dividend, having in mind that Mrs. Mujuru has been President Mugabe’s vice President and close associate for decades, till she was removed from her post, as the Vice President. Worse still, they cite many controversial cases against Mrs. Mujuru, including her present residence, which is believed to have been confiscated from Mr. Watson Smith, one of Zimbabwe`s most successful tobacco farmers. Equally, the diamond scandal against Joice Mujuru has badly dented her reputation as a leader, some argue. On the other hand, supporters of Tendai Biti of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have been argued that he is a fresh, energetic and a scandal-free leader who can challenge and defeat President Mugabe. They equally argue that as a one-time Finance Minister, Mr. Tendai Biti successfully implemented serious economic programs that rescued the economy of the country from immediate collapse. Furthermore, they argue, being a new breed politician, Tendai Biti will appeal to the young Zimbabweans yelling for a change.
The most important question is: will the opposition parties bury the naked ambitions and selfish interests of their leaders and put the interest of the country first by fielding in a single formidable opponent to contest against President Mugabe in the 2018 Presidential election? If this could yield a beneficial political result in other African countries and help to topple even sit-tight dictators, perhaps opposition parties in Zimbabwe may have a good reason to think twice.