Comparing SA and ZIM opposition political parties relating to the terrains they operate from

By Tapiwa Tabheni

In Zimbabwe, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was formed in 1999 as a result of a collective effort by pro-democratic forces in the country, the grivances of the people of that led to the formation of the MDC included many factors that can not be classified as hunger related.

It is difficult to compare the fractured MDC of today in Zimbabwe with the  opposition EFF or DA in South Africa, our neighbor opposition political parties drive their alternative policies on an entirely different political terrain.

In SA, opposition political parties seek to bring a better life in a country with a remarkably better living standards than the situation in Zimbabwe.

The MDC founding values sought to provide an alternative blue print to the socio – economic and political ills that were bedeviling the country under Zanu Pf.

Corruption, political intolerance, tribal divisions, regionalism and hate fuelled by state sponsored propaganda were some of the ills that the MDC sought to correct.

It was not all about the salaries, hospitals, roads and the price of bread.

West jumped into the fray and hijacked the MDC momentum on the 13 of June 2000 when the former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Chester Crocker proposing to the US Senate that they were going to make the economy of Zimbabwe scream inorder to separate the people of Zimbabwe from Zanu Pf.

The proposition that the economy was to be used by the Americans to gain votes for the MDC in Zimbabwe was so appealing to the opposition because they sought to unseat Zanu Pf, but taking this new enabling direction hook and sinker was the worst mistake ever made by the Zimbabwean opposition and that is the major difference between MDC and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is.

The politics of the stomach had its own failures because if the people are hard pressed by bread and butter issues sometimes they drift from the political platform in search of piece meal solutions.

This was so evident in Zimbabwe and at one time the forme Prime Minister and MDC founding leader Dr Richard Morgan Tsvangirai lamented this saying “how can you organise people who are busy looking for the next meal?”

DA and EFF have an originally South African agenda less influenced by foreign ambitions, they are less rhetoric and more constructive, touching on specific issues affecting South Africans despite the better economic landscape.

The MDC in Zimbabwe made the mistake of abandoning their  original broader concerns to wholly ride on the borrowed idea of using the economic decay as the reason to push Zanu Pf out of power.

One can not compare Julius Malema to Nelson Chamisa, EFF is struggling to articulate real issues in a country where there is no politics of the stomach.

An opposition political party should be able to garner votes in a country with good roads, good health facilities, good social security, better education and employement oppotunities.

Zim opposition talks of hunger, economic decay, we owe our existence to empty stomachs. In the absence of hunger induced by economic collapse, the need of opposition falls away.

That is why some of our opposition brothers would want the economic sanctions to stay.

Malema walked out of ANC with his few comrades in a country with a better economy. I doubt our opposition can survive in SA because we have nothing to talk of besides the politics of economic decay.

I do not think much of what we are politicking about here can apply to the political landscape in SA and l believe the DA and EFF are way ahead of the MDC in Zimbabwe.

As the socio – economic and political climate changes with the policy implementation  shift by Zanu Pf, our opposition needs to pull up the socks or risk turning into enemies and agents against development being done by government inorder to gain relevance.

Politics of the stomach expires as soon as the masses get food!

Tapiwa Tabheni is a Change Advocate, Freelance Journalist and Community Development Activist

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