A competitive coalition in transitional epochs
By Tinotenda Mrewa
The Zimbabwe question will not be resolved if leaders focus on will to power than the will to transform. Following irrational decisions within ZANU PF to have President Mugabe as the 2018 candidate Zimbabweans are in for a long struggle against the dictatorship in Zimbabwe.
Over the last 37 years Mugabe has not only destroyed the national economy but has manipulated and corrupted the state architecture by deliberating conflating the state and the party which now perfectly works as a model for a closely-knit patronage system in which those that rebel against his rule are easily punishable.
In contemporary politics Zimbabwe has a fusion of a dynasty (monarchy) which is sanitised by symbolic elections to make it a republic. The statecraft is carefully knitted and provides the finest example of a competitive authoritarian regime. The bedrock of a competitive regime is elite cohesion, however the failure to address the succession question within the ruling party and the absence of cohesion threatens the hegemony of the party offering an opportune moment for democratic forces in Zimbabwe to regroup, coalesce and overthrow the monarchy in Zimbabwe.
A weakening of the political should be matched by a firmly grounded political alternative at both the mass and strategy level. The compelling strategy for the alternative is not in the necessity of a coalition but the value addition of each player making it the wholesome in a missing puzzle juxtaposed by strategy on defending the electoral outcome and ensuring the lethargy is dispensed to the ZANU PF regime during the actual election.
That Mugabe has overstayed is no point to ponder and his exit is already delayed yet on the same note democratic forces or at least those in opposition should up their game learning for the failures in previous elections especially on the transfer of power making it the basis upon which coalitions become necessary. Differently put what is it that Joyce Mujuru brings to Morgan Tsvangirai that will ensure that Zimbabwe will witness a smooth power transfer in August 2018?
The fissures in ZANU PF do not total the net or wholesomeness of an electoral victory for the opposition. Strategy cohesion is the missing link within the opposition and failure to address the deficiencies of the so much talked about coalition will render it another failed attempt which will leave the opposition especially those led by Morgan Tsvangirai in turmoil given that the transition in Zimbabwe has remained a protracted avenue.
However that being said, the succession fights in Zanu pf prove that everyone in Zanu pf is fully convinced that Mugabe is past his age as the President of the republic and must step down. Mugabe is no longer fit to rule and that his failure to step down only increases his risk to being toppled through people power (though a lot still requires to be done to have effective citizen movements in Zimbabwe that can adequately reconstitute the political).