By Hopewell Chin’ono
You will remember that a couple of weeks ago I suggested that the MDC should NOW start engaging with the rural populace in Zimbabwe and also mobilizing and building structures there instead of futile street protests.
No Presidential candidate will win an election without the rural vote in Zimbabwe because that is where the majority of our people live.
I also explained that by doing so, the MDC will be getting a foothold into rural Zimbabwe that would enable them to debunk the ZANU PF and State media sponsored falsehoods about sanctions that deceitfully try to explain why the government has failed.
The MDC should also assist these rural communities and not just watch and expect their disillusionment with ZANU PF to be enough and be the only basis of an MDC election victory.
I also said that ZANU PF had only two options in this instance, to push back with violence and barbarism as they always do, in which case they will KILL their Open for Business charade internationally.
Alternatively they will pretend to be democratic and hoping that doing so will help the Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube get the international debt restructured, an act that will open lines of credit without implementing political reforms.
Both options are great for the opposition MDC because they allow them to devastatingly make their case in different ways to the voter, and more importantly, the violence route will damage ZANU PF and their administration internationally.
The government knows this too well and if they defy this logical reasoning, they will become a fully paid up member of the pariah States club.
UK based Zimbabwean and MDC Member John Mangange donated hospital equipment in Chiredzi including an ambulance, and yet the local ZANU PF Member of Parliament Farai Musikavanhu threw out that equipment and some of it was vandalized.
This has shown the Chiredzi community that ZANU PF is a counter-revolutionary political party that is acting against their interests in pursuit of its own selfish, narrow, parochial and shallow interests against the community’s health care interests and needs.
Nelson Chamisa must go back to Chiredzi to show the community that he stands with them and to denounce this barbaric act by the ZANU PF MP and he must do more for this constituency to show it what life under an MDC government would be like.
This is how you build trust and this is how you expose the charlatan behavior of ZANU PF to the rural voters who have been perennially held hostage by the ruling party using State sponsored handouts.
The MDC UK based member, John Mangange, has fully demonstrated to the Chiredzi community that it is not sanctions that are damaging the economy or the health sector, but that it is ZANU PF’s incompetence, corruption, nepotism, mismanagement and in this case, blatant cruelty.
This hospital equipment was not only going to be used by MDC supporters, it was also going to be used by ZANU PF supporters, so the actions of the ZANU PF MP should be responded to at the ballot box in 2023.
But this will not happen miraculously if Nelson Chamisa and the MDC fail to respond decisively and immediately to such ZANU PF own goals with community engagement.
That is why the MDC must roll out a rural strategy and plan of engagement that should include local political structural building.
Nelson Chamisa should stop making noise about winning the elections in 2018, the economy is taking care of that and if in doubt, the daily economic turmoil caused by ZANU PF’s incompetence and the prices spiraling out of control are your answer.
Chamisa should also NEVER make any noises about the Generals and the Army by threatening them, instead he should be fighting to win them over by showing them that under his rule, they will be safe and that they will not be beholden to a corrupt political elite.
When you have corned a dangerous animal, you should leave some space for it to escape, Morgan Tsvangirai made that mistake and it backfired.
The MDC must make sure that it wins the next general election sufficiently enough to make it impossible for the ZANUPF government and its surrogates at ZEC to rig it.
2008 is a good example of how it became impossible to rig the election, it had to take former ZEC Chair Justice George Chiweshe and his team a month to play around with the numbers.
Robert Mugabe’s drubbing was so profound and thorough that the rigging was so difficult for ZANUPF, that is why they were forced into a Government of National Unity.
However Morgan Tsvangirai lacked the appropriate strategy of dealing with the 2008 electoral challenge.
He ran away to Botswana instead of standing his ground and massing his supporters into the streets as Alassane Quattara did against Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast.
The people were ready but they lacked a leader to lead them against a defeated ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe who had rigged the election.
So Nelson Chamisa must not repeat the same mistakes made by his predecessor, he should be a brilliant student of political history.
Mumaruzevha ndimo mune nyaya yese and the people out there understand the need for change of political direction because they are going to bed on empty stomachs.
They are burying their loved ones daily for lack of basic things such as bandages and gloves, a problem that is causing infections in hospitals turning them into morbid death traps.
The people of Chiredzi now understand who their real enemy is and all they need is real and viable alternative leadership and structures to work with to build a strong alternative political social base and movement other than ZANU PF.
The MDC must highlight what happened there nationally and internationally too so that anyone in doubt will now see the light and also understand that the ruling party’s priorities are simply centered on Power Retention, even if it means working against the people’s interests.
Nelson Chamisa must go to Matabeleland, Masvingo and the Midlands and tell them that their only referral hospital with cancer machines is Mpilo hospital in Bulawayo.
He should tell them that those cancer machines are not working, he should also tell them that even when these citizens die from cancer, there are no working mortuaries in public hospitals to store their bodies.
He should tell them that when they suffer form kidney failure, there are no dialysis machines for them to use, they will die because of government’s incompetence and corruption.
He should tell them that all this needs less than $200k to fix and yet the government is hiring private jets for its officials.
He must tell them how much it costs to hire a jet and tell them how much it would have cost if Kembo Mohadi had flown commercial to Nigeria.
He should tell them how much the difference would have made in fixing their problems, he must communicate on issues that matter to them and their daily lives and leave the 2018 election result alone.
If this is what it will take for ZANU PF to wake up from its corrupt slumber, so be it.
Citizens have never cared about who is in power as long as they deliver on their electoral mandate and obligations, ZANU PF has dismally failed on both fronts.
*Attached are pictures of the equipment donated by John Mangange after it had been thrown out and the next pictures show when it was in the clinic.
Hopewell Chin’ono is an award winning Zimbabwean international Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker.
He is a Harvard University Nieman Fellow, CNN African Journalist of the year and CNN Television Journalism Fellow. He is also a Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Africa Leadership Institute.
Hopewell has a new documentary film looking at mental illness in Zimbabwe called State of Mind, which was launched to critical acclaim.
The late superstar Oliver Mtukudzi wrote the sound track for State of Mind.
It was recently nominated for a big award at the Festival International du Film Pan-Africain de Cannes in France, in the UK at the Heart of England International Film Festival and in Texas at The US African Film Festival (TAFF).
You can watch the State of Mind trailer below.
You can contact Hopewell at [email protected] or twitter @daddyhope