The leader of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Advocate Nelson Chamisa yesterday announced that he was no longer involved in anything to do with CCC citing several reasons the major being high jacking of the party by ZANU PF and sanitised by the Courts, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Parliament.
The announcement had a huge implication on the trajectory of the country’s democracy. The democracy in the country had been suffering hemorrhage since the August 2023 elections which had been observed as a sham election by both local and international observes.
Within few weeks after election results announcement, a self-proclaimed Secretary General, Tshabangu Sengezo who purported to be acting on behalf of the only represented opposition political party initiated recalls from parliament and local authority of CCC members, a move perceived by analysts and right-thinking Zimbabweans as a way to disseminate the opposition which operated with nil known structure and at the same time assist ZANU PF gain 2/3 majority in Parliament in order to effectively pass laws and regulations that meet their whims.
To consolidate power, ZANU PF have been using the element of fear to intimidate opposition politicians, critics, human rights defenders, journalists among many others. Confinement in prison has been the ultimate price for seeming to stand against the ruling party.
“Nominally, the currency of the Caspian Republic was the moneta, but in truth the coin of the nation was fear. Whoever could inspire fear was rich, whoever lived in fear was poor,” Neil Sharpson aptly put it on how fear is used to control the pivot of power.
The assertion by Sharpson resonates well with the political environment bedeviling in the country. Imprisonment of journalists, politicians, human rights lawyers and members of the civil society organisations among others have been a weapon used to instill fear and silence people of divergent mindset.
Chamisa’s short lived turnure on the helm of CCC has been viewed as one premised on fear as he did not act as was expected from an opposition leader, as an example, Chamisa for the last two years did not call or lead demonstrations using the legal way.
Nelson Chamisa’s disassociation with the only opposition political party in the country with representation in parliament and local authority is a concern for democracy of the nation which seems to be glaciating towards a one-party state.
ZANU PF which is marred by corruption, miscarriage of justice and failure to turn the fortunes of the economy seems to be fostered on creating opposition political parties they control so as to escape scrutiny which comes from opposition parties.
The Success of democracy depends to a great extent on the constructive role of the opposition parties. In every democracy all parties cannot get majority seats all the time in parliament. The parties which do not get the majority seats are called opposition parties.
In advanced democracy states, the leader of the opposition party enjoys some privileges equivalent to that of a cabinet minister.
Functions of Opposition party
The opposition parties check the government from becoming authoritarian and to restrict its powers and these opposition parties keep a watch over them. It will no longer be the issue in Zimbabwe as the opposition party members are also jumping ship as Fadzai Mahere, Daniel Malokele and Darlington Chigumbu are some Members of Parliament who have also hinted on resignation following Chamisa’s quitting.
The main duty of the opposition party is to criticise the policies of the government. Without opposition to criticise its policies, ZANU PF is likely to implement policies that will be anti-people as there will be no one to keep them to task.
Outside the legislature the opposition parties attract the attention of the press and report their criticism of the government policy in the news papers. The opposition parties have the right to check the expenditure of the government also.
Without these check and balances on the government and ZANU PF, Zimbabwe is likely to fall into an authoritarian state and any policies will be oriented to line the pockets of few individuals. The plurality of news coverage will be hampered as there will be no diverging views from opposition players.
Frantz Fanon (1961) envisioned this and aptly put it, “The leader, because he refuses to break up the national bourgeoisie, asks the people to fall back into the past and to become drunk on the remembrance of the epoch which led up to independence.
The leader, seen objectively, brings the people to a halt and persists in either expelling them from history or preventing taking root in it.
During the struggle for liberation the leader awakened the people and promised them a forward march, heroic and unmitigated.
Today, he uses every means to put them to sleep, and three or four times a year asks them to remember the colonial period and to look back on the long way they have come since then.”
Zimbabwe, true to Fanon, have turned back the hands of time, the authorities being have made the nation to bask in the glory of attaining independence but the independence without democracy is sour, one man one vote which they purport to have fought for from the white oppressors is just a fairy tale.