Professor Jonathan Moyo

Zimbabwe needs a pan African, nationalist opposition party: Jonathan Moyo

ZIMBABWE lacks a ‘pan African’ opposition party with a nationalist ideology which is why expelled Zanu-PF officials would rather wait in the cold for years before then going back to Zanu-PF than joining the opposition, Professor Jonathan Moyo has said.

Moyo, a former Zanu-PF Politburo member, said the opposition must be worried why Zanu-PF continues to woo back its former members and why even MDC founding veterans such as Blessing Chebundo and Lilian Timveos were comfortable joining Zanu-PF after twenty years of opposing it.

His statements came after Zanu-PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo announced the readmission of former youth leader Kudzi Chipanga and former Ministers Makhosini Hlongwane and Fay Chung. The ruling party also announced the readmission of Tapuwa Matangaidze and Chiratidzo Mabuwa who were all expelled in 2017 for siding with the vanquished G40 faction.

“This is evidence of the weaknes of the opposition in Zimbabwe. The situation that led these comrades to trace their way back into the inferno of Zimbabweans politics is exactly the quandary of the silent majority in Zanu-PF who are struggling to find a nationalist home in the opposition!” said the former Zanu-PF bigwig.

Moyo was also expelled in 2017 following a popular military coup against longtime President Robert Mugabe.

On his part, Moyo said he would never join Zanu-PF “come rain or shine”. He said in any case, Zanu-PF would never readmit someone who “exposed” it the way he did with his book called “Excelgate”. According to Moyo, the book exposed how the 2018 elections were rigged in favour of Zanu-PF.

Professor Moyo argued that no opposition party in Zimbabwe compared with the Julius Malema led EFF in South Africa, which has pan African values and offers an alternative home for those not happy with the ruling party.

“(A nationalist party is one which is) rooted in the nationalist and pan African ideological tradition as is the EFF in SA or as was PF-Zapu, pre1987. The Zimbabwean opposition menu does not have a political party like that, which would be a natural home for Zanu-PF nationalists,” he said.

Moyo’s statements stirred a hornet’s nest, with many pro-MDC Alliance supporters arguing that there was nothing patriotic or nationalist about Zanu-PF members. Journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu said Zimbabweans do not bother about political party ideology and only worried about jobs, a decent economy and good infrastructure.

“A large majority of opposition supporters, I’m convinced, really don’t care much about ideological traditions and the war,” Mathuthu reckoned. “Most just want jobs, decent living, freedom of conscience, good hospitals, roads, schools – just the best of democratic traditions.”

Moyo said that line of thinking was simplistic and problematic. The former Cabinet Minister also dismissed the notion that those rejoining Zanu-PF were doing it our of a desire to join the gravy train and take part in looting.

“Did (Blessing) Chebundo, (Tongai) Matutu, Timveos or Obert Gutu go back to Zanu-PF or they joined Zanu-PF? In my humble opinion, the issue is more important.

“It’s my humble opinion that “the opposition” in Zimbabwe needs a political party like the EFF,” said Moyo.

The former Tsholotsho legislator, who sympathizes with MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa, was quick to add that he was speaking in reference to the broad opposition movement in Zimbabwe and not to a particular political party.

Moyo said for analytical purposes, there was a big difference between the “opposition” and “an opposition political party”; and the two should therefore not be conflated.

Critics of the MDC Alliance under Chamisa and even Morgan Tsvangirai before him argue that the main opposition party’s biggest undoing is trying to import Eurocentric political ideas into a populace that has been massively “brainwashed” by Zanu-PF.

MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa

“Zanu-PF, despite all its shortcomings, has successfully brainwashed the nation into thinking that any party linked to Europe and Washington is a sellout and puppet of the West,” said Thalia Sibanda, a PhD student with the University of Zimbabwe.

“As long the MDC Alliance and other political players do not factor that into their political strategy, if they have any strategy for that matter, they will continue losing the game of hearts and minds to Zanu-PF.”

Sibanda told that the LEAD fronted by former MDC-T spokesperson Linda Masarira was punching above its weight when it comes to pan African aspirations.

“If we are to be honest with ourselves, Linda Masarira’s political project is more pan African than the rest of the opposition parties combined. She however has a lot of work to do in terms of grabbing the political space in a nation deeply polarized between two extremes: Mnangagwa and Chamisa.”

Meanwhile, Zanu-PF said the readmitted members could go through the Chitepo School of Ideology for political reorientation. They will also be barred from contesting for any position in the next three years, effectively ruling them out of the 2023 elections.

However, former Education Minister Fay Chung was admitted without any conditions. Chungu served in Cabinet in the early 1990s and left Zanu-PF in 2008 to join the Mavambo project with Simba Makoni. After the project went up in smoke, she had become politically inactive.

Zanu-PF also recently readmitted former MP Jappy Jaboon, who in the 2018 elections rallied behind MDc Alliance president Nelson Chamisa. □

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