Thursday, 2 August 2018

Zimbabwe – So You Think Being In Opposition Is Easy?

Bitter past experience teaches that legal challenges to African elections are a waste of time and that once the results are out and the observers on their way home, it’s all over. And the key lesson is that democracy works in Africa but only when there is democracy.

“They should take them on.” “They must take their struggle onto the streets.” “They have the momentum, perhaps, but not the structure.” “They should raise more money.” “They have no ideological base.” “They should unite; they are too divided.” “I don’t know why they bother, they will never win.” They should, they should, they should … .

Judgements aplenty, a plethora of advice of which a fraction is well-meaning, finances few and far between, fair-weather friendships everywhere, malleable commitments to democracy. Living the life of an opposition party in Africa is not easy, as the fluctuating fortunes of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance in Zimbabwe show.
Zimbabwe – So You Think Being In Opposition Is Easy?
Concerned citizens want oppositions to be there, to keep government competitive and accountable, to be able to speak truth to power. But they seldom want to fund them, and are even less enthusiastic to speak out for them, let alone march, protest and put themselves in harm’s way.
And there are powerful forces arrayed against them across the continent, notably in the shape of government and its various arms and agencies, but including, also, largely silent and sometimes sinister corporate interests seemingly preferring to cut deals with an entrenched dictatorial regime rather than run the gauntlet of parliamentary opinion and caustic scrutiny – reinforcing the adage, “better the devil you know”. Zimbabwe – So You Think Being In Opposition Is Easy?

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