Too Many Opposition Parties but No Politicians

NOT EVERY one who forms an opposition party is a politician. Most of these people do not have the pull factor and they cannot even lie to move a mountain.

No wonder in Africa mostly, one finds a president for life and a party ruling for eternity. The reason why some countries wait for half a century to vote for change.

Yet it is in Africa where one also finds opposition parties by the thousands and aspiring presidents by six dozens but still the electorate does not see anything worth their while in them.

Most opposition parties look at the ruling parties for reasons of failing to convince the electorate. They do not introspect and ask themselves if they are worth a politician’s salt.

Most ruling parties in Africa have honed their lie to perfection such that they have been telling the same lie with conviction for decades. They are not ashamed of it. They can look into the cameras and repeat the same fibs with straight faces … the same fibs for a hundred years if need be.

Still the electorate votes for them without batting an eyelid. Still the electorate gushes and laps up the lies with smiles. That is politicking.

But what do we get from most if not all opposition parties – blunt calls for the ruling party to just leave power! Who does that? Giving over power in Africa just like that? Without a fight? One African proverb says “power is not shared as if it was snuff, if is fought for”.

Much of what we get from opposition parties are reactions against messing up by ruling parties. Condemnation and vilifications. They waste most of their time discussing the ruling parties without addressing the electorates’ concerns.

The electorate is very much aware of the transgressions the ruling parties commit against them. They want change. They look for something better. But the opposition does nothing but chorus the ruling parties’ abuse of the people.

This could explain why across Africa, there are times when an opposition party emerges. It stirs the people’s imagination. Drives them to the voting booth. For once, people see hope. They believe in tomorrow. Such parties will manage to grab more than 10 parliamentary seats.

This was the case with Congress of the People (Cope) in South Africa. That was also the same with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe. Namibia has the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP). Before the RDP, there was the Congress of Democrats (CoD).

A few years down the line, people’s hopes die when they realise that while there is an opposition party, there are no politicians. That voting for such leaders is akin to groping in the dark for a lost needle.

When such parties emerge, they benefit from the protest votes from an angry electorate seeking change. They get grudge votes from those who have lost trust with and in the ruling parties. Then they rest on their laurels.

Almost every opposition party that benefited from this anger and lack of trust however squandered the chances. They strangled the people’s hopes. When the next election comes, there will be no protest or grudge votes because the people would have given up on the opposition. If there are any protest votes they will be directed at the inept opposition instead.

Indeed, Cope did exactly that. Soon after the small victory, the leaders started fighting each other over money and positions. Years were spent fighting individual wars while the electorate’s desires were thrown into the dustbin. The court case took long and drained the leaders of all the energy that could have been exerted towards effecting change for the common man and woman. Today, Cope is nothing but a grouping of old people waiting to die as opposition members.

The same happened with and to MDC. In the less than 20 years the party has been in existence, it has been hit by three major splits. The party squandered all the time and energy on internal fights while Zanu-PF was ruling the roost.

The party also targeted fertile brains and purged them out, leaving dumb-heads.

Today, what is left of MDC is nothing but squandered chances, regrets, wishes and a slow death.

The RDP did not suffer any splits but was shaken terribly. The recent landslide victories scored by Swapo in the few by-elections are enough to point at a wasted RDP that will never mount any meaningful challenge to Swapo.

It is foolhardy for anybody to dream of getting more seats than they got in the last election because the electorate, like abused women, is trapped in a relationship with Swapo.

The conclusion is very simple: the African National Congress will rule forever. Imagine with Jacob Zuma’s shenanigans, his party still managed to romp past all the opposition parties.

It means Zanu-PF will also be there for as long as the mourning and the poverty-stricken Zimbabweans wish. Even today when Zanu-PF is at its weakest with fights over who should succeed Robert Mugabe, the opposition is nowhere to be seen. They are busy aiming cheap shots at each other.

In Kenya Daniel arap Moi always beat the opposition although the votes cast for his party were always fewer than those of the splintered opposition put together.

It also means that Swapo shall rule even when 30 other opposition parties are formed. This is as certain as the fact that there are too many opposition parties, but no politicians.

This will prevail until the opposition parties realise that they should, at least, talk about what the people want to hear. Focusing on the wrongs done by the ruling parties is not an answer to what the opposition will do if given the protest vote.

Source : The Namibian