Observing the plethora of registered opposition parties it is clear that the majority are taking the approach to politics the same way opposition parties have approached politics in Zimbabwe for the last 36 years. This is the ZANU(PF) playbook. The problem with this playbook is that there no trick or strategy contained therein that ZANU(PF) did not not devise or does not know how to counter-act.
Opposition parties must not try to revise the playbook. Instead they need to throw it away and write their own playbook, that changes the rules on how political campaigning will be done both in the rural and urban areas.
The key is to keep ZANU(PF) unbalanced and on the back-foot and this can be achieved by being as unpredictable as possible. Pushing the envelope of what is permissable under the law. Using speed of communication, action planning and implementation as campaign weapons. The truth is that ZANU(PF) is a behemoth and as such is not capable of reacting to surprise changes in tactics quickly or appropriately.
Below are some suggestions
- Move beyond just holding rallies – as was recently observed if Bikita West some opposition parties were denied police permission to hold a rally. However what stops a church service partly being taken over for some political messaging – does this require police permission? Alternatively hosting some other event in the rural areas that does not require police permission and using that for some political messaging.
- Actively engage with the local communities both rural and urban by setting up pop-up community services like:
- Street cleaning
- Road repair
- Mobile clinics
- Pop up schools
- Entering rural areas and sponsoring
- Disaster relief – the excessive rains will have wiped out some families crop
- Borehole drilling
- Tractors to open fields where DDF has failed to provide and farmers are too poor to pay
- Seed for planting to replace what was damaged by the rains
- Marshal citizens in the diaspora community to come home and register to vote in 2017 and return in 2018 to actually vote
- Be seen to use your representatives overseas to drum up support for regime change, this includes working on AU and SADC members
This list is neither extensive or exhaustive and is meant to be a thought provoker.
So to those who call themselves the OPPOSITION the challenge is on you to make the run-up to General Election 2018 a worthwhile exercise. To challenge and educate us the urban and rural electorate on why and how we should encourage each other to vote for anyone but ZANU (PF).