Politics is no game for naive thinkers

They say hope is for people who cannot see the truth! There are those hopeful one day Zanu PF will stop governing Zimbabwe, yet the truth is speaking against their hope.

In a candid conversation this writer had with a recalled CCC parliamentarian a week ago, he was provided with some insights on how lies can be packaged to political consumption, and amazingly, those uninformed believe them. 

According to this legislator, a practicing lawyer, when the Speaker of the National Assembly acted on interim CCC secretary general Mr Sengezo Tshabangu’s first letter announcing 15 recalls from parliament that triggered the December 9 by-elections, the CCC faction led by Mr Nelson Chamisa had not communicated anything to the former’s office.

What this confirms is that there is one among the feuding parties who was prepared to get into this political fight while the other anticipated that things would happen to his favour without hurdles. 

However, accountability remains the most important skill when one is to effectively leverage power. 

The political debacle in the opposition body politic of Zimbabwe remains a textbook confirmation of what Niccolo Machiavelli wrote in his magnum opus, The Prince, nearly 510 years ago. 

Those experiencing political negativities in the contemporary opposition political landscape are going through hard political times for being self-made victims who were intending to strive to be morally good in a political decision-making process. 

In the nature of his politics, Machiavelli advocated that preparations for political victory remain the foremost occupation of any aspiring leader, and that constant, at times, pre-emptive action is necessary to prevent other political competitors from capturing his turf or zone of influence.

A lot of betrayal and skulduggery is going on in the CCC. It is the nature of politics, at times it is pathological.

Practicing the art of politics requires great ingenuity because politics is a competition for power and about the ability to achieve ultimate goals, among other things. 

Because politics is competition, there is no time for rest because every occurrence implies more competition. But, the major handicap in failing to understand politics and its currents stems from the irrationality of those who are on the receiving end. This may sound like an arrogantly partisan remark, but it is not. 

The optics of opposition politics have become bad. The underlying empirical and evident statement that should be believed is that those involved in this struggle or contest for power are now acting on self-interest, and what has been proven now and unseen yet points that citizens should always assume human nature as bad.

It is, therefore, self-defeating to play the Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr type of politics where one wants to express humility, even though his competitors are keen on maximising every opportunity they come across by any means possible and necessary. 

The level of political chicanery that masses have been made to go through is remarkably astounding!

Politics needs reasoning

The current level of political naivety is self-destructive, if not suicidal. Political naivety is a result of a thorough lack of critical thinking skill development. 

Those who do not learn how to think critically because of politics cannot balance emotional decision making with rational decision making. This imbalance leads people to think almost strictly emotionally and will be vulnerable to manipulation. 

Logic is what political followers do not want to follow, yet if one is to connect this to modern politics, political naivety remains the pinnacle of ignorance.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of political followers who are thinking that there is a third hand behind what the CCC is going through have never actually been personally involved in politics. 

Their perception of what politics is, is shaped by often biased reports. It is also not so much naivety, but unwillingness to fight ignorance and reason logically what is ideal. 

Popularity vs Resources

At times politics is conceived as the allocation of scarce resources. It means everyone in that broad categorisation wants a share. Out of the existence of scarcity, out of where human needs and desires are infinite, the resources available to satisfy them are always limited. Politics can also be about finances and administrative control. 

While those of no political persuasion anticipate to see from the power contest between Mr Chamisa and Mr Tshabangu’s factions a scenario in which the protagonists ceased all forms of animosity and hostility towards each other, the reality is the two are now at irreversible course.

 From the sight of things, the determination to win politically is now translating to a resource contest that will enable one faction to lose either a popular contest or resources.

According to present scenarios, Mr Tshabangu goes into the December 9 by-elections with seven candidates for contested parliamentary seats instead of nine. 

The other six candidates are for proportional representation. One of his candidates, Blessing Choeni, withdrew his candidature claiming he was not advised he had been enlisted. To be perspectival about Choeni, he has no political confidence in Tshabangu.

 His withdrawal is strategic and tactical to support the candidate backed by the Chamisa faction, Morgan Ncube.

Mr Tshabangu knows that politically within the CCC he does not have the clout to change the institution, and what he is opting for is to fight administratively and more so, financially. 

He has the odds on his side especially insisting on the institutionalisation of the party in a “democratic manner”. Political parties are the custodians of democracy.

As a political actor Mr Tshabangu is fighting for a legitimate institutional and operational entity that gives rise to democratic qualities of legitimacy and predictability that compels leaders to “practice what you they preach.” 

For whatever reason, if the political fight is lost in a popular contest by Mr Tshabangu, he lives to fight for the name of the CCC and possibly him and other factions get finances allocated to political parties if their feud probably ends. 

He knows maybe there are campaign finances and donations misappropriated and abused in the run-up to the August elections hence cannot afford having the people benefit twice from financial impropriety. His fight is financial, perhaps few resources. 

Defanging the Cobra

For Mr Chamisa it is a double tragedy. He simultaneously commits strategic blunders and tactical errors.

From these commissions, what excites political actors who compete with him is that they never have to burden themselves to prove that he is not politically smart. 

On many occasions, he gets deflated in the face of mounting pressure. In the face of pressure, he reverses what he says are valuable positions he holds with esteem. 

At one point, Mr Chamisa climbed the political ladder by betraying colleagues, unleashing forms of violence against political opponents and striking on his colleagues in an unexpected manner to curry political favours. 

Thus the moniker, Cobra!

The situation he however finds himself is unenviable and can relatively be expressed by the saying that “the chickens are coming home to roost”.

Because that is how politics operates, the bad things he did unto others back then are coming to haunt him and dent his political if not presidential aspirations, and possibly the machinations are being orchestrated by his former friends and allies turned foes.  

This small window is showing that everything happening within the opposition body politic is proving that Mr Chamisa is not the right candidate for the opposition to follow. 

It also gives a deliberate conclusion that the opposition in Zimbabwe is never going to be able to galvanise the people in its aspirations for political power. It has characters who desire self-interest.


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