Professor Welshman Ncube says the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has a duty to assure voters they are committed to the struggle for change, remain loyal to democratic principles and not adopt underhand tactics to gain power.
Prof Ncube said these values were part of a corrective democratic leadership that put people at the centre of all politics and made them gain confidence in the opposition.
His sentiments come amid observations that people in Matabeleland have become less inclined to participate in electoral processes, a sign some have attributed to a lack of trust in opposition parties and their leaders.
Speaking at a Twitter spaces discussion organised by CCC members based in the Diaspora Monday, Prof Ncube said “all politics were ultimately local” but it was worrying that people in Matabeleland provinces were shunning civic processes.
“There is no doubt that the foundational base of the democratic alternative was in the Mthwakazi region. There is also no doubting that over the years, there has been fatigue in the region,” he said.
“People in the region have been less and less inclined to come out and vote. They have been less inclined to continue to fight where compatriots in other regions of the country, who started slowly at the beginning of the current democratic struggle, have now gathered greater momentum.”
The CCC leader noted politicians should always ask themselves what has accounted for this gradual decline, particularly in Matabeleland.
“Is it possible we are making less sense to the average person? Is it possible that Zanu PF has succeeded in persuading people to believe that the vote doesn’t make a difference so they stay away? Is it possible in our messaging and behaviours, we are not doing such things that will inspire and motivate people in the region?”
Prof Ncube said these were issues to be interrogated since “Zanu PF cannot change the lives of people, deliver on a national scale neither can it deliver in respect of local politics.”
He emphasised there was a need for CCC and politicians in Matabeleland to remotivate, re-energise voters and continue making them believe this struggle was their struggle.
“It is also important to understand that in a long democratic struggle, there will always be inevitable fatigue and to recognise that we have responsibility and a duty to occupy the democratic high ground at all times, to always desist from beginning to admire tactics of our opponents, to always shun unprincipled politics but remain loyal to the democratic principles at all times which put people at the centre of all politics,” he said.
“We must always make sure we respect what brought us together at the beginning of the struggle – principles of corrective democratic leadership and social democratic. We must respect that part of why the nation has been crushed is the huge democratic deficit within the ruling party that has translated in a national democratic deficit in governance.”
Prof Ncube urged CCC to always be conscious that at all times, people are watching, judging and comparing whether the party will make a difference.
“We should never in words, deeds, actions and practice be found wanting,” he noted.
“As we canvass, go door to door, we must make sense to people, continue saying our cause is their cause, our victory is their victory. Only that way, will people be re-energised and commit to making sure they support us, as our victory will make a difference in their lives.”
The opposition leader warned that when people begin to think it makes no difference who they support, then CCC is in trouble.
“When we select candidates, let’s make sure we don’t short-change citizens. Let’s make sure we genuinely respect people’s opinions and genuinely make sure those serving in local government or Parliament are truly representatives of the people,” Prof Ncube said.
“In that way citizens of Zimbabwe will make our struggle their struggle. We will not even have to campaign as citizens will campaign for themselves because our cause is their cause. They will witness what we stand for in words and deeds, things they too stand for in their lives.”
The importance of self-introspection is important heading towards 2023, said Prof Ncube, as that would assure voters CCC is a party of integrity.
“We must also make sure we are never found wanting in the democratic efforts and in defining who we are, what we stand for at all material and critical times,” he said.
“Our commitment must never be in doubt in questions to the democratic struggle.”