By Nkosana Dlamini
Prolific blogger, lawyer and former advisor to Zimbabwe’s former Prime Minister, Alex Magaisa has issued a cautionary message seen also targeted at his MDC Alliance colleagues who seem to have been lost in the euphoria of a Zambian opposition ally ascending to power in the neighbouring country.
Veteran opposition politician Hakainde Hichilema posted an emphatic victory in the just-ended elections to become post-independence Zambia’s seventh successive President.
His victory has ignited wild scenes of euphoria in Zambia.
The celebrations have echoed in Zimbabwe with MDC Alliance politicians and supporters alike setting social media buzzing with Hichilema congratulatory and celebratory messages accompanied by past images of their party leader Nelson Chamisa hobnobbing with the Zambian president-elect.
But Magaisa, once advisor to then Zimbabwean premier and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai during the short-lived 2009-13 unity government, has been quick to nudge his comrades against what could be turning out as blind celebration of a Zambian opposition ally landing the most coveted job in his country.
Said the United Kingdom based academic, “When there’s excitement a word of caution may be inconvenient, but it is necessary: obviously, opposition parties become ruling parties upon winning. Sadly, time & again they have adopted the mentality of the ruling parties they replaced. Each time you hope it will be different.”
He added, “But something happens once they don those big robes of power & start associating with the old chaps in the regional arena. They seem to forget that they were once victims of repression. The burden carried by our brothers new to power is heavy. Expectations go beyond borders.
“Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed is a handy read for this phenomenon. We know from history that it’s so easy to become the monster that you spent many years opposing. Words are good but they aren’t enough. It’s what they do with power that matters.”
Information permanent secretary Nick Mangwana and presidential spokesperson George Charamba have both teased the opposition for perceived attempts to claim remote ownership of the Zambian opposition’s poll victory.