There must be something for the Zimbabwean opposition parties to learn from South Africa.
One would be forgiven for not having noticed that there were local government elections held in South Africa a few days ago.
The opposition parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) did what they could and accepted the small gains they are gradually making in taking away from the revolutionary party the African National Congress (ANC).
South Africa’s voters delivered a significant rebuke to the governing ANC, which got less than 50 percent of ballots cast in local government elections.
Widespread corruption, persistently high rates of unemployment, crippling power blackouts and ineffective delivery of government services were burning campaign issues.
In results announced Thursday night, the ANC won 46 percent of the vote, down from 54 percent in the last municipal elections five years ago.
The opposition political parties such as EFF lead by Julius Malema seem to be very popular and indeed they boast of a very vocal support base nonetheless, they accept that they still do not command the overall majority support in the country.
This is perhaps what particularly Nelson Chamisa in Zimbabwe needs to learn that indeed in as much as he has very loud and vocal support it might not necessarily mean he has majority control of Zimbabweans.
What he must learn to do is to accept defeat at times and allow the country to move forward without contentious issues of legitimacy because in the end it gets counterproductive and the people suffer.
The situation in South Africa might not mirror that of Zimbabwe, nonetheless lessons are there for the taking.
This locale government election which South Africa just held is the first time, to see the ANC receiving less than half of the ballots cast in any election in the continent’s most industrialised nation.
The share of the ANC, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, has consistently declined at local polls, often seen as a prime opportunity for the electorate to lodge protest votes.
President Ramaphosa acknowledged that the party will have to form coalitions to govern key metropolitan areas.
The Zimbabwean situation has not been more favourable to the opposition. Most cities and towns have had the local government in the control of the opposition. The issue however, has been the failure of the opposition to show leadership and provide demonstrable progress in the administration of the local government control that they had/have standards deteriorated and most cities have struggled to have rubbish collections and clean running water.
If the opposition parties fail to run a city what hope to they have to run the country?