Beyond 2023: Cde Ostallos should take over the leadership of the struggle
All eyes are fixated on the 2023 elections. We must vote, protect the vote and be ready to defend the vote. I have expressed fervently how the struggle has been stuck in cycles of ‘rigged’ elections and articulated why a revolution is the ONLY way to unchain the nation from the dictatorial oppressive regime.
I have articulated the circumstances we are in as a country, that have created and sustained the dominance of the MDC Alliance as the ONLY credible alternative to challenge the system that oppresses us.
I have also explained why the dominance of the MDC as the opposition is necessary. I have also gone to great lengths to expose the ideological underbelly of the MDC and its shortcomings in the article below and posited that the existence of the MDC itself might actually be a bad thing for the struggle given that the suboptimal version of the MDC in its current format fails short of what is needed to liberate the country.
I have also gone to great lengths in explaining why strategists and thinkers must focus on the shape of the struggle beyond 2023. Before 2023, the shape and format of the struggle have already been decided. It is an undisturbed focus on the elections. This strategic choice cannot be reversed.
I have posited that a more radical form of opposition is needed, but this work can only begin after the outcome of the 2023 elections.
Beyond 2023: Post Electoral radicalization in Zimbabwe
The narrative is that we all need to register to vote in the 2023 elections. On election day, we all need to go out and…
This radicalization is a process, and it ought to eventually lead the country to the revolution path. The revolution itself is a 10-year affair. There are very few options in getting this underway. The first constraint is that the struggle is synonymous with the MDC Alliance. Radicalization that takes place outside of the MDC sphere will not garner enough support to even establish roots. This constraint is a result of our past as a country. The polarization and binarity in the political space are necessary.
Now there is a talk of the Citizens Converging for Change. This front is wider than just the MDC Alliance as a political party or combo of political parties. The Citizens Convergence for Change is an idea that spans opposition formations, civic societies, NGOs, churches, and the general society. Mushandirapamwe. It is an idea that is even bigger than the alliance of various MDC formations. It's a big idea.
Given that the outcome of the election is a known variable, for those that seek to attach probabilities, what shall we do after the elections? What shall we do after the people have voted, after the people have done their best to protect the vote wherever they are based, but a “wrong” set of results is announced by ZEC, and the people fail to successfully defend the vote?
The aspects of registering to vote, voting, and protecting the vote are very important because Zimbabwe is way behind where it is supposed to be. Too many people have not registered to vote. Too many voters do not protect the vote. Only a few people attempt to defend the vote. These areas have to be addressed, and the work being carried out leading to the election is very important in addressing the fundamental deficiencies. The work is very much appreciated.
When it comes to the last aspect required from the people after a stolen election, the people are not ready. This aspect is simply defending the vote. Defending it with all they have. Defending it with their lives. The people are not ready. They are not psyched-up enough to do that. They don't think dying for something like that is something worthy.
Because the people are not ready to defend the vote, the soldiers and the police that are used to fight against the people are not ready to fight for the people. The soldiers and the police are people, fathers and sons, daughters and mothers too, just like us. They make their decisions based on an assessment of probabilities of success attached to certain actions. They are not going to disobey the instructions of the wealthy politicians and wealthy generals if the probability of the people mounting a successful revolt is low. If the soldiers and the police have to fight for the people, they must be confident that the people themselves are ready to mount a serious fight.
How does Cde Gift Ostallos come in all of this?
Gift Ostallos is an MDC official. He is a young man with a refined sense of what needs to be done. He might not be the sharpest strategist Zimbabwe has to offer but within the MDC Alliance and broader convergence for change, he is an available option.
There have been numerous complaints that the MDC and Chamisa have no plans. They don't know what to do. They are just sitting there waiting for our votes, which they will waste anywhere. Some of the complaints are disingenuous but some are rightfully leveled.
Cde Ostallos is the answer to such questions. He has an idea of the things that must happen. He has an accurate barometer of the political landscape. He understands the struggle.
Such a leader is needed beyond 2023. A leader that can take the movement forward, and prepare it for the 10-year affair that will lead to a successful revolution. Without a firebrand but a mature and strategic leader, the MDC cannot resolve its ideological orientation issues. The party will continue to be trapped in the electoral hamster wheel for another decade, after which we will still need to organize ourselves as a country in a manner that points towards a revolution.
Remember, the leader of the MDC leads the party, and the party leads the struggle. These connections cannot be disentangled easily.
Choice of Language — An example of Cde Ostallos exhibiting a refined understanding of the struggle
The following list of words appears on his Twitter TL.
It is very important to use the right words. We are in a struggle, and we will liberate ourselves via a revolution. This young man does not just use the words as rhetoric picked up from Chinese, Soviet, and South American forces. He actually understands that this is a democratic struggle, and a democratic revolution is needed. He appears to be the ONLY one in the MDC that understands this.
This intellectual sharpness is admirable. It is the best type of brawns. Many people like Cde Job Sikala because he is a firebrand leader, and he has the brawns. Cde Ostallos intellectual sharpness, if super-imposed on Cde Sikala’s brawns will yield something. The idea is not to promote senseless and directionless militancy. That should be left for the like of Tinashe Jonas. The idea is to gradually radicalize and prepare the people for an eventual and ultimate revolution. The idea is to implement all sorts of non-violent revolutions needed to free the people, such as my idea of a Cultural Revolution. The idea is to help the country overcome false consciousness and other pre-conditions to a successful climatic phase of the revolution.
All these processes attended to can be called the revolution, and Cde Ostallos understand that, even though he might not possess the academic verbiage used herein.
This young man represents the updated understanding of the young, who have witnessed the older horses such as Job Sikala and Tendai Biti drive the struggle without winning. The updated version does not consider the struggle as only limited to the electoral-political sphere but views it with wider lenses that include a revolution.
Cde Ostallos can be nurtured into a capable leader to lead the struggle. He is not ready in his current version and must be modeled into a revolutionary warrior. His position within the alliance should enable him to further develop politically. The danger, however, is that he adopts the same traits of mediocrity that have been exhibited by some MDC officials.
It also has to be noted that trumping up Cde Ostallos card before the 2023 elections can be misunderstood by some as sowing divisions within the party and the struggle, even though leadership renewal and succession planning ought to be a normal thing that is spoken of without attaching a taboo element to it. Proffering up Cde Ostallos is not tantamount to denigrating or reducing the status of Chamisa in any way. It is only recognizing the traits in the young man that can be utilized in a manner that propels the struggle forward.
It is highly likely that Nelson Chamisa will not be announced as the winner, even though he is highly likely to win the elections. When that happens, it is highly unlikely that the people will successfully defend their vote. After that, beyond 2023, after Zanu PF has continued to run the country by power as they wish, Cde Ostallos should be given the chance to be in the driving seat of the struggle.
This is a proposition. It is not what will actually transpire. The future of the young man is in Chamisa’s hands, just as the present state of the struggle is also in Chamisa’s hands as dictated by the bifurcated nature of our politics. The young man might not develop into anything meaningful politically. His intellectual capacity to think things through might regress instead of progressing in a revolutionary way. He has to continuously bootlick Chamisa for relevance, or for truly rallying behind the leader. Whichever way one views it, it is necessary for political survival.
Beyond 2023, there will be an anti-climax phase where spirits are low after a rigged election result and a suppressed attempt to defend the vote. The anti-climax will be the perfect time for the struggle to re-organize, re-launch, and take a new direction. The struggle should not instantly pump radical rhetoric. No! Stupidity should not be mistaken for bravery. The struggle should get organized better, think better, and act better than before 2023. That's where this young man comes into the equation, but he first has to stay relevant throughout the time between now and 2023.
The young man is still raw. There is still time between now and 2023 to embark him on a fast-track block release type of program of political education along the revolution and nation-building path that he has already chosen and identified as right.