AT times I wonder whether anybody reads opinion pieces or columns or people consider these a waste of both time and space. In fact, just last week an old schoolmate of mine told me to stop writing the nonsense.
I am now quite used to the indifference and at times abusive treatment that one gets for daring to put one’s ideas in the public domain, but I would like to argue that such writings actually play a very critical role not only in shaping political discourse and direction, but also providing accurate and clinical diagnosis and more importantly, a prognosis or forecasting of future political,economic or social trends and direction.
I randomly picked five articles I wrote in the past 10 years and from these articles a lot of events have happened which actually prove that these articles were accurate in their projections, permutation, diagnosis and forecasting.
Such information can be useful to politicians, businesspeople policy makers, civic organisations, decision makers and indeed ordinary Zimbabweans.
Sadly few bother to read such important columns or opinion pieces dismissing them as the ravings of armchair critics afflicted by “mid summer madness”.
I do not purport to be a prophet, neither do I seek to predict how the Warriors would perform in the Africa Cup of Nations or whether Bosso or DeMbare would win the local championship. I have not and will not try and decipher the colour of Morgan Tsvangirai’s underwear or anything of that nature, but my argument is that quite a substantial body of information in this column and other opinion pieces had actually come to pass.
A telling example is an opinion piece that I wrote in 2000 (Daily News) prior to the elections where I opined that if Zanu PF won the elections there would be massive deindustrialisation (See Daily News).
In 2005, I wrote about several options of solving the Zimbabwean crisis including the formation of a government of national unity. Such a government became a reality four years later.
Elections and election pacts
In the three years prior to the 2013 election, I wrote passionately about the constitution-making process, the elections and electoral reform.
In an article entitled The Constitution, Facts, Lies and the Truth (The Independent 2009), I argued that the constitution making process would be a negotiated process between the then three main political parties and the outcome would be largely negotiated.
This was met with venom and promises of an uncompromised constitution by opposition stalwarts, but today the Constitution we have good as it is, is the product of protracted negotiations.
Three years back I argued (in newspaper columns) that the Tsvangirai brand was losing its cutting edge and the numerous scandals visiting the embattled leader could cost him in the elections.
In subsequent articles I argued that if the MDC–T lost the elections the party would implode because it did not have any ideological glue.
Just a few days ago the Chronicle headlines screamed: MDC T Implodes and I remembered that article, but painfully I wondered whether any of the MDC-T leaders had bothered to read my article which had predicted the implosion.
Last year this column featured articles on the Imperative of Election Pacts, Election Pacts are Essential.
In Election Pacts Absolutely Necessary, I argued that Zanu PF resurgence would be a factor in the elections and the opposition needed to form election pacts because Zanu PF was remobilising.
In one article I stated “we would wake up to the shock, trepidation and trauma of another Zanu PF victory”, but on the eve of elections opposition leaders were telling the whole world that they would romp to victory.
In the 10 ways of Rigging Elections, this columnist stated that the “voters’ roll is the single biggest potential source of rigging”, but his fell on deaf ears until the election results came out and the MDC-T started shouting “foul, foul!”, but it was too late because the goalposts and even the playing field had already been moved.
Earlier this year in an article entitled Political Shifts and Drifts, I warned that Zanu PF would pursue a moderate agenda and try and occupy the space which the opposition was occupying previously.
Since then Zanu PF has moved very quickly and has taken the anti-corruption agenda from the opposition which is immersed in fractious, factional politics.
These article by this columnist and indeed by other writers are not based on superstition, innuendo or conjecture, but careful scientific analysis of facts and trends, empirical observation, application of social science principles and contemporary political thinking.
Please read. This article contains information which may predict future trends and events.
Dumisani Nkomo is a political commentator and chief executive officer of the Habakkuk Trust. He writes in his personal capacity