Strategy paralysis


ABOUT two weeks ago, I promised to talk to this topic, unfortunately, there were issues that needed immediate attention and I had to address the same.

This last Sunday up to Monday SABC was abuzz with the Economic Freedom Fighter’s (EFF) elective conference or congress. One would be forgiven for having mistaken Julius Malema the president of the EFF for South Africa president. Press coverage was superb and Malema spoke his mind out.

One interesting observation was the stern warning that Malema gave to party deviants. He bellowed; “Just try to behave inconsistently and you will be an example of how we deal with deviants.”

Surprisingly, the same Malema demanded total autonomy from the ANC when he was still youth league president.

The issue in this discourse is not meant to dwell on Malema of his just-ended congress but on the spingoffs from a tolerant environment.

When the opposition is given freedoms of expression, association and others, their criticism of the ruling party is effected a deadly blow.

All they would complain of is allowed to them. A good example is a workplace where the human resources department is competent in addressing workers’ issues, leaving the trade union a mere spectator.

Strategy paralysis is a doctrine that argues that by eliminating an enemy one in turn eliminates oneself.

Politics is a typical scenario, if the opposition has all the necessary freedom, they end up without anything to talk about.

In the course of exercising the said freedoms opposition may expose its shallowness and unresearched approach to issues.

On the other hand, in a situation when opposition views are stifled onlookers elevate opposition to a group of matrys.

Zimbabwe’s political landscape has proved this beyond any reasonable doubt. For years opposition has been running battles with law enforcement agents and the ruling party.

The climax of these battles culminates in the signing of the inclusive government pact. For the duration of this marriage of convenience parties were optimistic about the future.

When the inclusive government came to an end, partners partied ways. Acrimony set in. After the July 2013 election, the loser went hibernating leaving a political vacuum.

Dogs trained to hunt need on hunting space. The post-2013 elections era paddocked for the hunting grounds. The brutal dogs then turned on the master and any moving object on site.

An unpredictable debacle was witnessed in the run-up to the ruling party’s just-ended elective congress-cum-appointment conference.

So bad were the gymnastics that Jabulani Sibanda thought the goings-on had gone overboard.

When the ruling party squeezed opposition out of space. It is the ruling party that suffers most.

The scapegoat opposition goes into cocoons. The ruling party has no sellout to point a finger at. In the circumstances, sellouts and corrupt people must then be searched for.

What begins as a scorched earth policy against the opposition ends up focusing on the master’s own constituency. The revolution can eat its own children.

Strategy paralysis is not good for both the ruling party and the opposition, as in the final analysis of this both emerge as losers as in our case.

A lesson from South African policies is that the ruling party and opposition are kept robust in marketing their policies.

The ruling party needs to be satisfied with its power of incumbency. The secret is to give others adequate space to prove ingenuity or otherwise.

Sue Nyathi is the author of the novel The Polygamist. You can follow her on Twitter @SueNyathi