Saturday, March 25, 2023

The making of Morgan Tsvangirai’s political suicide

Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is a firebrand trade unionist whose energies and vigour re-shaped Zimbabwe’s political landscape in the late nineties culminating into the formation of The Movement for Democratic Change on the 12th of September 1999.

The people of Zimbabwe required change, good quality living standards, democracy! Following the long years of a brutal war of independence, the citizenry lawfully expected to reap the freedom dividend at peace time!

Alas Mugabe’s ZANU PF went full time into looting gear and fully suspended the founding principles of the revolution in favour of its chosen few. To sustain this sort of unlawful governance the regime had to be, inevitably, hard-handed to successfully suppress and oppress popular will through unlawful detentions, democratic aspirants forced into hiding, list of missing persons shooting high, wanton looting of public resources, tyranny of the majority, state terrorism, staged road accidents, high budgets for the military at the expense of social services, zero bread and butter for families and workers, poor transport infrastructure, empty dispensaries in hospitals and health institutions reduced to sure death traps! Media terrorism! The Movement for Democratic Change loudly despised these Mugabe products and said “No!” to bad governance and the public, bye and large, found lots of relevance in that “No!” against governance of the jungle. People wanted democratic rule by the people, for the people, with the people and through the people.

Tsvangirai became an instant hero and Mugabe got genuinely terrified with the order of the political landscape. Mugabe created and deployed terror units. The Central Intelligence Organisation {CIO}, army units, the police, Green Bombers and ZANU PF thugs to nip democracy in the bud.

The Movement became a household name. So did its leadership across Zimbabwe. Even pre-school pupils knew about Tsvangirai and the MDC party. Mugabe panicked furthermore and became more brutal as his continued stay at state house became more and more unassured by day. Indisputably, Tsvangirai was the people’s hero and a real threat to the ruling ZANU PF mafia. It remains largely believed that Mugabe had to rig the 2000 elections to remain at state house for another term.

The high desire for freedom had become a top agenda item and captured all citizens. While Tsvangirai remains a prime-breed hero of the new revolution that pitted former liberators against the would-have-been beneficiaries of the revolution, the citizenry of Zimbabwe, he has no capacity to go beyond street fighting. It remains both very important and urgent for the movement to re-call Morgan Tsvangirai from the party presidency and replace him with a more equipped personality if it has to see meaningful light beyond the Government of National Unity. It is my intention to interrogate some of what I consider to be Tsvangirai’s major political blunders in the political market square that have continued to cause the movement immeasurable public resentment.

When Tsvangirai addressed a rally in Mbare about eight years ago and was quoted in camera as uttering a treasonous threat to president Mugabe that Mugabe should go peacefully or face violent removal from power, all the literate peoples of Zimbabwe, especially the urbanites, gave such utterance a second thought and ridiculed the author who at the time, could not even fire a simple pistol.

Which normal Zimbabwean would dare mention the name of violence to Zimbabwe’s killer machine, ZANU PF? Mugabe took the warning seriously. Tsvangirai was frequently flighted on local and all ZANU PF friendly foreign media uttering that threat.

This utterance, in all political fairness, was correctly interpreted as direct provocation to the killer machine and it was provided with a most desired atmosphere and therefore, accordingly, ZANU PF went hysterical. Tsvangirai caused the deaths and maiming of multitudes of his supporters on that fateful Mbare day, yet all he meant was “Mugabe get out of power, or, if you don’t do so I will stage a bloody coup without going to election!” Tsvangirai created a most opportune moment for ZANU PF to run a human slaughter-house against his own people. And Mugabe alleged that Tsvangirai’s MDC had started the threatened violence and he was simply retaliating to the aggressor as per Tsvangirai announcement.

When Tsvangirai insisted on the senatorial election boycott, it was not just the Welshman Ncube group that got upset leading to the emergence of a fatal crack within the mainstream movement that left the movement with two factions, MDC-T and MDC headed by Welshman Ncube. Tsvangirai’s party, at the time, commanded sufficient clout to turn the tables against the faction-ridden ZANU PF and gain lots of influence in political decision-making at the upper house. Many people on the street and within his faction down-graded his leadership style. While some remained bound by desperate aspiration for democracy within the movement in the hope that Tsvangirai had learnt his lesson, many either retired from active politics or dumped the unsophisticated Tsvangirai in search of new political homes. A big plus for ZANU PF.

I am one of those who unduly thrashed Welshman Ncube over the split. Tsvangirai remains fully unaware that in ZANU PF and in Mugabe he is dealing with a seasoned liberation movement with immeasurable criminal talent, political and military exposure with the capacity to eat its own internal dissidents.

Morgan Tsvangirai has sunk into a song for ZANU PF hence he has been so lucky as to be found deserving a ZANU PF donated wife.

General Tapfumaneyi Solomon Mujuru had become more of a threat to ZANU PF than Tsvangirai, who, over the years, displayed very little political common sense or political sense of judgment, or political wisdom. That is how Tsvangirai postponed Zimbabwe’s freedom dividend that citizens so desperately aspired for on the 29th of March 2008 harmonised elections. Rigged or not rigged, Mugabe would have been beaten so overwhelmingly well to contest the out-come by a unified MDC.

Movement for Democratic Change loyalists were further dispirited as they seemed to be more calculating than Tsvangirai. This is evidenced in the Wikileaks cables where he has been openly despised by some of his top lieutenants who have cast him as a sorry choice for presidency. It was Tsvangirai’s blunders that have made him more of a sleeping duck for ZANU PF’s astute security agents who either pounce on him at will, or just ignore him.

While the whole opposition was in full support of the sanctions against Mugabe, Tsvangirai changed hymn book and became a loner as at some stage his parliamentarians walked out on him in protest as a result of his continued vagueness on the issue of the effects of the western sanctions that humbled Mugabe. Tsvangirai’s abundant lack of political talent, tact, vision and strategy has failed him from exploiting ZANU PF’s multi-fractured bill of institutional health, its public resentment, and both its political and financial bankruptcy with all the due care and diligence for the good of the revolution. He has been such a blessing to his opponents such that he grants them excess recovery grace period while he struggles to get to power with a closed mind.

When Tsvangirai recalled his Movement for Democratic Change ministers from the inclusive government in 2010 for what he termed as poor performance he drew all round condemnation from the political fora and within his party hierarchy as this was viewed as cheap settlement of personal conflicts and party factionalism and loyalty to tribal differences. He is a man known to demand excess compliance to his fatal closed mind approach. A form of constructing an idiot’s nest in the MDC.

Tsvangirai remains too innocent to know that in business the organization could boost its market share by firing an errant executive, who, at worst, would only take his secretary along, but in politics you may create a major competitor/ competitors by harassing fellows in leadership to the detriment of the organisation’s founding objectives. Jacob Zuma was really calculating to keep the suspended president of the African National Congress Youth League, Julius Malema to a point that he faced natural resentment from the various African National Congress structures, civic organisations and opposition politics to the point of taking to the courts and streets to call for and celebrate Malema’s demise. Malema was given enough mileage to de-market himself.

Mugabe was sensitive to the fact that professor Jonathan Moyo and the condemned victims of the Tsholotsho Declaration had the capacity to exert more harm than good to the party from outside, and more good than harm from inside, hence their re-call or pardon after a few years in the political wilderness.

A few weeks ago, Tsvangirai was at it again! This time announcing president Robert Mugabe’s high desire to leave office but as being held hostage by some characters from within his party ZANU PF. Tsvangirai alleged that his strange bed fellow in the government of national unity had confided in him to that effect. Mugabe has spat continuous venom on Tsvangirai in the past twelve years since the birth of the MDC.

Tsvangirai was expected to grab the opportunity to show the people of Zimbabwe a sample of the envisaged good governance within those Movement for Democratic Change controlled local authorities. Service delivery has plummeted, corruption has become the order of the day, and boardroom fights over perks prevail, and they still call themselves democrats.

And Tsvangirai sees no wrong! He has never had a plan. PF- ZAPU made Zimbabwe proud during the most trying times by running the Bulawayo City Council at international standards to the extent that at one time it was declared the best run local authority. Joshua Nkomo had political tact, abundant vision and strategy as expected of all those who aspire to govern. Lack of service delivery remains a top of the range state security issue on which national government should act with all the swiftness, and Tsvangirai calls that ZANU PF political interference! Tsvangirai controlled local authorities were expected to shame ZANU PF and solidify its election manifesto by implementing governance ideas whose time was long over-due instead of emulating the rot.

Reginald Thabani Gola can be reached on e-mail: [email protected] Cells: 00267 74688127, 00263 75184749.


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