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Tsvangirai is the anointed demigod of opposition politics

by Stephen Jakes
20 Mar 2017 at 05:52hrs | Views
A political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya has said MDc-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai seem to be an anointed demigod of the opposition in which any one who attacks him would have touched a wrong baton.

He said of late, he have listened with a great deal of bemusement, nay, trepidation, as hardcore opposition enthusiasts throw analytical brickbats at each other.

"In fact, the crescendo of hate and vengeance reaches high decibel levels whenever anyone – me included –expresses a wee bit disdain at the leadership qualities of Morgan Tsvangirai. You see, Tsvangirai is the anointed demigod of opposition politics – at least from the perspective of die-hard Movement for Democratic Change -Tsvangirai (MDCT) faithful. He is so revered that any sign of casting aspersion at his person or office – real or imagined – is considered an aberration and insult to the struggle against the fascist regime of  Robert Mugabe. This is understandable, considering that the longer a struggle against an oppressor takes, the more disillusionment sets in opposition camps," he said.

"Far from the Chinja Maitiro / Guqula Izenzo mantra of sloganeering, I want to set my analytical emotions on a pedestal of rational discourse. It is fine to slate  Mugabe and his cronies for frogmarching the 93year-old into an election he would rather avoid. After all, who in his right mind would expect such an old man to absorb the headwinds of bruising electoral campaigns? Yet, there are a couple millions of Zimbabweans not in their right minds out there who will always vote for Mugabe."

Ngwenya said political venom has been dispensed generously enough through the ruling fangs of patronage and fear, such that by the time Zimbabwe gets to election 2018, Mr. Mugabe will have garnered enough numbers to slip past the line, barely. Or is it?

"That is why Tsvangirai needs to change, if he wants to once again, make a difference, or at least (re)gain the confidence of those outside his regular political choir. Here is my point. We have made a profession of lambasting Mugabe for soldiering on despite his advanced age. It is no rocket science that as one grows older, their cognitive sharpness is diminished. I myself am not as sharp as I was in 1999 when MDC was formed, so this also applies to Tsvangirai," he said.

"Unless if suffering from an advanced state of denial, at sixty-five, he surely cannot hope to be as innovative, energetic and enthusiastic as he was say, 2008. So, when we accuse Mr. Mugabe of being an eccentric old dictator, afflicted with disease and bent on fortifying his rule, I would say there is absolutely no reason why Mr. Tsvangirai should not step aside for a younger leader especially under similar symptoms. This is the change I mean."

He said for Mugabe, it is a matter of life and death. He has lived a full life of politics, and is now facing inevitable death.

"There is nothing he can do now – even if he is re-elected in 2018 – to regain his revolutionary legend status. His transgressions folder is too crowded – from the Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s to the crippling economic status of the country now, in 2017. In fact, I cannot hide the amusement that Mr. Mugabe is arguably one of the most distasteful dictators in Africa whose back millions are anxious to see as he disappears into political oblivion. The real change that Zimbabweans want now is for Zanu PF, his party, not to abuse the nation's intelligence by insisting he is their preferred choice for 2018 presidential candidature. Would his assumed successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa be the change that Zimbabwe wants, assuming Zanu PF prevails in 2018? I have my doubts," he said.

"Mnangagwa, the vice president, is an exceptionally wealthy man who also has spent most of his life in Zanu PF. This means he is complicit in the decimation of Zimbabwe's economy, the desecration of its democracy and occasional state-sponsored murders of political opponents. Thus, it is impossible to fathom how he can rescue the country even under a new electoral mandate."

He said unless if he changes and pundits of African political ideology argue that there is no system immune to transformation.

"They are right, because I saw it myself with Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. Daniel arap Moi, Kenneth Kaunda, Kamuzu Banda, Samora Machel and Julius Nyerere were iconic nationalist who left their countries in tatters, but when new leaders took the reins, there was visible and instant change towards capitalist free market economies. The results are evident in those countries' shift towards positive GDP status. So those that argue against the European Union and some Western Governments to-do-business attitude towards the next  Zanu PF leader might have to re-visit contemporary African history. Real change is spontaneous," he said.

"If therefore I were to return to the debate for opposition change, it is made more interesting in that there is currently a contest for coalition leadership. Most Zimbabweans at home and abroad, are totally sold to the idea of a grand coalition. This is a good change from the ineffectual, individualist approach parties have adopted in the past to contest against Zanu PF. The million-dollar question is: if, as it seems to be the order of the day, it is insisted that Tsvangirai assume leadership of the coalition, is he that ‘change enough' Zimbabweans are desperate for to defeat Mr. Mugabe or his presumed successor? My answer is: only if he himself changes. Let me explain."

He said in the past ten or so years, Tsvangirai has presided over the loss of at least eight critical MDC Professor - Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti, Elton Mangoma, Gibson Sibanda, Paul Themba-Nyathi, Priscilla Misihairabwi, David Coltart, Trudy Stevenson – and more than thirty legislators.

"Even assuming these ‘rebels' were wrong, was Tsvangirai's leadership not good enough to maintain party unity? That exactly is the change needed in the new order of things – a leader who has incredibly strong adhesive powers of unity. In 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2013, staunch opposition supporters claim that Tsvangirai won electoral majority but failed to claim political power. If he became coalition leader, there must be evidence that he not only has the capacity to dilute Zanu PF's electoral shenanigans, but also the ability to take political power in the event that he wins electoral majority," he said.

"Tsvangirai's personal life has been a subject of public debate. Ever since the death of his wife Susan, there have been numerous reports of affairs with younger women, children outside marriage and relationships with women of Zanu PF provenance, including his current wife Elizabeth. Die-hard Tsvangirai praise-singers have argued this counts for little in the bigger scheme of political things. I beg to differ. There was hue and cry when Mr. Mugabe literally abandoned Sally, his first wife, on the renal machine in pursuit of a younger, more vivacious Grace."

He said in the bigger scheme of things, it is impossible to disassociated morality from public leadership.

"This again, is an opportunity for real change in Tsvangirai. I also hope that, in the event of a coalition, Tsvangirai will not only ‘change' his advisory team but also learn to take and adhere to good advice. After all, the Chinja Maitiro / Guqula Izenzo mantra should apply to everyone," he said.

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