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Tsvangirai's list of former lieutenants continues to grow

by Clemence Manyukwe
13 Jun 2014 at 05:29hrs | Views
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is counting his losses as the list of former lieutenants that are deserting him continues to grow.

Since the party's formation in 1999, he has been losing political friends at a higher rate than he could replace.

The most recent pronounced blow was his fallout with party secretary general Tendai Biti, who together with a sizeable number of senior party members such as Elton Mangoma are now leading a breakaway faction seeking leadership renewal.

Their differences have snowballed into parliament where some legislators no longer pay their allegiance to him, further shrinking the party's influence in the legislative assembly.

Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, David Coltart and others gave the MDC-T leader a wide berth way back in 2005 and efforts to bring them back under his "big tent" theory seem dead in the water.

The party's treasurer-general Roy Bennett has long ceased raising funds for the party whose finances are reportedly in a precarious state as donors and western embassies desert him.

The majority of non-governmental organisations appear to be taking a similar stand.

Even traditional backers like the Commercial Farmers Union and Raymond Majongwe's Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe have publicly criticised his leadership.

There are those like former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who once referred to Tsvangirai as a hero upon entering Zimbabwean politics in 2006, only to leave government last year saying he was a weak and indecisive leader.

But the biggest question is: How does a man, who aspires to lead a country squander all the goodwill previously shown to him by friends and backers alike in such a short political space?

Political analyst Ricky Mukonza yesterday said there is no doubt that Tsvangirai's support base has been shrinking. "There is no doubt that although Tsvangirai is still the most popular figure in opposition politics, his support base has been dwindling. What may be contested is the numbers that he has lost. One needs to look at the following developments to realise that MT has lost: one: the transformation of the NCA into a political party; two: the manifestation of the renewal faction in the MDC," said Mukonza.

"In addition, scandals have continued to dent Morgan's standing as an alternative leader. The question that should also be asked is whether Tsvangirai's party/faction in its current state is able to attract new voters or those on the fence. The answer to this could be a ‘no.'"

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said some of the senior members that Tsvangirai has alienated have people who back them, and are most surely likely to shift their allegiance and support from Tsvangirai, further reducing his support base.

Mukundu said the MDC-T is also not engendering confidence as an alternative party through what citizens may see as its leader's undemocratic actions.

"Morgan Tsvangirai appears to have run full course and not in a position to strategise on the way forward after July 31. A party that has no strategic vision tends to turn internal rather than focus on the core business of winning power," said Mukundu.

Source - Chronicle
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