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Tsvangirai and his 'Bhora Musango' moment

16 Jun 2017 at 08:26hrs | Views
Interesting! A couple of days ago, a local newspaper ran a story that alleged that MDC-T's ELECTED (emphasis mine) deputy president Thokozani Khupe was ganging up with National People's Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru to have an alliance that could severely cost Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC-T president and prospective leader of the much-touted grand coalition.

The prospect of such an alliance, which is apparently being hatched on a platform called Women Electoral Convergence (coordinated by Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, to whom I spoke before writing this), could be one of the most significant developments ahead of national elections in 2018.

Khupe has been unhappy in MDC-T since Tsvangirai last year hand-picked Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as additional vice presidents. The development had the effect of undermining Madame Khupe as the second-in-command and natural shoo-in for the leadership.

It is believed Tsvangirai may appoint Chamisa as his successor, post-2018. But Khupe's woes have seemingly compounded. Talk of the so-called grand coalition, which entails more leaders in the matrix, further alienated her.

Recently, she was rumoured to have entered into a desperate and unlikely partnership with Chamisa to scuttle coalition efforts. Chamisa, apparently, is not too keen on the coalition as well. If indeed it is true that Khupe has just found a new ally in Mujuru, the story takes a strange, but interesting twist.

A bit of background on Mujuru vis a vis coalition politics - or this Game of Thrones version of the mooted pact. Mujuru had long been tipped to get into an alliance with Tsvangirai and it was granted she would be number two in that coalition which hoped to upstage Zanu-PF and President Mugabe. Mujuru and Tsvangirai are known to work together. Mujuru was, while she was vice president, seen as a "reformer" among hardliners in Zanu-PF.

Mujuru and her husband are widely noted to have been behind the "Bhora Musango" phenomenon during the 2008 elections whereby her faction urged Zanu-PF voters to cast their ballots for Tsvangirai or Simba Makoni at the expense of President Mugabe. Simba Makoni, now leading the Mavambo Kusile Dawn party, had defected from Zanu-PF.

A rare win for him or, as it turned out, a split in the Zanu-PF vote, would weaken President Mugabe and empower both Makoni and MDC-T. And it happened - as is now a notorious fact around the elections of 2008.

Take this admission by Harare man, Mr Jealous Mawarire, when he was still NPP spokesperson, for effect: "Anyone who has a sound mind and a bit of memory would know that Tsvangirai won the 2008 elections partly because of the role that Zanu-PF members aligned to Mujuru played to ensure their supporters voted for Zanu-PF MPs and ward councillors, but voted Tsvangirai for president." ("Tsvangirai owes me, says Mujuru", Daily News, March 21, 2017).

New Bhora Musango

The prospect of a new Bhora Musango is interesting in many respects. Mujuru is the common denominator in these two legs of "Kick-the-ball-into-the-woods". Only this time she is said to be going against Tsvangirai.

Mujuru is unhappy with Tsvangirai's sense of entitlement and apparently the disagreement around who should lead the proposed coalition is getting heated by the day.

It may even get bloody. Let us not underestimate Mujuru's own sense of entitlement. She has lately been whining about having been prevented by "male chauvinists" from succeeding President Mugabe in 2014 when she was the "heir apparent". She has been to town and back over it. It is not surprising that she is not happy with Tsvangirai's sense of entitlement in the envisaged coalition.

Not again!

You can imagine that she is feeling her chances of becoming leader of the country slip away.

By her calculations.

This is why she is doing a Bhora Musango on Tsvangirai. The more things change, the more they remain the same. The platform of women is a serious proposition and one which could allow women a significant chunk of the electoral cake, all things being equal. It is instructive that it is being peopled by some angry women.

There is Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, a beautifully ever angry woman. There is Khupe and Mujuru themselves, who feel scorned and ill-used. Two days ago, I spoke to Priscilla. She downplayed the fact of the Women Electoral Convergence as yet another coalition in the mould of the likes of Code, Nera, Zinera, etc.

She said the immediate objective of the convergence was get all women in the country to register and vote, in their different parties. Secondly, they would pressure parties to uphold the 50-50 gender representation paradigm.

But she emphasised that the women's convergence would not be a platform for female presidential ambitions, something that has rattled Tsvangirai since Khupe and Mujuru featured at a meeting in Bulawayo a few days ago.

But who knows!

A good guess is that if this idea and platform gain enough momentum, people will begin to notice. Money will also flow in - one can imagine that it already has begun to do so. Eventually, Mujuru can have her position as the top dog going into the next elections.

Biggest loser

A top official from the Tendai Biti-led People's Democratic Party (PDP)confided to me that a coalition among the opposition was nearing but, "the trouble is this woman". This woman is Mujuru who by all accounts is on the road to doing a Bhora Musango on Tsvangirai.

There is enough reason for this official from PDP to express anxiety. The MDCs can agree to partake of a coalition, square and fine, but that alliance is more like a high school reunion with pretty nothing new to offer.

The last time we checked, the old and united MDC did not have numbers to overwhelm Zanu-PF, formidable as an opposition as it was. But it can hardly amount to anything more in 2018. For all the contempt and cynicism that hardliners in the Tsvangirai camp direct at Mujuru, she carries with her something different - if well packaged and managed. This is why Tsvangirai has wanted her in the camp, in the first place, against the background of 2008.

As does Biti. Hence if Mujuru has a tag team with Khupe, it is Tsvangirai's loss on two levels: at organisational level where Khupe, scorned and frustrated, is prepared to throw spanners in the works, which essentially means costing Tsvangirai his fortunes; and a similar effect at national level.

Come to think of it: Khupe and Mujuru may as well end up in Parliament one way or the other while Tsvangirai remains out. For good.

Source - Tichaona Zindoga
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