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Can Tsvangirai recover?

16 Jan 2014 at 09:44hrs | Views
FOR now, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai appears to have abdicated his main role of closely monitoring the government of the day and holding it accountable to the public.

His private life has distracted him from his watchdog role in his capacity as the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe at a critical time when the economy is in a free fall, with Zanu-PF struggling for answers.

Tsvangirai's amorous propensities have played into the hands of President Robert Mugabe's party which has welcomed the possibility to keep him and his party distracted so as to divert the attention of the nation from its supposed failure to address urgent socio-economic issues.

Last year, Tsvangirai inaugurated his own shadow cabinet whose purpose is to keep the ruling party on its toes through challenging government policies and coming up with alternative ones where possible and appropriate.

However, the private life of its leader has dominated headlines as opposed to proffering ideas on the faltering economic crisis.

Even though the matters against him are of a personal nature, it is hard for the MDC-T leader to escape public scrutiny as a former prime minister and presidential aspirant.

One of the former prime minister's ex-lovers, Nosipho Shilubane, a South African, is currently writing a tell-all book detailing her time with Tsvangirai and his alleged philandering.

The book, which is yet to be published, means that the MDC-T's leader would be in the news in the foreseeable future, to further soil his reputation and once again unnecessarily expend his attention and that of those close to him, who will no doubt have to shield enquiries expected to come out of Shilubane's revelations.

Besides Shilubane, Tsvangirai has been linked to several other women since the death of his wife Susan in a horrific traffic accident in 2009.

Soon after his wife's death, reports said the MDC-T leader was considering marrying Susan's younger sister Leah Mhundwa.

He was also said to be involved with a Bulawayo woman Loreta Nyathi, amid allegations' that he was paying maintenance for a child fathered during their involvement. The MDC-T leader was later said to have paid lobola for Lorcadia Karimatsenga, a development which he denied, but the magistrates court upheld that he had in fact entered into marriage with the latter.

It was this "marriage" that prevented him from marrying Elizabeth Macheka, when Karimatsenga successfully vetoed the union through the courts after proving she had in fact been married to Tsvangirai.

To circumvent the brick wall mounted by Karimatsenga, Tsvangirai then took the route of a traditional ceremony with Macheka.

Karimatsenga ensured that the lavish 'wedding of all weddings' which the then prime minister and Macheka had planned became a sham after the pseudo ceremony could not be solemnised as an official marriage. A few years down the road, it now appears that Tsvangirai and Macheka's union has hit stormy waters as the two are alleged to be living in separate homes. Speculation abounds as to the cause of the rift, with the name of his first wife's sister, Mhundwa being bandied about as contributory.

Unconfirmed rumours say, Mhundwa is currently pregnant with the former prime minister's child.

Tsvangirai aspires to run again in the 2018 Presidential elections, even though he is facing internal opposition that may see him being challenged at the party's 2016 congress.

Whoever emerges as the party's president at that indaba, wins the right to represent the MDC-T at the next general elections.

But following last year's defeat, it seems that Tsvangirai is yet to pick up the pieces to fight another day as the marital woes of yesterday continue to follow and haunt him.

The effect of his troubles is that his detractors argue that 'if he can't manage his personal affairs, how can he manage the country'.

This week, Rashweat Mukundu, the director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said it is becoming apparent that the revival of the MDC-T is becoming a long drawn affair more so as Tsvangirai is distracted by his personal life.

"Only time will tell but right now there appears to be no hope for MT as he is not stating his vision and is in the media for the wrong reasons," said Mukundu.

The 'scandals' that the former prime minister is entangled in are likely to give ammunition to his detractors who want to unseat him within his party and cheap propaganda to those he will contest against in 2018, if he survives reported plots to topple him from the MDC-T's leadership position.

In certain party quarters, disgruntled members say the former prime minister's behaviour alienated some voters, contributing to the MDC-T's loss in the process.

On Monday, political analyst Ricky Mukonza, said those within the party opposed to his continued leadership would argue that his personal problems have tainted his brand as a leader and consequently that of the MDC-T.

"If he succeeds in the internal battle, which in itself comes with fissures for his party, nationally he is likely to get in to the election as a soiled brand which is unlikely to attract new voters. This will be particularly true with the female voters," said Mukonza.

"In short, a serious introspection on the part of Morgan as a leader and broadly on the MDC-T is necessary if they are to remain politically relevant," he added.

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Source - financial gazette
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