Time for Tsvangirai to call it quits

JUST over a month ago a great wave of optimism was building and sweeping across Zimbabwe.

Ben Freeth

People were furtively — then later even openly — daring to hope that they would ride in on the great wave that was forming. For some the mood was becoming euphoric.

The election took place and the wave broke. Deeply shocked, we all went down like Jonah and came up spluttering, washed up and beached on the same old desert shore from where we had started.

Once again we were faced with the tedium and the disappointment of more mis-governance, more kleptocracy, more injustice, more corruption, more burnt earth and more shattered dreams. After being forced to endure so much for more than a decade, we question how we can take any more.

Eddie Cross, MDC-T MP for Bulawayo South and one of the valiant criers from the wave crest, wrote the following in a moment of realism after being sworn back into the new Zanu PF-dominated parliament.

“We left parliament two months ago — then holding a majority in the Lower House, have come back as the opposition with 70 seats in a House of 270 members — unable to block legislation, even if we want to, but providing a voice for the majority in this beautiful yet broken land.

After 13 years of struggle, five elections and four years of the Government of National Unity we are no further forward than we were in 2000, in fact we are further back than we were then…”

What has gone wrong? How was the wave able to be undermined and broken? Why should Zimbabweans have to continue wandering around aimlessly in the desert for yet another five years under an octogenarian leader whose hunger for personal power trumps all other concerns? Why did Sadc not only allow the theft of the July 31 elections — but then applaud President Robert Mugabe and crown him as the next leader of the regional body when his people are getting poorer, hungrier, more desperate for jobs and leaving the country?

There is something intrinsically sick, evil even, in the Orwellian parody of it all. What is wrong with our African leaders that they should endorse such a fraudulent, dishonest result in this election? They saw the suffering and grieving on the funereal faces of almost all Zimbabweans as the results came tumbling out from Mugabe’s election rigging machine.

But closer to home, what is wrong with our opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, that he should flip-flop around, sacrificing principle, because he thought that Sadc would stand by them when things went wrong? Softly, softly they went, not wishing to upset Zanu PF when it came to taking farms, taking businesses and putting draconian clauses into the new constitution.

Furthermore, they allowed Zanu PF to not only run the elections but to steamroller any opposition and to bring the date forward with unseemly haste.

When Zanu PF was on the ropes four years ago, Tsvangirai, as the new prime minister, had four years to consolidate his position and be out there for the people.

When our workers were severely beaten up and put in a high security jail in 2009, where was he? Where was he when our crops and tractors were all stolen?

Where was he when our homes and some of our workers’ homes were burnt to the ground, with everything in them? Where was he when I wrote him an open letter about these gross injustices, criminal activities and human rights abuses – and he failed to reply?

Where was the premier when he should have been standing on principle regarding the clause in the new constitution that allows the continued taking of farms and other properties on the basis that the owner is “white”, apparently not indigenous.

Where was the prime minister after the constitutional referendum when it was clear from the small queues countrywide that perhaps a million ghosts had floated out of the ether to boost the “yes” vote? Zanu PF went so far as to claim it was the largest ever turnout by the electorate — and by a very significant margin.

It was clearly a dry run for the July 31 elections but the prime minister, having called for a “yes” vote, was elated with the result, and failed to stand on democratic principle regarding the blatant rigging.

Where was the prime minister when the special vote was strategically and dishonestly manipulated by Zanu PF? Despite this, he still decided to contest the main election which was already becoming a blatant farce.

Why wasn’t the prime minister visible on the international stage prior to the elections? Why, when he had the majority in parliament, was he not calling for internationally-run elections as Mugabe had succeeded in doing prior to 1980? Why did he not insist on long-established democratic countries and organisations at least coming to Zimbabwe to observe the elections — as Mugabe did in 1980?

Why did Tsvangirai participate in an election when the internationally-guaranteed reforms in the road map to elections had not taken place? Why did he go ahead, knowing that Mugabe would not allow the Diaspora to vote?

He should have insisted that Mugabe respect and abide by the timely judgment given by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights which ruled that the Zimbabwean Diaspora should be allowed to vote?
And why did he participate in the election when hundreds of thousands of young voters had not been able to register?

Why did he still go ahead when he was not allowed to view the voters’ roll — which he knew was a shambles — full of ghosts that would glide in on the day as they had in the constitutional referendum on March 16? And why did he participate in the elections when he had prior knowledge that Nikuv, an Israeli security company known to be an expert in election rigging, was on the Zanu PF payroll?

Why did Tsvangirai fail to speak out when the respected regional court of the Sadc Tribunal was dissolved at the instigation of Zanu PF? Ironically, this is a court that Tsvangirai also desperately needs in the light of the Zimbabwean courts being so partisan.
The only answer to these questions is that there is a crisis of leadership in the MDC. Principle has been thrown to the wind.

While Zanu PF carried on taking personal property, mining the diamonds and preparing for the election heist by continuing to block access to the voters’ roll, the prime minister was enjoying the comforts of government.

Furthermore, he was not only compromising his reputation with messy love affairs but was also calling for the lifting of personal sanctions on the very people who were bringing Zimbabwe to its knees.
The question we have to ask now is this: Where is the former prime minister in the aftermath of the election? Why is he failing to go around from province to province and district to district gathering evidence of election fraud and encouraging his supporters, many of whom put their lives and livelihoods on the line to vote out Zanu PF? Why does he allow his supporters to be victimised without standing up for and supporting them publicly?

If the former prime minister is tired — which he is certainly entitled to be given all that he has endured at the hands of Zanu PF, let him stand down and let someone who is energetic, God-fearing and not prepared to compromise on principle, take his place. I distinctly remember Tsvangirai being reported as saying that if he lost the election he would stand down.

So why the change of mind? After six bites at the election cherry (2000, 2002, 2005, March 2008, June 2008 and 2013) he has surely had his chance!

If we all manage somehow to get to 2018, can the people of Zimbabwe endure another debacle, another crash in the desert because of his lack of judgment as a leader? It is time for a new leader of the opposition!

Freeth is a dispossessed Zimbabwean farmer.

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19 Responses to Time for Tsvangirai to call it quits

  1. Kiro September 27, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    He is being too harsh on the man. The National council makes decisions not him alone

  2. Mupfaranyuri Marandure September 27, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    “…what is wrong with our opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, that he should flip-flop around, sacrificing principle,………?”

    The article goes on eloquently ( and I dare say accurately) cataloging all the things that were and are still wrong with the opposition leader. And yet the premise of the article is that the only way MDC T could have lost would only be if the elections were rigged. The implication is that while the omniscient author could see all these faults with the opposition leader, the then Prime Minister, Right Honourable Morgan Tsvangirai, the people of Zimbabwe should have voted for him anyway, either because they were too dumb to see these faults, or they had no viable option. Well they were not and are not now dumb and they had options. They voted for him in the first round in 2008, the Western paymasters told him to quit the runoff, which he did one week before the elections (see Jendai Fraser’s statement a few days before he quit). When the GNU came about the people thought there was a chance that there would be democratic development. But as the article eloquently demonstrates, the PM enjoyed the new life. So why does the author think the elections were rigged again? I thought elections were for voters to remove bad leaders, and you have just portrayed a particularly bad one?

    • Mubhoyi akafunda September 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

      Mugabe was put in power by Israel what west are you talking about.

  3. sahxy September 27, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    No one in heaven or earth could dislodge ZANU PF from power after 2008. All this chatter about Morgan’s leadership skills or lack of them is just trivia pursuit. That’s the reality the people have to understand and live with.

    • Forward Musungo September 27, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      you do not who reigns in heaven that is why you say that.One day when you get a revelation of what The Sovereign God can do you wont blasphemy again by saying no one in heaven or earth could remove Zanu………….I am not dwelling on the merits of your argument but on the disregard of God’s power.

  4. Joe Cool September 27, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    Tsvangirai has no principles, which is why he constantly flip-flops. He also has very little intelligence and no cunning, such that he is an impediment to Zimbabwe’s way forward. Zanu would be crazy to want Tsvangirai removed from the MDC leadership – he’s their best weapon for 2018.

  5. Maxwell Saungwene September 27, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    The author raises pertinent issues here. He is spot on!

  6. King Tubby September 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    The author of this article is dumb and naive, and so are those who agree with his warped thinking. Mugabe is protected by the system. He is both player and referee. Professors like Ncube and Mutamara failed. Former Chief Justice Enoch Dumbutshena failed. Father Zimbabwe couldnt either. It’s not about Tsvangirai at all. Try Mad Huku and see how far you can go. I for one will stick with Tsvangirai.

  7. King Tubby September 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    The author of this article is dumb and naive, and so are those who agree with his warped thinking. Mugabe is protected by the system. He is both player and referee. Professors like Makamure, Ncube and Mutambara failed. Former Chief Justice Enoch Dumbutshena failed. Father Zimbabwe couldnt either. It’s not about Tsvangirai at all. Try Mad Huku and see how far you can go. I for one will stick with Tsvangirai.

  8. HappyChikala September 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Whats disturbing is that after listing all the big blunders Tsvangirayi made, Ben Freeth still expected Tsvangirayi to be voted into power…by who if i may ask? The stupid blind native blacks?

  9. tawa Zaru September 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Seemz Freeth and rest of people calling for Tsvangirai to quit are ignorant of the role the security sector has been playing in most of our elections. The security, ZNA,CIO,ZPS,and ZRP all are institutions which have been used to scare, and intimidate the povo including the so called white farmers. The security sector is the one that was used to lead the farm invasions in Zimbabwe in the name of “a peoples’ revolution”. As long as these security sector of the country are being used and abused by Zanu PF and Mugabe then no other person outside Zanu PF can lead the country.

    This white farmer, Freeth is frothing at the wrong person. He should instead be sympathising with the majority of the black Zimbabweans whose votes have been ignored and elections stolen by the security sector. Do not forget Mugabe and Zanu PF have vehemently refused to reform this sector for their benefit. The call by the so called disgruntled MDC – T leadership for Tsvangirai to quit MDC is useless as these people are being used by some external forces such as the CIO whom we know have always been infiltrating opposition parties willy nilly. CIO uses money to buy certain gullible opposition members to revolt from inside.

  10. Mubhoyi akafunda September 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    The people want to push Morgan to do an uprising. They wanted to see him declare war on Zanupf. Unfortunately Morgan prefares to tackle Bob peacefully, deny him legitimacy squeeze him. The good thing is Zanupf is clueless on where to begin in terms of economic recovery. thats why they are unable to pronounce any policy or plan to that effect. they have a team of dumb old blokes who have failed since time immemorial.Now the thing is everybody expected a clean sweep by MDC and others had planned revenge etc. It was not to be why not lobby for full trade sanctions, fuel embargo and collapse Zanupf.

  11. Profesor Jonathan Moyo September 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    that fallacious degomentory madness

  12. Mhofu September 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I will stick to my Morgen so all you zanu fools pretending to be analysts yu can join any other party if yu like

  13. Gutter Poet September 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    The statement by Freeth is driven more by anger than reason..That the MDC top leadership have to do some introspection is without doubt but to heap all its faults and short coming on an individual is unfair and does not help the situation at all. Rather the MDC should be challenged to close the chapter on the festering sores they have left open..where is the evidence that the election was rigged and what are they doing about it? These are the questions that occupy the centre piece of their engagement with their supporters and friends not this running around headless..it is not helping.

  14. Reader September 29, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    Why does an article like this not appear in The Herald or Sunday Mail first? After all, it will sooner or later. The lection was rigged so openly and on an exponencially increasing scale since 2000. Anyone in Zimbabwe who wants to see that can see that. The greatest favour one can do to Zanu PF succession politics is to replace the popular Morgan. Then we may never hear from this writer again. The Mandelas were only replaced after finally delivering independence

  15. zvangu September 29, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    the way i see it zanu would be happy to see Morgan go for the simple reason that they know they never really won this election.

  16. kechemu September 29, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    uyu murungu ane njere shomanene zvekuti haangawoni kuti nyaya yaanotarisa seREVOLT is actually CORRUPTION inotoyendesa vanhu kunopika jere dai mutemo uchitevedzwa. vanhu vari kutengwa nekutengesewa nemari inova mhosva moto chaiwo ! vachanyara.

  17. Zim 4 September 30, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    @kechemu. urikutaura marubbish

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