AS a former student leader I was critical of those who denounced Professor Arthur Mutambara and argued that national politics and student activism are different.
The report that the pro-senate faction leader is now concentrating on assassinating the character of
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai on the basis of his level of education and the elections he “lost” to Zanu PF resembles the mind of an Arthur Mutambara of 1989 at the University of Zimbabwe who is yet to graduate from student activism.
Addressing the Press Club in Gweru recently, Mutambara boasted: “Give us a platform anywhere, anytime for debate with my brother Tsvangirai and I will defeat him. He does not have any political wisdom. I taught him opposition politics while I was a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe but typical of a poor student, he grasped only 5% of what I taught him. He lacks any democratic values and that is basically where we clash.”
Surely, journalists who attended the meeting could have been baffled by Mutambara’s claim that he taught Tsvangirai politics when he was a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe.
Does Mutambara know the history of Tsvangirai as ZCTU secretary-general and the series of demonstrations that he led that shook the Zanu PF regime?
Does Mutambara want every Zimbabwean to regard him as the Messiah and the only one who can solve the peoples’ suffering because he holds a PhD and was schooled at Oxford?
Does Mutambara think that those that do not have degrees or professorship are not presidential material?
I think the man is merely politicking and trying to be an opportunist-par excellence.
The question that boggles the mind is why the learned professor is now concentrating on undoing Tsvangirai who a short while ago was his hero?
The struggle in Zimbabwe is not against Tsvangirai but a regime that is clinging to power despite people’s disapproval.
At the same meeting Mutambara said: “My party is the future and Tsvangirai is not. He was defeated by Zanu PF in 2000, 2002 and in 2005, so what else can he offer? If he is defeated again in 2008, which I’m confident he will be, there will not be any other chance for him, he will be doomed.”
Mutambara is missing the point. To confirm that the man is completely out of touch with the politics that has been taking place in Zimbabwe in the past few years, Mutambara thinks that Zanu PF won the elections genuinely in 2000, 2002 and 2005.
This is dangerous thinking, especially coming from a person of his stature. It is the sort of thinking that ignores issues such as the murder and violence perpetrated on a massive scale by the ruling regime against MDC supporters. It is on the basis of this parochial thinking that Mutambara’s faction is doomed and will not, at least in the near future, be any force to reckon with.
Our politics has not yet developed to the stage where a person is voted into office because he holds several degrees.
The world of academia and politics are two different entities and this explains the reason why some professors have had problems in their political careers.
Mutambara must articulate the issues that his faction stands for rather than concentrate on undoing Tsvangirai.
By concentrating on supplanting Tsvangirai, Mutambara is alienating himself from the majority of MDC members who still believe in the man and his ideas.