Tsvangirai’s Role Must Not Be Underestimated

IN my discussions with patriotic Zimbabweans across the globe, I have discovered that there is a very strong view that if Morgan Tsvangirai’s signature is the one that will save the country then he should be accorded the power that is commensurate with the power of his signature.

 

Tsvangirai appears to be asking for clarity of his role in a Government of National Unity. This is necessary to avoid unwarranted conflict in a situation where tension will be inevitable -–– in any change process –– because people are resistant to change.

The idea of a ceremonial role is understandably viewed as an insult by both President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai because you do not fight an election to have a ceremonial role. People do not elect leaders to have a ceremonial role. In a situation that Zimbabwe finds itself in since March 29, it makes sense for Zanu PF and the MDC to share power equally.

Arthur Mutambara of the smaller MDC faction has been a subject of serious criticism for tipping the balance of power in favour of Zanu PF, and misusing his king-making position. Zimbabweans hope that Mutambara has good reasons for his decisions.

Mutambara lives among Zimbabweans and it is the mark of a transformational leader to listen to the people who follow him lest he is accused of being arrogant and out of touch with reality. This would be a cardinal sin that any leader can ever commit in politics. For a person of Mutambara’s intellectual ability it should be easy to gauge and ascertain the people’s wishes and feelings.

Change is about people’s feelings and emotions and if you cannot connect with people then there will be no buy-in and change. Tsvangirai has been referring to the March 29 election as a measure of ascertaining the people’s feelings. In that election he was ahead of President Mugabe.

Mugabe told the nation in the period leading to the June 27 run-off election that the pen will never defeat the gun. In the on-going talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, it is clear that the pen and the gun should co-exist. In any case, it was the signatures of Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo and Ian Smith (and even Bishop Abel Muzorewa) that brought the Independence of Zimbabwe at Lancaster House in 1980.

It is true that Zimbabwe will not move forward without Tsvangirai.

The question for Tsvangirai is: Does he go into the theatre without enough tools or go in and ask for the tools once he is inside? He has many people who support him who are ready to work with him in these difficult circumstances. Some of these people have risked their jobs and lives and there is no such thing as a perfect moment.

Tsvangirai should not underestimate his power. His presence in the theatre will make a difference to the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. It cannot be disputed that Tsvangirai’s role in the future government is of great importance if the country is to rebuild the future of all its citizens.

Msekiwa Makwanya

Harare.

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