Tsvangirai no longer an alternative

Zimbabwe is held captive under a Mugabe/Tsvangirai vortex of a decade-long stalemate and disputation.

Thomas Kundishora

The two have lost their Nelson Mandela moments due to their failure to deal with succession issues in their respective parties.

President Robert Mugabe may have been the first to lose his moment, but MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai seems unwilling to lose the momentum.

Recent developments in the MDC-T reveal a painful reality that Zimbabwe’s former premier may no longer be a viable alternative to Zanu PF.

While recent media reports have tended to be narrow and therefore focus on Tsvangirai’s immediate past inadequacies, a broader view of his leadership style reveals a more devastating scenario. There are five broad strands of rationality that vindicate this sad conclusion.

First, his leadership has been subjected to so severe questioning by his own lieutenants such that ordinary Zimbabweans no longer perceive him as a reliable janitor of their future.

Second, his failure to abide by the party constitution and the values of his party puts to doubt his commitment to uphold the laws of the nation, never mind its national values.

Third, he has not been able to demonstrate any difference from Zanu PF, presenting difficulties in placing the former premier as an alternative to his own day-to-day consciousness.

Fourth, Tsvangirai annihilated the people’s hope for a new Zimbabwe for varied reasons.

And last, Tsvangirai blunders so constantly and consistently that this has now become his leadership trademark or hallmark.

To begin with, the former MDC-T deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma’s prediction that Tsvangirai would only remain at the helm of the party under “questioned leadership” has been vindicated.

Reports that Tsvangirai is now avoiding top party organs responsible for policy and decision-making, preferring rallies and unconstitutional meetings, point to a man who has lost direction and control of the party.

To the extent that MDC leader Welshman Ncube and his team lost confidence in Tsvangirai as they got closer to him, Mangoma and his peers have done the same.

The only logical conclusion to make is that the closer one gets to Tsvangirai, the more likely they will lose confidence in his leadership.

And so, if his close lieutenants lose confidence with increased proximity, why must Zimbabweans who have no chance of getting close to him have hope and trust in him?

This simply means that if Zimbabweans were to continue trusting and supporting him it would be out of sheer ignorance of his leadership qualities that make it obvious that the MDC-T would never win any election in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai’s penchant for disrespecting the party constitution and values is now public knowledge. This was perfectly captured in Mangoma’s second letter to Tsvangirai copied to all members of the party’s national council.

Tsvangirai has resorted to unconstitutional measures to deal with perceived enemies from within and this is disheartening as it erodes his hard-earned democratic credentials.

In fact, the subsequent purging of members with divergent views by Tsvangirai makes a mockery of the party’s name as a democratic movement.

Is it not ironic that the so-called rebels are the ones calling for Tsvangirai to return to party values and party constitutionalism?

Tsvangirai will therefore have a torrid time trying to convince Zimbabweans that replacing Mugabe and Zanu PF is a noble task when his own behaviour more than resembles that of Mugabe.

And so MDC-T national executive member Elias Mudzuri may have been right to ask, if “we can’t respect our own constitution, why should Zimbabweans expect us to respect the national constitution?” As one Facebook comment noted: “Why should we have problems with Mugabe’s dictatorship, if we are building another in Tsvangirai?”

Tsvangirai’s recourse to violence to quell internal challenge exposes him as a violent person, just like Zanu PF, if not worse. To a large extent, Zanu PF comes out as a better outfit as it has largely avoided the use of violence to settle internal party scores. This is not to say that its use of violence on MDC supporters is acceptable. It is barbaric and archaic.

While to his credit Tsvangirai has presented himself as a brave and selfless leader, he ruined the people’s hope for various reasons. Of great significance, resolutions and challenges identified by the National Working People’s Convention at the Women’s Bureau have not been resolved 15 years after the formation of the MDC.

Some of the challenges identified include the disempowerment of the people and breach of the rule of law through state-sponsored violence and abuse of human rights; inability of the economy to address the basic needs of the majority of Zimbabweans; severe decline in incomes, employment, health, food security and well-being of people; unfair burden borne by women and persistence of gender discrimination in practice; and the decline and in some cases collapse of public services.

In addition, there has been lack of progress in resolving land hunger and rural investment needs; the weak growth in industry and marginalisation of the vast majority of the nation’s entrepreneurs; persistence of regionalism, racism and other divisions undermining national integration as well as widespread corruption; and lack of public accountability.

Whereas people participation in constitution-making is questionable, this is arguably the one and only achievement to date for the movement. And yet the MDC-T roadmap articulated in 2006 did not set constitution-making as the only target.

One of the key targets of the roadmap was that the MDC-T would win general elections and form the next government. Of course, just like many of the issues identified by the National Working People’s Convention, this again failed to materialise.

So the July 31, 2013 election was a defining moment that placed it beyond doubt that Tsvangirai had his best moment only in 2008, even though he ended up running away to Botswana instead of pushing for state power takeover.

The number of strategic blunders — or are they bad strategic decisions — made by Tsvangirai are colossal. Some of his major blunders are the MDC-T’s reliance on critiquing bad governance (Google politics), an exhausted and hardly understandable concept by ordinary citizens; failure to publicise the efficacy of sanctions to the domestic market resulting in Zanu PF taking advantage of same; failure to articulate a clear ideology; and public posturing of receipt of support from the white farming capitalists when Zimbabweans are visibly hungry for land. All this was aggravated and epitomised by his questionable ideological associations as evidenced by his visit to the Democratic Alliance in South Africa to source financial support.

Added to these, Tsvangirai has failed to develop strong alliances with key stakeholders that he worked with during the formative stages of the MDC as well as with national liberation parties, yet he exhibited strong alliances with London and Washington.

He also failed to focus on the conditions of living for Zimbabweans beginning with his failure to mobilise support for victims of the 2005 Operation Murambatsvina, which displaced more than half a million Zimbabweans.

Tsvangirai blundered in the manner that he handled elections, as he did not have plan B from 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2013.

With regards to the 2013 elections, the MDC-T failed to counter populist Zanu PF messages. Some within the MDC-T think that Tsvangirai is not his own man.

He is exceedingly predisposed to Nelson Chamisa, the law student, church deacon and inexperienced youthful party organising secretary.

One of the critical issues that Tsvangirai will find difficult to explain to Zimbabweans is how he has managed to secure continued accommodation at the expensive Highlands house.

This house possibly symbolises the selling out of the democratic struggle by Tsvangirai and places him in a situation where voters no longer have confidence that he is in a position to challenge Zanu PF.

Even more, unanswered questions regarding the misappropriation of US$1,5 million during the purchase of the Highlands property, raises serious questions.

The former premier has a mammoth task ahead to convince the masses that he is in this struggle for their cause and that he remains uncompromised by rich pickings from the Government of National Unity. Many believe that he is no longer an alternative to Zanu PF for many reasons.

Kundishora is a political analyst based in Harare. He can be contacted on tkundi@gmail.com

17 thoughts on “Tsvangirai no longer an alternative”

  1. yahwee says:

    Voters are with Tsangirai,you must be a rebel chete

  2. Mandevu says:

    Clearly he is finished, and the next steep is getting ZPF out through sheer civil society pressure – forget the political process as a means to regime change

  3. Solo says:

    Yahwee,How come he keeps losing elections?

    1. Mumwe Wacho says:

      All elections that he has participated in he won and they rigged. In 2008 they took a whole month cooking figures but still came at the top of cooked numbers. One has to be blind not to see this.

    2. Yahwee says:

      elections are rigged

  4. Mumwe Wacho says:

    You seem not to realise that those who get closer to Tsvangirai have faults of their own like being power hungry, greedy for donor monies and some of them outright opportunists. If they are democtracts why do they push for undemocratic means to remove Tsvangirai and not go to congress and boot him out democratically. They know Tsvangirai has the numbers and sadly thats what democratic politics is all about. People know who is fighting in their corner and writing articles like these will fail. Anebhora ndiye anomakwa. If Tsvangirai akasamakwa with everyone as is the case now, it gives people the opportunity to critically relook at him as their leader and make informed decision which may as well turn out to give him another mandate as there is no alternative candidate in opposition politics in Zimbabwe at the moment.

  5. protestor says:

    Isu ndiye watinoda go and form your own political parties

  6. goodlife says:

    Please tell us how you are going to solve our economic challenges. Gives us alternative solutions to our economy. To tell us that so and so is not an alternative will not do us any good as a nation. We nid money to pay school fees for our children, feed our children pay medical bills so that we we live respectable lives. BREAD AND BUTTER ISSUES Kwete kuti udza mazuva ose about Tsvangison who is not in government, A are compaigning for him?

  7. Muchanyura says:

    Muchakuvara macrowd followers asingafungi anongoti Tsvangirai ndiye chete. Its unfortunate we will suffer together because of people who just follow names and are lazy to use their head. For the same reason we have suffered under ZANU for 34 years. We will continue to suffer under them just because the majority vanongoti Viva Morgen. Its unfortunate democracy is not a fair process especially in Africa, we always seem to vote for the wrong people just because everyone else is doing the same. Come 2018 ZANU will win again till the majority start getting the sense that its not supposed to be about individuals like Tsvangirai. I just wonder what people see in that brainless Tsvangson. Tiudzei the reasons you say Tsvangirai ndiye face of democracy when he doesnt even know when it is due for him to quit.

    1. mabonakudala says:

      You are right, the problem in Africa is we don’t listen to the message we only care about who said it. There is no substance in what ever Tsvangirai says, same thing as Mugabe but we only follow blindly. It’s unfortunate that a country which is regarded very literate still follows politics on personal cults.

  8. Chris Veremu says:

    The writer could have tried to balance the article..this endless bashing of Tsvangirayi is too cheap. We expect better from people who call themselves analysts. That said, Mr. Tsvangirayi might just have lost irreparably the goodwill of Zimbabweans…and here begins a very sad tale.

  9. Billy Pule says:

    I am surprised you guys only realised it now. Tsvangirai is not presidential material and was just a creation of the west/ white axis aimed at regime change in Zimbabwe.Chematama azvisi!

  10. timothy says:

    Chris, sometimes its very difficult to try and balance the issues. this man is just useless. he waisted our time as Zimbabweans.

  11. chombolites says:

    your article on tsvangirai isn’t balanced; tsvangirai cannot be solely held responsible for the state of affairs in the country. your way, remember is not the only way.

  12. Wezhira Wezhara says:

    Tsvangirayi can hold a rally today and attract THOUSANDS…Biti&Co attract 29 people…Tsvangirayi supporters say this shows Tsvangirayi has the people’s support….OK Fair enough….But Mugabe ALSO attracts THOUSANDS so he also then has the people’s support to stay handiti????? Some say Tsvangirayi hs suffered greatly the last 15 years and deserves to have his chance in State House…The same logic ZANU uses saying they fought the war and desreve to rule..

    Ndiyo logic yemu Africa..as long as I have ‘the people’s support’ or I suffered in the struggle I can stay donkey years in power….Only Mandela realized that democracy can only propsper if one know when to quit. Tsvangirayi no longer has the moral high ground

  13. Zvavanhu says:

    Ko kana vanhu voti wagarisa pachigaro iwe woti kwete vanhu vachirikundida saka masiyanei naGushaz?

  14. Goredema says:

    Tinomhanya naSave, and clearly he is the best alternative for me.

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