Tag Archives: Morgan Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe’s fate or salvation does not lie in Morgan Tsvangirai, Joyce Mujuru or their touted coalition

1 Dec

I am writing this article in response to an article written by Alexander Noyes and published in the New York Times on 26 November 2015 (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/27/opinion/uniting-to-oust-mugabe.html?_r=0). While we are all entitled to our own opinions, I found the message in the article a bit misleading at best and at worst a misreading of what is happening with regards to the need for leadership change in Zimbabwe. The core message in the article suggests that for the opposition in Zimbabwe to win against Mugabe’s ZANU PF they need to be united and that ultimately this grand coalition will have to be consummated by Morgan Tsvangirai and Joyce Mujuru. This is problematic for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I am not too sure what prompted the research, but the assumption I have here is that the writer is a PHD student studying African politics. It is in this line that the article was written and of course it might add value to the debate around who and how Mugabe should be succeeded. However, the contents of the article serve more as a “faux provocateur” to the whole debate which do not provide any useful information for Zimbabweans who have been trying to dislodge Mugabe for the past 15 years or more.

I am worried about the kind of audience that will take time to read this story and even further engage the writer on this matter. In his article he encourages Western governments to quietly push for unity among different opposition political forces in Zimbabwe. I hope that they will not take the contents of Alexander Noyes’ publication wholesale without doing their own background research and scenario mapping. Uniting the current crop of Zimbabwean opposition forces will not be the panacea to democracy or bringing down Robert Mugabe’s overdue tenure. More of the same, is what Zimbabwe will get from such a charade. Zimbabwe needs a principled wide base party which appeals to people based on issues not anger or frustration at Mugabe.

The touting of Morgan Tsvangirai and Joyce Mujuru as the two leaders who will deliver Zimbabwe from Mugabe’s 3 decades rule is unfortunate and false. Zimbabwe has a number of potential leaders in both ZANU PF, in the opposition parties and in the private sector in Zimbabwe and abroad. That they might not have come to the fore at the moment does not mean that there is a dearth of leadership capabilities and Mujuru and Tsvangirai are the only option. Any merger between Tsvangirai and especially these people falling out with ZANU PF is scandalous and a spit right in the face of hundreds of Zimbabweans who have been made to suffer by these same people when they were members of ZANU PF.

The fixation on Tsvangirai as a political force is misplaced at this stage of his political career. He has been at the helm of the MDC for quite some time. He has played his part and he must actually be starting to consider retiring from active politics. He went into the Government of National Unity; scandals and blunders marred his reign as Prime Minister, not least the personal matters involving his marriage life. Who has ever measured how far his behavior alienated young Zimbabwean women and men from a man they looked at for leadership as a father, husband and national figure. Let’s not take things for granted and assume that he still controls a major support base in Zimbabwe. His colleagues under his watch reportedly plundered government resources, abused local offices and nothing much was done to them. One brazen example was a cheeky move to try to use National Social Security Funds to bail out a collapsing bank belonging to friends in Tsvangirais’ party which was later blocked by ZANU PF.

As for Joyce Mujuru, the odds for becoming the President in Zimbabwe are next to zero even if she were to contest in a free and fair election. The assumption that her war credentials endear her to most Zimbabweans is grounded on false beliefs. For starters, the good doctor is not ideologically stable. For example, the ideologies of the liberation war she stands for do not resonate with the new image of restoration of land to those white people who lost their so called land years ago which she is now touting. In any case, what does she mean that she will restore lost land right to its erstwhile owners? How will she do that, who is she, and what powers does she have in terms of the law? The time for sloganeering went past a long time ago while she was still supping with ZANU PF, no sane Zimbabwean will sit and listen to such rhetoric.

Joyce Mujuru and her folks who were booted out of ZANU PF must not feign any false bravado and try to hoodwink Zimbabweans that they know what is best for the country. If they meant well, they should have led reform from inside a long time ago. I have heard a number of people saying that they must be commended for speaking out against ZANU PF. Well, yes, they are speaking out but for what reason. This is just a question of sour grapes! How have these people acquired all this wealth that they flaunt around and are using to challenge ZANU PF? Where were they when Zimbabweans were being butchered in politically motivated violence since the 2000s? Who doesn’t remember Didymus Mutasa telling hungry villagers to eat potatoes if they did not have maize? Dzikamai Mavhaire, Rugare Gumbo, Temba Mliswa – the John McCains of Zimbabwe – These people have been in government for as long as Zimbabweans can remember. Is it not time for them to give others a chance?

At best, Morgan Tsvangirai will become a Raila Odinga of sorts in Zimbabwe or even less – at least Raila has the economic wherewithal to wither any financial storms. Not President! Zimbabwe needs and deserves better. Morgan had his chance and it failed. Joyce Mujuru, she can try to revive her hopes in Mashonaland East, but to tout her as a kingmaker in Zimbabwe’s political arena is a bit far – fetched. Let her go home, manage her loads of money and retire quietly. And oh yes, hope that no cheeky victim or lawyer will ask questions about Chaona! Remember 2008?

With regards to Robert Mugabe, does it ever occur to anyone that in fact this man might actually be commanding a lot of support in Zimbabwe? Rigging, violence, corruption etc. have largely dominated and scarred his rule. I do not want to have another day under his rule. I think he now needs to just leave Zimbabwe to be ruled by other people. He is just too old to make informed decisions, I think. However, the land reform exercise will always remain one of his legacies. The man has also been principled with regards to how ZANU PF is run. If you cannot take the heat, you get booted out or you are reprimanded. To date, this has worked out well for those who believe in ZANU PF’s values. So why are these people crying foul? Writers should not just paint Mugabe with this brush – of dictatorial tendencies. More questions should be asked about these people who have flanked him for so long and have jived and fainted for him in public.

On the question of a united opposition – this is also very debatable. It might work only to get numbers against ZANU PF which in itself is an admittance that ZANU PF has a strong support base. However, there should be no prescriptions that people should unite for the sake of uniting. Sooner rather than later, one will realize that a big tent made of orange canvas, green plastic, red cotton, etc. will not “hold water”. Zimbabwe needs a widely appealing opposition leader not fragmented little parties coming together. There is nothing stopping that kind of an individual from emerging among the Zimbabwean populace at home and abroad.

Who exactly is defining democracy in Zimbabwe? When we talk about democracy in Zimbabwe, it has to be clear that the return of land taken from about 4 000 white people who owned almost 80% of all the fertile land will never amount to democracy. It can just lead to more anguish and fighting. Democracy will certainly not mean dancing to the tunes of Western governments when it comes to determining how the country should be run. Certain traits of order as human beings have to be respected universally, but the idea of prescribing wily nily what democracy should mean for Zimbabwe is untenable.

Indeed, as they say, “the beautiful are yet to be born”, but this is also because they might never be conceived. Zimbabwe has potential leaders all over the world. Hope cannot lie in having Joyce Mujuru and Morgan Tsvangirai as the only people who can deliver democracy in Zimbabwe.

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Compromised and Compromising Politicians: The tragedy of opposition politics in Zimbabwe

7 Jun

Since the 2013 July ZANU PF victory or theft or whatever you want to call it, opposition political parties in Zimbabwe have been in sixes and nines – not too sure how to respond to the loss. Calls were made to annul the vote because reportedly Nikuv had secured the victory for the wily Robert Mugabe. Most in the opposition MDC T went on to blame Morgan Tsvangirai for his lack of strategy during the election. Others have recently reportedly called for a Transitional Authority to run a caretaker government leading to new elections and a revival of the ailing economy. Unfortunately, the much sought after silver bullet to heal Zimbabwe from the pains of the ailing economy and democratic deficit will not and cannot be found in the proposed Transitional Authority. This proposition is a fallacy based on an arrogant and patronizing assumption that people like Tendai Biti hold the keys to the final solution because in my view they are too compromised by association and conduct which leads them to make serious compromises detrimental to the common Zimbabwean wananchi.

First and foremost – some evident truths are there for everyone to see. The government is broke, there is no money to pay for essential services, and industries continue to shut down. This cannot be news anymore, and so the so called wise men from the opposition should not continue breaking such information and behaving as if they have just discovered a new planet. Zimbabweans are not stupid – they know what’s going on.

The new calls for a Transitional Authority in my view would have been well meaning if Zimbabwe were in a different scenario. Post war situation or others of that nature. ZANU PF won the election rightly or wrongly last July and the nation must move on. The idea of wanting to keep the nation in a perpetual electioneering mode is unacceptable. The situation requires different stakeholders to now work towards resolving some of the challenges the nation is facing. Of course it is never going to be easy to work with ZANU PF. However, if any electioneering is going to be done, let it be done at party political level to streamline opposition party strategies. Let it be towards electoral law reforms, alternative policies, national dialogue(s) etc. and not any form of Transitional Authority. The opposition was given a 5 year chance to help the country transit from a state of paralysis to a stable one. They must be commended for pulling Zimbabwe out of the mud but we all know that such a type of government will be difficult to manage in the Zimbabwean context as long as ZANU PF holds executive powers through the office of the President.

People must now start to learn to disabuse of themselves of the fallacy that ZANU PF does not have supporters and they out rightly stole the election in 2013. ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe have supporters who genuinely voted for them in 2013. There are Zimbabweans who believe in ZANU PF’s policies of land reform and so on. I do not hold any brief for ZANU PF but over the years a few of the Young Turks such as Kaukonde, Mandiwanzira, Kasukuwere, Mzembi, Nhema etc. whether through abuse of state resources or no have managed to campaign vigorously and retained the fortunes of the party. So people must not continue thinking that ZANU PF does not hold a brief for a huge section of Zimbabweans because unfortunately due to the ambiguous positions held by the opposition of certain sensitive issues such as land people have chosen to side with ZANU PF.

The biggest challenge that Zimbabweans in the opposition now face after having tasted political office at the highest level is that they are confusing personal interests with the national question. It is a fact that certain sections of the opposition leadership would of course want to go back to government. Could it just be nostalgic feelings really gone bad? Power is sweet, it gives you access to resources and just a feeling of invincibility. Well, it could be as well that these opposition leaders have the peoples’ issues at heart. But it is well that they can wait until the next election. If people really want to go back to government I’m sure they can talk to Gideon Gono, and Gideon can talk to Robert Mugabe and something can be arranged. Let this not be a matter of national interest, because it is not!

One other really disturbing matter that keeps cropping up is of the Western governments not willing to work with the corrupt and inept ZANU PF government when it comes to financial injections into the economy. Well, the country cannot continue and afford to be held hostage by people who are not sure of what exactly it is they want. The West knows fully well the idea of a Transitional Authority is just a phantom dream which cannot come into existence during the tenure of this ZANU PF government. The West must by now have engaged think tanks and policy gurus to find ways of engaging the Zimbabwean government in ways that can ensure that their resources do not necessarily get siphoned and end up in the pockets of ZANU PF officials. Infact, the West is better reminded that a Marshall Plan of some sort for Zimbabwe now without this thought of a Transitional Authority could help Zimbabweans move from this confusion wherein most people now view them as enemies and stalling Zimbabwe’s progress through sanctions.

If these so brilliant opposition leaders have alternatives then they should be brought up through Parliament or policy conferences where issues can be discussed. Does it really need someone to have a government position for them to be able to propose a reform to the banking sector or the provision of basic education, health and so on? Maybe I am being naïve, but I would suggest we see the alternative policies first – down to the last detail. Of course some gullible politicians will say that they do not want ZANU PF to steal their ideas. But I guess if the objective is to raise Zimbabwe out of the crisis it finds itself, and then let the policies be brought forward.

And the other sore thumb – civil society in Zimbabwe. Most organizations and leaders have rightly refused to take positions on important national matters and others such as the current succession and leadership wrangles in the MDC T and ZANU PF. Fair and fine, no meddling in internal party politics for civil society. But who are we trying to fool here. Most of the leaders because of their democratic right hold very senior advisory positions in the MDC T which compromises their positions when discussing pertinent issues that could affect the nation. Many a times, critical leaders have failed to comment on Morgan Tsvangirai’s reported and wanton abuse of his girlfriends and wives. The abuse of women cannot be a private matter! People failed to raise even their eyebrows when news surfaced that Tendai Biti had tried to raise funds to rescue a faltering private bank using NSSA funds. When Tendai Biti was reportedly representing Gideon Gono people felt it better to be quiet. But I contend that this is exactly what is messing up civil society and the opposition leadership. People in the opposition in Zimbabwe have become compromised and therefore are taking compromises when it comes to dealing with critical national issues in Zimbabwe.

Another GNU by any other fancy name such as Transitional Authority is not acceptable. In any case, I am going to give ZANU PF free advice. I think they would only be stupid to accept something like that. Zimbabwe must move on. Let us find national solutions to critical problems affecting the nation. Giving national and executive jobs to the boys is not a national question. The opposition needs to go back to the drawing board, strategize and launch a new chapter for 2018. Right now most in the opposition leadership are very compromised and will make compromise decisions detrimental to Zimbabweans.

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