Home » Governance » It’s Tsvangirai Who Needs Prayers

Two weeks back, The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper ran a poignant story about the plight of opposition MDC-T leader and former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. The story related to how “badly broke” Tsvangirai is, currently, now that donor funds have run out and he, lacking any means of livelihood, has fallen almost destitute along with other members of his party.

Here are excerpts: “MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai might be living behind the high walls of the posh home he moved into during his tenure as prime minister during the unity government (2009-13), but life is not a bed of roses for the veteran politician who has since extended his begging bowl to the donor community seeking funds for party and personal upkeep . . .

“Despite living large during the inclusive era, Tsvangirai is said to be literary (sic) broke to the extent that he can accept any amount offered to him by close associates. Party insiders also said some of the legislators are contributing US$50 per month for his upkeep.”

The paper quotes a senior official saying: “As for Tsvangirai himself, he is one of the most affected party leaders because he has no professional qualifications to fall back on. He is badly broke and is relying on friends and party members for help to get the barest means of support and sustenance. He is not destitute but he is living a hand-to-mouth existence . . . ” Another official says Tsvangirai “is struggling to pay his bills, even for groceries, fuel and airtime.” The paper helpfully notes that this is the man who was once given blockbuster money such as $500 000 by Britain’s Westminster Foundation and $300 000 from Botswana, which he used to pay off one Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo whom he married and divorced in 12 days.

Tsvangirai subsequently married Elizabeth Macheka and, according to the newspaper, lavished a honeymoon in the UK “that included a cruise on London’s famed Thames River”. The story also recalls that “the free-spending” Tsvangirai, who took a South African concubine on a holiday to Seychelles “at a time ordinary Zimbabweans were living in abject poverty” earned himself the moniker “Legend of the Seas”, and bedded a string of girlfriends “at the height of his power and prosperity”.

Ow, this is a story of contrasts — of how the mighty have fallen. It is tempting to curse Tsvangirai for being a spendthrift who squandered his fortune on women and did not save for tomorrow. Yes, he is a spendthrift, but his condition deserves sympathy — lots of sympathy. And he needs a lot of prayers, too.

In fact, here lies the irony. Tsvangirai issued an end of year statement that was carried by a couple of sympathetic media yesterday in which he called for prayers for President Mugabe, whom he described as senile, “so that he understands the enormity of the national plight so that he considers the national crisis more important than any other needless political sideshow because it is his party that is in government.”

It will be worthwhile, while pointing out the obvious childishness in the statement by the opposition leader, obviously written for him by excitable people like Luke Tamborinyoka, that 2014 has it in black and white who deserves prayers and who between Tsvangirai and President Mugabe is disoriented and lacking control of himself and his destiny.

The first thing to note is that this country is not in a “national crisis”. The country is alive and well, albeit under the constraining conditions wrought by sanctions that Tsvangirai foolishly bade his western friends to impose but which may yet have spawned the troubles he himself is facing. As we speak, President Mugabe is on a deserved annual leave after a year in which he not only proved to be a shrewd political actor who not only managed to steer through a nefarious plot to unconstitutionally unseat him, a development that could potentially lunge this country into chaos. After cleaning the deck, President Mugabe revamped the Cabinet that should now see the steady implementation and flow of Government business that had fallen foul of factional and parallel structures created by Tsvangirai sympathisers in Zanu-PF and government.

The just-ended Zanu-PF National Congress, whose activities, permutations and outcomes, gripped the world, even including Tsvangirai’s opposition itself, clearly showed who was in charge and the direction that this country is to take. That does not suggest any senility, does it? Contrast that with the pale shadow of congress that took place only less than eight weeks previously, which no one was interested in!

The reason why the world largely ignored the MDC-T’s congress held in October was simply because the party and its leader, apart from being broke, have nothing to offer. The only game in town reposes with Zanu-PF and the party-inspired Zim-Asset programme, which has in the past year registered significant milestones through massive infrastructural works such as the Plumtree to Mutare Highway, works at the two major airports and power stations in the country massive deals that were inked with the Russian and Chinese governments and the attainment of food security in the country, among other highlights.

The mega projects have also created employment for thousands of people and new projects along the way will also incrementally employ more and more Zimbabweans who are suffering job losses as a result of sanctions-induced de-industrialisation.

It is, therefore, phony of Tsvangirai to purport that jobs are not being created through Zim-Asset and hold up the 2-million figure that the blueprint sets for new jobs. Surely, Zanu-PF did not promise them in a year, even if that were practicable?

Perhaps Tsvangirai should be forgiven for acutely for feeling the pain of joblessness, because he currently does not have one, but there can be no miracles for turning around an economy that was destroyed by his friends’ sanctions. It is the same sanctions that condemned a significant number of Zimbabweans to becoming vendors and informal workers. Sanctions are the reason why it is hard to have the old Christmas cheer, which Tsvangirai bemoans. Christmas was destroyed by sanctions and it will take time to recover and it is fortunate that Government has religiously managed to pay its workers’ salaries and bonuses. The resilience and creativity of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF have managed to keep this country afloat (and thanks to the resilience and patience of the people too).

Tsvangirai’s facile attempts at portraying himself as the saviour of this country, during the inclusive Government era, or any other era are just that — glib. It is clear as light that whatever improvements were registered during the inclusive Government did not owe to the special talents of Tsvangirai, which he doesn’t have, but a relaxation of the throttling hold of his friends on the country meant to project a positive image on him as an alternative leader.

It is rather laughable that Tsvangirai boasts of a “magic moment” in government when he was not the magician but rather a puppet that he still is, even unwanted, at the hands of the west.

Even more laughable is his wild assumption that he will one day be invited back for another inclusive Government. This delusion made him to foolishly claim that, ” . . . we will never agree to any invitation to government that will give Zanu-PF a kiss of life”.

No one needs Tsvangirai, for heaven’s sake! In fact, he is the one who is hankering after life in Government not because he added value to it but because it gave him the means to spend life in high seas and bedding different women some of whom, like Loretha Nyathi, were young enough to be his children.

He has made countless calls for to be invited into government, which indeed he does in the statement, but the invitation has not been forthcoming.

It will not.

Tsvangirai needs reminding that the duty of opposition is not whining about government policies but to offer credible alternatives, which is why opposition also gets funding from taxpayers money.

And apart from fighting itself and watching Zanu-PF factional fights, and in the case of Tsvangirai hankering after good inclusive government days where he had means to chase after women and ride the high seas.

Source : The Herald