Home » Governance » Tsvangirai – the End of the Road [opinion]

Please do not get yourself excited about the matter of which you are about to read. Brother Morgan Tsvangirai has reached the end of the road, not for the reasons which are obvious, but for reasons which are not. Eddie Cross, whom I count as a friend, says that Tsvangirai commands the majority in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T). I can confirm that equation. I kept a notebook during my sojourn in my homeland for 30 days. Almost without exception, all my informers argued rather fervently in support of Tsvangirai. So, we can assume that if the generality of the members were asked to vote, Tsvangirai would carry the day comfortably.

But, despite that run of the mill support, Tsvangirai has learned nothing from the past, forgot nothing and remembered nothing. In Masiphula Sithole’s book, Struggles Within Struggles, a list of accusations were made against Joshua Nkomo in 1962 very similar to those made by MDC-T deputy treasurer, Elton Mangoma, against Tsvangirai.

The most egregious was that Tsvangirai prevaricated when the crisis in the country called for decisive action on his part. This accusation is repeated by Tendai Biti, secretary general, in another outburst.

The accusation was originally made by Professor Welshman Ncube, 2005. The accusation is also found in Wikileaks, where they are attributed to Roy Bennett. In Wikileaks, the American ambassador added a twist to the accusation. He says that because Tsvangirai has no clear direction, he takes aice from whoever is the last person to aise him, thus creating confusion by self-contradiction. Tsvangirai’s indecision can be attributed to this self-doubt. This is illustrated by his fleeing to Botswana when he had just won a clear majority in the House and in the presidential election as well.

His excuse was that the losers wanted him to pay with his life. “Do you want me to be killed?” The answer is: “Yes, Sir. All leadership is self-sacrificial.” There is no example in history where those in power ever gave up their authority without being forced to do so.

One accusation levelled by Mangoma was “the issue of women in your life and to ensure that these will not continue to erode you and the party’s brand.” Surprisingly, I did not find a single African, including women, who held this against him. They brushed it aside as, “Wakafirwa, maida kuti agare mugota here?”

However, this issue is very important to white people, and serves to damage the European connection. When the accusation is used to tarnish Tsvangirai as a playboy, and his U$3,6 million wedding is added to the scenario, the MDC brand is tarnished. It means that Tsvangirai’s lavish lifestyle is a precedent to what he will do when in Office. The problem is that MDC-T needs funds from abroad to sustain their operations.

There is a subtle connection which our readers will probably miss. It takes enormous sums of money to run a party, especially when one has to organise for three to four years before an election.

President Barak Obama raised U$1 billion three years before the presidential election. With this money he bought a private jet to facilitate access to all the 50 states. While African leaders do not need that much money, they do need millions of dollars. The MDC in Bulawayo found that with U$1 million in the bank end of April, it was unable to meet its obligations.

All opposition parties in Africa are funded by European or American Intelligence Organisations. Frederick Chiluba’s party in Zambia was funded by Americans through the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva. Donors are no longer willing to fund Mobutu type megalomaniacs who wrote in their contracts that they were stealing one quarter of the funds.

Even if Tsvangirai wins the popular vote, he will find it difficult to raise funds abroad. Mangoma’s dagger is right on the mark. “How will you be able to put closure to the question of misuse of funds?”

But there is another dagger targeted at Tsvangirai’s throat. If winning elections is no longer an issue, the MDC-T loses its raison d’etre (reason for being). The MDC suffers from the Hannibal syndrome. Hannibal won every battle he fought against Rome for 12 years in a row. A Frenchman observed: “Hannibal, you know how to win battles, but you do not know how to win the war.”

With a cruel turn of phrase, Mangoma repeats the adage. “How will you be able to undertake the reform agenda that we failed to do when we were in government and you had executive power?”

That door has long been closed. Is there anything Tsvangirai can do now, or say, or think, which he has not said, or done in the last 15 years? In the meanwhile, ZANU-PF had learned how not to lose elections and even more impressive, how to conduct peaceful and credible elections. Underneath the peace and quiet, ZANU-PF has learned how to calibrate the votes in a credible way, at least prima facie.

A recurrent theme in 2005 and 2014 is the use of violence by Tsvangirai stalwarts. The irony is that while ZANU-PF has turned to using smart politics, the MDC-T is adopting the colours which ZANU-PF has discarded. Oh, irony of ironies, in the end we all become part of our experience. The brother would do the country a favour if he directed the transition rather than wait till the party is destroyed.

Source : Financial Gazette