By Jacob Nkiwane
It is Saturday, September 15, 2012, and the events of March 6, 2009, came flashing back into my mind like a hunter’s light. It was a sad and darker day for those who knew Morgan Tsvangirai, more so for those who knew his wife.
On that day, Tsvangirai lost his wife of more than 30 years. I was in the United States when I received the news. Zimbabweans both at home and abroad were shocked and saddened. Although Susan died in a car accident, a lot of theories were circulating regarding the cause of her death.
Losing a partner from death especially in the manner Tsvangirai did is heart breaking. He had no time to condition his mind to the loss. Emotions high, confusion reigning and a country still expecting him to deliver, Tsvangirai was quick to quell the rumours by insisting it was merely an accident. He was a public figure and a Prime Minister and felt the need to assure his people and country that all was well.
Painful as it was, he picked up the pieces and moved on. Starting that evening, he was alone. When he left hospital, he went back home to sleep alone in a bedroom he had shared with his wife for decades. He was in his late fifties and never imagined dating, let alone getting married again. But life is full of problems and surprises. I can imagine him sleeping on that bed again, alone.
The dating playgrounds had changed since he last played the dating game. The country had new life dynamics especially on the political front. As a new entrant into the corridors of power, he was oblivious of the subtle deceit awaiting him. Where was he to start? Church? From his own party? Arranged dates? It was not easy considering the boundaries and limitations set by his political profile.
Regardless of the circumstances he found himself in, he had to find a partner from the dating jungle full of liars and pretenders ready to prey on him. Dating by itself is not an easy endeavour, no wander there are millions of people failing to find the right partner. It is worse for people of Tsvangirai’s age. The pool of possible brides shrinks as one gets older. Whoever is in the market at that age has a past.
Understandably, he found himself trying the younger age group with negative consequences. His focus then changed to mature women. He was innocently naïve to believe that everybody in the market was looking for genuine love. Messengers of doom were also in the pool swimming with the rest.
Locardia Karimatsenga came into the picture and he was quick to believe he got what he wanted. Everything about his love catch was choreographed. Cameras were rolling when she was sweeping the yard, going to the bathroom and all that could be captured in camera. As it turned out later, the cameras were a ghostly witness later to haunt him.
He soon realised that the pool he believed to be an oasis of love was in fact a trap. The alligators were the main occupants of the pool, lying low and still, with eyes wide open. They knew Tsvangirai was hungry and thirsty and therefore an easy catch. Their plan to make a meal out of him failed when he decided to throw back his catch and change his fishing pool altogether.
The underwater predators followed him, ready to make sure he doesn’t get better fish either. Luckily, he was more awake of the impending dangers and managed to get better fish. He was yet to make a meal using the same waters. The predators would have none of it and they made sure the pool was dirty enough to spoil his meal. In the end he decided to roast his fish and ate it dry. It may not be what he wanted but at least he had a meal.
The man has walked past booby traps and challenges before and emerged victorious. They tried to kill him when he was a trade union leader at Chester House. They refused him his passport and right to travel freely. They framed him for treason. They tried to kill him in police custody and the whole world was shocked by the sight of his swollen head and face. The list goes on and now they denied him the right to marry a person of his choice.
But Tsvangirai never contemplated unorthodox means to ascend to power despite the fact that the world was on his side.Does he deserve to be President of a country? Absolutely! The fact that Tsvangirai can be challenged by any person in court and say whatever they want to say about him is reason enough for me to believe in him. He is a simple man, one of us who will never use the security apparatus to harm his own fellow citizens.
Tsvangirai has stood firm in both jeopardy and misfortune. His hands are not dripping with blood. He has not taken anybody’s wife, nor did he harm or cripple anybody in the process. If Zimbabweans want a simple leader who is determined and committed to serving his fellow citizens, then Tsvangirai is the answer. I have no doubt that he made his own mistakes along the way but I can look into his eyes and trust him.
With a long and dangerous charge sheet on Robert Mugabe’s table, I cannot look into his eyes and trust him, let alone have the courage to look into his eyes. I am determined more than ever to vote for Tsvangirai. He has earned my vote.
Jacob Nkiwane can be contacted on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org