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Tsvangirai missed three penalties and a free kick

By Misheck Gondo

The long time leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) sometimes named with an additional T to distinguish it from other smaller factions namely MDC-N and MDC 99. Coming from a very brave background of trade unionism, Morgan defied all odds to challenge the long time and tested leader from the liberation struggle Robert Mugabe.

Misheck Gondo
Misheck Gondo

Zimbabwe was slowly generating into a one party state, the braveness of the students, church, youth and the trade union of that time must not only be hailed but also given place in every Zimbabwean‘s heart.

It was Tsvangirai among others who in the name of personal sacrifice stood the test of time; accepted to be a leader in a society epitomized by polarization, torture, hate speech, ‘disappearance’ among other ugly things that the dictatorship was capable of.

It was Morgan among others who braved the rural people who thought that the liberation struggle was centered on individuals other than attributing it to all the gallant sons of the soil who sacrificed their precious life in liberating Zimbabwe.

It is of paramount importance to note that Tsvangirai, a brave leader of our generation did not launch this struggle alone, there were covert and overt cadres who were giving their much needed support to their leader coming from party structures among other formations who shared the same values with one of the strongest opposition parties formed after Zimbabwe independence.

I believe the quest for democracy was motivating the MDC to do better in policy formulation and implementation, to correct what ZANU PF failed to do in their thirty years of leadership and complement what ZANU PF did best for the thirty year period.

Given the challenges that the economy was facing, the MDC attracted the support from the people, it also drew support from western countries both in funding and in principle, though the western countries were there to protect their own interests and foreign policy, especially after the much queried fast-track land reform which was done haphazardly to counter the emergency of a vibrant opposition party.

MDC faced its problems, quick to mention the split that brought the other MDCs. Apart from other arrays of challenges a party can face all over the world, MDC had the chance to test the echelons of state leadership in the name of GNU, no doubt that the economy which was near to its knees and sunk into oblivion due to several governance factors was saved when the Tsvangirai government agreed to join forces with the Revolutionary party, this has to, in every mind of a Zimbabwean be hailed as it saved not only lives but also souls.

All this was happening under the leadership of a gallant son of the soil Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, even President Mugabe tested his first time painful defeat in 2008 that led him to strategize his ‘peaceful’ come back that landed him at the helm of the government in 2013, leaving the long time opposition leader and former Prime Minister not only in a state of shock but also confused, as evidenced by the louder calls for him to step down.

True fighter, democrat, leader, charismatist of our time; Nobel peace prize nominee among other names has in his fifteen years of leadership missed three critical penalties and a free kick in the political match.

It is fundamentally correct to assert the notion that the political match is synonymous with a football match in which goals are considered as a win rather that the style of play; the support you have, whether the match was played at home or away, soccer funds will better understand the synchrony and amalgamated nature of the beautiful game, the referee‘s decision is final, a team might have plaid a carpet game as Zimbabwe did with Libya but the best team is that which scores even in an unfair game.

Mr. Tsvagirai missed three penalties in his position as the President of the MDC in a match with ZANU PF, that is in 2002, 2008 and his biggest loss of all in 2013 harmonized elections. In modern democracy the captainship must be taken by another team member.

To hide under the auspices of rigged elections is not enough, as a party that was in an inclusive arrangement, while they were working hard to serve Zimbabweans, ZANU PF, the revolutionary party was busy mobilizing grassroots support, putting ‘rigging structures’ in place, and making sure that MDC endorsed laws that fast tracked their entry into power without visible violence as known. MDC supported the legislation that allows the voting of people who are not in the voters’ role to use slips, while they did not have any influence with ZEC operations or made it independent to guarantee transparency.

One wonders if the MDC has any sort of organized intelligence at all, it seems the party is running from a weak system premised on a fragile framework and articulations of rumours that keep the notion of believing that, ‘people will just vote for us because they do not have options.’ The modern day politics requires a solid political framework that outlines the past, present and future strategies, clearly spelt with scenario analysis coupled to mitigation measures.

The failure of the MDC to predict the future has exposed their weaknesses as a party that many people could think they are capable to running a government. They lack of pridictness of possible political outcomes and events can be attributed to a complete betrayal to the people of Zimbabwe who supported them for more than a decade and half.

Just on the polling day Morgan lamented the fact that the loser of the election should accept the results, however, just after his big loss, he sighted rigging , the corridors of rumours cited that Morgan and his team were advised of irregularities by SADC fathers among other analysts but they chose the adamant way to victory. The victory unexpectedly went to ZANUPF‘s bhora mughedi series.

Many people are questioning the political seriousness of the MDC as a party, among other questions, their flip-flopping answers to matters to do with their policies and values, this with regard to both domestic and foreign policy. Also, their clear road map on the security of the country, defending territorial integrity and sovereignty and the issue to do with homosexuality, land among other questions from the Zimbabweans.

Tsvangirai missed three penalties, yes, in an unfair game, yes, what about a free kick near the sixteen area box. After the death of Susan Tsvangirai, immediately after such a national tragedy that came unexpectedly and questionably, Tsvangirai missed a free kick on the moral side.

Instead of passing the ball to his players he chose to pass it to the opponent for the reason well known to him. The quest for ZANU PF women gripped him, when MDC beautiful mistresses were expressing their romantic zeal to complement the sad leader to usher a political salvation to the hopeless Zimbabweans.

He might have chosen to steak to old idioms of politics which goes by saying, “Takuvanyengera vakadzi vavo” which translate to, ‘we are now marrying or getting in love with their women’.I mean women in ZANU PF. In the modern day politics, issues of security are considered prime and critical, how on earth one would trust the daughter of an opponent, how on earth will one be strong in the hands of foreign intelligence.

One wonders were where his advisors, party leaders among other close colleagues, there is a saying that goes by ‘, a leader is as strong as his followers’, not dismissing another idioms which goes by, ‘rudo ibofu..,moyo muti…,’ but in politics blindness leads to defeat. Is it that other leaders left him for blunders to counter him as a political strategy?

The calls for substitution has become more louder, it is true the party structures are divided over this issue from the apex to the ground, if not handled maturely we anticipate for the greatest split ever, even in the midst of ZANU PF power struggle and turmoil, if this split sees the day, MDC might never rule Zimbabwe.

However, it is of paramount importance to note that there is nothing wrong in democracy to air different views and suggestions, as that done by Mangoma, Bennet, and Mudzuru among other silent voices.

A democratic party must usher unquestionable full rights to freedoms among them the freedom of expression in which one expresses his or her issues without punitive measures, in a democratic atmosphere people are free to say their views or ideas without persecution.

It is practical and evident that Mr Mangoma‘s letter is not only coming from him but there is a sizable number of cadres who are behind the change, and they want it as yesterday, other schools of thought are arguing that the Mangoma, Bennet, Mudzuru camp want to re-introduce the radical strategy of street protests among other, this can not be validated unless it comes from the horse’s mouth.

The other quarter is alluding that the Mangoma’s have a new strategy to tackle the Zimbabwean crisis and this strategy is being supported by long time donors of the party, a split will leave Morgan’s team without a cent.

What the disgruntled cadres are doing is not wrong in the name of Zimbabwe and progress, but one need to ask them some questions before they take the radical root of early congress and immediate step down of Morgan, be it in 2014 or 2015. The first question would be, if they believe ZANU PF rigged, to what extent Morgan is held accountable for the defeat, what new tactics would the change team bring which they failed to advise Morgan.

I came across several contributions to the MDC-T leadership renewal debate, one of the contribution is, if not all are held responsible for the loss from 2002 until now, who then is responsible, is it Morgan alone?

The last question is to what extent the donors are controlling the MDC party, if they have any sort of control in the party, people should introspect deeply and find another ways of expressing their democratic rights. If MDC is controlled by donors it will sacrifice national values when they are in power at the mercy of foreign interests, as evidenced by what the most celebrated Mandela did to South Africa.

Little did people know that he was quick to sign any treaty from western countries, this cancerous disease has been passed to preceding leaders such as Zuma who listens to the last western man he has a meeting with.

We do not say parties in government should have a stubborn foreign policy but there must have policies with mutual benefits, gone are the days when Africans view countries from the west as their masters, but we are in the urge of equableness, fairness, respectfulness among other nesses.

The other assignment to the change team is to have introspection on the party constitution and follow that, with respect that Morgan was put by majority so has to be removed by majority, what are the grassroots and party structures saying.

It is normal now that at this stage; hate, plotting against each other, back biting and black mailing will become the order of the day to maintain status quo and grip, but the common denominator must be the vision for Zimbabwe.

There is need to come out to negotiate on a strategy to save one of the strongest opposition parties in the land, if MDC has managed in the past to negotiate with ZANU PF to serve Zimbabwe in form of GNU, to what extent is it cumbersome to discuss among themselves to save the party from split.

The political tension in the MDC-T has come at a wrong time, the time ZANU PF is in free fall in a corruption net, clueless to the implementation of well crafted ZIM-ASSET, in this scenario western countries among other global players might shift their support to ZANU PF if the MDC prove to be radical to voices that raise concern on internal matters of the party, firing the team is detrimental to their quest for change.

Apart from showing each other the strength in grassroots mobilization, mobilizing district leaders in the party, power must be channeled to unity in diversity, at one point Morgan should pass the baton to others, not rushingly as the land reform program, but from a thoughtful process.

I don’t support MDC, neither do I support ZANU PF, I am a supporter of democracy characterized by a multi-party system, not only that, but strong opposition that contributes to policy development and growth strategies that benefit our nation, a weaker opposition will result in the gains geminated in year 2000 reversed to a more unitary state without strong checks and balances.

Let’s wait and see

Misheck Gondo is an International Relations Expert with the University of Zimbabwe (U.Z)