Morgan Tsvangirai, the late icon of Zimbabwe’s tenuous democratic struggle, is a man I knew so well, having served as his spokesperson and trusted lieutenant for almost a decade until his untimely death in February 2018.
By Luke Tamborinyoka
This is the man whose legacy of a broad front as represented by the MDC Alliance is enduring savage attacks from the regime and its hired mercenaries.indeed, the MDC Alliance is Tsvangirai’s rich legacy that Zanu PF and its surrogates are desperately trying to decimate in a systematic way. Thank God, the big idea remains standing, despite the vicious body blows. Since the biblical days of Judas Iscariot, we have always known what 30 pieces of silver can do to cheap and treacherous minds.
I knew Morgan so well since the days of my other life as a journalist. And for 10 years I was not just his spokesperson, for it was him who personally directed that I double as the party’s Director of Communications as well, a position that had always traditionally been a separate office held by a different individual. Even when he appointed me as his spokesperson when he served as Prime Minister of the land, he made me hold the position of Principal Director of Communications as well, a position that had previously been separate from that of the spokesperson. This meant that upon my appointment, he entrusted me with the conflated and conjoined roles of Principal Director of Communications and spokesperson to the Prime Minister.
Such was his faith in my aptitude.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the icon, had the humility to arrive, unannounced, at my rural home at Tamborenyoka village in Shumba ward 3 in Domboshava to pay his last respects upon the death of my late paternal grandmother, Martha Tamborenyoka Gombera, when she succumbed to gastric cancer in May 2014.
We travelled the world together with Morgan: London, Canberra, Lisbon, Rabat, Amsterdam, Washington, Berlin, Madrid, Tokyo, Beijing, Paris, Pretoria, Blantyre, Lusaka, Cairo, Maputo, Windhoek, Luanda and many other World capitals on political business. I was with him in these capitals when he patriotically represented his country and charmed the world as he passionately spoke about the democratic cause in Zimbabwe. In the almost 10 years that I served him, we also traversed the whole country together; from Chirundu to Limpopo, from Msampakaruma to Mandidzudzure and from Mt Darwin to Victoria Falls.
Apart from the conjoined and dual roles that he often gave me, he would also entrust me even with commenting on personal issues such as his amorous scandals that would ordinarily be handled by a family spokesperson, as he did in 2012 when he was deemed to have married one Lorcadia Karimatsenga Tembo. After intense confidential briefings on the intimate details of what had transpired and his personal view on the specific matter, he directed his family members to defer all press questions to me.
The trust he often bestowed on me was humbling. And may be that is why he expressed utmost shock early in February 2018 when he heard, while detained in an infirmary in South Africa, that some members of his family led by by a coterie of the usual suspects in the party had unprocedurally directed that I cease my role as his spokesperson.
” Nhai Luke, when you became my spokesperson, where you employed by my family?” he asked in a low voice over the phone from his hospital bed in South Africa, assuring me that his family, which I have always respected, had never been my employer and that I should remain unperturbed and continue doing my job as usual. He intimated to me that apart from his wife and other family members, he had instructed hospital staff to keep me in the loop should anything happen to him. And that is why at 1733 hrs, the hospital authorities apprised me of his death when he succumbed to cancer on 14 February 2020 .
Such was my special relationship to this man; the man who paid almost US$60 000 of his own money to meet my medical bill when I was involved in a near-fatal car accident in the early hours of Sunday, 4 November 2012.
He even cut short his honeymoon to flew back home and visited me in hospital to check how I was faring following my near-demise.
Such was my special relationship to this man. This context of our mutual trust and Tsvangirai’s ceaseless faith in my aptitude is important for this treatise. I presume that this context gives me sufficient locus standi _to state unequivocally that this Morgan Tsvangirai that I knew so well is turning and twisting in his grave at how his legacy is being severely eroded and undermined by this motley cabal of Khupe, Mwonzora, Komichi and Mudzuri under the pretence that they are protecting it.
The MDC Alliance is an integral part of Tsvangirai’ rich legacy and I had a ringside seat when the history around its formation was unfolding. For one and a half months, beginning February 2017, we traversed the whole country together as he engaged and consulted a diverse spectrum of Zimbabweans within and without the party. Tsvangirai believed in mass-line politics and that explained his enduring traction and political capital. He was never one to make a decision without consulting the people and during that national tour, we spoke to party members, traditional leaders, students, civil servants and ordinary Zimbabweans outside the party.
Throughout the country during our one-and-a-half months of consultation away from home, the people clearly told us that the only prudent way forward was for Tsvangirai himself to lead a broad front in his fight against Zanu PF. It was during that tour, while in Binga, that I learnt that kujatana_ is the Tonga word for unity or working together. After the intensive consultations, the two of us sat together for a whole evening in March 2017 writing a public message to the people of Zimbabwe that was aptly titled I Heard *You . The statement was his assurance to Zimbabweans that he had heard them. The need for unity had rung out loud throughout the nationwide tour and that was how the unity under the MDC Alliance banner was borne. The rest, as they say, is history.
This simply means therefore that one cannot fight and undermine the MDC Alliance, as the surrogates are doing, and still claim to be defending Tsvangirai’s legacy. The MDC Alliance against which the cabal is engaged in mortal combat, is a unique testament of Tsvangirai’s rich legacy. It represents the broad front that Zimbabweans clamoured for during intensive nationwide consultations.
The Tsvangirai I know is twisting and turning in his grave that these surrogates are fighting the people’s great idea and in the process undermining his legacy. And it’s not helping matters that these surrogates are fronting a formation that bears his initial (MDC-T) and are headquartered in a building that we befittingly named after him! This means they they are unwittingly making his great name an accomplice to their treachery and quisling politics.
Worse still, they are consorting and comporting with Zanu PF, the party that the great Tsvangirai tenaciously fought until his death. The same party that arrested and brutalised him his entire adult life.
Tsvangirai was a man who spent a huge chunk of his adult life fighting Zanu PF repression, corruption and unbridled culture of avarice and entitlement. He fought so hard all his life to establish democracy in the country of his birth. He defeated Robert Mugabe in the 2008 election but had his victory violently stolen from him. He was charged with treason in 2004 and was was almost killed through the savage attacks inside Machipisa police station. And we have every reason to believe that Zanu PF had a hand in the cancer attack that killed him. .
But thanks to the treacherous politics of Khupe, Mwonzora and others, the same Zanu PF has now established a second headquarters in a building called Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House!
The surrogates have never uttered a word against Mnangagwa and Zanu PF. Their business is always Nelson Chamisa, the MDC Alliance and its deployees to Parliament and the various local authorities. They are an opposition whose business is to fight another opposition party. Indeed, an opposition created to decimate and annihilate a Tsvangirai legacy called the MDC Alliance.
And they do this from a building named after the very man whose legacy they purport to be protecting. As they would say in the Nigerian movie industry of Nollywood: it’s an abomination !
Morgan is certainly turning in his grave that those falsely fronting and flaunting his name are now comporting with Zanu PF to shred and tear asunder his legacy.
Some of Tsvangirai’s relatives, including some of his children, have now tragically teamed up with this malignant lot in the vain attempt to destroy the MDC Alliance, the very legacy of their own kinsman— their own blood!
Any rational person must ask themselves why soldiers and CIO agents violently took over and donated to these surrogates this iconic building that we befittingly named after Morgan Tsvangirai. Now we hear soldiers and State security agents are not only providing security to these surrogates, but are sitting through the meetings of this political formation that bears the initial of our icon and undermining the man’s legacy from right inside the building that we named after him!
The Tsvangirai I knew is definitely turning in his grave.
Unless if the “T” in their MDC-T refers to Thoko-Zanu or Turncoat, any suggestion that the T refers to Tsvangirai would not only be disingenuous, reprehensible and repugnant, but would represent the highest form of betrayal to this hero of our time.
How does one claim to be defending Tsvangirai’s legacy when they are comporting, cohabiting and doing the bidding for the same party that Tsvangirai stridently opposed all his adult life? Just how does one claim to be defending Tsvangirai’s legacy while at the same time fighting the MDC Alliance, for the MDC Alliance is nothing but Tsvangirai’s enduring legacy as the Alliance Agreement bears his signature. It was not Nelson Chamisa but Morgan Tsvangirai who initiated and signed the Alliance agreement with other principals to bequeath to Zimbabweans a formidable and reunited MDC that would give the people a reason to hope again.
It must be unequivocally stated that all those working with Zanu PF to recall MDC Alliance MPs and councilors are undermining the very Tsvangirai legacy that they falsely purport to be defending. As for Tsvangirai’s relatives who have joined these sellouts, just how do you cohabit with the same people who dragged Tsvangirai to court for appointing two more Vice Presidents but are today claiming to be defending the legacy of the same man they humiliated and whose decisions they contested in court, even posthumously?
But the forthcoming by-elections will expose the ephemeral trait of their surrogate politics. Yet we see them trying to exhume and invoke Tsvangirai’s face as part of their party symbols, in a vain attempt to ressurect their cadaverous politics. They must simply allow this gallant son of our struggle to truly rest in peace. A few months ago, they were at his grave murmuring incantations and invoking his spirt to save them, the very same spirit that they torment every day through their cohabitation with Zanu PF.
The invocation of Tsvangirai’s spirit at the graveside rituals as well as the abuse of the dead man’s face to enhance their political fortunes is the highest depiction of political sorcery in this brave, digital age. First it was Khupe’s surprise turnout to the funeral of a man he had shunned for eight months when he was alive. Then the graveside rituals. If you add her spirited determination to attend gogo Chamisa’s funeral when she had tormented the poor woman to her death by assisting ED’s scorched earth policy against her son, one is astounded by Khupe’s strange affinity for death, funerals and the dead bodies. It’s a macabre, witchly disposition which probably reflects the dead nature of her politics.
Morgan Tsvangirai, this man whose mind I knew so well, is definitely turning in his grave..
And I repeat, you don’t fight the MDC Alliance and claim to be defending Tsvangirai’s legacy. The Alliance was very much close to his heart. When I was drafting his speech to launch the Alliance, I remember him excitedly telling me to insert the line that underscored the value of working together. He told me to insert the line which said: Alone , one can go faster but together we go far .
Nelson Chamisa was even against the Alliance during its formative stages. As part of his political deftness when he was delegating responsibilities to his deputies, it was the indefatigable Tsvangirai who charmed Chamisa over the cause by appointing him the Vice President responsible for the Alliance, the very same idea he had been against during its formative stages. I say this to disabuse those who have been misled by this malignant lot into thinking that the MDC Alliance is Chamisa’s legacy and that by undermining the Alliance they are undermining Chamisa, the man they hate with a passion.
Hell No. The MDC Alliance is Morgan Tsvangirai’s legacy and anyone fighting the Alliance is not even undermining Chamisa but the iconic Tsvangirai whose signature stands out so prominently on the Alliance agreement. They are also undermining the people of Zimbabwe who sonorously called for a broad, united front during our countrywide consultations.
We are now hearing a lot of drivel from Thoko-Zanu and Mwonzora who are all now claiming to have been loyal to Morgan Tsvangirai. But this is the same Thoko who snubbed Tsvangirai’a meetings for eight months as she sulked over the appointment of two more Vice Presidents, only to turn up in Buhera at Tsvangirai’s burial. In his death, she has suddenly found love for the man she hated with a passion when he walked this earth. For Khupe, way back in 2016, Morgan Tsvangirai had expressed his disquiet to some of us when he learnt that Emmerson Mnangagwa, who doubled as Vice President and Minister of Justice, had used his position as leader of government business in Parliament to arrange a luxury car and a plush house for Khupe, then the the leader of the opposition in Parliament. The conspiracy may have begun back then and the trinkets could point to something deeper than meets the eye. Both were angling to take over from their principals and the plot to kill the MDC could have been hatched then, probably with the agreement that after the death of the MDC, Khupe would then serve beneath Mnangagwa, both literally and figuratively! And Tsvangirai was worried about ED charitable treatment of Khupe. These could be the results. Indeed, the treachery has long been in the oven.
And Douglas is the same man Tsvangirai often branded a chronic and pathological liar. Jameson Timba, Ian Makone, Sessel Zvidzai and Tsvangirai’s own uncle, Innocent Zvaipa can bear testimony to the fact that Morgan Tsvangirai often characterised this self-proclaimed Constitutionalist as the biggest liar of his generation. You can check this out with the four men!
Now that ZEC has told the nation to prepare for by-elections in December, the political interment of these sell-outs of our time is now imminent. Zimbabweans know who and what they voted for in 2018. They will not allow a party whose candidates they defeated to recall their chosen representatives.
It is now public knowledge that Khupe, Mwonzora, Komichi and Mudzuri have chosen to bastardise Tsvangirai’s rich legacy as well as his legendary and valiant name. By comporting with the same Zanu PF that Tsvangirai fought all his adult life in the very building that we named after him, while fronting a party that bears his initial, could the highest form of betrayal ever witnessed in history.
This motley has allowed themselves to be a used by Zanu PF. Indeed, Khupe and her sell-out lot are just but marionettes in the hands of a mad puppeteer.
And the puppeteer is Zanu PF.
In the meantime, the gallant son of our time has been betrayed big time and he is violently turning in his grave.
Tsvangirai was always a mass-centric politician. His traction was always without question. And it is public knowledge that Tsvangirai’s side has always been the side of the people. And in the forthcoming by-elections, Tsvangirai’s spirit will certainly vote on the side of the people. The results will show where his true legacy lies.
Now the sell-outs are claiming to be the MDC Alliance, the very party they recalled people for belonging to. This treacherous lot is behaving like a deranged man who claims he found his wife in bed with a boyfriend. And on the day of the adultery hearing, the same man purports to be the boyfriend.
These charlatans simply cannot get it that one can’t be both the presumed husband and the purported wife snatcher at the same time. And that it is the height of lunacy to claim to be divorcing someone’s spouse.
Put simply, they said they were the the MDC-T and falsely claimed their deployees had joined another party called the MDC Alliance. Now they are claiming to be the same MDC Alliance for which they purportedly recalled MPs and councillors for joining. Now they are both MDC-T and MDC Alliance at the same time. How does one claim his wife ran away with another man and then later claim to be the wife snatcher who ran away with his wife? You simply can’t be both.
As we used to say in primary school: It can’t!
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa . He is a multiple award-winning journalist who was once elected and served as the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists . Tamborinyoka also served as spokesperson for almost 10 years to the country’s democracy icon , Morgan Tsvangirai , until the latter’s death in 2018 . He is an ardent political scientist who won the Book Prize for Best Student when he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe. You can interact with him on Facebook or on the twitter handle @ luke_tambo