MDC-T must prepare for looming elections

MDC Spokesman Obert Gutu

THE bitter fights emanating from MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s statement on Monday where he hinted at retiring from active politics are instructive and prove the adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

By Faith Zaba

No sooner had Tsvangirai, who has been ailing from cancer of the colon, been widely praised for his statesman-like announcement, in which he extolled the virtues of passing on the leadership baton to the younger generation, than it unravelled with the party’s women and youth wings vowing Tsvangirai will stay put to be their presidential candidate for this year’s elections.

The confusion continued apace with Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka’s statement.

“President Tsvangirai speaks for himself, as he did through his statement on Monday or through his official spokesperson, as happened after he met President Mnangagwa last Friday,” he posted on Facebook.

“Any other channel parroting a purported MT (Tsvangirai) position is the black market. And the black market is not only unofficial, but illegal.”

Adding to the confusion was a statement issued by the family yesterday, in which its spokesperson Collins Tsvangirai seemed to hint that the MDC leader was not going anywhere.

“We appreciate the arrangement that the party has made to ensure that he gets as much time as possible for rest and recuperation,” he said.

“During this period, we shall provide the party and the public with updates on the progress he is making, but only through the MDC-T acting president, to avoid misunderstandings, until he is back to full health and rejoins his colleagues in completing what he has worked so hard to achieve.”

Although this latest drama provides entertainment for some, one cannot help but get the feeling of déjà vu.

The youth and women’s leagues in Zanu PF were in the forefront, urging former president Robert Mugabe to cling on to power despite glaring evidence that the nonagenarian was far from being fit for purpose. Some even declared him life president despite his ineptitude, dotage and frailty.

That the MDC-T, which has been quite vocal concerning the disgraceful conduct of some in Zanu PF of trying to force an evidently beleaguered Mugabe to remain in power, is doing the same with an ailing Tsvangirai, smacks of revolting hypocrisy.

It is most unfortunate that just like with people who surrounded Mugabe, those who fraternise with Tsvangirai want to downplay his illness, but risking MDC going into an election with an ailing candidate.

Hopefully Tsvangirai does not stumble into the “Mugabeism trap”, where after hinting his plans to retire, the former president would renege on the promise, claiming he feared disintegrating his party.

In 2016, Mugabe told war veterans that: “As long as the party says continue, I continue … If I still have the energy, I still have the life, the blessings of God, I will continue.”

We hope that Tsvangirai will not start raising this “Mugabeism-like” argument that if resigns there would be chaos, which can ultimately lead to MDC-T’s collapse.

What makes the situation worse is that the circus in the opposition party is sprouting when elections are around the corner.

It beggars belief that these succession power struggles are escalating at a time the MDC-T is supposed to buckle up and prepare for the approaching make-or-break elections. This is a classic case of shooting oneself in the foot.

The MDC-T, which has been the country’s biggest opposition, faces oblivion if it fails to immediately put its house in order and choose a leader who can withstand the rigours and test of a gruelling campaign. – The Zimbabwe Independent

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