The irony of Ts­van­gi­rai’s game change

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/national News - Opin­ion Nduduzo Tshuma

MDC-T leader Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai on Satur­day made sen­sa­tional threats that he would vi­o­lently over­throw the gov­ern­ment, it­self not a new pro­nounce­ment as he has said the same be­fore and the hol­low­ness of the dec­la­ra­tion was not missed again. Ad­dress­ing party sup­port­ers at the an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions run­ning un­der the theme “Re­defin­ing the End Game” in Bu­l­awayo, Mr Ts­van­gi­rai threat­ened a “vi­o­lent endgame” to force Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe from of­fice un­less the Head of State and Gov­ern­ment vol­un­tar­ily re­lin­quishes power.

Mr Ts­van­gi­rai re­peated the cur­rent op­po­si­tion mantra that the coun­try’s leader should step down and pave way for the so-called na­tional tran­si­tional au­thor­ity.

This is not the first time Mr Ts­van­gi­rai has threat­ened a “vi­o­lent endgame.”

Ad­dress­ing a rally in Chegutu in 2011, Mr Ts­van­gi­rai, then a Prime Min­is­ter un­der the Gov­ern­ment of Na­tional Unity (GNU), said vi­o­lent protests were an op­tion for the MDC-T in its quest to un­seat Zanu-PF.

This was de­spite the fact that an elec­tion roadmap had been drafted and agreed upon by the par­ties to the Global Po­lit­i­cal Agree­ment namely Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC.

More im­por­tantly, ear­lier in Septem­ber, 2000, Mr Ts­van­gi­rai de­clared dur­ing their first an­niver­sary held in Harare, that, “What we would like to tell Mu­gabe is please go peace­fully. If you don’t want to go peace­fully, we will re­move you vi­o­lently.” This was two years be­fore the 2002 elec­tions. He made the state­ment again two years be­fore the 2013 polls and has now done the same be­fore the 2018 elec­tions.

The threats lay bare Mr Ts­van­gi­rai’s cre­den­tials as an elec­toral cow­ard who has never be­lieved in at­tain­ing power through demo­cratic pro­cesses like elec­tions but wants to throw the coun­try into chaos in the hope of achiev­ing a vi­o­lent en­try into State House.

How­ever, this is not a dis­cus­sion for to­day be­cause the coun­try has a solid se­cu­rity sec­tor that is ready to de­fend it from crim­i­nal el­e­ments who want to em­ploy un­ortho­dox means to at­tain power.

Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Dr Ig­natius Chombo, his coun­ter­part Cde Kembo Mo­hadi who heads the State Se­cu­rity Min­istry, De­fence Min­is­ter Dr Syd­ney Sek­era­mayi, Zim­babwe De­fence Forces’ Com­man­der Gen­eral Con­stantino Chi­wenga and Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Dr Au­gus­tine Chi­huri are on record re­as­sur­ing peace-lov­ing Zim­bab­weans that they are pro­tected from vi­o­lent cliques who want to desta­bilise the coun­try.

To­day’s dis­cus­sion is the real “end game” hap­pen­ing right in Mr Ts­van­gi­rai’s back­yard where he has be­come a stum­bling block to am­bi­tious fac­tions within his party al­ready plan­ning for a post Ts­van­gi­rai era.

The “end game” that Mr Ts­van­gi­rai seems to be miss­ing is that be­ing or­ches­trated by his two vice pres­i­dents Mr Nel­son Chamisa and Ms Thokozani Khupe if events in the run up to the week­end cel­e­bra­tions are crit­i­cally looked at.

Firstly, in the run up to the cel­e­bra­tions, the Bu­l­awayo pro­vin­cial struc­tures met and as part of the heated dis­cus­sions was a “con­tro­ver­sial” flyer bear­ing the im­age of Mr Ts­van­gi­rai hand­ing Mr Chamisa a par­cel un­der­neath the theme “re­defin­ing the end game.”

The fliers, which the Bu­l­awayo prov­ince re­port­edly re­solved were not to be dis­trib­uted, were al­legedly printed by Mr Chamisa’s camp.

Said in­sid­ers of the tiff around the fly­ers, “Is­sues were raised dur­ing the meet­ing over the use of fliers printed by the Chamisa group.

In their flyer, there is a pic­ture of Ts­van­gi­rai hand­ing Chamisa a par­cel, which has been in­ter­preted to mean the pres­i­dent was hand­ing him power”.

The party is reel­ing from in­ter­nal strife caused by Mr Ts­van­gi­rai’s ap­point­ment in July of Mr Chamisa and En­gi­neer Elias Mudzuri as two ad­di­tional vice pres­i­dents of the trou­bled MDC-T.

The ap­point­ments were in­ter­preted by the Khupe camp as at­tempts by Mr Ts­van­gi­rai to un­der­mine her.

“The theme of the cel­e­bra­tions is ‘Re­defin­ing the end game’ and with a pic­ture of Ts­van­gi­rai hand­ing a pack­age and then that kind of mes­sage, many felt that there was an el­e­ment of mis­chief on the part of the Chamisa group,” added the source.

The prov­ince, largely com­pris­ing Ms Khupe’s al­lies, re­solved to use fliers bear­ing only the face of Mr Ts­van­gi­rai.

The move, to the po­lit­i­cally naive, could have been seen as ma­noeu­vres not only to stop the Chamisa group mis­chief but also to reaf­firm Bu­l­awayo’s sup­port for Mr Ts­van­gi­rai but the mo­ment of truth was al­ways com­ing.

On the day of the cel­e­bra­tions, Ms Khupe seized an op­por­tu­nity to not only show the ri­val fac­tion that she was still a force to reckon with as far as sup­port­ers in Bu­l­awayo was con­cerned, but Mr Ts­van­gi­rai too.

Ms Khupe went against pro­to­col, waited for ev­ery­one to get a seat, in­clud­ing Mr Ts­van­gi­rai, be­fore mak­ing a grand en­trance into White City Sta­dium with ul­u­la­tions and chants by party sup­port­ers serv­ing as a re­minder to her boss and po­lit­i­cal foes that she still had in­flu­ence.

The sup­port­ers went on to dis­rupt the pro­gramme through song and dance in praise of Ms Khupe who com­pleted her show of force dur­ing her brief ad­dress where she thun­dered, “Tshisa maKhupe Tshisa!” in self praise.

The two in­ci­dents be­tray the irony around the theme of the week­end an­niver­sary.

The end game is not on Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe but on Mr Ts­van­gi­rai him­self. His very deputies have con­firmed that Mr Ts­van­gi­rai is no longer a fac­tor in as far as the fu­ture of the MDC-T is con­cerned.

When your deputy waits for you to sit be­fore they make a grand en­trance just to prove a point that there are cer­tain places where they are more pop­u­lar than you, you can’t claim any ca­pac­ity to change any game, you be­come the game.

Equally, when your deputy re­sorts to sym­bol­ism to tell the world that you have “handed over” power, it be­comes hard to con­vince any­one that you can change the game with­out invit­ing ques­tions on your san­ity.

Yes the end game was re­de­fined on Satur­day and the re­def­i­ni­tion was that not very far from now, the MDC will as­sume a new sur­name, that the T suf­fix is fall­ing away and by their ac­tions, his two deputies just can’t wait to take over.

MDC-T leader, Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai

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