The irony of Tsvangirai’s game change
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