Fierce game of thrones hits Zimbabwe opposition

Fierce game of thrones hits Zimbabwe opposition
Published: 20 February 2018 (197 Views)
AS the casket of MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai is lowered into his grave at his Buhera rural home today, he leaves his party in turmoil as it never ceased squabbling, even after his demise, to give him a dignified and drama-free burial.

It must be painful for Mr Tsvangirai to watch that the preservation of his dignity, from his last days, in death and to final resting place, came not from the party he had led for almost 20 years neither did it come from his family.

Had it not been for the intervention of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration, Mr Tsvangirai's burial could have been bereft of any decency, dignity that our African culture prescribes we grant the departed regardless of their character and activities when they lived.

The Government intervened by first pledging to assist with paying Mr Tsvangirai's medical bills and went on to commit to assist the family with the funeral and burial arrangements and then after the burial engage the family on the things that had been promised to Mr Tsvangirai when President Mnangagwa visited the MDC-T leader at the beginning of January.

A week before Mr Tsvangirai's death, his deputies Mr Nelson Chamisa, Engineer Elias Mudzuri and Dr Thokozani Khupe engaged in fierce fights and at the centre of their squabbling was the right to be the party's acting president.

To the unsuspecting, the fights were not only needless but made no sense at all but like the Igbo proverb captured in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, "A toad does not run in the daylight for nothing."

Outside using the rare occurrence of a toad, a nocturnal creature, seen in daylight as an indicator of something extra-ordinary happening, Achebe also opts for "run" in place of what would be the acceptable "jump" in the proverb, also for metaphorical effect.

Something bad was about to happen and Mr Tsvangirai's three deputies knew it, hence their jostling for Mr Tsvangirai's position before he breathed his last. With the benefit of hindsight, it can be explained now how the fights erupted without notice and dragged beyond Mr Tsvangirai's death and today to his grave site.

It was and is a fierce game of thrones, a race to succeed the late Mr Tsvangirai.

Even the usually reserved Dr Khupe, as if in panic, took to Twitter declaring herself the legitimate person to replace Mr Tsvangirai while Mr Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri engaged in a war of words.

One shudders to imagine a Mr Tsvangirai send off without the assistance of the Government both in monetary terms and in the restoration of his dignity.

While Mr Chamisa was sneaking through makeshift holes of the MDC-T's Harvest House to address party supporters after the death of his boss last week, interpreted in some circles as the process of capturing the party, the Government granted Mr Tsvangirai a state assisted burial.

As Mr Tsvangirai's mother declared that she did not want to see Mr Tsvangirai's wife Elizabeth Macheka and Mr Chamisa, threatening to end her life if she saw the two at her son's funeral wake, the Government went on to offer air transportation for Mr Tsvangirai to his final resting place.

While the family remained divided along the MDC-T warring factions, President Mnangagwa, in a sign of political maturity, nationalism preached peace and tolerance assuring Mr Tsvangirai's family that the Government will fulfill the pledges he had made to the politician regarding his welfare.

Looking down as events unfold, Mr Tsvangirai must be happy to have died before the 2018 elections that were going to end his political career anyway.

Mr Tsvangirai stood no chance against a rebooted Zanu-PF under renewed leadership of President Mnangagwa.

With the chaos engulfing his party, it was better (for the MDC-T leader) for President Mnangagwa to see that Mr Tsvangirai is buried with dignity than the Zanu-PF leader hammer the final nail on the former Prime minister's coffin on the political field in this year's national elections.

With the odds favouring Mr Chamisa to take over the leadership of the MDC-T it is important to state that the manoeuvres made towards his ascendancy cannot be used to win power to rule this country.

It is easy to take power from a dying man within a fractious political party almost collapsing under the weight of internal fights but it is not the case when faced with a mean machine that Zanu-PF has turned itself into after the transition that saw President Mnangagwa taking over the reins of the party.

Only at harvest House do you navigate makeshift holes to address MDC-T supporters in the capturing of a party but there are no such makeshift holes at State House and Munhumutapa Building.

Mr Chamisa remains a small town "Machiavelli" who outsmarted petty politicians who are his colleagues within the MDC-T but stands no chance against the seasoned politician in the person of President Mnangagwa and the unstoppable Zanu-PF.

No one in the MDC-T is as popular as Mr Tsvangirai, though it was never enough for him to topple Zanu-PF, and none will ever be, be it Mr Chamisa, Dr Khupe or Eng Mudzuri.

As Mr Tsvangirai is buried today, the chaos in his party is expected to worsen, scenes of violence, for long part of the party's diplomacy, will erupt as the battle of Harvest House goes to finality.

There is also talk of defections to Dr Joice Mujuru's National People's Party should things not go according to the wishes of a certain faction.

Whatever outcome within the MDC-T in a post Tsvangirai era, the inevitable has been set in motion, just as Mr Tsvangirai's coffin will be lowered into the ground for burial today, the MDC-T as we knew it is dead; dead never to rise no more.

- zimpapers

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