Tsvangirai was courage personified

Tsvangirai was courage personified
Published: 16 February 2018 (377 Views)
"Some people are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them," wrote 16th Century English playwright William Shakespeare.

Many people will agree that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who died this week, fitted into the second category - that "some achieve greatness".

Some people are born with the right attitude and perseverance. They have great passion, focus, resolve and determination. These people can be deemed as being born average, but achieve success beyond measure through steadfastness. They persist, keep growing and eventually do notable things. To me, Tsvangirai fell - or falls - into that category. Imagine in this day and age someone of Tsvangirai's modest education being accepted - some of it begrudgingly - by his intellectualistic colleagues - professors and all - as the real deal to lead them effectively. He was a natural politician. He had that common touch. Against all odds, he nearly made it all the way to State House, but for the daylight political robbery of 2008 when victory was grabbed from him.

The BBC, which is neither hagiographic nor propagandistic, wrote: ". . . he (Tsvangirai) continually found himself outmanoeuvred by Robert Mugabe who refused to cede any power.""

That is partly correct, but it should be taken into consideration that Tsvangirai did not have the coercive instruments of State power such as the army to protect his electoral gains, as happened in 2008. How could he have possibly outmanoeuvred the army except by establishing his own army? That the people stuck with him through thick and thin showed they had trust and confidence in him. They knew that it was not him who was failing, but that the repressive system was failing him.

Wrote the BBC in an obituary this week: "His (Tsvangirai's) greatest strength was his bravery. He risked his life to stand up to the authoritarian rule of Robert Mugabe and his allies in the security forces. He was twice severely beaten for his pains and three times charged with treason."
This is not to make a saint of Tsvangirai. Like everyone else, he had his own human failings, but these did not impinge on his politics. People are mature and discerning enough to separate tissues from issues. They saw Tsvangirai as a politician, not a priest.

On a personal note, I was privileged to be approached by Tsvangirai's former spokesperson, the late Tagwirei William Bango, to edit several chapters of the MDC-T leader's autobiography.

However, as often happens in life, some of Tsvangirai's closest lieutenants became his worst detractors using each and every opportunity to cast aspersions on him. They took out their frustrations on him. We should be wary of those people who have that unsavoury tendency of apportioning blame.

Sometimes, it is the enemy within that does the most harm. These supposed allies were disdainful of Tsvangirai, but this did not get purchase among the people on the ground who really matter in the political scheme of things. It is not coincidental that these erstwhile detractors had come back to Tsvangirai and accepted him as the MDC Alliance presidential candidate for the general election due in a few months' time.

Now infighting has arisen in the MDC-T with Tsvangirai's three deputies - Thokozani Khupe, Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa - embroiled in a power struggle to succeed him, and party youths assaulting Khupe in Bulawayo last year and barring Mudzuri from entering the party headquarters in Harare this week. Besides that these misguided and brainless yobos will alienate and drive away voters, the last thing the nation needs are youths with a militia mentality as this will have nationwide ramifications.

We saw the ugly side of that when Zanu-PF youths like Kudzanayi Chipanga were given free rein by the former First Family to do as they wished. We must not allow a vociferous, raucuous and thuggish minority from any party - whether Zanu-PF or MDC-T - to take over and run our lives again. We don't need such ignorant, inflammatory, misguided, dangerous adversarial politics. We need political leaders like former South African President Jacob Zuma, who, in his resignation speech this week after being recalled by his party, categorically said: "I don't want anyone to commit violence in my name." The lasting memory of Tsvangirai's death should not be that it spawned violence. That would be the ultimate insult.

This raises the point that issues arising from his illness could have been better handled.

On October 13, 2017, my opinion piece was titled MDC-T has to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Had they faced that reality, there would not be the current mayhem in the MDC-T, which is threatening to take away dignified mourning that should be accorded such a giant. Said Zuma: "The ANC should never be divided in my name." I am sure Tsvangirai would have said so pertaining to his beloved MDC-T.

Tsvangirai had a national perspective. He had a sense of occasion. That is why he was there at President Emmerson Mnangagwa's inauguration on November 24, 2017, where Mnangagwa duly gave him pride of place by arranging for the MDC-T leader and other opposition figures to sit directly behind him. That behoves the government to reciprocate by keeping its promise of free, fair and credible elections. Even though the two parties - Zanu-PF and MDC-T - are in direct opposition, this binds them to work together.

A day before Tsvangirai died, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) rightly observed that an implosion in the MDC-T could signal the death knell for Zimbabwe's fledgling democracy. Said the ZCC: "As we made a statement before concerning the state of affairs in the ruling party, Zanu-PF, prior to and after the events of November 15, 2017 (military intervention leading to Mugabe's removal), so also have we deemed it necessary to exhort the opposition to handle their affairs in a more responsible manner."

Indeed, while we might not be members, we are all stakeholders in both Zanu-PF and MDC-T and we should not let both play Russian roulette with our lives.

All in all, Tsvangirai led from the front and did not use people as cannon fodder, like soldiers who are sent to the war front to die while their commanders remain behind in safety. This made Tsvangirai immensely popular nationwide.

Making bravery count - that is

Tsvangirai's lasting legacy.

Morgan Richard Tsvangirai: March 10, 1952 - February 14, 2018

lConway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: nkumbuzo@gmail.com

- newsday

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

MDC dismisses Party Spokesperson

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 274 Views

MDC Founding Member calls upcoming elections fair and reasonable

by Knowledge Moyo | 19 June 2018 | 211 Views

You are Zimbabwean because Zapu said so

by Ryton Dzimiri | 19 June 2018 | 160 Views

Wining Zanu PF candidate vows to stand as an Independent

by A Mhlongo | 19 June 2018 | 279 Views

Chamisa says Mnangagwa want to kill him

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 310 Views

Looking for Pythias Makonese, please get in touch

by Ignatius Mabasa | 19 June 2018 | 137 Views

Zimbabwean immigrant appointed new senator in Canada

by Agencies | 19 June 2018 | 216 Views

Mnangagwa's lies exposed

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 273 Views

WATCH: CCTV sells out POS machine suspected thieves

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 161 Views

Zimbabwean gangster jailed 24 years in UK

by Agencies | 19 June 2018 | 178 Views

Mnangagwa challenges ZCDC

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 166 Views

Why digital money makes sense

by Nick Mangwana | 19 June 2018 | 130 Views

RBZ told to 'delegate forex allocation to banks'

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 146 Views

Govt sets aside $150m for Command Housing

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 156 Views

Zamalek table Khama Billiat offer

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 179 Views

UK embassy exposes MDC Alliance

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 223 Views

Chamisa unfit to lead Zimbabwe says Mangoma

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 175 Views

Adoption of MDC-T by Dr Khupe was 'mischievous'

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 176 Views

Police ban dangerous weapons

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 133 Views

'Call me Zodwa Wabantwana'

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 206 Views

Chamisa can't withdraw Alliance candidates says Welshman Ncube

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 173 Views

Mnangagwa heads to Mashonaland Central

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 135 Views

No load shedding, says Zesa

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 110 Views

Year-on-year inflation remains constant at 2.71%

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 119 Views

Zec says polls can't be stopped

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 107 Views

Zec to unveil ballot printing company

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 120 Views

Woman kills, dumps newborn

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 125 Views

Chamisa swallows Dabengwa

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 209 Views

12 years jail for church burglar

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 103 Views

Pregnancy storm after teens' incest

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 132 Views

FreeZim wins t-shirts wrangle with ZRP

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 81 Views

'Mugabe was told of missing diamonds'

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 104 Views

Calls for Kasukuwere's arrest

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 91 Views

Mujuru speaks on national healing

by Staff reporter | 19 June 2018 | 66 Views