Friday, December 07, 2012

(NEWZIMBABWE) Morgan Tsvangirai is confused

Morgan Tsvangirai is confused
06/12/2012 00:00:00
by Mai Jukwa

DOES Morgan Tsvangirai actually have a firm policy position? If not, is his constant vacillation deliberate – which might be tolerable – or are the contradictions actually lost on him?

Precisely, I want to know if Tsvangirai flip-flops out of conscious and premeditated effort or he is so hopelessly unable to control his mental faculties that he only realises after reading newspaper headlines that he has badly contradicted himself, or so radically shifted policy positions as to make it difficult, if not impossible, for observers to reconcile the policies as emanating from the same mouth in the same month.

As an act of grace, I will only offer a few examples although the said gentleman’s career is littered with repeated gaffes and contradictions. My objective is not to embarrass Tsvangirai, but rather to get clarity. It is crucial that we have a very clear understanding of the man who desires to be president and to sit in that office that demands so much of its occupant. The president must be a man of sound mind and judgement.

I fear that in the past, the MDC has not been subjected to sufficiently rigorous scrutiny. In an effort to rid ourselves of Zanu PF, we readily embraced them, no questions asked. But we must be careful lest we excitedly leap out of the pot and suddenly find ourselves scurrying in an effort to escape the frying pan.

A few examples will suffice. Take for instance homosexuality. What does Morgan Tsvangirai actually believe or is he ready to say anything and everything to anyone and everyone? To the donor, it is ‘yes, we accept homosexuality, invest your money in us’. To the Zimbabwean electorate, it is ‘no we do not accept such evil acts’. Which is which?

Let us quote the man verbatim, lest we be charged with defamation. On March 25, 2010, Tsvangirai said: “I don’t agree with the idea of a man breathing hard on the neck of another man while humping him. I totally don’t agree with this.” He went on to declare that the issue of gay rights being expressed in the new constitution was “not even debatable”. His position was clear.

In October of 2011, Tsvangirai sat down with the BBC and quickly shifted away from his anti-gay rhetoric; instead, he spoke in quite glowing terms about sexual freedom and his hopes that these rights would be enshrined in the new constitution. He went on to describe homosexuality as a human right. These are Morgan’s words.

It does not require a forensic semantic examination by Zanu PF’s spin-doctors to find this astonishingly contradictory. One minute, the man is gratuitously insulting homosexuals in the most graphic terms, next thing he jumps on a plane, lands in London and is now calling the same act he was insulting just a few months back a human right?

Let’s move on to indigenisation. What is Morgan Richard Tsvangirai’s position on the matter? Voters must have a lucid view of policy in order to make an informed decision about their preferred candidate.

In May of 2011, Tsvangirai voiced support for the indigenisation policy which stipulates that locals should own at least 51% in foreign companies. I was quite surprised by this as I am personally opposed to the policy and thought my views on the matter would likely find expression in the MDC, especially given how they jump up and down about property rights whenever there is talk of Rhodesian farmers.

Whilst I agree with the policy in principle, I fear that we are not currently in a position to negotiate with investors. To speed up the economic recovery, we must play by the purse bearers’ rules and only after we have our feet assuredly off the ground should we implement this noble policy. It is foolish to copy and paste GCC policy when you do not have the oil to back up the imposition of such onerous conditions on investment.

Let’s come back to the good Prime Minister. He voiced his support for the policy and said “across the political divide, we agree on the principle of citizenship empowerment.” He was speaking in Davos, if my memory serves me well. This was a global stage. His position was so unequivocal that Saviour Kasukuwere immediately praised Tsvangirai and said his party welcomed his expression of support.

Indigenisation is a debatable policy so I cannot fault Tsvangirai for taking whichever position. However, what is troubling is what happened next.

On November 29, 2012, Tsvangirai performed a spectacular position shift and now rejected the policy of indigenisation outright. Tapiwa Mashakada, the MDC-T Secretary General who is also the Economic Planning Minister, went on to say that the law, “kills investor confidence. You cannot bring your money to invest in Zimbabwe when someone takes over 50 percent. Capital is timid.”

This was not a qualified statement suggesting that they agreed with the policy in principle but disagreed with the implementation. No, it was an outright rejection. This was a monumental policy shift that the MDC announced without caring to explain what had motivated this abrupt change. It seems the MDC lacks ideological clarity and are formulating policy on the fly.

What is perhaps more troubling is that the so-called independent media and opposition-leaning intelligentsia are giving Tsvangirai a pass. John Makumbe is not demanding an explanation about these abrupt policy shifts. Violet Gonda is not going to grill Tsvangirai on Hot Seat in an effort to get clarity on these worrying contradictions.

Instead, what we will have is the usual Mugabe is a demon and Tsvangirai is our Mandela nonsense. Instead of serious policy, these publications choose to interview non-entities like Joseph Chinotimba and argue with him over Zanu PF policy matters that they know full well he is ignorant of, only to giggle foolishly like adolescent girls over how the said gentleman violates the Queens language.

Governing a nation is not a game for amateurs who are simply giving it a try as it were. For all its faults, Zanu PF deserves credit for consistency and clarity. They know who they are. They know what they believe. And they certainly waste no time expressing this and making it clear to the electorate.

If you vote Zanu PF, you know precisely what you are getting. They do not wake up and simply change significant policy as though they were merely shifting the position of a grinding mill. Put simply, they are a serious political entity. Whether they are good or bad is another matter.

Mai Jukwa is a loving mother of three. She respects Robert Mugabe, is amused by Tsvangirai and feels sorry for Mutambara

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