Tuesday, April 16, 2013

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Western media tears Tsvangirai to pieces
Sunday, 14 April 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

Western governments which have been the MDC-T’s traditional financiers over the years have lost faith in the party and have unleashed their media mouthpieces like the CNN and the New York Times of America to attack Mr Morgan Tsvangirai over his flawed leadership qualities.

The uncharacteristic reports allege Mr Tsvangirai and his top officials were content with forming the inclusive Government alongside Zanu-PF so as to acquire luxurious lifestyles. They also allege corruption within the ranks of the MDC-T.

The reports come amid indications that Westerners foresee MDC-T suffering a huge defeat in the impending harmonised presidential, parliamentary and council elections.

In an article titled Tasting Good Life, MDC-T slips off pedestal, published yesterday, The New York Times of America wrote that Mr Tsvangirai’s glaring leadership shortcomings have distanced him from the electorate.

The newspaper also opined that his sex scandals have dented his chances at the polls.

“As Zimbabwe prepares to choose a new president this year in long-awaited elections, voters are increasingly questioning the erstwhile opposition, the only serious challenger to the tight grip Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, have held on this nation for decades,” reads part of the article.

“. . .Meanwhile, officials in Tsvangirai’s party, many of whom suffered poverty while fighting to remake Zimbabwe, began enjoying the trappings of power. Government ministers, members of Parliament and other officials were awarded fancy cars and travel allowances. Tsvangirai traded his trade-unionist leather jacket for tailored suits.

“Tsvangirai rocketed to fame as the courageous leader of a party that dared to challenge the rule of Mugabe, who has led this country since independence in 1980. Photographs of him beaten and bleeding from the head in 2007 galvanized global opinion against Mugabe’s brutal reign. But these days, Tsvangirai’s lifestyle has been the talk of a nation where millions live on $2 a day.

“He has taken to traveling abroad with a sizable entourage, officials and analysts say, honeymooning in London and spending holidays in Monaco. He recently moved into a government residence that cost about US$3 million to build.”

The New York Times said the residential stand allocation scandal involving MDC-T council officials in Chitungwiza would result in the party losing votes in the town.

The publication also questioned the source of the funds used for Mr Tsvangirai’s “mock wedding” to Ms Elizabeth Macheka. It also said the MDC-T leader’s personal life was a source of embarrassment.

“Other problems have erupted. In Chitungwiza, a stronghold of Tsvangirai’s party, a corruption scandal has engulfed the town council. Elected officials stand accused of selling hundreds of pieces of city-controlled land for about US$4 000 per plot and pocketing most of the money.

“Council members from Tsvangirai’s party, with the help of their former adversaries, parcelled off soccer fields, playgrounds, wetlands and areas set aside for schools and churches. Land in Chitungwiza is not privately owned; individuals and businesses lease it from the Government, but there is a long waiting list, and bribes to city councillors helped people jump the line.

“City employees are supposed to receive land for houses, but many are waiting — and officials from Tsvangirai’s party are now accused of profiting from the misfortune.”

Mr Tsvangirai has been the subject of Western ridicule in recent months. Just last week, CNN Connect the World anchor Becky Anderson grilled him over assertions that MDC-T supporters were fed up with him. He was at pains to respond, and later said the voters would decide his fate.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union, which has been part of the regime change agenda in Zimbabwe, also had a change of heart over the land reform programme after realising that the MDC-T will not form the next government. CFU vice-president Mr Peter Steyl recently admitted that his organisation could not “continue swimming against the current”.

The union is now asking to be considered for land allocations.

“We have finally realised that the land reform is irreversible. There has been a change of heart. We have realised that we cannot carry on like this,” he said.

According to a secret US embassy cable leaked by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, in 2007 the then American Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, said Mr Tsvangirai required serious “hand-holding”

“Tsvangirai is a flawed figure, not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable judgment in selecting those around him,” wrote Ambassador Dell.

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