Wednesday, July 24, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Is a Tsvangirai vote a “Vhoti Mubhini?”
12/07/2013 00:00:00
by Thamsanqa Ephraim T. Zhou

ZIMBABWEANS are a creative lot. In 2008, when President Robert Mugabe was at his lowest, his party came up with the “bhora musango” concept which, in football terms, demands a player to sabotage his own team by kicking the ball into the crowd instead of making an effort to score by kicking towards goal.

In Mugabe’s case, it was his own party that asked voters to donate their vote to the opposition. Now Mugabe appears to be re-gaining his Mashonaland territory with his “bhora mugedhi” call.

As the 2013 general elections draw closer, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s challenge for the State House appears to be frustrated by his failure to prove he can deliver in Government - his personal shenanigans with women, his MDC-T party’s legendary corruption in local government and his arrogance in not wanting to negotiate in good faith and as an equal, a grand coalition deal with Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC) and Dr Dumiso Dabengwa (ZAPU). His chances also appear to be derailed by the resurgence of President Mugabe and Zanu PF support in Mashonaland, rural and urban.

In the past, Tsvangirai has been lucky to get the sympathy of most Zimbabweans when he made blunders. Even his entertaining confusion in Germany while walking the red carpet with Chancellor Angela Merkel was blamed on his lack of education rather than inability to grasp issues of protocol. His new wife’s failure to read a simple English prepared speech also makes a mockery of what could have been an educated nation’s First lady. Lack of policy on the part of the MDC-T was forgiven and considered less significant than the need to remove Mugabe and “change the regime.”

It has been suggested that the 2008 beneficiary of bhora musango was PM Tsvangirai and the MDC-T. The protest vote he received enabled him to move from an opposition leader into the Prime Minister’s office. But since this was a protest vote, it should not be confused with a case when a party is voted for on account of their expected ability to deliver. The scenario was such that even a dog wearing an MDC tie could have won against Zanu PF.

The GNU should have been an opportunity for Tsvangirai to prove to Zimbabweans and those with vested interest in Zimbabwe that he was a credible leader who could lead the country to another level. While the likes of Biti, Chamisa, Coltart and Professor Welshman Ncube and Mzila Ndlovu demonstrated their ability to transform from defenders (opposition) to strikers (government), the same can not be said about our dear PM. The MDC has argued time and time again that although they were in Government, driving flashy cars, living in leafy suburbs and taking fat pay cheques every month, in reality they had no power. They failed to bring promised reforms in the security sector, media, economic, health or to change the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

It is the exposure of Tsvangirai’s weaknesses in the last 4 years that triggers new questions whether a vote for the MDC-T leader is a wasted vote or what they call in Mbare: “vhoti mubhini” (throwing your vote or ballot paper in the bin). If anyone was in doubt that Tsvangirai is no longer the crowd-puller that he once was, the Mashonaland pictures of Rushinga market traders running away from him were a pain to watch and demonstrate that this time, hayilume. The going will be tough. Unfortunately, someone then went on to post on YouTube, a “star rally” address by Tsvangirai of a handful of red-shirted MDC-T members leading others to wonder if these were indeed from Rushinga or four-wheeled few who were part of the entourage.

Things must be tense in the Tsvangirai camp after revelations that Reketayi Semwayo, who was paraded as the face of a coalition with Zanu Ndonga was already registered as an MDC-T candidate in Chipinge. Given that the conditions for him to have been a candidate are that he should have been a member of the MDC-T for 5 years, the claims of a coalition with one of your own were like claiming to catch fish from your own can. The real fish in the sea should have been the double bazooka in Prof Ncube and ZAPU under Dr Dabengwa alliance.

Zimbabweans want change. That is clear. Tsvangirai has already tried twice and failed to take over power from Mugabe. The saying goes that a fool is he who tries the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Zimbabweans can-not be fools. A grand coalition would have been assured of victory, but expecting Tsvangirai to have been the chief candidate ahead of a national war hero is a bit of a no brainer. The President of a country should be a flame that shines the brightest; the pride of future generations.

It is clear to all honest Zimbabweans that Tsvangirai would not be a suitable candidate for a number of reasons. Firstly he has these intellectual challenges, moral difficulties, and is compromised by his past links with Zanu PF and a constant reminder that he refused to fight in the war of liberation while the likes of Dr Dabengwa spent decades fighting for his freedom and democratic rights.

Secondly and most importantly, MDC-T and Tsvangirai have no capacity to take over power even if they win elections. Tsvangirai is a Morsi character on the ballot paper. This is because they have, for the past decade allowed themselves to be perceived as agents of Western and imperial interests in Zimbabwe, alienating the country’s security sector in the process.

Now Zimbabwe has three choices: there are those in Mashonaland who will stick with their 90 year old leader. It is their democratic right and that must be acknowledged. The millions who want change and for Zimbabwe to move forward have to choose between a less than perfect Tsvangirai and a credible Ncube-Dabengwa Presidency.

Clearly, the Ncube-Dabengwa ticket is the best for Zimbabwe going forward because it has capacity to take over power in the event of a win. Dr Dabengwa is a liberation war hero who trained most of the generals serving in the country’s security services today. His record in government is clean and one to admire. ZAPU fought in the war and can preserve the gains of liberation, thus countering Mugabe’s reason for staying on. Ncube has proved that he is principled, shuns violence and corruption and has the intellectual ability to run a country.

On the other hand, a Tsvangirai Presidency has the real danger of looking like a Morsi-of-Egypt Presidency where you win an election but do not have the power. His relationship with security services is not good. His patriotic credentials continue to be questioned with the MDC-T fronting former Rhodesian Forces’ personnel such as Giles Mutsekwa and Roy Bennett. In the event of a Tsvangirai win, he may still fail to take over power leading to an Egypt type of crisis.

Tsvangirai’s policies are confrontational and against the long term interests of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are in favour of the land being in the hands of Zimbabweans and in favour of indigenisation of the economy. Tsvangirai favours Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and has promised to reverse indigenisation and previously threatened to return the land to the white farmers. It is likely that any attempt to reverse land acquisitions and indigenisation would bring social unrest in the country. The army and police, being at logger heads with Tsvangirai are likely to play an al Sisi leading to Tsvangirai’s fall. Zimbabwe could then be plunged into further crisis.

Zimbabweans must be asking themselves: what is the good of voting in a man who will not be able to take over power? We recall that MDC-T wanted to take over the ministry of home affairs so much when the GPA was signed but when it came to it, Minister Theresa Makone failed to have power in her own ministry. MDC-T has continued to argue that even though they are in the GNU, in reality they do not have power. Was 2008 just vhoti mubhini?

The only way therefore Mugabe can be removed from power by democratic efforts is if Zimbabweans vote overwhelmingly for a team that can take over power and deliver stability and that is the Ncube-Dabengwa ticket. It is better not to waste a vote on a candidate that will not change anything. I certainly would not put mine in the bin but invest it in a leadership that will bring real change and stability to Zimbabwe. Kujik’othandayo.

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