You may know that the opposition MDC party led by Morgan Tsvangirai turned 16 on September 11. Those that study semiotics know that this is a rather unfortunate birthday for anyone, after what happened to the United States of America on the same date in the year 2001.
Worse still, we are told that the MDC was supposed to actually have been formed on September 12, the year this country was colonised by the British, which would have made scant secret of the intention of the counter-revolutionary party.
September 12 of the year 1999, however, was a Sunday, and untimely so the day of the launch had to be brought forward to a more work-like Saturday. But that is as far as the story goes. You may have missed the party’s birthday party (or news thereof) last Saturday — and it’s not your fault.
The MDC-T held its commemorations at some place called Nharira Business Centre in Chivhu, Mashonaland East. Nharira doesn’t sound a glorious or famous place. One can guess that the MDC-T for its showiness was probably trying to hide from the glare of the big city centres.
They may also have been too broke to hire a venue in Harare. But, obviously, the party had its reasons — and don’t laugh, please! We read somewhere some MDC officials saying that by holding celebrations in Chivhu, where the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe comes from, the party was taking a war to Zanu-PF!
Of course that is laughable. On the celebrations themselves, there are a couple of significant things that one should take note of. First, we were given more of the same from Morgan Tsvangirai on how he continues to fancy his chances of ruling this country. For 16 years he has had that dream and may the Lord help him and us all.
Secondly, we saw the solidarity of former Zanu-PF firebrand Temba Mliswa, who to all intents and purposes has become a member of the opposition outfit, hardly missing any chance to attend its public functions.
In Chivhu, while addressing the gathering, Mliswa had a handy piece of advice to youths. He said: “Please go and train in martial arts and judo. I am not saying this to promote violence, but I am talking about a system and the institution which we are dealing with.”
The third significant thing is that the celebrations took place following the launching of the BUILD manifesto by a group of Zanu-PF rejects calling themselves People First.
Former Vice President Joice Mujuru is the face of this People First outfit, and Tsvangirai has welcomed her into opposition politics and, critically so, hopes to have her as an addition to what he has been calling the big tent.
In fact, Tsvangirai believes that Zimbabwe is in a “defining moment” or in the cusp of something. “Indeed we are on the threshold of a defining moment for this country,” he said.
“Our side of the struggle is getting many new players every day. There is now palpable national consensus that indeed, we must collectively define the determining moment of the people’s struggle.
“The vision of the MDC has always been about a united, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe. We have had to bear the brunt of sustained attacks and violence against us for believing that vision and for holding it dearly.
“But today, we are heartened that there are more of us with the same vision, including others who were formerly with Zanu PF. Everyone has their Damascene moment and they must be encouraged. They deserve our support for their new sense of patriotism and the realisation that together, we are bigger, better and more formidable.”
The courtship is clear; expectant, and Tsvangirai believes 2018 could be his year. Only he misses one thing. He seems blind to the fact that he has wrecked the opposition party and blown his chances — probably the best he could ever have.
The inclusive Government that he share with Zanu-PF after the close call of the 2008 elections was his and his party’s best chance. He went into the inclusive Government and shared power with President Mugabe and Zanu-PF and, according to his own party’s script, he was supposed to “take power from within”.
He didn’t. He failed, dismally. Where he had entered the inclusive Government after the 2008 elections with MDC carrying 100 seats against Zanu-PF’s 99 for the 210-seat House of Assembly seats, he emerged poorer and defeated.
In the 2013 elections the MDC secured a paltry 49 against Zanu-PF’s 160 elected seats. It was such a reversal and after that monumental loss, that the party split, for the second time since 2005, with some top officials going their way.
Tsvangirai has superintended over the consecutive electoral losses of the MDC and its fracturing. What is rather surprising is that he does not realise that, and continues to believe in his head that he has what it takes to defeat Zanu-PF and unite opposition forces.
He is like the mad man who does the same thing over and over again and expects different results. Perhaps he should listen to his wife. Elizabeth Tsvangirai also gave a speech in Chivhu.
She said: “All of you want to lead and you may not personally like Tsvangirai, but if you really care about people why don’t we come together. Besides, the same Tsvangirai has the people’s support. If you can’t beat them join them!”
We advise Tsvangirai not to listen to the other flattering part — the kind of talk women proverbially tell their husbands at night reassuringly and often misleadingly.
After failing to beat Zanu-PF in 15 years and three elections, Tsvangirai should just quit opposition and rejoin the ruling party. That is the real meaning of “if-you-cannot-beat-them-join-them adage”. Tsvangirai will never defeat Zanu-PF.
Not even a coalition with Zanu-PF rejects will help him. The reason why he cannot defeat Zanu-PF is because he is the problem, a proven millstone around the neck of the opposition. So, whether he decides to hire BUILD-ers, and they are few, his big tent will still not be considered any safe shelter. He should just listen to his wife, in her honest moments.
She knows better. Like all of us.