Nicole Hondo Correspondent
So much noise has been made over the disappearance of journalist-attempted-political activist Itai Dzamara over the past year. While it is a sad predicament for any family not to know the whereabouts of one of their own, the level of noise being made over Dzamara, especially by opposition political parties, betrays a hidden agenda and opportunistic tendencies.
Buried deep within the frequent prayer meetings and shrill cries to “bring back Itai Dzamara” are very discernible voices of opportunists, spent opposition political parties leaders who are trying to gain as much mileage as they can from the sad situation that befell the Dzamara family.
In the cacophony of these opportunistic voices, is one of a politically dead animal called Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC-T.
Since Itai’s whereabouts became unknown about a year ago, much has been said, with opposition leaders predictably accusing Government of having a hand in his disappearance, but without the necessary evidence to prove it.
Despite publicly expressed commitment by the Government to locate the missing Dzamara, it seems the opposition will not be appeased. Indeed, they are very angry at Government, even more angry than the Dzamara family.
It begs the question, why is the opposition, the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai, crying more than the bereaved? Why is Dzamara and his disappearance so important to Tsvangirai to the extent that the latter cannot finish a single sentence without mentioning Dzamara’s name?
What has been apparent from the onset and what was confirmed during a march held last week to commemorate a year since Dzamara’s disappearance, is that in Dzamara, Tsvangirai has found a tool to become relevant, never mind the grief that the former’s family is going through.
In his “talk first, think later” manner when given a chance to address a gathering, Tsvangirai betrayed the real motive for his apparent support for the Dzamara family and the crocodile tears he has been shedding all along.
During the march held last Wednesday, Tsvangirai chose to manipulate the occasion and try and boost his own waning political fortunes by claiming that Dzamara went missing because he allegedly had proof that Tsvangirai won the 2013 harmonised elections.
Safe in the knowledge that Dzamara is not around to state otherwise, Tsvangirai quite ridiculously, even by his own standards, claimed that Dzamara was very knowledgeable about how the 2013 elections were allegedly rigged and he had told him personally.
How convenient for Tsvangirai, that the missing Dzamara, who has attracted the attention of Western donors who have snubbed him, confided in him only that he should have been president by now. How convenient too that there is neither a record of such a conversation between him and Dzamara, nor proof that the 2013 elections were rigged, not to mention how Dzamara, who spent most of his days in flip flops at Africa Unity Square, could have obtained such evidence ahead of politicians like Tsvangirai, who have been desperately searching for such proof. The whole thing smacks of a shoddy job by Tsvangirai’s strategisers, if he has them, or perhaps too much of the wise waters on his part. To try and sell the absurd idea that Dzamara was abducted by Government agents because he had evidence in Tsvangirai’s favour is not an only insult to Zimbabweans but also a slap in the face and lack of respect for the Dzamara family.
While it was a shocking display of callous opportunism, it was not surprising given Tsvangirai’s track record of trying without much success, to manipulate whatever event comes his way to boost his profile. Having realised that he is fast becoming irrelevant not only to the general Zimbabwean citizenry, but also in his own party, Tsvangirai is seeking to use the Dzamara family’s tears to try and swim to the State House. His is the hope that if he and others make enough noise over Dzamara, and with the West’s backing, then President Robert Mugabe and zanu-PF will be removed from power. Such wishful thinking would be quite hilarious, were it not so sad.
The fact of the matter is that Tsvangirai is a dead man walking and not even Dzamara will resurrect him.
It is quite telling that while the MDC-T and Tsvangirai have been claiming, for the past several years, that a number of their party members have been abducted by the State, they have never held a single prayer meeting or march for the so-called victims of zanu-PF. Tsvangirai is actually on record as having abandoned his party’s founders organised under the MDC Veteran Activists Association (MDC VAA). Mid last year, Tsvangirai snubbed a national meeting of the veterans in Mashava. He was also accused of undermining the activities of MDC VAA, including efforts to set up a burial society to take care of dying members, many of them alleged victims of Zanu PF terror exiled in South Africa and other countries.
The veterans accused Tsvangirai of abandoning them and failing to assist with repatriation expenses for dead activists as happened in the case of Remember Moyo, who died in South Africa.
If Tsvangirai can so ignore and abandon alleged victims of Government within his own party, what then is so special about Dzamara that Tsvangirai would crawl on hands and knees all over Harare’s streets calling for his “return” as if he knows where he went?
Why is Dzamara so important to Tsvangirai? Is it because he is a human being or because his disappearance had given Tsvangirai a new platform to be heard, having recognised that people are now tired of the usual cow-dung he spews each time he opens his mouth.
Indeed, if Dzamara were to return home today, Tsvangirai would most probably cry a river before finding another cause to shamelessly manipulate. While such behaviour has been tolerated in the past as part of Tsvangirai’s mental challenges, it should be condemned in the strongest possible terms, not least because he has now turned to manipulating a family’s personal grief.
Tsvangirai will hijack anything from droughts, floods, poor cellphone reception and a missing button on his shirt to play the victim. Quite pitifully, he keeps forgetting that the road to State House is through the people’s support as expressed through the ballot box, not sympathy-seeking and outlandish claims and delusions. Tsvangirai should best leave the Dzamara family to deal with its misfortune in peace and dignity and concentrate on keeping his disintegrating party intact, if that is still possible.