Mai Jukwa Political Mondays
PROFESSOR Arthur Mutambara, quizzed by an Australian radio journalist on whether his party, the MDC, was being dribbled by a wily Mugabe, objected quite strongly.
“Do you think I am stupid? Do you think I am stupid? I’m coming out of Oxford,” he bellowed. The West had no role to play in Zimbabwean affairs and he would “brook no interference from patronising Westerners”.
He was not finished. On a point of principle that had stalled GPA negotiations, Mutambara damned Tsvangirai and explained that his negotiating team was in agreement “with Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai was on his own”.
During the 2013 election campaign, Zanu-PF ran attack ads showing Job Sikhala attacking Tsvangirai describing him as a deceiver.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of the exclusive interview from which the damaging clips were extracted.
Sikhala tore into Tsvangirai and explained that he had left the MDC because of fundamental issues of policy.
Tsvangirai was a dictator-in-waiting and relied on violence and intimidation.
Sikhala explained that he had worked closely with Morgan Tsvangirai and had discovered that the man did not have what it takes to lead a nation.
Toward the end of the interview he stated that he was opposed to Robert Mugabe’s Government but conceded to the interviewer that Mugabe was at least a thinker unlike Tsvangirai.
These are Sikhala’s words. I hope the full interview will soon be made public.
Welshman Ncube’s opinions on Tsvangirai are a matter of public record.
He has also accused the MDC-T leader of using violence and of exhibiting dictatorial tendencies.
Trudy Stevenson shares similar views and was at one time violently assaulted by goons allegedly loyal to Tsvangirai.
Lovemore Madhuku has also criticised Morgan Tsvangirai, accusing the former Prime Minister of being “childish” and unfit to lead.
Elton Mangoma has put his own views on paper. His letter is a damning indictment of the man who would be president. Mangoma raises issues of moral character as well as financial propriety, accusing Tsvangirai of abusing donor funds and bringing the opposition movement into disrepute through his lack of discretion.
This is how Tsvangirai’s own comrades view him.
Is Mutambara wrong?
What of Welshman Ncube?
Is it that Trudy Stevenson, Job Sikhala, Elton Mangoma and even the cowardly Tendai Biti are all wrong?
After all, these are the men who have worked closest with Tsvangirai and know him best.
Contrast this with Morgan Tsvangirai’s view of Robert Mugabe who he at one time described as the “father” of the nation. Tendai Biti and Mutambara both gushed with
adulation during the inclusive Government when they got a chance to be close enough.
There is a pattern to be observed here. What is it that makes those who get close to Tsvangirai end up dismissing him as a man of no substance while those who get close to Mugabe end up, even if only grudgingly, giving him credit for principle?
The MDC does well to point out where Zanu-PF has failed. It attempts to ride on the back of nothing more than disillusionment.
It has no policies of its own.
It does not believe in anything. It simply wants Mugabe to go. Fair enough.
At a distance, this can be quite persuasive but once you get close enough some troubling traits begin to manifest themselves.
This is why all of Tsvangirai’s allies end up falling out of love with him. Mugabe, on the other hand, is no saint but he actually believes in something. While I certainly do not agree with him on all issues, it is on the fundamental issues of State that I find myself in agreement. We must own the land.
We will not pay compensation for land that was stolen. We must control industry.
Foreigners have no right to interfere in our domestic affairs because — like they — we are a sovereign nation. If we must pay a price for asserting these unobjectionable principles then so be it.
Truth and justice are seductive.
It is on this matter of the general direction the country is taking that many find common cause with Mugabe.
Mutambara, once an opponent that described Mugabe as a criminal, was completely turned over on close encounter and is now more or less on the same intellectual page with Mugabe.
I am driven into this line of enquiry by Eddie Cross’ letter. Most of what he says is actually true. Even a trader at Mbare could have made similar observations. The question of political value is why people continue to vote for Mugabe even in the face of those uncomfortable realities?
At moments of sudden discomfort, human beings can be ruthlessly hedonistic. However, lengthy exposure to discomfort does something to the soul.
There was a time when the MDC could have swept to power by simply pointing to joblessness, that time is gone.
It would seem that many people actually do agree with Mugabe’s policies.
While many complain that his ministers often bungle otherwise great policies, those policies are nonetheless considered noble.
Ndatenda, ndini muchembere wenyu Amai Jukwa.