Tsvangirai should learn to handle pressure

ESCAPE NEWPolitical Mondays With Amai Jukwa

It is impossible not to feel sorry for Tsvangirai. The man is down but his opponents keep on kicking.

EARLY last week Harvestlikis, an anonymous Facebook page that has gained a reputation for leaking credible information on the internal politics at Harvest House, posted a sarcastic request for financial aid, warning that Tsvangirai was failing to settle a medical bill.

Late last year, the same page warned that there was a faction led by Biti that was deliberately starving the party of money and planning to overthrow Tsvangirai. At the time the claims seemed incredible.

It happened.
So when the same character posted the cryptic message last week, journalists knew something was up. Rumours began to circulate that

Tsvangirai had been admitted into a local hospital, rumours that the amateurish ex-PM’s spokesman dismissed perhaps a bit too quickly.
“Tsvangirai has not been hospitalised and is simply suffering from a bout of flu and is resting at home,’’ he explained.

Within 36 hours, Tsvangirai was on the front pages of most newspapers, accused of having fled a local medical centre without settling the bill.

The amateurish spokesman then called a hurried press conference at Harvest House where he dismissed as propaganda claims that Tsvangirai had not paid his medical bill. As evidence he produced a bill for over US$4000 as evidence that Tsvangirai had paid.

Check mate.
Surely if Tsvangirai had never been admitted and was simply suffering from a bout of flu then he would not have racked up a bill of nearly US$5000.

Is this not obvious?
The Daily News dutifully reported the MDC-T side of the story without examining this very serious contradiction. If the MDC-T can lie about this, the question is what else have they lied about?

The case is a perfect example of the so-called independent media being taken for a ride by the MDC-T.
Some time ago the much maligned public media reported that Tsvangirai was rumoured to be having an affair with one Elizabeth Macheka and was going to ditch Locardia. This impressive investigative journalism was dismissed as nothing more than propaganda.

We now know that it was in fact true.
The same thing happened when Tsvangirai’s marriage to Macheka was reported to be on the rocks. Tamborinyoka again issued a statement saying that all was bliss and the public media was manufacturing baseless rumours.

Again it turned out to be true with Tsvangirai admitting that his marriage was facing serious difficulties.
There is a very clear pattern here and I would hope any self-respecting journalist sees it.

All of this is by the way.
What I really found interesting was the fact that Tsvangirai is now so stressed to the point of needing medical intervention. Why is Tsvangirai stressed? I suspect it has something to do with Tendai Biti’s “rebellion’’ and the serious financial crisis that has hit the MDC-T following the boycott by Western donors.

If Tsvangirai cannot handle these small problems does he really think he can lead a nation where the waters are considerably more treacherous? If Tsvangirai needs medical intervention over a lack of funding how would he handle the terrorist attacks that have hit Nigeria and Kenya, for instance?

Even more embarrassing is his sensitivity to news reports.
How many times have we read in the press that Mugabe is terribly sick and will not last the year? Why has Mugabe not directed his spokesman to call a press conference and dispute those news reports?

It’s a steady spirit born of self-assurance that Tsvangirai just does not have.
You can’t let newspapers debase you to the point where you bring receipts to prove you have paid for something, in the process actually exposing yourself to even greater scrutiny. All of us now want to know what Tsvangirai is actually suffering from that cost thousands of dollars to treat.

There is very good reason to be concerned about Tsvangirai’s welfare. The stress could actually kill him and I say that quite seriously. There are rumours doing the rounds that Tsvangirai is failing to pay instalments on his housing loan, and might be asked to repay US$1.5 million that was lent to him under unclear circumstances.

Is this really unnecessary?
Tsvangirai is clearly a spent force and we should not kick a man when he is down.

Ndatenda, ndini muchembere wenyu Amai Jukwa.

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