New Internationalist

Do we really have to go with Tsvangirai?

I travel a lot. Inevitably, I stay in hotels a lot and I almost always realize, about a week into my stay, that I did not pack enough pairs of socks. I don’t like using the laundry service that the hotel provides: I am independent like that. I don’t allow the hotel porter to carry my luggage either. I love my independent streak, and I am reluctant to exploit those less fortunate than me. During my teaching days I never let the pupils carry my books or my chair. But my independent streak does sometimes lead to me not having clean socks.

With seven pairs of dirty socks and an important seminar to go to, I have to resort to what I call ‘bachelor syndrome’: of all of the dirty socks, which pair is the least dirty? That is the pair I will wear.

Morgan Tsvangirai‘Bachelor syndrome’ is what [Prime Minister] Morgan Tsvangirai has driven Zimbabweans to. A lot of people I have talked to will say: ‘We know Tsvangirai has got his problems and weaknesses, but rather him than retaining Mugabe.’ I agree that we can’t give Robert Mugabe another term in office. He did his bit between 1980 and 1990. There was a lot of growth with equity then, and much building of schools and infrastructure. But there is a reason why politicians are supposed to be given a maximum of 10 years in office. Politicians are humans; after five years they begin to descend into a mode of relaxation and a habit of being self-serving. It’s up to the electorate to vote out politicians after five years – or after 10 years if they are really exceptional.

So we don’t want to retain Robert Mugabe, but do we really have to go with Morgan Tsvangirai? Isn’t it time to go out and buy a new pair of socks instead of making do with the pair of socks which is less dirty than the others? It‘s easy for the electorate to think they owe Morgan Tsvangirai something, given that he has been battling Robert Mugabe for more than a decade. But that debt has already been paid: hasn’t he moved into a multi-million dollar mansion? Hasn’t he had his fun, reportedly going all over the place collecting concubines? Power has already corrupted him; whatever sympathies we have for him are now misplaced. It is time we thought of Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai should be subjected to serious scrutiny because we don’t want a change of government just in name.

So Robert Mugabe is not an option at the next presidential election, and Morgan Tsvangirai has had his time in the sun and his hands in the cookie jar. What are our options? In the previous election Dr Simba Makoni was dismissed as a ZANU PF ploy to divide the opposition vote. But deep down a lot of Zimbabweans knew that he was good for Zimbabwe and, given a chance, would do a good job. Even with the ZANU PF tag tainting him, Dr Makoni still got a reasonable share of the vote. He is still a viable option and could do well were he to occupy the presidency. The man’s silence is disappointing though. Honestly, how can we consider him as a potential president if he won’t bother standing up to be counted? Are we to believe that he really was a ZANU PF diversion project? Stand up, Dr Makoni, and give the people of Zimbabwe an alternative!

If Zimbabweans can rise above tribal politics, professor Welshman Ncube is another option. He is a man who could steer the Zimbabwean ship away from the gorge towards which it is headed. His nationwide rallies show us he is serious; we should support him. Tsvangirai is not the only option. Surely his arrogance in living a ridiculously luxurious lifestyle before the struggle is over, and letting 29 MDC-T (Movement for Democratic Change Tsvangirai) activists languish in remand prison for over a year, shows us he has arrived at his intended destination and we will have to continue our journey to Canaan on our own. We have to move away from our personality-cult tendencies and subject all available presidential candidates to a rigorous test based on their ability to run Zimbabwe, rather than reacting to our hatred for Robert Mugabe. Will we have to dig around in the dirty socks cabinet, or can we find a new pair?

Photo: Nick-Clegg under a CC Licence

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  1. #1 Zvamunoda Hondo 18 Oct 12

    you say welshman ncube is a better candidate because of the nationwide rallies he is holding?? seriously, dude?

    more importantly, it is this way of seeing politics as Mugabe, Tsvangirai or Ncube which will lead Zimbabwe down the path to destruction, the same way the current government has led for the past 3 decades. Countries are led by governments and not individuals. Be careful of turning Ncube into a Tsvangirai or a Mugabe. It is not clear at all how Tsvangirai and Ncube differ, only that the former is arguably more popular than the latter

  2. #2 simbarashe manyange 18 Oct 12

    i'll nt be swayed by efforts 2 change my made up mind about supporting Tsvangirai,this is a sponsered article,we know by who?you may write all the bad tht he(Tsvangirai)has done bt on a scale the good he has done out weigh the bad.to me its Tsvangirai or no one,as fo Makoni,hez just a party spoiler,he only features wen he hears talk of an election,hez a bloody agent&not a threat to any one.The learned proffessor ,i've no respect or any kind words for him,he assassinated the political career of Gibson Sibanda by misleading him,he(Ncube) is a great divider.this country must never be ruled by great fundis bcos of their arrogant nature.come election time MdcT will top the results.

  3. #3 Mgcini Nyoni 19 Oct 12

    @Zvamunoda Hondo. When we go to a presidential election, we vote for an individual. How will we know who to vote for if we don't discuss the individuals. We vote for parties during parliamentary elections.

    Simbarashe Manyange suggests that the article I wrote is a sponsored article, the same way ZANU PF suggests that MDC-T is sponsored by the West. How then is the MDC-T different from ZANU-PF if it's membership suppresses free thought and free expression the same way ZANU-PF does?

  4. #4 simbarashe manyange 27 Oct 12

    @mgcini,i listened to prof ncube the other day on bbc news hard talk,he expressed axactly the same sentiments u r expressing right now,this leaves to the conclusion that you r his campaign manager.to me u r no different dr mahoso or prof jonathan moyo who each claim to be political analysts yet thy belong to a certain organisation.

    No one has denied u ur democratic right to air ur views,thts why u r doing so but as prof.ncube's spokesman should i say.it is also my democratic right to criticise ur article the very same way u critise tsvangirai.u say tsvangirai is allowing 29 of his activists to rote in prison,but on hard talk,welshman man ncube was asked if he powerless in the inclusive governmnt,his reply was ’yes&no’,so do u think or expect the pm to order the courts to let them out&BOOM it happens just like that.be sincere young man in ur criticism.

    Did u knw we'd a runoff in 2008 becos we had a devisive ncube who campaigned 4 makoni instead of the obvious choice,as a matter of fact,those that voted 4 his party were rural folks who got confused by the mdc logo,which mdc-m then,used.

    even if a dog is put lead mdc,the mainstream mdc that is,it is the people's choice,no-one can stop the revolution

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About the author

Mgcini Nyoni is a playwright, theatre director, screenwriter, thinker, blogger and poet based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He is also the founder and creative director of Poetry Bulawayo.

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