The 14th of February 2018 will forever be remembered as a huge day in the SADC region in general and Zimbabwe in particular. Edgar Lungu of Zambia reshuffled cabinet, a move which defies any rationale, Jacob Zuma of South Africa was forced to resign under mounting pressure and a threat of a motion of no confidence and the iconic opposition leader Morgan Richard Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe succumbed to cancer of the colon. All the above deserve a lengthy article on their own, but for now I will focus on the latter.
One cannot talk of Tsvangirai and fail to mention in the same account of how he oversaw two debilitating splits in the once very powerful MDC, it is because of Morgan that the party now faces a potential third split as three feuding parties are all claiming to be the legitimate Acting president. Mr Tsvangirai handpicked two other Vice presidents and no lucid explanation was given, to further compound to the problem no effort was made to put this into the party’s constitution, or highlight how an acting vice president was to be chosen. This is very carking when a party that is full of credible and professional lawyers fails to notice how negligent they were with their own constitution. However, that is not the point,
Despite the fact that it is easy to berate the deceased and pedestal his shortcomings, we must not fail to understand that many notable and significant things have often happened through the agency of flawed characters. This is the enduring truth that Tsvangirai so greatly manifested, he inspired a generation to raise up and question the status quo, there were many before him no doubt, but he and his party significantly challenged Zanu-PF’s hegemony on the country and for the first time since 1980, Zimbabwe had a formidable opposition.
It is a travesty of justice to give an account of the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe and fail to give square and substantial real estate to the MDC and Mr Tsvangirai in particular. To quote a dear brother of mine he said, “We like the perfect narrative. We are conflicted when bad people do good and the good ones do bad. The best among us aren’t those who never do bad but those whose best moments are significant.”
In Morgan Tsvangirai the world has lost a giant and vigilant leader, he did his best with what he had, undoubtedly made mistakes along the way, but we must learn and commit to memory, the art of recognising genius when we see it and subsequently give honour where its due. I hope sanity is restored to the organisation he gave up his life for and to the many founding members of the MDC and those who are currently in its various structures, it is your moral duty to protect Mr Tsvangirai’s legacy. Bickering and fighting over positions that you were not even elected for is tantamount to stupidity and a grave sense of entitlement.
In the days that follow let us not forget, that Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC provided a platform and an outlet for the voices that so resoundingly chorused that Mugabe must go, way back at the start of the 21st century. On their shoulders we stand, and it is the civic duty of every citizen to hold to account the government of the day and protest if need be through legal channels and other nonviolent mechanisms. To me this is the narrative that Tsvangirai goes with.
I had instances where I disagreed with the MDC under the leadership of Mr Tsvangirai, and like many I was not impressed with the situation obtaining in the MDC as of now. You must be asking yourself, who then was I going to vote for? Well my vote is my secret, Mr Tsvangirai however was not that secret.
The court of public opinion might convict him to be a sell-out. In my books however, he dies a gallant national hero and shall remain so!