HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsDoes ‘bed-hopping’ really make one unfit to govern?

Does ‘bed-hopping’ really make one unfit to govern?


I suppose the dust has now settled after events predominated Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s marriage to Elizabeth Macheka.

Report by Tapiwa Gomo

I am aware that there were some parts of it still in the courts, but for now we know who won and lost what.

Having the name Tsvangirai and “court” in the same sentence is something we have become familiar with. Locardia Karimatsenga, for now, can find comfort in the pyrrhic victory of having won a court case while losing the man of her dreams.

As she ponders her next move walking in and out of her lawyer’s and court offices, she is quite aware that Elizabeth is ushering her “new” husband into her bedroom every night.

Such is the disparity between the law and reality. And the bottom-line is, neither the law nor the court can force anyone into a marriage if one party is no longer interested.

Following the brouhaha that characterised Tsvangirai’s wedding — or rather customary wedding — the nation found itself once again polarised in politics of cultism on a matter so personal.

One side believed Tsvangirai was set up and that the whole drama was coming from a behind-the-scenes script where Tsvangirai himself was the main actor.

You need to be loony to believe that a man who has over a dozen years in politics and challenged President Mugabe to an extent of sharing office can be that gullible.

The man made choices, some of them bad. Instead of blaming others, he must accept responsibility for his mistakes and to those he offended.
He must not do this because he is a role model, leader of a political party or Prime Minister, but because it is the right thing to do if your actions cause unnecessary pain to other people’s lives.

I don’t subscribe to the idea of ascribing prominent people with the role model status or a symbol of morals. Doing so is not only adding an unnecessary responsibility, but creates misplaced expectations where society judges people based on benchmarks that are not part one’s career.

In this case Tsvangirai must be judged as a politician, Prime Minister and leader of his MDC, not an expert in juggling multiple love affairs. That is not the reason he became a politician, neither is it the mandate for which he was voted.

Choosing a role model is a personal responsibility. If Tsvangirai does not cut it for you, drop him from your list without making unnecessary noise.

This leads to the second side of the story spearheaded by a group of political predators, who prey on every situation fertile to decompose Tsvangirai’s political career.

Based on what seems to be his failure to manage love affairs, this group was so quick to draw the conclusion Tsvangirai was therefore unfit to govern.

Isn’t it folly to suggest that people who vote for Tsvangirai do so based on his ability to run love affairs? Since when has that become a criteria for measuring someone’s ability to govern?

If applied to all politicians in Zimbabwe, rest assured this would be nerve-racking as only a few can pass the test. This makes us wonder if this only applies to Tsvangirai or if it is a general standard.
If it applies only to Tsvangirai, then we can not rule out our hate and if it is a general standard, there is a danger of unnecessarily stigmatising people.

While I do not condone Tsvangirai’s romantic shenanigans, neither do I accept bed-hopping, but such shallow and permeable assertions characterise the dearth of political analysis and the profound political hatred that drives it.

And sadly, it has been allowed to permeate and occupy massive spaces in our media and sow seeds of hatred and polarisation.

If we are to assume, for once that such an assertion is correct, then we may as well consider Zimbabwe presently unsafe as our Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga is currently involved in an almost similar situation. Jocelyn Chiwenga is demanding compensation from the Defence Forces Commander’s “new” wife as damages for allegedly offending her feelings and cohabitating with her husband.

In legal terms the Forces commander and Jocelyn are still married which makes the “new marriage” a case of bigamy. There are indeed affinities with that of Tsvangirai.

One of few differences is that the army general is not calling for a grand ceremony. Curiously, his story has not attracted the same kind of analysis.

If such analysis is driven by a general national concern, then surely there is more reason to worry about the security sector than the Prime Minister’s Office.

There is indeed an undeniable coeval correlation between the ability to govern and running stable social relationship, but one does not justify the other since they are independent variables.

History offers many examples of leaders who experienced relationship issues and yet still governed their countries better than those who held high moral standards.

Bill Clinton’s tenure was dogged by the Monica Lewinsky scandal and yet he managed to revive the United States economy to become the best in the history of capitalism, created over 22 million jobs, reduced the US deficit by half and paid down national debt.

He is described as the most successful ever President to lead the US.
There are so many other examples both in Zimbabwe and beyond.

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