I did not follow the inauguration as I was far in a remote area, in one of the contested regions in Africa.
Develop me with with Tapiwa Gomo
It was interesting to note how politics, if not properly managed, can easily freeze people’s dreams, aspirations and lives in general.
Most people in that region are now unable to plan their lives on a long term basis until the status of their area is determined. Such is life. But the people there do follow African politics.
Upon introducing myself as a Zimbabwean, they congratulated our beloved country for what they think was a peaceful election and the opposition for withdrawing the court petition to allow the country to move forward.
They know what it means to be stuck in a political stalemate and how it affects development. For over two years they have lived life without basic services, no schools or clinics etc, because building those facilities can be seen as a source of conflict.
One local leader threw what I thought was a sour joke. “It’s amazing how Zimbabweans have entrusted the future of the young generations into the hands of the elderly leaders.” Well, I have a nine-year-old boy, and confronted with such a statement I chose to grin and kept my opinion to myself.
Now, as I returned to the World Wide Web, it was all awash with the speculation that President Mugabe, even though he won elections, he is desperately looking for legitimacy and redeeming his legacy.
According to those reports, roping in some members of the MDCs into the new government is part of the strategy to cleanse his image.
Unless something of that nature happens, this remains speculation. But it may be vital to engage with some of the suggestions emerging out of those speculations.
I guess the million dollar question is if Morgan Tsvangirai is offered a senior position in government, should he take it?
A lot of positional arguments have been offered by many. Some have suggested that he should not take it as a matter of principle, while others, especially those who are still angry about elections being rigged, consider taking offers from Zanu PF as betrayal. I say, if Morgan Tsvangirai is offered something senior, he must take it without thinking twice.
If it is true that President Mugabe is desperate for legitimacy, peace and stability for the country does it also not make sense that Tsvangirai trades off that legitimacy with relevance? Perhaps, it may be true that the two have what each need to achieve their goals.
Trading off legitimacy for relevance must not be confused with betrayal of values. This has been a common line, especially by some of MDC–T supporters who argue that one cannot be given what has been stolen from him.
Tsvangirai at this stage is not qualified to speak of values and principles especially when we consider what has been happening in his personal life in recent times, neither can Mugabe following the millions of questions around the recent elections.
While they are free to go separate ways, but if these questions are of any relevance to their goals, it may be the right time they smoked the peace pipe. Perhaps that is what Zimbabwe needs at the moment — a united country.
After all, both of them stand to gain. On four occasions elections have proved to be a futile way to dislodge Mugabe by Tsvangirai and there is no guarantee that he will be fifth-time lucky.
Zanu PF has shown that they have a better game plan on winning elections than MDC-T. Perhaps, it is time the opposition parties learn that elections are not only about popularity, but numbers. That said, the only other option of being in government is through appointment.
So if offered they must just take so that they can remain relevant and possibly influence policies from within. We must not forget that they are not walking empty-handed; they have constituencies and the people of Zimbabwe to represent.
The argument that elections were rigged subsumes that there is a majority much larger than the one-third parliamentary representation whose needs need to be taken care of. Depending on what positions are offered, that option can be Tsvangirai’s shortest route to any of the high offices without having to go through the rigours of elections.
On the other hand, if that narrative of legitimacy is of any value, it means the President will have more to give in order to earn it than just positions for legitimacy and redemption of legacy.
This may mean being more accommodative and allowing new ideas to prevail as he wraps up his long journey in politics. And who knows, may be that may just mark Tsvangirai’s come back or smooth exit from politics. At 61 years surely the retirement lounge is waiting.
Arrogance pays no bills and he can draw lessons from his counterpart Raila Odinga who is fast becoming irrelevant in Kenyan politics.