Tsvangirai’s generation has failed us

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Four years ago, at the advent of the inclusive government, I once had an animated conversation with a lawyer and a businessman. Both were avid MDC- T supporters. They were both old school opposition activists.

Guest Column by Takura Zhangazha

That is to say, they had been there when the first University of Zimbabwe demonstrations occurred against the one-party State in the late 1980s. They were also there when the second major opposition(after Zapu) to Zanu PF hegemony, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) was formed.

And they have been pioneers of civil society movements that eventually led to the formation of the Movement of Democratic Change that was formed in 1999. Primarily through the Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (Zimrights), Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), or the the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

These two comrades were our leaders and are of our former Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s generation. Both by history and by way of generational genesis. They were representatives of our intentions at leadership renewal and hope for a future in which we were or are still to have a part.

In the aforementioned conversation, I advised the comrades that politically their generation, given its leadership status, had to prove it was able to take us and the country forward.

Primarily because we had accepted and actively supported their leadership. But also because they had laid claim to leading Zimbabwe to a better democratic future. Given the fact that these two comrades were involved in the negotiation that led to the establishment of the global political agreement under Thabo Mbeki’s mediation, I advised them that they were in their last chance motel, as the Americans say.

They had a generational obligation to ensure that what they insisted they were leading us to was to become a reality. In the event of their failure, we would not be at fault to call time on them. As it turns out, they have failed both electorally and politically.

Tsvangirai and his peers are at fault in four respects. The first being their inability to navigate the post Cold War discourse on democratisation and free market economics organically. Instead of applying knowledge that they acquired by way of experience and education to local context, they chose the easier, but impolitic path of mimicry.

While they correctly chose to oppose repression in the form of Zanu PF, they erred in pursuing international recognition as a priority beyond local recognition. Where the agenda of the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe was organically social democratic, with time they changed it to a neo-liberal one. And it is for this that they continued to ascend the ladder of global recognition. They were given international awards, including nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, yet still they could not demonstrate commitment to a cause beyond their own personal interests.

Secondly, this particular generation of leaders has sought a simplistic understanding of our coutry’s political economy. Like the Bernard Chidzeros of the 1980s, they found solace in prescriptive solutions to our country’s economic woes without learning from the past or from the experiences of other countries in similar circumstances.

They were enamoured more to the Bretton Woods Institutions and external knowledge production systems before they understood their own local contexts. Hence they have been unable to effectively chart an organic economic way forward for the country. Instead, their opposition to Zanu PF major fault of disastrous economic management became more akin to representing global capital than representing the masses.

Thirdly, in their opposition to Zanu PF, they assumed electoral politics to be largely event and personality-based. It has never been about a specific national cause. It was all about President Robert Mugabe, his age and his repression without the articulation of clear democratic alternatives beyond the latter’s personality. Where they got an opportunity via the inclusive government to demonstrate their alternative, they fell back into the mode of rationalising the economy on behalf of global capital.

Where they undertook, in tandem with Zanu PF, a constitutional reform process, they sought their own personal and political imprints on the document to the extent that it has ended up being no more than an elitist and sharing of the spoils aggregation of State power. Even if Zanu PF now governs alone.

Fourthly and finally, Tsvangirai’s and his peers made the mistake of assuming messianic tendencies where and when it came to political leadership. Like their rivals in Zanu PF, they have presented themselves to the public as the only ones who can bring us to a political Canaan. They have held on to leadership positions even in the face of evident failure and have in some instances sold their souls merely to hold on to positions within the opposition movement. In this, they have come to mimic Zanu PF and have unfortunately affected the ability of subsequent generations to learn how to lead.

Even after their Waterloo on July 31 2013, they refuse to be judged on the basis of their failures and are hoping for a miracle to resurrect them politically.

As it is, Tsvangirai’s generation has refused to demonstrate an iota of contrition for their failures. While they taught us how to oppose repression, they have failed to lift us out of it. Indeed, they were pioneers in bravely opposing the dictatorial hegemony that is Zanu PF, but even pioneers pass on the baton stick. It is no longer enough to claim to be a founding member of a cause. It is the cause not the personality that must carry on.

53 COMMENTS

      • What you are saying is the same as blaming the Tianamen victims for failure. The evil empire is much worse than anyone thought, so salvation is elusive. But Tsvangirai is doing the right thing. The right thing is fighting an evil system. He may not win, but he has and is fighting a good fight. That’s more than can be said for many of us. I always believe attitude is everything. Victory may or may not come. After all, it’s only God who knows the hour.

    • Just like you takura, I have been watching politics from a distance but I tell you one thing, my first son’s name will be called MORGAN!!!!

  1. tsvangirai’s generation is a brave one. Looking at ours we chose to be used tichipiwa ma 20dolaz yet they were for ‘that’ period only. Nx!! We fear to execis our rights wholeheartedly. You are a critic mr writer. Sies!

    • Simba and Aron you are correct! We failed as a nation, we put too much faith and trust in a small group of people and when they stumbled we as a nation stumbled too instead of lifting that small group up and moving forward to stop yet another stolen election. We chose to stand by and watch as zpf easily walked back into power for another 5 or 6 years. We cannot blame Tsvangirai, he is just one man. With all his faults name another man or woman who could have done better, if so where is this man or woman? Lets be fair we can all take the blame for failing to put an end to zpf oppressive and corrupt rule. Pointing fingers is easy.

  2. Takura, you say you advised them when actualy you do not want to face the heat. Good at pointing fingers to those that are doing something with your hands in your pocket. Do something yourself that you can prove you better than those you point at as failures. During a struggle, people like you are worth nothing besides the p.h.d syndrome. We dont need people like you who are only good at pointing fingers and blaming. KuZanu PF haudiwi chero kuMDC dzose you are worth nothing but destruction. Kukwira gomo hupoterera, usakanganwa. Tamirira kuona yako isingakundikani. Sorry if I may have sounded insulting, that isnt my intention but to show you something. Dankie

    • Takura those who attended UZ at the same time with you will remember the big coward in you as a student leader. On the other hand Zimbabwe will remember MT as a man with a big heart, who despite his obvious faults stabilised and improved the Zimbabwean economic situation when it mattered most, during the GNU era. Do you remember in 1999 when Dzimano the then Vice President of the SEC bravely led students against this regime and you were discouraging us. So please don’t lecture us on Morgan’s failures (which we all know). Rather say what you have done better than him which we will gladly appreciate. Mbwende seniwo zvangu……

  3. Imi?vekutengesa ndevekutengesa chete.Zvakatanga nalobengura akatengesa nyika,iko zvino kuna Dabengwa naNcube.Inga dabengwa akataura ega wani kuti ‘i stopped Tsvangirai victory’

  4. Mr Zhangazha be warned that national politics is different from Politics and Administration theory you learnt at UZ. Its also different from student politics and we are closely watching your yet to be launched party. I however can predict serious troubles for you, much worse than what befell MDC N. Tsvangirai has earned my respect and the rest ndivana muchema dzafa!

  5. The plain truth is Tsvangirai wasn’t up to the job either as a leader of the MDC or as a surrogate ZANU/PF prime minister. He entered the government of national unity as the leader of an MDC opposition that was a divided shambles. Tsvangirai’s only legacy is a series of broken relationships involving women who were seduced by the position he held rather than by good looks, political adroitness, charisma and charm.

  6. Ehat have you done yourself Takura? The last we heard of you is when you were making noise at UZ many seasons ago. Now you are comfortable and never try to change a thing besides just waiting for other to do something for you. Be ashamed of yourself!

  7. You are masturbating in the comfort of your Office chair & you think fighting a brutal regime abusing state security apparatus is a joke.The only person who risked his life for the people was Morgan.Matibili himself never sacrificed his life for Zimbabweans as he claims.He spent much of his time masturbating in jail like you now.Uri shuro muface wangu I’m sorry to say.Form your own party & challenge Zanu Pf tione ukawana kana vote 1.

  8. The plain truth is Tsvangirai just wasn’t up to the job. He was an ineffective surrogate ZANU/PF prime minister that led a weak, divided, shambolic opposition MDC. His only legacy is a series of failed relationships with women seduced by perceived power and influence rather than by good looks, political adroitness, charm and charisma.

  9. kutsoropodza kurinyore & a pen is mightier than a sword,i hope yu ar not digging your own grave,sizakhubona fish nxaaaaa

  10. Takura, you are not what you want to say, if you are forming your own party, go ahead without begging us thru this, if you are calling for Tsvangirai’s outster say it as it is, its not Tsvangirai, but us who had failed/fooled ourselves, given $20, tshirt and a cap and sell our future to thieves, corrupt gvt, dont hide behind the finger, if you are calling Tsvangirai to call for an uprise, then say it man.nxaa

  11. Why Tsvangirayi as if you are not leaving in the same generation? This could have been better said “Our generation failed Tsvangirayi”! Noone amongst wants to join Tsvangirayi in the trenches yet we criticise him!!

  12. It will be unfair to really say the generation failed us this is the generation that got in the streets to demonstrate,bravely formed a political part that was to become the strongest eva.Although they are nw infiltrated there remain strong wat abt your generation by nw we should c smthing so u c your generation is nt even worth mention’n.

  13. kikikiki! How do you get surprised when you belief some Form 1 drop out holds the key to your vision for the future? You are the problem, not the ignoramus, Tsvangson. Do you really believe in miracles that much to the extent that you think the idiot would transfrm into a genius! kikikik

    MDC – Mazi Duche Chaivo!

  14. The writer is completely lost. Tsvangirai might not be as educated and is not as perfect as you may wish him to be, but it is crystal clear to everyone in Zim that his presence in the GNU lead to an improvement of people’s lives in this country. Look what has already happened in only 6months without MDC-T to this country, yatoparara kare. All that Zimbabweans want & need is an improvement in their livelihoods period. Zimwe zvese zvawavakutiudza izvi zve neocolonialism what what hazvitipe sadza

    • Tell us what improvement Tsvangison has made in the GNU? You young dreamer. The multiple- currency did the trick. The MDCs ARE the have-beens in Government, the also-runs. They virtually have nothing to offer the electorate, except signs that someone manipulates them. And, duly the electorate punished them.

  15. This analysis is unfair and very stubborn on the part of the writer. Tsvangirai has done what Joshua Nkomo failed to do and yet the latter had even a higher position than Mugabe during the liberation war. Tsvangirai has done more than what Ndabaningi Sithole did and yet the latter was the boss for Mugabe during the liberation war. Then to say Tsvangirai has failed us that being very stubborn and very unfair. Tsvangirai is a baby who just managed to find a voice among fathers who were afraid to reprimand one another. Lets face the facts and be true to ourselves and in that way we can have a prosperous Zimbabwe. How many people are even more educated and more experienced than Tsvangirai who are crying in their sacks? How many people in Zimbabwe are failing to tell the old man that Zimbabwe’s demise is not a result of sanctions but gross mismanagement? And yet they keep quite hoping that Tsvangirai will rise to the occasion then accuse him of failing when the same people would have failed to give him support. lets face the facts and fight for our country failure of which we will remain a colony. Many businesspeople fail to air out their views simply for fear it will be taken as a political stance yet it would be truly economic and business related. Imagine a CEO who is willing to let his group of companies crumple blaming sanctions yet they know very well that its Zanu PF. What a shame!!! Then you blame Tsvangirai!! That’s utter rubbish.

    • You have not mentioned any of the many things you claim Tsvangirai ‘did’, also what is it that Joshua Nkomo failed to do that Tsvangirai managed to do? Please elaborate, this is not an attack, by the way, thanks.

  16. Newsday it seems you don’t allow us to comment fairly. Most of my comments never appear though I neither use profanity nor insults, something that often shows up here.
    If you have an agenda to only show that which is against the state then go ahead, see if that succeeds.

    Now back to the topic at hand. Guys I don’t really see what the writer go wrong here, he is quite on point. Tsvangirai’s generation did fail us, easily being outwitted by Bob and Co. Those of you who think that the slight gains that we saw in the economy are thanks to the MDC are not being factual, it was only thanks to the introduction of the US dollar which was done by P. Chinamasa when he was acting finance minister.

    Those of you who think that leaders shouldn’t be blamed for failing are being impossible, Tsvangirai rose and said he could take out Bob, got the international community’s support, got sanctions introduced (ZIDERA) then failed. Was instead busy chasing skirts. Now he resides in a 4 million dollar house, a state owned house at that. Am I the only one who thinks something doesn’t make sense here??

    Lets stop being used by these selfish politicians guys.

  17. Takura Zhangazha,wezhira,you are totally lost Comrade. Tsvangirai Morgan Richard is our true hero. We will wait and see how your newly formed party NCA led by Madhuku,will it be effective enough,newe wacho. Munonakirwa nekungonyora,Act please. Shame on you comrade. Tsvangirai will rule very soon. Mark my words.

  18. Morgan was never a president of Zim so musati he failed us. Ma elections akarigwa zvamunoziva saka maida kuti adii? Dai akati handei muroad for demos maida here? Haikona kushaisha kuguta muchitaura zvekumama this writer arikutsvaga mbiri asi achitaura zvekupenga. Politics dzemu zim hadzina kufanana nepolitics dzemumabhuku dzamoswera muchiverenga mouya ku media kuzotinyaudza to hell with this writter ngaatiudze kuti iye akaitei? He even failed his family bt he talks to much. Viva Morgan I salute him. Unotaura zvana zum was Mogan a president of Zum?

  19. Tsvangirai did what many men could not do,that is defeat Mugabe in an election.unless you would have wanted Morgan to arm himself and go to state house and take the presidency by force i dont know what else you would have wanted him to do.

  20. The MDC should call for an extraordinary congress to realign itself in the light of the defeat..failing which if they continue with the same executive as presently constituted then they can follow ZUM, ZAPU, UANC into the realm of the also-rans! They have to put to bed certain characters who have shown their gross incompetence but use clever words to mask this…Some waste productive time on useless recitals and others have these narcissistic bent that they are the sharpest tool in the shed when their performance on the ground is anything but…The MDC needs to clean itself with Vim with ‘real fast vim’..The stench around them is pushing them into the quicksand..yah call for an immediate congress or DIE!

  21. as card-carrying, registered mdc-t voter i do not know what to say. i feel a little bit betrayed by my president m. tsvangirai.

  22. I also used to support the chinja maitiro party,however it was a let down after the party was destroyed
    by its leader Morgan.This resulted in the formation of other MDC parties such as MDC 99,MDC-N
    MDC-M,etc.It is crystal clear that Morgan can not lead this nation to prosperity after failing to keep
    his party intact.TendencIies of dictactorship have also been displayed by this party such that there
    is now a little difference from that of ZPF.

  23. clearly this chap is not a takur as purported but a zhangazha.
    ask thee not what chamatama can do for you but what doest thou for thy generation.
    in this theatre, chamatama is laife and laif is chamatama !!

  24. Tsvangirai akazama nepaanogona napo akahwina maelections several times, akarohwa nemaZanu akaurairwa mukadzi asi nanhasi party yedu (MDC T) still exist.Mamwe maMDC ose arikungo tevera ndeenhema.Zanu has failed the youth that’s it.Mazidhara aya arikungopanana mari, zvigaro neminda pachavo asi youth hapana chairi kuwana.Mugabe anozviziva kuti nyika yakafa ndosaka achinorapwa kuSingapore asi Mandela akafira munyika make maairapirwa.Vana vevanhu vezanu pf vanonodzidza kunze asi vedu vachinzi rambai makashinga, uye hapana chavanodzidza kunze kwekuudzwa kuti pamberi nezanu pf.Teacher wese anodzidzisa nezveZanu pf anopihwa minda bcoz anonzi anogona kubrain washer tuvana twemabharanzi anova ari isu.To hell with zanu pf.

  25. @memory chinovaira you are such an ungrateful piece of shit. Why dont you give credit where credit is due. This man has many achievements to his credit that no other man in the Zimbabwean history will ever. Dai zvisizvo ungadai usiri kuguta uchitaura zvaunoda. Morgan is a hero but akashaya support from the very people he was fighting to liberate because we just like Takura will always be cowards and we watch the future of our kids going to the few cunning politicians who are ready to fight to remain in power. It is rather better kudzvanyirirwa nemutorwa than kusunungurwa nemwana wamai vako kuti azokudzvanyirire

  26. takura, which generation are you? We the nation failed ourselves by not giving him the much needed support. all you do is watch on the sidelines hoping that a miracle will just happen. Tsvangirai did more than the cadres in govt could do. who among them could face bob and win? none even you are a coward only waiting for others to fight for you and call it a win when they win and cry when they lose. why can’t you stand and be a man. at least Tsvangirai proved that he is a real fighter a hero indeed. Even Dabengwa is on record saying he stopped Tsvangirai’s victory. visit the archives and read for yourself. shame on you

  27. Any hope that Tsvangirai and his gang would ever unseat ZanuPF military in an election is frankly very daft. You people can write as much as you like but I tell you now there’s no way any civilian party can unseat ZanuPF military. I knew all along MDCs were wasting time and money. A complete waste of political space. When Mbeki came forward with his proposal for a coalition government, MDCs should have turned that down and informed the world that Zimbabwe was under a ZanuPF military dictatorship like the one in Madagascar. Elections are meant to be a contest between civilian parties not civilian parties against a military dictatorship. Nowhere in this world has a party of civilians unseated a military dictatorship. If ZanuPF is not a military dictatorship, what is?

  28. vakomana musarasike nobody failed the other, or let me say if anybody failed another it is you who failed yourself, you want us to support your frustration about Tsvangirayi for what gain? and what are you doing yourself if you have better ideas? kkkkk, mourning and yawning will not bring a dollar to your table.

  29. tk and musona your observations are very true but remember MT conceeded defeat in order to save our lives otherwise kwaifiwa. Pane vaya vanga vagara varamba kumusaluta. A true hero is willing to suffer so that his supporters may live and look after their families . I salute you Morgan

    • Mukanya I don’t think that is what they were referring to.

      Anyhow, I’d like to know how it is that Morgan did anything for our sake? How come he is still living in a gvt 4 million dollar house?

      Why won’t he give someone with fresh legs a chance at the helm of the MDC for our sake?

      Guys u r wasting your time on Morgan. This is the end of him. Even his wife has seen it and is on her way out.

  30. Tsvangirai never had any intention for MDC-T to govern in 2008. Here is what was reported he said by the Zimbabwe Independent on the 7 Dec 2012 –
    “It would have been chaos and fighting each other if we had gone straight into power, but God had a plan,” the Herald quotes Tsvangirai saying.
    “God has a purpose for everything. He did not allow us to go straight into power, but allowed us to go through an apprenticeship course where we have been taught how to rule and know where the keys to govern the country are found.”
    Taught by who, we wonder? We hope it is not Zanu PF. Such daft comments are unlikely to inspire confidence in voters ahead of elections.
    The last question was being asked by the Zimbabwe Independent. This is the first time I have heard of a party leader going into elections with the intention of not getting into power!

  31. Zimbabwe’s service chiefs are ZanuPF top officials. All the service chiefs, including Chihuri, were pictured in suits at the ZanuPF Gweru Conference. Chiwenga was pictured with his missus at the Chinhoyi ZanuPF Conference. In other words, ZanuPF is the military and the military is ZanuPF. They can rig as much as they like and nobody can do anything about it. The Registrar-General, Mudede, is firmly under the thumb of the military. The military and police run elections.
    Madhuku has just turned his organisation into a political party but if you ask him how he intends to stop ZanuPF from rigging – he will only squirm or ignore the question but he will promise you the earth. This is the big elephant in the room – the military.

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