Some people live dramatic lives and sometimes one wonders how their lives are scripted.
Develop Me Tapiwa Gomo
Once he got on to the political podium, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has never ceased to be a reliable provider of news content.
Not even the rainbow-swirl lollipop nor the chameleon can be as colourful and demonstrate the level of capriciousness that match the equivalence of this, one of our own and only Tsvangirai.
It was somewhere around 1998 when I first met him. I was a student then together with some of the comrades who are now fulltime employees of the political confusion that has eroded the hopes of our country.
Then he was carrying out consultative meetings with civil society groups in Chitungwiza on the prospects of launching a party. One thing I remember very well was that while the prospects of a party looked prolifically lucrative given the widespread anger over plummeting living conditions in Zimbabwe, he sounded hesitant to devour a glaring opportunity.
It was also clear that pressure inundated him from different angles. Zimbabweans across the divide were crying for an alternative after almost two decades of an impoverishing Zanu PF rule. Workers had suffered enough; commercial farmers were on the verge of a catastrophe, as a student my grant was being washed away by inflation and the economy was nosediving.
What was there to wait for? To his advantage Zanu PF were as gullible as to offer Tsvangirai the barometer to test his power. He called for a stay away, the whole nation responded. And that must have tingled titillation in his newly found political ego.
Donors came calling with bowls of cash and conditions. Western governments too weighed in, decorating Tsvangirai as a symbol of democracy, change and justice.
They made him an idol of anything that Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe was not. In Zanu PF’s view, the MDC as a people project was turned into a puppet project and we were fed to that propaganda.
Whether by design or default his stature or may be a collusion of emotions of anything and everything that bore anger with Zanu PF became attracted to Tsvangirai. Groups of varying, sometimes inimical ideological positions concocted into a political party glued by convenience and common cause of removing Zanu PF than relevance or the bigger picture.
The MDC became a big structure and yet synthetically weak. Since its formation, it has been clear that removing Zanu PF from power was central in its policy narrative. That cacophony of policies was marked by a dearth of ideas on how the country would move forward in the hands of an MDC government.
Time would prove that short-sighted projects are not long lasting. Fifteen year down the line, more than ten elections on our sleeves, Zanu PF is still in power. The constituencies that used to give Tsvangirai the oomph were fast getting fed up, peeling off the ranks of what used to be a dream project.
At takeoff, Lovemore Madhuku and his National Constitutional Assembly opted to be a standing passenger, ready to alight at the first meander. Next to jump ship was Munyaradzi Gwisai and his International Socialist Organisation.
His was a conundrum of ideological suffocation in a political choir that sang the “Mugabe must go” chorus which chimed with his soul and yet differed with his ideological subscription.
The 2005 split of the MDC marked the watershed in the life of the party, revealing bare the crisis of ideological differences and how they manifested into identities.
The MDC and MDC-T were born, with one perhaps carrying the traits of its leader.
Despite these tumultuous times, there is no doubt that Tsvangirai held many people’s hopes, not because he was capable but because he was the only person to date to dent the Zanu PF arrogance. Perhaps that is the reason why most people of Zimbabwe are heartbroken, because they never hoped for a better future but for the removal of Zanu PF.
In as many elections, they gave him votes, he took the lead but he never won any of them, including in his own village. And Zimbabwe suffered lack of attention. We were a lonely nation as the focus was on elections.
Even today, as the MDC-T has just granted Zanu PF leave through the current crisis, they still speak elections, congress, 2018. It is never policies to get the country forward.
As for Tsvangirai today, he must be feeling lonely in his inner self. Everyone close to him has left him.
In addition to those who have dumped him politically, he has not recovered from the loss of his wife, Susan.
The ensuant stories suggest a troubled romantic life. The fissure between him and Tendai Biti don’t look reparable. Madhuku and Welshman would rather have political breakfast with Biti than Tsvangirai. The next election may be too far to start worrying about but whose faces will be on the ballot papers, but it is indeed a pertinent question.