MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai’s attempt to shield and justify his long spell as party leader when he appeared on South African television station ANN7’s Africa Tonight programme left many convinced that, for Zimbabwe and the African continent, democracy is a very expensive ideology, which will remain elusive for many years to come. While he was explicit on the coalition, he failed the nation on the succession issue in his party.
By Pardon Maguta,Our Reader
From now going forward, if what he said on that station is what he believes on party leadership and renewal, he must stop accusing President Robert Mugabe of refusing to leave State House, let alone the Zanu PF leadership, as his people still want him to lead them even after 36 years of horror leadership. As a democrat, I am afraid the day Tsvangirai gets elected and elevated to the highest office in the land, he might be tempted to stay put, as long as people want him to lead them. A constitutional amendment on term limits would be unavoidable. The MDC-T leader clearly stated that he was not yet ready to step down as party leader, as long as his party constituency wants him to lead.
Secondly, for him it is impossible to pass the baton to someone in the middle of the struggle. On the surface, these seem like good intentions, but a simple scratch exposes them as the hallmarks and makings of a dictator. All these are the same excuses African despots and dictators use to hang on to power, pretending to be fighting against neo-colonialism and imperialism.
It is built on the idea of a personality cult. It is fed on the false idea that the leader is irreplaceable and no one in the organisation can think, reason, act or fight better than him/her.
Democracy is about changing leaders in a peaceful, credible, free and fair manner and this is lacking in most political parties.
Such attitude has left us stuck with an aged Mugabe, who still has unfinished business in government, he is still fighting Western colonial machinations, fed on his ego, he thinks he remains the best foot soldier for Zanu PF and Zimbabwe. Which is absolutely inaccurate and a security threat to our nation.
Tsvangirai’s reasoning does not make him any different from Mugabe, who has remained in power for 36 successive years and in the process destroyed everything that is of value to the nation, but thinks people still want him as party and national leader.
But Mugabe, under the pretence that we have “great praise” for him, has hung on, ruining our industries and agriculture, leading to an economic meltdown, which has left many people paupers and many others economic refugees.
Opposition leaders like Tsvangirai must learn and be able to hand over power within their parties. They can still play a role in removing Zanu PF from power.
Hanging on to power in an organisation, which is supposed to be democratic and elective, stifles the democratic spirit. It inhibits the ascendancy of fresh ideas and energies.
That is why in some democracies there are term limits. That is why some people voluntarily leave elective offices.
The whole idea is not to personalise a political office like what Tsvangirai is doing in MDC-T.
To some political party leaders, the excuse of not leaving office because people still “love” them has seen suspected successors being hounded out of their political offices and the “life” political leaders surrounding themselves with cronies and puppets.
Such political manoeuvres have weakened most parties particularly the opposition as no meaningful debate and ideas are generated with people resorting to praise-singing and worshipping the leader.
I hope this does not become the case with the MDC-T and other opposition political parties as we close in to the crunch 2018 polls.