Painful as it might be, some things have to be said and sorted. Whether you like it or not, they cannot be postponed or shelved any further.
By CONWAY TUTANI
It has been courageous — not outrageous — for Eddie Cross to begin the discussion openly about the serious health issues surrounding his political ally, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition MDC-T party.
Cross has broached the subject maturely with carefully-worded remarks, which only those with malicious motives can misconstrue — and, according to normal distribution of the good and the bad in society, there are plentiful of those bad characters who will turn this into some conspiracy to oust Tsvangirai.
Wrote Cross this week on his blog in an article titled Life is not fair:
“… he [Tsvangirai] is suffering from an aggressive form of colon cancer.”
Aggressive cancer means a tumour that forms, grows, or spreads quickly. To state this clear medical fact, one does not need to have been to the school of medicine, but MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora chose to disparagingly refer to “Dr Cross” in a classic case of shooting the messenger instead of the message. This was uncalled-for.
Cross used the right, appropriate decent language — not the shocking, incendiary, demagogic, hateful, crude and cruel language spat out by one Jonathan Moyo in the past week, obscuring, stigmatising, distorting and lying without compunction, referring to his sick Zanu PF rivals as reacting from the side effects of anti-retroviral drugs without definitive evidence of that, and getting away with it. Does anyone in Zimbabwe utter hate speech more than Moyo?
Is this over-aggressiveness due to emotional baggage from childhood trauma, such as painful memories, mistrust and hurt carried around from past emotional rejection?
Continued Cross: “He [Tsvangirai] has been struggling with his treatment and the family is concerned that he might not handle the  election [campaign] …”
No one is celebrating Tsvangirai’s illness — like the depraved Moyo is doing against his opponents — but it’s there on websites that “in aggressive cancer cases, cancer cells can often become resistant to standard treatment options, and patients may, therefore, exhaust these options very quickly”.
That’s the gravity of the situation facing Tsvangirai, his family and the MDC-T, so there is no need to put on brave faces, behaving as if the problem is not serious and does not worry you.
Cross ruefully observed: “After a lifetime of principled struggle, to have it all threatened by a disease in you body — life can be a bastard at times.” These are Cross’s exact words. Can it get more empathetic than that? Can the words be misconstrued or misinterepreted by any well-meaning person, inside or outside the MDC-T? To top it all, Tsvangirai and Cross have been political bosom brothers.
One “Sorojena” reacted against Cross thus:“No, ‘Brand Morgan Tsvangirai’ is the one that sells for now. Let’s get him in and once he wins, then he can leave the Presidency to a younger person.”
This is one of the worst assumptions that I have ever heard, disregarding any potential disaster. Let’s not throw caution to the wind. Let’s not deliberately ignore the potential risks and negative impact of that. The risk factor is very high. So, it would be the height of irresponsibility to leave it all for after the elections when anything could happen at any time. Let’s be realistic, and not leave it all to fate.
“Shepherd Moyo” chipped in: “Can we, for once, stop as Zimbabweans to be distracted by things like this? If Zanu PF is not distracted by the fact that President Robert Mugabe is 93 and cannot walk without stumbling, and also suffers from ill health, who are we as MDC-T to be distracted by Morgan Tsvangirai’s ill health?”
One, it’s not that in Zanu PF they are “not distracted by the fact that (Mugabe) … also suffers from ill health”, but that his health very much an issue because if it wasn’t, they would not be this intense infighting to succeed him, which has been escalating in the past three years in tandem with Mugabe’s visibly deteriorating health.
Two, it’s not a distraction, but reality that Tsvangirai is ill — and seriously so. There is need for realism — that practice of accepting a situation as it is and dealing with it accordingly. There is need to face reality — the state of affairs, as they actually exist, as opposed to how one might like them to be. There is need to be realistic — having a sensible and practical idea of what can be achieved or expected, representing or depicting a way that is accurate and true to life.
For instance, MDC MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s recent claim that at the very least 76% of MPs are HIV-positive can’t be true to life or accurate, thus, it is not realistic. It’s a gross and wild exaggeration. Let’s not make excuses for such distortions like one “Sikhosana” did when I pointed this out last week. “Sikhosana” fumed: “He [myself Tutani] wastes time in statistically analysing the figures in Priscilla’s comments, when it’s clear that those were only meant for emphasis and not statements of fact!”
Need the somehow intellectually-challenged and mixed-up “Sikhosana” be reminded that: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” You can’t fabricate, bend and twist statistics to suit your own warped, a priori or preconceived opinion.
In that vein, it’s not an opinion, but a fact, that Tsvangirai is seriously ill. Anything can happen at any time. So, people need to recover from the initial shock and even denialism and begin to see things as they really are. They should look at all scenarios including the worst that could happen. In all this, they should have a positive attitude, but make sure they are ready for anything.
We all get into such most difficult and unavoidable situations, don’t we? Like when a loved one is critically ill, we hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Need it be reiterated that it’s most risky and, ultimately, foolish not to look at all scenarios?