It’s time for Tsvangirai to step down

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is a hero, who, for the past 20 years, has spearheaded the fight for freedom in Zimbabwe, taking the fight up to an evil and treacherous foe.

By Tapson Muchena

He has endured despite being arrested on trumped-up charges in 2000 and 2003.

He was yet again arrested, incarcerated, beaten and battered in 2007 and in 2008. He was cheated out of a deserved victory in the harmonised elections. He also survived an assassination attempt on March 6, 2009 that claimed the life of his wife Susan.

Now, he is in constant pain as he battles cancer of the colon. We cannot, in conscience, ask any more of this man.

Tsvangirai has run his race. It is time for him to stand aside and to allow new leadership to emerge in his opposition party. If he stands as a candidate in the 2018 elections, Zanu PF will definitely chew him up and spit him out as they have done before. If he retires now, his future will be as an honoured elder statesman.

There is an eerie similarity between the two major parties MDC-T and Zanu PF. Before the new dispensation that brought to the fore former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the political parties led by failing leaders — former President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai — were reluctant to nominate successors and/or stand down. It was feared that should events overtake them and either leader be removed from the scene, his party could descend into chaos as factions and personalities would vie to succeed each of them. The electorate is watching both sides with deserved apprehension.

MDC-T can wrong-foot

Zanu PF

The MDC-T must seize the moment. It would be a decisive stroke and perhaps Tsvangirai’s greatest act of selfless leadership for him to announce his immediate retirement. The emergence of Nelson Chamisa (Tsvangirai’s most likely successor) as the new leader of his party and leader of the opposition alliance will give new impetus for the battle against Zanu PF.

Already, there was a report that the prospect of Mugabe having to face Chamisa in the 2018 election had raised a red flag within the State security apparatuses.


Tsvangirai and the MDC-T must now seize this opportunity to wrong-foot Mnangagwa’s forces and force them to completely change their tactics from a strategy of containment to offensive counter-intelligence, expending their resources in the process.

Groundswell for change

The electorate is weary. How can they be enthusiastic when they are faced with an all-too-familiar scenario? We have the same contending parties: Zanu PF versus MDC-T together with a number of vote-splitting minor opposition groups; the same electoral process conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that answers to Zanu PF; and signs of the same Zanu PF vote rigging. Why would they not expect the same

inevitable result?

An MDC-T leadership change could well be the spark that will reignite the fire in the belly of Zimbabwean voters. There is an increasing groundswell for change among Zimbabweans. A new, young, vigorous leader of the opposition will fill their hearts with hope and demonstrate that the MDC-T acknowledges the deep public dissatisfaction with current leaders and recognises that we cannot continue down the same path as before.

Seeing the 75-year-old Mnangagwa pitted against a young, unpredictable opponent will revive their interest and renew their desire to participate in the electoral process. They will believe that change is possible.

Challenges for Chamisa

Chamisa will not only be the leader of the MDC-T, but he also will be vested with mantle of leader of the opposition. He must quickly transform the MDC Alliance into the Zimbabwean Alliance and lead a truly united opposition into the election.

This Zimbabwean Alliance must be a coalition against tyranny and not a coalition for entitlement to political office. As I have written before, a united opposition will require a high degree of co-operation and respect for each other to get behind true leaders dedicated to uplifting the people and restoring the nation. Zanu PF is tearing itself apart because its leaders are locked in a bitter struggle for power. A united opposition must avoid the same pitfall.

A united opposition implies having just one opposition candidate in each constituency, who is supported by all opposition groups. Otherwise the opposition vote will be split and that will be disastrous.

The smaller parties will each make their contribution to a united opposition, just as small streams fill bigger streams that become a raging torrent.

It’s time

Now is the time for Tsvangirai to deliver a masterstroke against Zanu PF by stepping down from leadership of the MDC-T in favour of a young leader. He will go into a well-earned retirement as an elder statesman revered by a grateful nation.

Tapson Muchena is an academic and a keen observer of the Zimbabwe situation. He can no longer remain silent. Email: tapson.muchena@gmail.com.

5 Comments

  1. While the brother is highlighting his concerns about Tsvangirai it is also a worthy exercise to pray for Morgan to recover. Being unwell is part of everybody’s life.We all fall sick at any particular time and the condition should not be the basis for a leader to step down.While the young Nelson Chamisa is a darling to all of us, we really need to be patient and pray for Morgan. It is God who holds our future. Doctors may fail to administer medication but God gives life and if we all pray as one for our beloved leader God can bring him back to us. Remember Tabita(Docas) story in the bible the widows felt heart broken at her death and they prayed for her and God raised her from the death.
    Morgan has been serving Zimbabwe as the writer has indicated and the only way that we have is to pray to God so that He can grant us an opportunity to be blessed and led by Tsvangirai.Chamisa and other alliance partners can work it out while the incumbent is healing then he can come and take us to the promised land.
    I personally think we should give Morgan a chance and pray for him to fully recover.

  2. i am not sure who is smuggling this issue of Tsvangirai reliquishing power time and again, Tsvangirai and Mugabe were the two known political brands in Zimbabwe and ED has just enetered the elite club ,so let Chematama battle it out with ED this coming July and it will be an exciting contest which the crowd will marvel from start to finish, issue of ailment is irrelevant as it is only the powers beyond any one of us which will take his soul from this world so lets not even talk about his health issue, its in safe hands of the creator and not what the human mind think may or mayn’t happen.

  3. Comment…wt more does the oposition need or hw cn they tackle their manifesto E.D. has done gd investors coming kkkkkkkkk maita Gwena

  4. Lets us Pray for him l dont think zanu and mnangagwa will win vote. If it is going to be done in Good ground Tsvangirai will win and If not the Same story will come. Lets us go and vote for a change. What is needed in mdc is not a change of leadership But Good ground. mdc will win

  5. @Tapson Muchena – You’re just a Chamisa surrogate, please give us a break. Who chose Chamisa to lead MDC? Khupe is the legit deputy to take over. She was chosen by MDC membership. This Chamisa dude is Tsvangison’s choice and this is not empire-ship.

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