Tsvangirai still in people's hearts

HARARE - After attending last Saturday’s eight-hour meeting of 210 district chairpersons at Harvest House and the rally in Harare’s Glen Norah suburb the following day, it was clear to me that the MDC as a party is very much alive and well.

It has been proven over the years that for Morgan Tsvangirai, it is these interactive meetings with Zimbabweans that have shown that the man remains the only hope for the ordinary people in villages, farms, mines and in the urban townships.

He remains dearly loved by the ordinary people; far away from the coup plotters and schemers in upmarket boardrooms and the doomsayers who have often under-estimated his popularity and his relevance to the national discourse.

Judging by the input from the party’s grassroots leaders from the 210 districts, Tsvangirai remains the repository of national hope and confidence.

Consulting and interacting with the ordinary people is his natural disposition especially when the people’s struggle is under siege from the enemies of the people.

Tsvangirai is simply the people’s man and these public platforms where he interacts with the ordinary citizens of this land have always shown that he is the people’s natural choice for national leadership.

Interacting with ordinary Zimbabweans at these people platforms have become a pastime he relishes every time doomsayers prematurely write his political obituary and that of the party he leads.

After the two meetings, it became apparent that the convoluted media narrative of a party and a leader without grassroots support are nothing more than the archetypal embellishments of the excitable members of the Fourth Estate.

Last Saturday, it was evident the spirits were very high as the 210 district chairpersons set the tone for the meeting, the bellowing music pitching to a crescendo as they sang party songs at the MDC headquarters in Harare that morning.

Those of us who have spent a decade working for this great people’s movement are familiar with the soothing, therapeutic and reassuring capacity of the powerful lyrics of these MDC songs.

Province by province, the district chairpersons described the poverty they were facing in the villages and in the towns as a result of the multi-layered crisis spawned by the stolen election of July 31.

Three district chairpersons named a senior leader calling for leadership renewal as having called for illegal and clandestine meetings at Pangolin Lodge in Gweru and at other named places in Mutare, Harare and Masvingo conspiring to unconstitutionally remove Tsvangirai from office.

The district chairpersons reaffirmed their support for their leader and said as grassroots leaders of the party, they were clear that Tsvangirai was their party leader who could only be removed at a public and democratic forum called a congress.

They expressed their misgivings with the impression being deliberately created on the political market that seemed to depict Tsvangirai as being at the centre of the national crisis; as if he was the single human impediment to the people’s happiness and prosperity.

They said the people they represented across the country were clear that the national problem remained President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Tsvangirai, they said, was the solution to the national crisis and not the problem.

The district leaders said they were proud of Tsvangirai’s record in government and that every Zimbabwean knew this was a stolen election as everyone in the villages was asking what went wrong.

There were no celebrations in the villages and seven months after the poll, the entire nation is still in “mourning”, struggling to come to grips with the reality of yet another pick-pocketed vote.

The chairpersons said if ever Tsvangirai had any weakness, it was that he was too lenient, too tolerant and too democratic even in cases of overt indiscipline and insubordination.

In his response, Tsvangirai spoke about the health of the party and the crisis facing the people of Zimbabwe.

He said true leadership should listen to the people, as he had done by calling the meeting of district leaders.

Tsvangirai said the meeting showed he had taken heed of the input from the grassroots during his outreach programme that he began in Masvingo on September 3, last year.

He said it was while in Bikita, sitting under a tree during that outreach programme on October 11, last year that the Bikita South district chairperson, Simon Ziki had proposed that the party president meets the 210 district chairpersons to appreciate the magnitude of the national crisis and to chart the way forward.

He restated that the debate taking place in the party was testimony to the democratic credentials of the people’s movement.

Tsvangirai said there was a deliberate creation of the impression that he wants to die in office and that he is a dictator.

In Glen Norah, a day later, he was to add that others had sought to portray him as a violent person when in his entire life; he has never been a proponent of violence but in actual fact a victim.

He said by nature and by the values of this movement, he is not a dictator even though others had taken that as a weakness when in fact it was a strength.

He reiterated that he had a plan that will see him leave office, but that plan did not include capitulating to an unconstitutional, hostile take-over.

At the people’s meetings at Harvest House and in Glen Norah, Tsvangirai said the major issue confronting Zimbabweans had nothing to do with the MDC as was being portrayed by the media but had everything to do with a crisis of legitimacy arising out of a stolen election.

The crisis has everything to do with a stolen mandate to which he restated the party’s eight-point plan as the only way the country could return to legitimacy and inspire local and international confidence.

He said notwithstanding the election results and the goings-on in the party, the MDC remained the only credible alternative that would deliver the people’s expectation of a better life for all.

At the two meetings, Tsvangirai walked the people through the party’s proposed plan which involves national dialogue of diverse stakeholders, political and economic reforms, global engagement, enhancing social sector delivery, infrastructure rehabilitation and national cohesion, culminating in a free and fair election underpinned by reforms as the last step on the journey towards returning to legitimacy in the country.

All the leaders of the party’s 210 districts in the country said they had confidence in Tsvangirai and would support him every step of the way.

The thousands that gathered in Glen Norah on Sunday, including eight old men and women who testified at the rally, had stories to tell of how Tsvangirai’s leadership had made a positive impact in their lives.

Tsvangirai restated that he will not die in office.

He said because he was not Mugabe, he will certainly leave office one of these days but certainly not through a hostile take-over.

He also said the debate within the MDC showed the party was a democratic party but restated that the party remained alive to its national mandate to deliver real change and positive transformation in Zimbabwe.

Put him before the people and Tsvangirai will certainly be in his element; his natural habitat.

In the coming weeks he will continue to interact with the ordinary citizens across the country and other stakeholders to deliberate on the poverty afflicting the people of Zimbabwe.

Nothing will divert our attention from our core mandate of rescuing this country from the jaws of penury and starvation.

Especially in the current national circumstances, Tsvangirai remains our best foot forward.

*Tamborinyoka is the spokesperson to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. He writes in his personal capacity.

Comments (8)

Zvose zvekuti he is the people's man hazvina basa asiri ndiyani if it is time to go-go kana nguva yakwana munhu ngaaende

Nyamhangambiri - 19 February 2014

The most accurate article ever. Tamborenyoka, you did not add or subtract anything from that truthful piece. It is evryone's democratic right to dream,create but the truth will remain alive.

mambo - 19 February 2014

The MDC-T members should remain focused on planning for 2018 elections. Vese varikuti pwetere-pwetere have not sacrificed for democratic change as much as Tsvangison has done. There so many opposition political parties in Zimbabwe, but why does it appear as if Tsvangison is the only opposition leader. Where are the rest? It shows Tsvangison is significant enough to attract attention. If it was not so, he would not be attacked so much by all and sundry in the state media and Zanu pf. Zanu pf in its heart of hearts know MDC-T under Morgan is a threat. Machinja zvioneyi izvozvo.

Rook - 19 February 2014

i am sure morgam my president knows where he is going while a number of people dont understand him. if you look at it careful the man is not much interested in being president, but to get rid of this monster called zanu pf. he might not only be interested in getting it out, but also to have it accept that it is monster. what i believe is that morgan knows he is not the greatest leader, but gets worried when people who are so capable like welshman miss what the zimbabwe people want.

sammy - 19 February 2014

.....And even when the congress is held Luke,no one is going to remove our President Tsvangirai.He is definitely our candidate for 2018,and Mugabe will have gone then.

josefa chinotimba - 19 February 2014

morgan chete

tim - 19 February 2014

Tsvangirai deserves to lead the MDC-T since he fought for demecracy in the Fierce country-Zimbabwe. Remember that he was jailed, beaten nearly to death but remained commited to his promises. We must look for some positives he has done not only negatives about him.

rusununguko - 20 February 2014

Khangelani isikhathi siyahamba, ukuze liphumelele 2018 umsebenzi uqala khona manje.Phela injongo yokubulala i MDC yabekwa kudala, vullani amehlo, likhulekele abakhokheli benu.

Muprofita - 21 February 2014

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