HARARE - "Enlarge the place of your tent. Stretch your tent curtains wide , do not hold back, strengthen you cords, strengthen your stakes, for you will spread out to the right and the left…” (Isaiah 54 verse 2-4). In the past one week we have seen God at work, enlarging Tsvangirai’s territory as more and more political players continue to join his party ranks to moot a united front against Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
The coalescence into one big tent started about 10 days ago.
The time was 10:33am. The day was Monday, March 10, 2014 when Job Sikhala and his retinue of hangers-on drove into the Highlands home of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The meeting of the two that Monday was to be a perfect birthday present for Morgan Tsvangirai, who turned 62 on the same day.
Sikhala had spoken to president Tsvangirai on the phone the previous day to follow up on the call for a united front that the president had made in Budiriro on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
For one-and-half hours, I sat through their meeting at Highlands on that sunny day. The two, gripped by a bout of nostalgia, relived the formative years of the party and the unity that prevailed. They moved to the current political developments and Sikhala made it clear he was rejoining the party he helped form.
I noticed that the ebullient Sikhala had not changed one bit. He remained the same feisty politician, one of the few from the student movement, who had helped form the party back in 1999.
The banter, the energy and high spirits and the animated nature of the conversation confirmed that Sikhala remained the same with his heart and focus on the right place of bringing democratic change to the country of our birth.
The meeting was the first hint yet that the tent was truly being enlarged and that God was living true to his promise to expand our territory, in this case the territory of those seeking to bring democratic change in Zimbabwe.
The sceptics who make our media fraternity nowadays had dismissed it as a fluke and mere grandstanding.
But after the homecoming by Sikhala, Joubert Mudzumwe and many others from the Welshman Ncube political outfit who joined us in Bulawayo at the weekend, Tsvangirai’s sincerity to a united front is no longer in doubt.
But now like the animals and birds trekking into Noah’s ark, there is palpable movement in heeding Tsvangirai’s call for unity.
As Tsvangirai said in Harare last week, this movement is getting stronger and stronger by the day.
“Today, we obliterate the premature obituaries of this great movement. We showcase the dexterity with which we have out manoeuvred our political opponents who have underestimated our capacity to organise a common front of one big family of fighters for democratic change,” Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare last week when Sikhala and Mudzumwe rejoined the people’s movement.
“Through this homecoming by our colleagues in the struggle, we confound sceptics and put to shame the perception of MDC as a party in turmoil and a movement in disintegration.
“This party is alive, in spite of the negative energy that seeks to dampen the people’s spirits and to dash their hopes and aspirations.
“Some have mistaken the robust debate in this party as a sign of disintegration but I want to assure you that we continue working towards achieving unity so that we become bigger and better as a credible alternative.
“I can assure you that we are slowly and surely gathering in one tent because we know we are stronger in unity and weaker in division,” Tsvangirai said.
“This is a demonstration of our sincerity to unity and to the big tent approach in our struggle for democracy. Together, we are better and we can be able to confront the bigger national crisis that is the real issue this nation must confront and address.”
He took the occasion to shred a media perception that Tsvangirai is like Mugabe and he wants to die in office.
“Together we must build and enhance a strong movement so that when some of us leave the cockpit of this party, as we will definitely do in the foreseeable future, we must leave a united party in the hands of a new generation able to steer our struggle forward and to fulfil the people’s aspirations,” President Tsvangirai told journalists at the party headquarters in Harare last Thursday.
In Bulawayo, the tent was further enlarged to douse the growing and misguided perception that the MDC and the Morgan Tsvangirai brand had taken a nosedive.
The message emanating from the hundreds entering and
re-entering the MDC tent is that Zimbabweans remain confident in the party leader to take the people of this country forward.
In Bulawayo, it was made clear by Edward Mkhosi, formerly of the Welshman Ncube-led political formation, that there must be a united front to remove Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, not Morgan Tsvangirai.
He made it clear that the focus on Tsvangirai was misguided
because it is not him who is at the centre of the national crisis and the sorry national predicament that we face.
Like Jabez, Tsvangirai and the people of Zimbabwe continue to be blessed as their territory of struggle gets expanded every day through the unfolding unity of democratic forces under a tried and tested leadership.
For the record, the MDC will not split.
For the record, Morgan Tsvangirai continues to lead our democratic struggle until victory is achieved.
In the words of Job Sikhala, Zanu PF has every reason to panic as forces continue to gather at the river.
“Touyako!” (Here we come!)
*Luke Tamborinyoka is the spokesperson to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. He writes in his personal capacity.