I have a succession plan — Tsvangirai

HARARE - Amid claims by some that main opposition (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai is now a spent force, the Daily News’ reporters Fungi Kwaramba and Tendai Kamhungira (DN) took time to speak to Tsvangirai (MT), in a wide-ranging interview that touches on the party’s succession plan, opposition party coalitions and his stance on electoral reforms.

DN: You recently went around the country what was your mission?

MT: Yes, the mission out there was to assess the state of the party and also to assess the state of the drought and its implications on the population. I think from the party’s point of view, we are satisfied that the party is solid, the party structures are intact and that those who are committed to change have not lost hope, they are still as enthusiastic as ever.

As for the state of hunger, it’s now common cause that we face a very dim future with regards to the food situation in the country and apparently people still hope that the government will be in a position to respond, but so far I don’t think the government has adequate resources or adequate means to respond to the level of hunger.

DN: It seems as though those in power do not go to the people in times of disaster, but you have in the past tried to visit villagers after the Tokwe-Mukorsi flood disaster?

MT: They (some leaders) depend on the bureaucratic inputs I suppose, the district administrators or traditional leaders, Zanu PF structures to some extent. These are partisan political structures that either try to hide the situation or in a way want to exploit it for political purposes or partisan purposes. We all know that the level of drought is even worse than that of 1992.

At least the response of 1992 was very effective in terms of transportation of food to various parts of the country but this time you don’t see activity, you don’t see the urgency, you don’t even see the coordination, nationally and internationally.

DN: There is this question that is asked by many, who claim mdhara apera (you are no longer popular)?

MT: (Laughed) Hanzi ndapera, ndapera chii (in what sense do they say that)? I told you I went around the country and if (Morgan) Tsvangirai is of no use why would real supporters of the MDC believe that he is the solution? Why would people still believe in a 92-year-old (President Robert Mugabe)? If ndikapera inini (I am no longer appealing) at the age of 60 ko ane 90 anoitasei, (what would a 90-year-old do)? The comparison is unbelievable. I am at my prime, politically I have endured 16 years of political development and for anyone to talk of munhu apera (waning popularity) what is the yardstick?

We still have not achieved the change we have been fighting for. There has been a lot of experience over the last 16 years.

We believe in serious paradigm in terms of thinking, in terms of approach, the only obstacle has been an entrenched dictatorship and sometimes I wonder why people blame the opposition for the mistakes and omissions of the dictatorship.

DN: You spoke about entrenched nationalism, spending much time on credentials, what do you think must be done on this issue?

MT: Well, I think fundamentally what is needed is to redefine the nationalist agenda. The elements of nationalism for instance it’s not just a question of change of personalities, it is a question of transforming the governance culture. We have for the past 35 years been at the mercy of Zanu PF governance culture, one man rule, no democratic deepening, no economic upliftment of the people, corruption , patronage and of late even redefining who is entitled to lead the country or not. Now that is a culture that must be transformed and it is abuse of State institutions to sustain power rather than to allow the State institutions to service the people and that is a fundamental mistake.

DN: Do you think you can still win elections against Zanu PF?

MT: What is the means of power in this country? We, from the beginning have never believed in unconstitutional means to remove Zanu PF. We have always stuck to the democratic process, because we believe in democratic change of government unfortunately in trying to push for that agenda, we have had to meet so many obstacles the violence, the rigging of elections, the denigration of the leadership of the opposition, the redefining of what sovereignty is all about, so we have had to contend with that. These are the obstacles, nowhere in the world have you ever seen a democratic movement taking on a dictatorship using democratic means.

And that’s what defines us differently from others. If you look at what we have achieved, we have achieved to redefine the State by a new Constitution, we have achieved to say Zanu PF has no hegemony, has no monopoly in the governance of this country and hence there are two political movements in the country, Zanu PF and MDC totally different, with a totally different vision for the country. It gives the people an opportunity to choose.

DN: Doesn’t the issue of electoral reforms come into play in ensuring that you win a free and fair election?

MT: We have been fighting this government for reforms, the Constitution has provided so much wide-ranging reforms but it’s not being implemented…and in 2008, we won an election, Mugabe has confirmed it but was there a transfer of power, if there was a transfer of power in terms of the dictates of the mandate of the people, then the MDC would have already taken over power.

But people want to say the MDC has failed even if those in authority have refused to transfer power, the blame has to be on MDC, so I say so without even any apology, the MDC has provided a new vision and a new vehicle for the change of governance in this country and to say that we have failed just because Mugabe is still there, has no merit, because if Mugabe has got an entrenched system that refuses to give up power even when people have voted against it, why should you blame the opposition?

DN: In light of this, what are MDC’s chances in 2018?

MT: Well, the chances are there, that is why we have put forward the question of reforms as a pre-condition for possibility of an electoral playing field which is free and fair.

DN: But Zanu PF has been backtracking on implementing electoral reforms to an extent of participating in by-elections, which you boycotted. Do you think Zanu PF will implement the reforms?

MT: We have not participated, that was a strategy for us to expose Zanu PF and in fact we achieved that. Have we not been vindicated? The implosion that you see is as a result of infighting in Zanu PF, because we have not participated. They find enemies within themselves and I think we have achieved that.

DN: Former Vice President Joice Mujuru has launched her new political party the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF). What do you think of this new “kid” on the block?

MT: There has always been a new kid on the block, there was Simba Makoni and his Mavambo/ Khusile, so there will always be.

For me, they are not the enemy, they appeal to a certain constituency, I don’t know which one, but they are part of the opposition. To me that’s fundamental, they are not the problem, the problem has always been Zanu PF, so in terms of accepting their role and space, fundamentally I see nothing wrong with that.

DN: Is it true that you share a lot in common with Mujuru including your stance on electoral reforms?

MT: To be truthful, these are the things we have articulated over and over again. The problem has always been the transfer of power in this country and there are institutions that are being abused to stop respecting the people’s will …whether it’s (Morgan) Tsvangirai, whether it is Amai Mujuru, whether it is anybody, the question is that this is the time where we have to force conditions, conditions that will allow for the mandate of the people to be observed, unfortunately, Mugabe has always sustained his power through military means, military pillars.

We have never said that the military is an enemy of the people, we have always said people must be professional, they must respect the Constitution. If that were to be observed in the letter and spirit, I can tell you Zanu PF will not see the light of day. If we have beaten them in 2008, in 2018 they will be chicken feed.

DN: What is your take on the issue of forming a grand coalition with other opposition political parties?

MT: People have to be careful on coalitions, we have always believed that coalitions are not a pact of the elites. It’s about the people and when we talk about the people how do you qualify an elite pact which is not based on any quantifiable ways? It means that only a few leaders have come together and agreed but what about the people on the ground, what are they saying? So perhaps we believe that coalitions are good for partnerships.

They are an instrument of partnerships, strategic partnerships to achieve a certain objective, because you believe in those values but they are not just an opportunistic method ye (for) a few people sitting around saying yah saka imi muri kubva kupi saka (where are you coming from) let’s talk …that is position oriented, it’s not value oriented so for strategic reasons, people have to be very cautious.

DN: Do you think a grand coalition can work in Zimbabwean politics?

MT: You will have to make a very serious analysis at that stage, yekuti (that) as we go towards an election…you must understand what are we fighting for? We are fighting for legitimacy, we are fighting for a democratic process, we are fighting to ensure that the people’s mandate is respected. If those conditions are there then the opportunity for partnerships as players is there.

There is an opportunity for various players to coalesce around the main objective but people must be clear, it’s not about positions because the obsession sometimes is who is going to lead and people miss the point, it becomes now a fight for positions, you are fighting to the bottom instead of fighting to ensure that the objective is to dislodge the system and once you are fighting to dislodge the system, it’s about value, it’s about a new government culture…

DN: Currently Zanu PF is facing serious problems due to Mugabe’s failure to name a successor, as the MDC, do you have a succession plan?

MT: Any organisation must have a succession plan that is why in business, there are succession plans, in political parties there should be succession plans.

It’s what is called the queen syndrome. When you are in an organisation, you must know that there are potential successors, and at some stage you pave the way for others. You cannot just go on and on and on, you have to create conditions for the sustenance of that organisation, it means that there has to be constant development of leaders at the bottom and so that provides for sustenance for the future.

Comments (25)

So what is the succession plan Mr Tsvangirai ? Is your firing of anyone who whats to succeed you the succession plan ? DN , you short changed us by ending the interview without an answer to the succession plan . The succession plan is to fire any one who wants you to step down . WHAT A PLAN ?

Hayibo ! - 7 March 2016

0% hayibo. mt never chased anything away. all those fools voted with their feet from mc-t

josphat mugadzaweta - 7 March 2016

MT's articulation of the national problem and whole issue of national governance and economic management is next to none. If this reflects lack of education, then i don't understand what education is all about; maybe its about shouting at the west and opposition parties. The man has no anger, not vindictive and very forward on issues (except succession plan). Real issue for MT is what's the matrix for taking over power because he has always been winning elections. He deserves our support at home and in the diaspora!

Save - 7 March 2016

they ran away and formed their parties. after that Mangoma and Biti fought over leadership pasina kana mwedzi mitatu...and further splitted into 2 other parties. they were just power hungry people who do not command any following on their own. They even refused to participate on by-elections vachihwanda neresolution yeMDC of non perticipation yet ivo vane party yavo.

Chongogwe - 7 March 2016

Hierarchy in any organisation is a plan for succession. In ZANU PF whether Mugabe accepts or rejects, his successors for now are two, Mnangagwa and Mpoko. MDC-T same thing, Khupe takes over until such a time of elections.

amina - 7 March 2016

This guy has no succession plan - otherwise he would have described it. And anyway, it is not up to him to decide who succeeds him!

david taylor - 7 March 2016

This guy has no succession plan - otherwise he would have described it. And anyway, it is not up to him to decide who succeeds him!

david taylor - 7 March 2016

This guy always talk about the suffering pple of this land . He does not talk about revenges and other cheap things he talks about the ravaged economy and the enemy of this country who is Mugabe . He is always spot on and knows how zimbabweans are suffering in the country and those in foreign countries where they are treated as makwerekweres without any rights and i am yet to hear any leader talking like that .But the reason why he talks like that is that he is civilian not a former war volunteer and is not from zanu which makes him the kind of a leader sort out by the citizens aah big up Save for standing with us even during the hardest times and keeping the same vision of seeing zimbabweans freed from the black oppressors uyinkunzi .. .

Diibulaanyika - 8 March 2016

Morgan Tsvangirai`s explanation is clear to political followers and not the rest of the people like those who just want a person because of his or her name. It takes one to be serious in the political platform to think about Tsvangirai`s succession plan when the whole of Zimbabwe has failed to come up with Mugabe`s succession plan at 92 years. Tsvangirai is only a leader of the MDC-T outfit but to my surprise, outsiders are leading in saying he should leave office before achieving any of the people`s mandates. This is a kind of focus diversion.

Douglas - 8 March 2016

Save, it would be unfair to nail Tsvangi on the Succession plan. suffice it to say he said it is there, otherwise if he divulges the details he would have disarmed himself and at the same time arming the enemy. it is an internal thing.

nelson ndlovu - 8 March 2016

i can feel in his talking that Tsvangirai is losing confidence in himself

Seh Sidnie - 8 March 2016

is there democracy in the mdc t, n, b, 99. there is no democracy thats the reason we have these numerous mdcs. tsvangirai is a dictator of the same magnitude as that of mugabe. he changes his party's constitution just like it is in zanu pf. he wont allow anyone to take over from him even though his mandate expired in 2014. lets not fool ourselves that there is a democratic party in zimbabwe. the best person as of now is amai mujuru. our task as a people should be to achieve change. this appears possible if we vote wisely in the 2018 elections. vote mai mujuru for change.

Chibaya T - 8 March 2016

I was listening to Amai Mujuru on SAFM talk with Sakina this morning! Madam Mujuru is very far from being an accomplished and polished politician in the mould of MT. The Madam must hire Development Economists (not economists), Political Economists (not political scientists) and combination of Sociologists and Psychologists. I pity her and the position she now occupies in the politics of Zim. She failed to articulate basic issues that she must have been dealing with in the past 12 months or so. In people's minds, there are common questions she will always confront until next elections and these specialists must 'cook' her on how to articulate answers around them. Madyira mune basa guru chose and i dont admire your position now but Good Luck

Save - 8 March 2016

No sane person can start heaping praises on Mujuru when it is known she played a dirty role in destroying our economy and we all know she has no brains to revive our economy . Those gamatox makiing noise are there to fool you Mujuru has no punch in as far as political power is concerned you can not compare him with Morgan . If you are thathekile you can follow her but she is empty brain wise .

Siginya mbila - 8 March 2016

It is a well known fact that Morgan Tsvangirai is now a spent force. Having such a weak leader like Tsvangirai, will turn the country into a haven of Gays and Lesbians. The reason being the MDC is easily dictated to by the West. We will never accept Gays and Lesbians in Zimbabwe. Some will think that it is Mugabe`s stance, but let it be known that Zimbabweans are united whenit comes to Gays.

Yago - 8 March 2016

Mai Mujuru is a force 2 recorn with. Morgan has a dectatorship tendence esp if u can recall hw they broke up wth the late Gibson when the majority suported the motion to contest as senators, he by himself went against that irregardles of the majority vote. That tells what kind of a leader is he.

Hp - 9 March 2016

is there democracy in the mdc t, n, b, 99. there is no democracy thats the reason we have these numerous mdcs. tsvangirai is a dictator of the same magnitude as that of mugabe. he changes his party's constitution just like it is in zanu pf. he wont allow anyone to take over from him even though his mandate expired in 2014. lets not fool ourselves that there is a democratic party in zimbabwe. the best person as of now is amai mujuru. our task as a people should be to achieve change. this appears possible if we vote wisely in the 2018 elections. vote mai mujuru for change.

Chibaya T - 9 March 2016

Gays, Lesbians, The West, Sanctions are very old and tired mantras from ZANOIDS and apparently the gay gangsters are taking over. So please spare us of that nonsense and think about the political and economic liberation of our people. For once, lets think about the future of our children and stop being selfish PLZ!

Save - 9 March 2016

Gays, Lesbians, The West, Sanctions are very old and tired mantras from ZANOIDS and apparently the gay gangsters are taking over. So please spare us of that nonsense and think about the political and economic liberation of our people. For once, lets think about the future of our children and stop being selfish PLZ!

Save - 9 March 2016

who was born a leader ? one has to prove it if its in him or her, MT showed that and remember his struggle is like fighting someone in his own house where him only knos where his weapons are kept. ZANU pf is not a push over, if Zimbabweans want a chenge of Gvt they must fight every policy, legislation that is not making the playing field level, even with Mujuru coming on board if her party does not fight these legislation then it will be one of those parties for History purpose. or another question Do we wait for these opposition parties to do that or we should as Zimbabweans spearhead this ? food for thought ma Zimbos.

kakairo - 12 March 2016

People nanga nanga na va Tsvangirai there is nothing wrong this gentle man did,he is just trying to redeem you from your poverty created by ZANU PF,but you don't see all those things you can't even raise your voice against Robert Mugabe caz he has CO'S and soldiers everywhere and you are afraid even to cough, haaa a a shirt dzevanhu, l you are brave enough imi vanongogwauta what action did you take to stop Mugabe from continuing to rule over you. For Joyce Mujuru forget and smile we won't vote for you we know who you are, you are a plant of ZANU PF to destabilise the MDC T, we will continue to vote for MDC T until we achieve our goals,Joyce where were you when they were burning people,killing and maim them don't try to come and bribe us you were part of that team just because you have been thrown away you want to come and make friends with us we are not your friends pasi newe go to hell, ZANU chiororo, unofanira kumborohwa nekusungwa zvakaitwa va Tsvangirai at least without that never you are still ZANU PF,

chatikobo - 13 March 2016

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