'Tsvangirai down but not out'

HARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai is upbeat about recovering from colon cancer and confident in his medical team, his top allies have said, adding he trusts completely in the treatments he is undergoing.

The opposition leader is back in Harare convalescing after an initial round of chemotherapy, with the cancer saga appearing to have tightened the bond with his most militant backers, giving him popularity bump among hard-core supporters.

Even as he faces  potentially debilitating radiation treatment , the inexhaustible Tsvangirai, 64, has refused to slow down just as he goes into what could be his toughest election yet.

“Only a few days ago, he chaired two very long meetings of the MDC National Standing Committee as well as another meeting of the party’s provincial chairpersons,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.

“These were very long and exhaustive meetings but president Tsvangirai was at his usual best; very attentive to detail and raring to go. Prophets of doom might be quick to write this man off but then they will be shocked. God surely has got a purpose for Morgan Tsvangirai. Haters and other evil-minded people are going to be disappointed. The man is on his way to a remarkable and full recovery.’’

President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba gave an impression he is exulting in Tsvangirai’s health problem.

“Many ex-members of the original MDC sordidly anticipate that sekuru (grandfather) Tsvangirai will be prostrated by the affliction which has kept him out of political circulation,” wrote Charamba under his pen name Nathaniel Manheru.

“Some even eerily dream of worse outcome.”

One Standing Committee member said: “He told us with great strength: ‘I am very optimistic, I trust completely in the treatments I am undergoing, I will beat this again. I’m holding onto Christ and life.’”

Gutu said Tsvangirai is a fighter.

“The people of Zimbabwe are yet to see the best of this man. On a personal level, I have learnt a lot from his humility and empathy. He is the kind of person that is willing and able to listen to and converse with anyone; from top global politicians and business leaders to the simple villager and peasant from the rural areas,” Gutu said.

Tsvangirai, who has dominated Zimbabwean opposition politics  since taking over as MDC president in 1999, was forced earlier last week to head back to South Africa for the next operation for colon cancer.

He is expected to square off with the veteran Zimbabwean leader for the fourth time since 2002, and Tsvangirai says he is leading what he calls a generational battle against Mugabe, 92, in the do-or-die 2018 vote.

Though the 64-year-old former prime minister looked stoic and played down the dangers of his latest condition, the announcement inevitably raises questions over his ability to stand for the crucial 2018 presidential vote, analysts said.

Tsvangirai said his diagnosis of cancer is the first of several medical procedures that include treatment through chemotherapy, which treatment began last week.

Stephen Chan, a professor of World Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London told the Daily News on Sunday: “Colon cancer is not always fatal — although often is — so much would depend on the clinical nature of the diagnosis and prognosis.

“However, if it is indeed fatal in this case, then ...Tsvangirai’s presence as a political figure in Zimbabwe will be sorely missed. He was far from a perfect person, but even his enemies would describe him as a man of courage.”

Southern Africa senior consultant international conflict prevention organisation International Crisis Group Piers Pigou, said it all depends how advanced the cancer is.

Adding that the surgery would be supposedly less complicated and he could be fine for the presidential race.

“My father had colon cancer 12 years ago, had a large section of his colon removed and is still reasonably well and seemingly cancer free... I don’t think you ever recover, but it seems to depend on when you catch it.

“My sense is we don’t have enough detail on his actual condition and prognosis, so it’s going to be very difficult to do anything more than really speculate in the circumstances.”

Senior  Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch Dewa Mavhinga said Tsvangirai did a highly commendable and courageous thing to be transparent and open about his health condition but this should not have any adverse impact on the country’s political discourse since he has said he has undergone a surgical operation and is on treatment to manage the cancer.

“With proper medical care, colon cancer can be easily managed leading to full recovery,” he said.

“Within his party, Tsvangirai’s deputy Thokozani Khupe, the secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and other leaders have full capacity to lead the party while Tsvangirai takes much needed rest to fully recover. Colon cancer is not necessarily terminal, with proper medical care, Tsvangirai will be running soon, with his health playing no significant part in the determination of the formation and structure of the mooted grand coalition.”

Nobody, though, is writing off a man who has overcome so much in the past — an assassination attempt when thugs in 1999 tried to throw him from the 10th floor office of his Chester House ZCTU HQ office in central Harare, in a bid to stifle food riots, 2002 treason charges, a 2005 internal rebellion over the decision to participate in Senate elections that split his party, and an attempted coup that nearly toppled him from power after the 2013 polls.

With savvy use of media and the Internet, and drawing on his unique emotional connection with the poor, Tsvangirai still has a high chance of triumphing yet again if he can stay well enough.

Comments (15)

mr morgan get well soon hapana anoti ndiri dombo....imi tevedzerai chete zvamunoudzwa navana chiremba/follow what doctors tells you to do zvinodarika .

dofo - 3 July 2016

Charamba rubbish you say grand father sekuru to tsvangirai ko Mugabe wakambomuti harahwa kana kuti sekuru zvako.wakapusa manheru iwewe.unongoti zimusoro u are also very corrupt iwewe tichakubata chete.

uth maitano - 3 July 2016

this is karma,the man caused suffering to many innocent zimbabweans with a call for sanctions which cripled critical sections on the economy rendering many workers redundant ,hospitals had no drugs and lots of innocent lives were lost just to quench his thirst for statehouse,luckily his handlers can afford him the best medical care on the continent whilst local hospitals continue to deteriorate due the lagacy of sanctions slapped at his behest,zimbabwe once enjoying peace and prosperity was destroyed by tsvangisons reckless ambitions to rule when all indications point out that he is out of depth for the top job

truth - 3 July 2016

Long live President Tsvangirai, long live. The wheels of change just keep rolling. To You Zanu PF people, remember Ian Smith's words..that no African will ever rule 'this country, not in a thousand years', but that was not enough to stop the wheels of change. They just kept rolling.....Zanu ichapera chete.

Sandile - 3 July 2016

@ Truth must be forgiven for being lunatic. Is there no donor who can sponsor a brain scan so that @truth 's shallow brains can be examined if they are still not rotten. The last time we heard he was having mental paralysis.

Ishe Nehoreka - 4 July 2016

Anyone who blames Zimbabwe's problems on Sanctions and not corruption and mis governance is misguided. Did sanctions lead to diamond revenue disappearance, is it sanctions that cause governmnent ministers to steal Zesa millions, local gevernment, PSMAS, CMED, NRZ, Air Zim, $200 000 ya Supa, ko gore riya kanagai stole the whole nation grain, its sancttions. Is it sanctions creating draconian and unfocused indeginisation laws which are never concluded, is it sanctions leading to the vanishing of youth funds, is it sanctions that led some of you to amass multiple farms and keeping them idle. Is it sanctions that force you waste foreign currency follow and buy grain from former Zimbabwean white farmers now based in Zambia, where is your reasoning @ truth.

Viona Ngwena - 4 July 2016

@ truth i think you are a satanist, sei uchifara kana munhu achirwara, repent now

JOHN FARAH - 4 July 2016

Why angosumudza musoro against these guys orwara nekufa eg Mwanawasa died zvisinzwisisiki.

Wedu tese - 4 July 2016

madofo madhanda head ezanu pf mofamba muchiudza vanhu manyepo masanctions haangounzwi zvamunofunga they need evidence of human right abuse ...after refendum ya 2000 mugabe aifanirwa kubva pa steering seat period.after that deafit he went for his land reform program illigal....landreform which led to displacing and suffering of people that on its own contributed 85% why sanctions were imposed on this country....huya tikuudza all land invesions were prodicasted live paBBC NEWS nemamwe machannel live ...muchibaya warungu nekutema vanhu live pictures dzichibuda makazvidaidzira masanctions mega warume.........murambatsvina muchigrade imba dzevanhu zvichibuda live news technology warume.....ko iye bobo iyeye akamuti anofanirwa kufira pachigaro ndiani akawirana naaniko pfungwa iyoyo yega its wrong i need to warn you also wachada kupinda pachigaro ichocho after mugabe never dream zvokunofirapo enda pachigaro ipapo kundoshandira nyika....shandira nyika yako very fast....vobva vamwe vopindawo tose takafanana.......saka zvamunodakuunganidza upfumi on the expense of others ukafa unowigwa neupfumi hwako here?.....one is one wose aneupfumi hwakanyanyisa kurikuuya operation vakazviwana kupi....otherwise our country is very rich

dofo - 4 July 2016

get well mr tsvangirai. we still need you. basa richipo toda tipinde mukenani newe

tinokunda chete - 5 July 2016

So is sanctions are hurting, where does Kasukuwere get the money to build a mansion. Where did Mugabe get the money to build his mansion in Brooke. Musatanyoko.

Wezhira wezhara - 5 July 2016

Wanted to say"If sancitons... " in the above message.

Wezhira wezhara - 5 July 2016

va morgen munopora muri gamba guru muzimbabwe .Charamba urimukadzi wa Mugabe ndosaka uchiti Sekuru kuna morgen T .Charamba uripachipare na grace

chivo - 5 July 2016

Get well soon President R.M. Tsvangirai. We miss you a lot, we need your presence amongst us all especially at this point in time!!!!!!!!!

chris - 5 July 2016

Long live the Zimbabwean population irrespective opinion and gender together we stand the test tyranny; THE WIND OF CHANGE IS BLOWING!!!!!!

chris - 5 July 2016

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