Tsvangirai's return renews hope

HARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai returned to Zimbabwe mid-afternoon yesterday after almost a month of medical treatment in South Africa over his colon cancer ailment.

Supporters of the MDC president staged celebrations at Harvest House to welcome him home.

Tsvangirai’s return was announced through messages by his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka: “President Tsvangirai’s arrival has confounded morbid skeptics; some of whom had publicly wished him dead.

“He returns to take his rightful place in the trenches and to lead a stoic nation that has for years fought for democracy to remove a stubborn and inept government now engaged in a vicious succession struggle at the expense of the challenges facing the people.”

Tsvangirai was said to be hitting the ground running, resuming his campaign to dethrone veteran President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai faces a daunting task than ever if he wants to reach the presidency and push his own agenda. Some say it’s a far-off dream at this point. But the task is not impossible.

If Tsvangirai and his allies want to rebuild Zimbabwe their way by eliminating government inefficiency and corruption and promoting economic growth, their biggest challenge will be transforming the coalition of opposition parties, the MDC Alliance, into a formidable opposition party, while drafting in those sceptical about the alliance.

Four years ago, there were a myriad of presidential candidates, organised candidates, with similar policy positions to Tsvangirai. Due to the presence of several opposition parties, Mugabe trounced that vote.

This year, Tsvangirai has managed to consolidate the opposition into the closest Zimbabwe has had to a true opposition party in years.

It can no longer be Mugabe against everyone else, but rather Mugabe against Tsvangirai. The former prime minister has been able to garner such support in part because of the hope he was able to generate for Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai needs to be in the best of health to prosecute the democratic struggle, and must immediately start to energise the opposition into maintaining the coalition through the elections.

Tsvangirai must be able to improve the opposition party’s standing among the electorate, and thus increase their chances of winning the forthcoming crucial presidential election.

Tsvangirai also must be ready to launch a presidential campaign at any moment now, starting with his party’s 18th anniversary.

We wish Tsvangirai good health and long life on the campaign trail.

If the former trade unionist can continue to lead the opposition, and make gains among those who voted for Mugabe in 2013, we may just see a new path for Zimbabwe after all.

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