Tsvangirai's ideals light up MDC rallies

HARARE - Despite his long absence due to ill-health, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai (MT)’s influence is being felt at the party’s gatherings.

The Daily News can report that the former trade unionist who is currently receiving treatment in South Africa remains an enigma throughout MDC structures.

An analyst, Phillan Zamchiya, who attended an MDC Alliance rally in Mutare recently, said despite his physical absence, the Tsvangirai brand loomed large.

“Never mind his physical absence, he remains the most popular idea at the Mutare MDC Alliance rally held on January 28, 2018. One young mature person who brilliantly put it across was no other than Happymore Chidziva, Bvondo,” he said.

Chidziva, who is the head of the MDC youth assembly, told the rally: “You might see frail pictures but Tsvangirai is now an idea and a vision.”

At the Mutare rally, speaker after speaker leaned on the MDC leader, who heads the Alliance.

“Song after song leaned on MT. Dance after dance simulated MT. It was all Tsvangirai. An outsider would have thought MT was there. The Alliance principals took long to grace the occasion but what kept the crowd going was MT.

“He was someone you could visualise, touch and feel in the air,” Zamchiya said.

“In soul and spirit Morgan was there, and perhaps much more powerful in his absence than presence.”

Tsvangirai has led his party since 1999 when he left trade unionism to become the MDC’s founding president.

He almost took power from former president Robert Mugabe in 2008 but fell short of achieving the threshold needed to avoid a run-off.

He had to pull out of the run-off due to widespread violence which killed over 200 of his supporters and officials.

As the country trudges towards polls, there are lingering doubts on whether Tsvangirai would be fit enough to contest.

He has been making frequent visits to South Africa, where he is receiving treatment for cancer of the colon, diagnosed in 2016.

This has sparked huge debate in his party on whether it was time for him to retire and give a chance to others.

No one has, however, dared to openly discuss the subject in MDC structures for fear of reprisals.

This is despite Tsvangirai hinting in his New Year’s message at the possibility of an involuntary retirement due to his increasingly failing health.

He said he was considering handing over power to a younger generation — sparking fierce jostling among MDC bigwigs, including his three deputies — Thokozani Khupe,
Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri.

Masvingo provincial chairperson James Gumbi said their interpretation of what the president said in his New Year’s message was that he was referring to all his three deputies when he said he wanted to hand over to a younger generation because all of them have capacity and they are all below 60 years so they are a younger generation.

“We wait to hear what process will be followed, that is whether we will go for a congress or any other means and that is when we will be able to say among them, as a province we are backing so and so. For now, we will not disclose our preference,” said Gumbi.

In Manicaland Province, the same sentiments were echoed although none of the provincial executives was willing to come out in the open for fear of victimisation.

The provincial chairperson, David Chimhini, said the matter was too sensitive to comment on.

“This is a sensitive and emotive subject. In any event, the MDC has a constitution which we religiously follow as a democratic institution,” Chimhini said briefly.

While Mashonaland West chairperson Tawanda Magunje was not immediately available for a comment, the provincial organising secretary Wilson Makanyaire said any of Tsvangirai’s three deputies were capable of becoming leaders.

“Even provincial chairperson can be leader but we have never imagined such a scenario because we hope God will answer our prayers and Save recovers to lead us, that is our focus.

MDC national executive member Jameson Timba, who is also Tsvangirai’s chief negotiator in the MDC Alliance, told the Daily News on Tuesday that the MDC leader had assigned Chamisa to ensure that his vision to re-unite the party comes to fruition.

“The MDC Alliance is part of Tsvangirai’s vision and strategy. It is also a legacy project close to his heart and he considers it to be the first step towards uniting our polarised nation hence in his absence he has assigned Chamisa to hold fort and ensure that the vision he has outlined is implemented to the later and spirit,” Timba said.

“He (Chamisa) has the task to ensure that prior to the elections Tsvangirai’s objective that all the democratic forces must be united and that post the elections every Zimbabwean is rallied towards his vision of a society that prides itself for not leaving anyone behind,” he added.

Timba said this position had been communicated by Tsvangirai and is “known to every organ of our party and by every leader at every level of our party”.

The former Mount Pleasant Member of Parliament also revealed that it is part of Tsvangirai’s strategy to ensure that his former allies in ex-MDC secretaries-general Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti bounce back to the mainstream MDC party.

Biti and Ncube are part of the MDC Alliance.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said “ the MDC Alliance remains part of the vision, in sync with the MDC congress resolution and the feedback he got from the people when he made his nationwide tour last year that he should re-unite not only the party but also bring all opposition parties together”.

MDC Alliance spokesperson, Ncube told an MDC Alliance rally held at Chisamba grounds in Sakubva in Mutare on Sunday: “On the 6th of January, president . . .
Tsvangirai called me and told me that we have to move forward with the MDC Alliance programmes. He told me that . . . Chamisa ‘will be in charge on my behalf whilst I focus on my medication.’”

Comments (3)

kkkkkkk Morgan has the mojo passo po ED

Diibulaanyika - 2 February 2018

It is good that the people still feel Morgan is our man to face Zanu Pf in elections. I want to emphasise the need for all of us to pray our leader. We need God's intervention in this political situation. And Morgan can make it coz of our prayers.

In God - 2 February 2018

It was always a battle of basic principles, embodied in two men. As clearly demonstrated in each party's hand gestures: one, a closed fist (aggressive, closed militarism); the other, an open hand (diversity; friendship; acceptance).

spiralx - 5 February 2018

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