MORGAN Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe could be mistaken for a political actor rather than a shrewd politician that wants to lead one of sub-Sahara’s most enlightened nations. Indeed, the man has been play-acting. His antics while keeping his audience spell-bound and in momentary suspense are however, easily predictable and sometimes clumsy.
The Zimbabwean presidential hopeful has a deep-seated desire to have people second-guess his next moves and actions. He is also fond of doublespeak. It has all been political theatrics by Morgan.
First, the man that wants to make history by ousting Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle war icon Robert Mugabe declared for all to know that his party would have nothing to do with the March 29 elections unless certain conditions were met. He was emphatic that the MDC would not participate in the harmonised elections.
Not long thereafter, he changed his mind. He told the whole world that he would unseat Mugabe in the elections and would enter the contest after all.
The MDC won the parliamentary elections and Tsvangirai must have realised the folly of his earlier announcement that he would not partake in the elections.
He basked in the glory of his party’s victory moving places and proclaiming the dawn of a new era with himself at the helm of his country.
Tsvangirai, however, was to stumble again. This time, he left Zimbabwe and toured various capitals of the world. While there the man – on whom many Zimbabweans had pinned their hopes to lead them in the struggle against President Robert Mugabe – decided he would not return to lead them at home, claiming there was a plot to assassinate him.
There was an uproar from his supporters who urged him to come home anyway. Tsvangirai had failed to read the signs of the times and wasted valuable time outside the country at a critical time when his supporters needed a leader.
Patted from his political slumber, he returned home notwithstanding the so-called assassination plot. His return rendered the assassination plot a hollow claim. He moved around the country campaigning without the slightest fear for his life as he had earlier claimed.
This week, the MDC leader was at it again. He fled into the Dutch Embassy at a very crucial time in the struggle of his supporters against ZANU-PF, once again leaving them leaderless. The man fled into the Dutch Embassy without a single shot being fired at him. He has revealed nothing to indicate that his life was in danger.
And typical the MDC leader, he left the Dutch Embassy on Wednesday to address a press conference at his house only to return to the same embassy later. This is a man that claims he is marked for death. And yet, he left the embassy on Wednesday without any protection force from somewhere and came back intact and unscathed.
On Sunday, Tsvangirai announced his withdrawal from the presidential run-off scheduled for today and again got egg on his face. It turns out his withdrawal has no force and effect in law and Tsvangirai should have known this.
According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which was appointed by both the ZANU-PF, MDC and other parties involved in the elections, Tsvangirai’s withdrawal is a nullity in law.
Constitutional lawyer and long-time Mugabe critic, Lovemore Madhuku, says, “the strict legal position is that candidature for the run-off or second election is not a voluntary exercise – you give your consent when you contest the first election”.
The sum total of this saga is that Tsvangirai has blundered again. In his own mind, Tsvangirai has withdrawn from the run-off today but in reality and in law he is a contestant.
The MDC leader it would seem is incapable of making up his mind. He cannot keep his word either. He says one thing and then another. He also cannot take risks. He is paranoid about death. A man that runs away to hide in an embassy leaving his followers leaderless cannot lay claim to leadership.
Can somebody please tell Tsvangirai to come out of hiding as his people need a leader and not a refugee who is holed up in a Dutch Embassy scared of his own shadow and making unsubstantiated claims.