Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai’s open-mouth shut-mind policy disposition

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Oct 14th, 2012

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attends a Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe”s 70th annual general meeting in Harare, May 29, 2009.

by Professor Jonathan Moyo
If there is one truth about Morgan Tsvangirai’s taking into account his recent public display of his open-zip-shut-mind sexual orientation and his open-mouth-shut-mind policy disposition – that have combined to make him more of a national joke than a national leader – it is that the embattled head of the equally beleaguered MDC-T suffers from revealing conundrum of concurrently being in favour of what he is against and being against what he is in favour of.

A case in point from the public record which can be readily verified is that Tsvangirai is in favour of Zimbabwe holding the next general election in March 2013 and against having the same election held by 31 March 2013. You do not have to be a misanthropist of any kind to understand that a person who opens his mouth to proclaim support for something that he also opposes or who opens his mouth to oppose what he similarly supports has a shut mind and is therefore thoughtless.

In the same vein a thoughtless person who shuts his mind while doing and saying alarming things with self-indulgence such as opening his zip like a nymphomaniac or opening his mouth like a parrot has no business seeking national leadership because leadership begins with management of one’s zip and mouth, and both require an open mind. Tsvangirai has proven beyond doubt that he does not have an open mind and consequently that he cannot get anywhere at all without the United Kingdom, United States or European Union authorities holding his hand in pursuit of their own evil interests.

Hardly six months ago in April the Financial Gazette published a front page story headlined “Zimbabwe will hold election in March 2013 – Tsvangirai”. In the story, which was separately and widely reported by the international media, Tsvangirai emphatically declared that “elections will be held at the outer limit that is in March 2013…it’s just not possible to hold elections this year”. Tsvangirai made this emphatic declaration in response to calls by Zanu-PF which had reached a crescendo in April that the general election should be held this year without fail with or without a new constitution.

Thus Tsvangirai’s election gospel which has been regurgitated by MDC-T foreign founders and funders and the party’s external and inter­nal propaganda mouthpieces since April has been that Zimbabwe is going to the polls in March 2013. This is an irrefutable fact supported by tonnes and tonnes of evidence that can choke any liar. It is therefore a matter of the public record that Tsvangirai is in favour of Zimbabwe going to the polls in March 2013. There can be no doubt about that since the public record speaks for itself.

But in a telling display that Tsvangirai has a penchant for opposing what he supports, on 9 October the MDC-T posted on its website a statement from Masvingo quoting the same Tsvangirai who all along has been saying that the next general election will be in March 2013 now saying that, “We will sit down and determine the date for elections after the completion of the referendum…We have not yet agreed on the date for elections so the talk of March (2013) elections is unfounded”.

Now Tsvangirai is against holding elections in March 2013, preposterously claiming that the March 2013 date is “unfounded” when it is him who founded that date in April 2012 and when since that time he and his MDC-T have been telling anyone with ears that there are no elections this year in 2012 as demanded by Zanu-PF but that elections will only be in March 2013.

It is notable that Tsvangirai’s 9 October state­ment was posted after President Zuma’s facilitation team for his Sadc-mandated mediation in Zimbabwe had sneaked into the country uninvited by all the Global

Political Agreement parties, and unannounced, and had met last Monday with Welshman Ncube’s MDC in a dubious “fact-finding mission” at which Ncube’s party alleged it was being marginalised ahead of the forthcoming Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference on the Copac draft constitution and sought Sadc’s support through President Zuma against the holding of the next general election in March 2013 as is now the legal position.

President Zuma’s facilitation team and Ncube should not for a second entertain the folly that anybody is fooled into thinking that their so-called bilateral meeting on Monday was just a scheduling coincidence informed by bureaucratic considerations with no political dynamics.

A disquieting pattern is now developing that when President Zuma’s facilitation team comes to Harare on its interparty mediation between Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations, its first exclusive contact is Ncube. That approach undoubtedly and naturally raises eyebrows given Ncube’s consanguineous link with President Zuma. Last week’s Monday meeting between Welshman Ncube and Zuma’s facilitation team when not all the parties knew that the team was in the country prompted specu­lation that the team had come into the country on an ostensible fact-finding mission after it was unilaterally invited by Ncube.

If Ncube, who has publicly complained about Tsvangirai’s handholding by the UK, US and EU really believes that he is going to get away with pushing his ill-fated political ambitions by abusing his consanguineous link with President Zuma then he is joking and the joke is on him.

The stakes in terms of Zimbabwe’s national interest and national security are far much more complex and much more serious than high-profile family stuff. This issue will not go away until and unless

Ncube understands his legitimate place and role in the GPA process and begins to learn to behave accord­ingly with respect to the rules that bind all the GPA parties under Zimbabwe’s Constitution and laws.

The sooner Ncube and those who support him in and outside our country understand this the better for him, his doomed party and President Zuma’s mediation not least because what Ncube thinks he can do by playing mis­chief behind the scenes, others can also do and do far better than him with devastating consequences.

Back to Tsvangirai’s mindless new opposition to the holding of the next general election in March 2013 when he was the first to boldly make the case for that date last April in opposition to Zanu-PF’s call for holding elections this year, the obvious thing to do under normal circumstances would be to find out what has happened for Tsvangirai to change his mind.

But doing so would be a waste of time because Tsvangirai does not approach such issues with an open mind given that the only thing that he has proven to do rather sexcellently well is to open his zip and mouth without taking any responsibility for the consequences thereof.

This is why Tsvangirai has no shame in opposing what he supports and supporting what he opposes at one and the same time. Against this background, it is important to go beyond Tsvangirai in order to understand why having boldly declared in April 2012 that the next general election would be in March 2013 and having religiously maintained that position since then, he changed tune last Tuesday to claim that “the talk of March elections is unfounded” when it had been founded by none other than him and his MDC-T last April.

It turns out that because he is ideologically bankrupt and has no policy of his own to address public concerns about issues facing ordinary people, workers and those seeking employment, the business community, traditional leaders, civil servants, churches, civic society, women, students and the youth in general, Tsvangirai believes that what he only needs to do to get votes is simply to oppose anything and everything that Zanu-PF does or says.

Instead of being there to find solutions to the challenges facing Zimbabweans in their various walks of life, Tsvangirai sees his primary and only mission and purpose to be to oppose Zanu-PF not for any socially redeeming purpose but just for the sake of opposing it. This is what has led to Tsvangirai being entrapped by the conundrum of opposing what he supports and supporting what he opposes depending on Zanu-PF’s position on the issue in question.

When Zanu-PF adopts policies to economically empower Zimbabweans through ownership of their God-given natural resources from which wealth and real jobs can be created in pursuit of national development, Tsvangirai opposes and opts for imported policy junk called “Juice” coming hot on the heels of Tsvangirai’s juicy tales of his bed-hoping “spirit” whose narrative as told by Tsvangirai himself is that it had to recklessly hover around causing havoc and claiming victims in its path before landing on lucky Elizabeth.

When Zanu-PF calls on Zimbabweans to cherish their culture against evils such as homosexual­ity, Tsvangirai opposes. When Zanu-PF insists that the Copac draft constitution must respect and reflect the views of the people gathered during the Copac outreach programme and which are contained in the Copac National Statistical Report, Tsvangirai opposes. It would not surprise anyone, for example, that if Zanu-PF says today, the 14th of October, is Sunday, Tsvangirai would oppose that and mumble some nonsense.

It is in this connection that in his meeting with President Zuma’s facilitation team at his $3,5 million mansion in Highlands last week Tsvangirai rubbished the holding of elections in March 2013 and repeated his claim that the very same date which he has been peddling for the last six months with monotonous regularity is “unfounded”.

There are two inescapable conclusions about Tsvangirai’s meeting with President Zuma’s facilitation. First and without any prejudice, as both the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and leader of his MDC formation and therefore a GPA principal, it was very odd for Tsvangirai to host President Zuma’s facilitation team who are expected to interact with GPA negotiators and not GPA principals who are supposed to only interact with President Zuma himself who is the Sadc facilitator.

Second, independent-minded observers will be keen to see what President Zuma’s facilitation team made of Tsvangirai’s new opposition to the holding of elections in March 2013 when that is precisely what he has all along been supporting since last April as is readily evident from the public record.

In any event and this is now the crux of the matter-following the Supreme Court judge­ment ordering the President to proclaim a date for the holding of Parliamentary by elections and following the High Court extension of the date of the proclamation to 31 March 2013-the holding of elections in March 2013 or the confirmation of the date of elections by 31 March 2013 is now purely and strictly a court process and thus a legal matter and is no longer a GPA process and therefore is no longer a political matter for never-ending GPA negotiations.

The court process on by-elections has been a game changer in the determination and timing of the next general election as far as the GPA is concerned. What is significant to note is that the court action on by-elections is against the President and it has been initiated by former MDC-Ncube members who are now in the MDC-T and one of whom is a member of Tsvangirai’s national executive council.

If Tsvangirai and his sponsors do not genuinely want elections now or by March 2013 then at the very least the MDC-T leader should have by now prevailed on his members who are litigants in the case to withdraw it. Tsvangirai now has no choice but to come to terms with the consequences of the court process. There’s a High Court judgement whose effect in terms of what President Mugabe submitted to it through the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs is that the next general election should be held by March 31 2013.

Significantly, the submissions made to the High Court by President Mugabe and which were accepted by the court took into account a host of factors – including the fact that the constitution-making process has now reached an advanced stage beyond Copac and is now in the hands of GPA principals; that there may very well be a referendum on the Copac draft constitution if the GPA parties are agreed after the deliberations of the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference whose purpose is no more than a feedback forum with no debating rights or decision-making powers; that since holding the vacant parliamentary and council by elections would amount to a mini general election it is prudent and in the national interest from a resource point of view to forgo the by-elections and hold the general election which is, in fact, overdue.

Critically, and notwithstanding Zanu-PF’s position that elections should be held this year, there was now consensus among the GPA parties to hold the general election by March 2013, consensus which is consistent with the call by Tsvangirai and his party since last April.

While Tsvangirai and his MDC-T may have the luxury of playing games with the people and while they might find it amusing to oppose what they have all along been in favour of, everyone else must know that Zanu-PF has no games to play. Zimbabwe should have held harmonised elections last year in accordance with the GPA and the fact that this year will end without elections which Zanu-PF has steadfastly demanded is an indictment to electoral cowards in the MDC formations whose top and bottoms – especially bottoms if you ask Tsvangirai – are now exposed beyond recovery.

The people have wanted elections ages ago and Zanu-PF has stood with them and now there is a High Court judgment which has provided a legal process that has taken over from a redundant GPA process. The rule of law must be observed and so it shall be. Elections March 2013!

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