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Mixed feelings over PM’s leadership

If anything, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week appeared as a man on the ropes, as his future crept under an unlikely spotlight.

Report by Nqaba Matshazi

Seemingly comfortable in his position as the indisputable leader of his party, Tsvangirai set the cat among the pigeons when he told an MDC-T meeting that he would step down if he lost the next election.

Tsvangirai was made to beat a hasty retreat and claim that his statements were a misconstrued joke, but all of a sudden, his once invincible status seemed to be under contestation.

There are reports that there is a project to unseat the MDC-T leader at the next elective congress, reigniting rumours of a party that is divided.

Tsvangirai confirmed reports of the presence of a plot within the party at a rally in Lupane about 10 days ago, threatening to crush the rebellion.

“One of the major criticisms of [President Robert] Mugabe’s leadership, including from the MDC, was that he has stayed too long in power, something that Tsvangirai must not lose sight of, especially riding on the democracy platform,” Dewa Mavhinga, a political analyst said.

“By 2016, Tsvangirai would have been at the helm of the MDC for some 17 years, giving legitimacy to leadership renewal discussions within and outside of the MDC.”

Mavhinga said discussions on Tsvangirai’s future should not be treated as conspiracy theories, but rather should be seen as the party’s way of seeking renewal.

“If the MDC is to establish itself as a party different from Zanu PF, then it must ensure timely and smooth leadership renewal in accordance with its internal democratic rules, as well as general national expectations,” he continued.

But Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst for southern Africa at the International Crisis Group, reckons that while Tsvangirai may quit after the next poll, he was the unifying force in MDC-T.

“Apparently, Tsvangirai stands as the brand that drives the party. His personal brand is stronger than the brand of the party as an institution,” he said, arguing that this was something synonymous with the traditionalist approach to politics in Africa.
“Currently he is the mortar that holds the party together and he attracts a lot of respect within the party, which is, however, not the case with many of the ‘lieutenants’ around him.

“His departure as party president will lead to some instant factional fighting, as well as incoherence around leadership issues. However, the MDC-T must begin to build the brand of the party as an institutional entity if the party is to survive in the post-Tsvangirai era.”

MDC-T members demand transparency

Confusion over selection of candidates ahead of the next elections has also rocked Tsvangirai’s boat, with some MDC-T members rebelling openly against what they term an undemocratic exercise.

The party says sitting legislators and councillors will go through an endorsement process and if they fail to garner a two thirds majority, they will then undergo primary elections.

But some party members are demanding primary elections, claiming the endorsement process was meant to protect incumbent legislators and councillors.

Only recently, party members in Bulawayo are reported to have printed flyers protesting the electoral system.

“We do not want anyone choosing leaders for us. Tsvangirai, stop forcing us to accept leaders that are chosen by you, that we do not want,” read the flyers. “We want primary elections, that’s all.”
This is probably the biggest rebellion to the MDC-T leader since the split of the united MDC in 2005.

But like all revolts before, Tsvangirai will hope to crush it and head to next year’s elections with a strong and united party, to face his long-time rival Mugabe.
Unlike Mugabe, Tsvangirai will hope that this election is not his swan song.

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10 Responses to Mixed feelings over PM’s leadership

  1. TK December 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Even if he is left alone we will vote for him, he has got pple at heart and the country, image zanypf has burgeted 100mil to tarnish him. He is working under difficulty circumstances so everyone must support him if we need real change, imagine the likes of Dr Joshua Nkomo failed because mgbe is a difficulty leader. Save is a true leader, these guys they need war but at least he managed to handle them, we can drink and eat everyday because of him let us salute him despite zanypf imposing sanctions on its own pple today we are enjoying again because of him. Morgen Richard Save for presidency come 2013.

  2. tomtom December 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    united we stand diveded we fall.let vote zanu pf OUT 2013

  3. Jongwe Rachembera December 10, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    Let the man finish what he started please then we see after that. Lets not change the horse mid race.

  4. cde December 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    tibvireipo zvaakaita zvamunoti has pple at heart chii.This man has ladies at heart iyi nyaya ndiye kumdc zanupf inopinda papi ipapa ndizvo zvinokuruzisai instead of buzzy structuring your party munotaura nezve zanu pf.morgan akatadza kupinda mustate house saka how do you think will win .ndiyo staera yezanu pf then where is the change yamunongoti change.Morgan ibhiza rinokamina chimborizorodzai kumhanye ari waste your bate kana hacha rako richi gula

  5. Nkululeko Dube December 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Yes Morgan is a glue that holds the party together. But he should guard against complacency, and build the MDC into an institution that can stand the test of time. There are many people in MDC and outside who are capable of leading the party should anything happen to him.

    So Tsvangirai should encourage leadership debates. The likes of Biti, Chamisa will take the country forward. We cannot support another personality cult. That said, I am a strong supporter of the PM, but he must do a Mandela even if he wins the next election. That way, he will leave a lasting legacy.

    • Exiled December 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      I strongly agree with you man. Save is the man and we wish him all the best come 2013 elections. Together we will win the war against oppression. However, after winning Save just leave it to the young boys you wld have won respect from the whole world. Save for change.

  6. Chris Gaza December 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    we also need leadership renewal in the opposition movement i.e madhuku. tsvangira should go

  7. Mukanya December 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Inzwai Save. Kuhwina kana kuruza, panext congress modzuvuriravo umwe aenderere mberi. Basa ramakaita rinongorambwa neunenge achikuvengai.

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