By John Chimunhu
Now Daily Opinion
The betrayal of the peoples revolution by Morgan Tsvangirai means Zimbabweans must go back to the drawing board to select a new leader.
Tsvangirai has proved countless times that he is dictator Robert Mugabe’s bogeyman. He is hopelessly tainted by corruption, compromises with Mugabe for personal benefit, appears totally out of his depth about what needs to be done or how to do it, won’t listen to valid advice, is weighed down by marital problems and sex scandals, is highly divisive and murderously violent to anyone who dares oppose his ignorant leadership.
Of all the Zimbabwean politicians that I have met, Welshman Ncube stands out as the most noble. What makes a politician trustworthy? It is by the number of promises they actually keep. I don’t remember Professor Ncube making many grand promises. His involvement in the struggle has been mostly as a shrewd tactician to overturn some of the regime’s efforts to subvert basic tenets of democratic rule.
If Ncube was accused of being mean by his detractors while he was the original MDC’s secretary general, it is because he is prudent. He makes few promises in a situation where many of his colleagues have profited by giving false hope to the people.
I have interviewed Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Lovemore Madhuku, Dumiso Dabengwa and many other opposition politicians, as well as Ncube. One quality which all of them lack, which Ncube has, is that twinkle in the eye that says, “trust me”. It is hard to quantify this but anyone who has to extract the truth out of people as a way of earning a living will know that honesty, integrity and accountability are rare among Zimbabwean politicians of all parties, including the MDC-T, whose popularity is fast dwindling. If it’s there, you can see it, if it’s not there it’s hard to fabricate.
Let me illustrate what I mean. If Professor Ncube is not genuine, then he must be a talented actor, who would make a successful career making movies in Hollywood. Only that our situation is so dire and we need men of good character like him to lead us.
We are not saying anyone should leave the struggle. Only, we have to change tact and win this struggle for Zimbabwean democracy in the shortest possible time because the people are dying. No one is going to give it to us on a platter. We need one leader, now. Big egos can or should stand aside because the pulse of this revolution is changing. Where people were docile, be careful, they could become confrontational as the economic and political situation spirals out of control with Mugabe effectively losing control to his wife and family due to senility.
Morgan Tsvangirai is a clever politician. He is persuasive like every trade unionist but does not carry out most of the things he publicly sets out to do. To cover up for his shortcomings, he uses abrasive and inflammatory language against internal opponents leading to aggression and violence which he then covers up by a pretence of ignorance and hatred of disorder. This might convince foreign diplomats who are just here for a while but does not wash with the people who have to endure the ill effects of Mugabe’s misrule for all time.
Tendai Biti has charisma. He lacks popular grassroots appeal but more than makes up for it through arrogance, gamesmanship and undermining his opponents, which are good or bad characteristics depending on which side of his venom you stand. Leading a small party is easy, accommodating diverse, clashing interests as a national president is not.
Lovemore Madhuku is perceptive. He sees things in the long term, but that limits his impact in a country where many voters have been damaged by the politics of patronage, bribery and corruption, where immediate delivery is required.
Dabengwa’s history as a militant makes him appeal less to those who do not appreciate the value of war in modern politics.
Having said this, I have to state that Ncube, on the other hand, is crudely practical and strategic.
By John Chimunhu