For all his popularity, Morgan Tsvingirai is not a lesser dictator! For the better part of the last 15 years he has become the face of Zimbabwe’s faltering opposition politics; he has become a political figure portraying himself as a democrat yet wilfully subverting democratic principles and processes for personal gains at every opportunity. He has become a disaster in-waiting; a political figure who requires temporary suspension of reason by the electorate as a necessity to support his policies.
We need to momentarily step out of this popularity trap and move into the objectivity territory. What are foundations of this popularity? The major downfall of Tsvangirai’s present popularity is that it is not based on what he has done or is doing but is simply a by-product of people’s frustration and disillusionment over ZANU PF’s failed policies. There is reason to believe voters’ conscientious ignorance has a role to play in Tsvangirai’s popularity. It is that ignorance that has continued to impair the political security of Zimbabwe for years. The popularity of both Mugabe and Tsvangirai is based on mainly subjectivity than objectivity.
Tsvangirai’s popularity has undoubtedly opened fortune doors for him, his family and associates but it has not changed the fortunes of millions of Zimbabweans. The MDC’s role within the Zimbabwean political dispensation was meant to have been the creation and/ or support of institutions that limit extremes of power and poverty in society. Suffice to say the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai has dismally failed on that score; also, Tsvangirai as the leader has not only failed to create and protect democratic principles but has also wilfully broken many during his tenure.
The party is now suffixed with the ‘-T’ directly taken from Tsvangirai’s name. The misuse of the majority is quite apparent, the rights of minority voices are not secure under the Tsvangirai led MDC. Under his watch the party has effectively committed itself to the principle of silencing voices of dissent and is rapidly going down the path of increasingly repressive measures ably supported by terror and the manipulative media. The MDC-T is no longer a party of the people but one hijacked by politicians; its interests are now far removed from those of the ordinary men and women.
At a time when Zimbabwean politics is at cross-roads, we desperately need politicians who will be willing to look beyond posts and personal pride but be willing to challenge the status quo. We exist in a country of extreme polarisation between the poor and the wealthy, the reality and falsehoods; we now require a political institution that will acknowledge the realities on the ground and be willing to take people, not politicians, along as it frames a better future for all. More significantly, we need an increase in genuinely non-political party aligned media so as to develop and promote the political growth among the electorate. The partisan nature of Zimbabwean media is impairing democracy.
The current media is rather too interested to be trusted to provide the essential political space that the country requires for constructive debate. The politics of numbers must not be an excuse for silencing significant voices that unfortunately happen to be a minority; that is not democracy. If democracy is to work in Zimbabwe, we need to commit more resources to the education of the electorate and the protection of minority voices.