What Morgan Tsvangirai Should Be Doing
While it is proper and understandable for Morgan Tsvangirai to spend his time fighting to get a job for Roy Bennett (seen above wih Tsvangirai in South Africa), to get Gideon Gono fired, to get Johannes Tomana gone and so on, this strategy is diminishing him in the people's eyes. There is something that the Prime Minister can do because the battle is no longer on the diplomatic front. We all thought he had understood this. But he is going back to his old ways and, in so doing, driving himself into a cul de sac.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 09 September 2009
There is no doubt at all that the battle Morgan Tsvangirai started ten years ago against Mugabe can only be won within Zimbabwe now.
The world has done all that it can do, really.
They have imposed sanctions and "restrictions". They have ostracised Mugabe and they continue to pile pressure on him to go. The idea was that, as you placed sanctions on Mugabe's Generals, his party functionaries and those who depend on him, they will suddenly realise that the best thing was to dump the old man and save their skins.
Instead, they went in the opposite direction and deduced that this meant their fate was tied to Mugabe. He had to stay on for them to continue to enjoy their superb lifestyles.
And what lifestyles they are.
One does not need to physically go to Britain or America anymore to get the best things in life. There is Dubai. There is Hong Kong. There is the whole of Asia. There is Japan etc etc.
In light of the fact the world has done all it can to help Tsvangirai get the presidential office in Zimbabwe, the MDC leader should realise that the real fight, as I advised him in November last year, is here in Zimbabwe.
The MDC, at the beginning of the Unity Government, had an utterly brilliant strategy which has now somehow found itself in the doldrums.
Tsvangirai played up the achievements of the Unity Government. Although these were not his to claim, I know for certain that for about a month or so, every villager I met in Mhondoro, Masvingo, Mashonaland West and all the other areas I visited all insisted that Tsvangirai had brought dollarisation to Zimbabwe.
That has now changed as Mugabe launched an offensive and managed to win the battle to clarify that point.
But it appears that the MDC leader has now gone back to his old ways.
He is back at SADC's throat now, even as realises that nothing will come from this at all. At all.
In discussions with one Tsvangirai sympathiser here in Harare last week, it was clear that even he was losing patience with his idol. We agreed on the following:
Tsvangirai should realise that the world has carried him on its shoulder as far it can. He should now pick up the mantle and start leading here in Zimbabwe.
ZANU PF weak point is the economy and that is why they want sanctions lifted. Tsvangirai should, with an eye on the next election, come back home and start working on improving the lives of Zimbabweans.
He should work to clearly show the difference between his side of government and that of Mugabe. He should have, for instance, ordered his ministers to refuse to accept the Mercedes Benzes that they are now driving in. The Toyota Prados and Pajeros and MLs as well.
It would have been a symbolic powerful statement to call a press conference and parade the MDC ministers with their Mazda 323s or simple pick up trucks (single-cab).
When his government goes and spends US$11 million on foreign travel, he should come out in the open and name each and every minister who has contributed to this obscenity and show that they do not belong to his party (some actually do, so he could not do that).
He should push for a reduction in the size of the government, even if Mugabe demands that he appoints more ministers. Let him and don't play this "mine is bigger than yours" game, because you will also lose that one, as has been shown already.
Then go to the people and tell them that you do not think they should be paying for useless ministers, for an expanded cabinet and civil service that delivers nothing to the people and that is why you have kept your team small and focused on the troubles facing Zimbabweans.
With the money saved from your ministries, tell your minister of finance to allocate money to the things that impact in people's lives instead of what he is doing now, sending people on conferences and blowing three times the money needed by Harare Hospital to revitalise itself.
Bottom line really is that Tsvangirai should be in this country traversing it from corner to corner, listening to the people's problems explaining to them what he is doing and what he can not do and why.
He is the Prime Minister, he can't be arrested like they used to do when he was just an opposition leader.
Look, I put this on the table but I know that it will not be taken by the MDC, who believe that they know it everything.
Yet, we are all humiliated now as we seek to get SADC to compel Mugabe to expand the cabinet and appoint so and so to such and such a post. People are still dying. People are still unemployed.
How does having an MDC governor in Harare create jobs? How does pushing Roy Bennett's appointment, no matter how right it may be to do so, revive our industries and hospitals.
He must make do with what we have here and show the people that he is no different to Mugabe and that he can change their lives. The diplomatic offensive is OVER. It is time to work and then dare Mugabe to call fresh elections.