|Morgan Tsvangirai, Oslo 2009
Dr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, affectionately referred to as Save, is the father of democracy in Zimbabwe. This former firebrand unionist of the 90s, faced the wrath of an aggrieved and frightened Zanu PF in the 2000s, as the leader of MDC, and he refused to stand down. Zanu PF literally threw the kitchen sink at him as he founded the strongest opposition party in post-independent Zimbabwe.
2008 was a year apart. After suffering varying and embarrassing defeats to Dr. Tsvangirai, Zanu PF had lost international credibility and was beyond any threats. Zanu PF hurled the sink, kitchen and bedroom at the rolling red waves, led by a fearless and uncompromising Morgan Tsvangirai. The regime went as far as inflicting grievous bodily harm on a presidential candidate. Images of Morgan's battered face were plastered across the world media, and the face of democracy in Zimbabwe was born.
Almost ten years later, Zanu PF continues to have a death grip on a poverty ridden Zimbabwe. Dr Tsvangirai is still at the helm of his red wave, as the battle against a tenacious dictatorship that has mastered the art of rigging elections with every trick in the book, continues unabated. Zimbabwe slowly marches towards yet another election in 2018, and this time opposition parties are a dime a dozen.
The dictator tag traditionally reserved for Robert Mugabe, has found a new target recently in Morgan Tsvangirai. Most independent, former and indeed some current MDC-T supporters, are muttering this word in relation to his 17 year stint as President of the MDC-T. His health also recently took a battering when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Some saw the appointment of three vice presidents in his party, as a sign that he is no longer able to handle his duties.
Be that as it may, there is one truth that can not be wished away; Morgan Tsvangirai remains the face of opposition politics in Zimbabwe. He cuts across social strata; tribe, income levels, gender and age spectrum. He is a recognisable brand with a well-known history across the nation. He may be despised, but cannot be ignored. Key figures have left his party and none has managed to become half as prominent as he is.
Yet little known organisations like CitizensZW, most opposition leaders and some ordinary people, insist that he must subject himself to a nationwide primary contest for the position of Coalition President.
By Fungai Chiposi, Mr.
A Citizen and Community Development Activist