Is Tsvangirai so cheap?


Ndiri Tsvangirai ndaipihwa mari ndozvigarira ku Canada or Sweden nevana vangu ndichingonyora mabhuku chete nekubuda pa CNN ne BBC,” a facebook fan said in response to a story on the internet that Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai had turned down a US$3 million offer to retire and demanded US$7 million instead.

If I were Tsvangirai, I would just get the money go to Canada or Sweden with my children and write my memoirs and appear on CNN and BBC, the fan said.

This is typical of how many people would react if US$3 million was dangled in front of them. Quite rightly so. We think and tend to react simplistically, looking at our own situation rather than that of the person concerned.

If people were outraged by Happison Muchechetere’s US$40 000 a month and flabbergasted by Cuthbert Dube’s $6.4 million a year, US$3 million is a lot of money. I too would take it because it is a lot of money but then I have never smelt how close State House can be.

But if Dube was making US$6.4 million a year as an employee why would people think that Tsvangirai would jump at US$3 million or even US$7 million, considering that if it were not for the machinations of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, he would have been at State House in 2008 as CEO of the country?

But more importantly, is Tsvangirai into politics for the money or to serve the people?
Even more surprising, is why is everyone now so keen to get rid of Tsvangirai to the extent of offering him a retirement package? Is his politics a full-time paid job?

I personally believe that Tsvangirai should step down to save the MDC. But that should be his decision and that of his party supporters. The moment foreigners step in, I feel offended and defensive because to me this means there is more in it for them than for us Zimbabweans.

Foreign interests allowed Tsvangirai to break the law in 2005 by supporting him when he overruled the party national executive after it had voted to participate in the Senate elections just because he had the numbers (support base) behind him.

They allowed him to contest the post of the president when the party constitution stipulated that a president must serve only two terms and he had already served those two terms.

So why do they want him to go now. Surely it is not because he lost the elections last year because they made sure that he would lose.

Soon after the election results, Blessing-Miles Tendi wrote in The Guardian:”A largely unstated factor so far in debates about how ZANU-PF won this election is that for the first time in years the MDC-T ran a less effective campaign because of financial constraints.

“As MDC-T insiders have revealed to me, the party’s traditional Western backers were not as forthcoming with financial support as they were in 2008. During the campaigns Tsvangirai publicly criticised the West for giving up on removing Mugabe from power in preference for eventual accommodation with the Zimbabwean president.

“The West has been unequivocal in its public condemnation of ZANU-PF’s victory but in the coming weeks it must answer hard questions about why it abandoned the MDC-T financially prior the election.”

Indeed the West must answer why they abandoned Tsvangirai and why they are suddenly dangling money at him. Where did they get the money that they are dangling at him now when he needed it so badly- not for himself but for the party- last year?

If money is that important to Tsvangirai, why would they think US$3 million is enough? Is that not an insult to a man who could be CEO of the country and is already living in a US$3 million house?

This reminds me of a joke I once heard. Some guests at a wedding were given so much meat that one asked: “Varume kupiwa nyama yakawanda kudai isu tiri panze kuzoti vari mukati?

This must be the same question I would be asking if I were Tsvangirai. If these “benefactors” are willing to give me US$3 million, how much are they stashing away?

Click here for more informationon why Tsvangirai lost last  year’s elections.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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