Is Tsvangirai still fighting for democracy or his personal survival?


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The Zimbabwe National Students Union has called on Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai to step down voluntarily and has asked whether the founding president of Zimbabwe’s biggest opposition party is still fighting for democracy or for his own personal survival.

ZINASU president Gilbert Mutubuki said there was a need for leadership renewal in the MDC because Tsvangirai could no longer inspire.

“ZINASU is a serious organisation which does not follow individuals but ideas and therefore it is more than ready to unite with any progressive institutions that are prepared to continue with the democratic struggle. Morgan Tsvangirai can no longer inspire,” he said.

This statement was a clear indication that the student body sympathised with the Tendai Biti faction which is calling for a leadership renewal and suspended Tsvangirai and senior officials at what it called was a national executive council meeting.

Tsvangirai held his own national executive council meeting and expelled Biti, who was the organisation’s secretary-general, and several legislators who attended Biti’s meeting.

The Biti faction has said Tsvangirai should attend a disciplinary hearing on 18 June, but Douglas Mwonzora, the spokesman for the Tsvangirai faction said Tsvangirai would not attend the hearing because Biti and his lieutenants had formed their own party.

Tsvangirai could not be called to attend a hearing by another party. It was just the same as asking him to attend a hearing by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, Mwonzora said.

Mutubuki said the MDC was formed to fight for democracy and a better life for all Zimbabweans but Tsvangirai seems to have abandoned this.

“The party was supposed to be guided by democratic principles and a people driven ideology. However, in the long run, the party of the people was hijacked by selfish individuals for selfish reasons who masqueraded as godfathers of the revolution.

“ZINASU worked tirelessly for the MDC to win the 2008 harmonised elections. However, Morgan Tsvangirai failed to grab power and later on agreed to enter into the Government of National Unity, where he was more of a ceremonial Prime Minister than a leader.

“During the GNU, Morgan Tsvangirai worked hard to divide the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the student movement by taking sides in the labour and student movements’ disputes.”

Mutubuki said it was now time to part ways with Tsvangirai but there are unconstitutional and undemocratic suspensions by Tsvangirai for anyone who differs with him.

“Violence is taking place at each and every rally and some party leaders aligned to Tsvangirai are unleashing youths to assault other party leaders who differ with them. Is this democracy? Is Tsvangirai still fighting for democracy? Or it’s now personal struggle?”

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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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