Tsvangirai’s outbursts


Last year he said something that was treasonous. Now he has just had another embarrassing outburst.

The question is with the presidential campaign, where he will be the primary candidate, expected to kick off next month according to a member of his own party, will Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai be able to contain himself? Last year, he publicly stated that President Robert Mugabe should resign otherwise he would be removed violently. This was treasonous and he could have been arrested.

People tried to give excuses on his behalf but the only reason why the government did not arrest him was because they would have made a martyr out him. This would have made him a hero.

And during the just ended Bikita-West by-election he said he would bus in 20 000 youths to replace the 50 that had been arrested. Indeed, Tsvangirai is under a lot of pressure to deliver change and he may have been frustrated by lack of progress in this regard, but he must show self-restraint.

His outbursts seem to indicate that he cannot withstand pressure or that, when it warrants, he plays to the gallery. ZANU-PF could capitalise on these blunders.

When he called for Mugabe to go he seemed to be playing to the gallery. That is what everyone wanted to hear.

But why the impatience since elections are less than 15 months away. In Bikita, he seemed desperate.

He had been cornered by ZANU-PF and the machinery behind it. Even his own candidate, Bonnie Pakai was not able to handle the pressure.

Tsvangirai may be getting away with it at the moment because, generally, people want a change of government. But the question is will he be able to restrain himself when he is in power, say if people start demonstrating against his government? Will he not deploy the same troops and police that Mugabe is using?



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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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