Tsvangirai’s time is over says British academic


Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai might retain the leadership of the party at next month’s party congress but his time as a meaningful political force in Zimbabwe is over and he seems to have no new ideas, a British academic, Stephen Chan, told the World Politics Review.

Chan, a professor of international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies, said the British and Scandinavian governments were cutting funding for Tsvangirai and the split in the MDC was so serious that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front will the 2018 elections with any challenge.

“The current splits in the MDC reflect fissures that have been building for a long time. Tendai Biti, the finance minister in the earlier coalition government from 2009-2013, never got along well with Tsvangirai, who served as prime minister and is the current party leader,” he said.

“However, the nature of the 2013 electoral defeat—not only because of registration roll irregularities but also because of a spectacularly inept MDC campaign led by Tsvangirai—was the nail in the coffin.

“President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party might have wished for a split, but it did not have to work to engineer one. The opposition underwent a process of self-destruction.

“Tsvangirai will seek to retain control of a reduced party, but his time is over as a meaningful Zimbabwean political force. The British and Scandinavian governments are cutting his funding, and he seems to have no new ideas.

“The splits in the opposition are such that ZANU-PF should win the 2018 elections without facing any coordinated challenge. It will in all likelihood take until the elections of 2023 for a new opposition with new leaders to emerge.”


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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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