This was a loaded statement. To me it showed that though Tsvangirai was viewed by his main rival ZANU-PF as a puppet, he was a man of his own. He could not be pushed around. He was not open to advice if this was detrimental to the country. But the West knew that he was indispensable. They tried to get rid of him but this ended up a total disaster every time. All those who left Tsvangirai to start their own brands, obviously with the backing of the West – Welshman Ncube, Job Sikhala, Tendai Biti- ended up as staggering failures.
Tsvangirai was very patriotic and would never support anything that could lead the country into chaos. Some read this as a weakness but that was just him- the people and his country always came first. He was not prepared to sacrifice the people and the country to get into power. That was why he surrendered his 2008 victory to save lives.
Fast-forward to 2018. Tsvangirai dies and Nelson Chamisa takes over within hours of his death. The take-over, though unconstitutional was quickly sanitised and he was endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate. The Supreme Court ruled two years later that Chamisa’s leadership was indeed illegitimate but he refused to budge.
Tsvangirai’s mother publicly stated that she did not want to see Chamisa and Tsvangirai’s wife Elizabeth at her son’s funeral, but Chamisa took over the show from Harare to Buhera. Instead of questioning why Chamisa was defying the family’s wishes, people started questioning whether Lydia was really Tsvangirai’s mother.
In the election run-up Chamisa pledged his 18-year old sister to Mnangagwa if Mnangagwa won 5% of the vote. There was an outcry of misogyny but this was quickly swept under the carpet and he got away with it.
When election results were announced Chamisa narrowly lost but told the nation he was challenging the result because he had ample proof that the results had been manipulated. The case went to the Constitutional Court but his lawyers failed to produce the proof. There was no place to hide because the hearing was broadcast live. He persists that he won the elections to this day.
Just before the release of the results six people were killed when people took to the streets to protest against the delay in announcing the results. When Chamisa appeared before the Motlanthe Commission of inquiry into the violence he told the nation that those who went onto the streets were stupid. He was forgiven.
At the party’s congress in May 2019 Chamisa purged those that he perceived as threats, people that had worked with Tsvangirai and brought in those who had rebelled against him- Biti, Ncube, Sikhala and Coltart.
That is when the party’s problems really began but the coup de grace was the Supreme Court ruling in March 2020. Chamisa and his new lieutenants defied the ruling but Douglas Mwonzora, who had been kicked out by Chamisa, proved he was smarter than Chamisa and capitalized on it. But instead of acknowledging this, Chamisa and his colleagues brought in their main opponent, ZANU-PF, saying it was the brains behind Mwonzora.
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