A Blast From The Past, Energy Mutodi's 10 Reasons Why Tsvangirai Must Be Honored With Hero Status
Exactly 2 years ago when the iconic MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai died, Energy Mutodi took to social media to detail these 5 points why Morgan Tsvangirai was supposed to be inferred with a hero status. In reality, Mutodi listed 5 points but called them 10 points and said the other 5 points were technical.
10 REASONS WHY TSVANGIRAI MUST BE HONOURED WITH HERO STATUS
1. A Brave Warrior & Visionary
Morgan Tsvangirai was a brave Zimbabwean man who spent much of his adult life fighting for the democratization of his country. He founded an opposition party called the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999 that had widespread support from mainly workers’ unions; considering that he had worked as Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for many years prior to the formation of the MDC. During the 19 years he led the MDC as its President, Tsvangirai worked well with Zimbabweans from all corners of the country including Gibson Sibanda who initially was his Vice President, Roy Bennet who was Treasurer General, Welshman Ncube who was Secretary General and Tendai Biti who later became Minister of Finance. As power struggles took toll in his opposition party, Tsvangirai showed no tolerance to racism, regionalism or tribalism; a clear sign that he was a true statesman par excellence. Opposition parties are important in any democracy as they prove the tolerance and resilience of popular ruling parties. The constitution of Zimbabwe says that the President may confer hero status on a citizen for his or her outstanding and distinctive service to Zimbabwe and Tsvangirai deserves this honour especially if it is considered that our different political views and affiliations do not make us enemies, unequal and undeserving citizens as such is our constitutionally guaranteed right.
2. Non-Violent Campaign
Morgan Tsvangirai was opposition leader in Zimbabwe during a time the country was being led by a dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe. President Mugabe ruled the country with an iron fist and did not tolerate dissent let alone a powerful and rising opposition. In 2008, Tsvangirai won the first round of votes however without a clear majority to allow him to form a government. In the runoff that followed, Tsvangirai’s party complained that several of its supporters were maimed, abducted and murdered while some had their homes torched by Mugabe’s supporters. However, inspite of the reported violence against his supporters and also ill-treatment and beatings against his person by the police, Tsvangirai maintained a campaign of non-violence against President Mugabe’s rule. Several of his campaign rallies were cancelled by the police and to prove his patriotism and genuine quest for peaceful transition and transfer of power, Tsvangirai did not resort to military means to propel his party to power, although he could have done so, capitalizing on international support from Britain and her allies as well as other neighboring countries such as Botswana that openly supported him.
3. Law-abiding citizen
On 25 February 2002, Morgan Tsvangirai was charged with treason and could face the death penalty if he was convicted. The opposition leader had been accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe and a controversial Iranian-born and Israeli businessmen Ari Ben Menashe was the state’s key witness. Tsvangirai hired the services of a renowned South African Human Rights lawyer George Bizos to represent him in the trail that lasted for over a year. Tsvangirai was cleared of any wrong-doing by the courts and was acquitted but history had already recorded that the opposition leader was fearless and had trust in the local courts even when there was clear evidence to prove that Mugabe’s regime interfered with the justice delivery system.
4. Successful Inclusive Government
Apart from his fight for democracy that he did for his entire life, Tsvangirai should be honored for agreeing to be part of the 2009-2013 Inclusive government that brought relief to many suffering Zimbabweans. Between 2006 and 2008, at least 3 million Zimbabweans fled the country in pursuit for better standards of living and to seek employment in neighboring South Africa, Botswana and also in the UK. Due to President Mugabe’s ruinous economic policies, the economy collapsed as was evidenced by the collapse of the agricultural sector, the closure of companies and their relocation to other countries, rampant unemployment and the rejection of the local currency by the transacting public who preferred to use the US dollar in order to counter hyperinflation. In order to end the economic and political crisis, Tsvangirai agreed to be part of a Unity Government that was brokered by the SADC. He became Prime Minister in 2009, leaving office in the year 2013 after serving for 5 years. During the inclusive government, the economy boomed and GDP figures rose from negative to above 10%. Inflation was contained and money supply improved significantly. The inclusive government is the happiest moment Zimbabweans have enjoyed since independence from Britain in 1980.
5. Operation Restore Legacy
As President Mugabe resisted all options for an honourable exit from power notwithstanding his old age and glaring signs that he was nolonger in control of the country’s political and economic affairs, the military, being informed by growing dissent in and outside the ruling ZANU PF party undertook an operation code named “Operation Restore Legacy”, that forced the nonagenarian leader out of power. Tsvangirai who at the time was receiving treatment for a cancer ailment in South Africa saw the need to rise from his deathbed and travelled back home mainly to celebrate the fall of President Mugabe’s dictatorial rule with his fellow citizens as well as to congratulate President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa who took over as President. It was widely expected that President Mnangagwa would include Tsvangirai in his government and create yet another inclusive government but the opposition leader’s health problems and perhaps the elections time table made this impossible. However, President Mnangagwa’s government pledged to foot the opposition icon’s medical bills, gave him his pension benefits that included an upmarket house and wished him a quick recovery in the hope that one day he would rise again and contribute positively to the success of his country, Zimbabwe.
[Please take note that the other 5 reasons are technical and strategic reasons that may not be displayed on this platform. Also take note that the views with regards to the former Prime Minister’s hero status may be divergent hence the need for the nation to accept whatever decision the authorities will make].
(Energy Mutodi is a member of ZANU PF).
Fast forward to yesterday Mutodi said Tsvangirai was a sellout and a coward in a Twitter post.