Tsvangirai Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

AFRICANGLOBE – Outgoing Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai, fresh from suffering a defeat by President Robert Mugabe in last week’s presidential elections is reportedly facing a difficult task of keeping his party together amid alleged moves to topple him.

Tsvangirai failed in his third bid to unseat Mugabe who has been in power since 1980 after he garnered 34 percent of the vote against the veteran ruler’s 61 percent in the polls held last Wednesday.

The 89 year old leader’s Zanu PF also secured a two thirds majority in parliament reducing Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to an insignificant player.

The MDC is disputing the outcome of the elections claiming there was massive vote rigging but this has not stopped speculation that there was a bitter fallout in the party.

State media claimed on Monday that there were already moves to replace Tsvangirai with outgoing Finance minister Tendai Biti as leader of the MDC.

“Biti has survived, but just,” the state controlled Herald newspaper wrote.

“The result is a Biti who is in parliament where Morgan Tsvangirai cannot be, a Biti who interacts with government which Tsvangirai cannot do, and a Biti who — by virtue of being the most senior of the MDC-T MPs in parliament — becomes leader of the MDC-T in Parliament.”

Tsvangarai has called on newly elected MDC MPs to boycott parliament in protest against the alleged electoral fraud.

“Given the illegality of this election, the MDC national council resolved that it will not legitimize institutions created by an illegal election and therefore will not engage in institutions of government”, he said.

Tsvangirai was elected MDC leader in 2000 under a constitution which limited his tenure to two five-year terms.

However, during the 2010 congress, he pushed for an amendment to extend his leadership.

The election loss will also re-ignite debate on Tsvangirai’s fitness to continue leading the party, in the wake of a string of sex scandals that called his morals into question.

On Saturday Tsvangirai told journalists that it was the party’s mandate to remove him from his position as their leader.

“I did not lose the elections in my personal capacity, it is the party’s mandate to actually ask me to step down, but at the moment I have its full backing,” he said.


By: Janet Shoko