Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership of a transitional government in Zimbabwe is “non-negotiable“, his deputy Thokozani Khupe said in South Africa today. He was speaking after a meeting organized by civic groups and South Africa’s COSATU trade union federation. A coalition of Zimbabwean civic groups had earlier called for a transitional authority to be headed by a neutral figure.
While negotiations continue between Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change continue, one observer argues that miscalculation, loss of nerve and bad counsel led Tsvangirai to hand Mugabe victory on a plate. The MDC was already split going into the elections, after a breakaway faction, led by Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube, based in western Zimbabwe, attracted many of the MDC’s professional supporters. Many of them had been alienated, argues Mugabe biographer Stephen Chan, by Tsvangirai’s performance.
”A hit-and-miss politician-capable of strokes of genius but also prone to periods of wayward and ineffectual leadership”, he is also “used to like teasing Zimbabwean intellectuals for thinking too much.” Tsvangirai showed his Machiavellian side in the late 1990s when the MDC split from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), in which it had incubated, “just when that body was becoming the largest civil society group Zimbabwe had ever known.”
“Ironically, the real threat to [Tsvangirai's] long-term future may not come from Zanu-PF but from within his own MDC. It is here that personal and political tragedies intersect. Many within the party are disillusioned with his recent performance. It is by no means certain he will remain at the top. If there is a succession, this will involve as many factional fights within the MDC as are likely to occur in a post-Mugabe Zanu-PF.”