MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s decision to seek regional support in his protracted pursuit for political change in Zimbabwe has drawn mixed feelings among local political analysts.
Some have been quick to warn the politically fatigued opposition strongman to expend his energies on seeking support among Zimbabwean voters instead.
This comes after the former Prime Minister was seen hobnobbing with some African leaders during this past weekend’s inauguration of Ghanaian leader Nana Nankwa Akufo-Addo.
Tsvangirai’s party has confirmed this was part of the veteran opposition leader’s bid to rope in President Robert Mugabe’s peers to reign in Zimbabwe’s elderly statesman.
Harare-based political analyst Wellington Zindi said Tsvangirai should not put his trust too much on a strategy that has failed him before.
“His invitation to Ghana, while necessary is not sufficient to deal with the crisis at home; he is not dealing with critical issues like laying the foundation for a coalition to topple Zanu PF,” Zindi said.
“He is too casual and utopianist. Regional leaders will come to his rescue if he can organise a similar challenge to the 2008 one to Zanu PF.”
Zindi feels by seeking the support of some of his nemesis’s peers, Tsvangirai could only get limited sympathy as some of the African leaders remained in awe of Mugabe for his tough stance against continued white dominance.
Great Zimbabwe University history lecturer, Dr Takavafira Zhou also admits Tsvangirai scored a major diplomatic coup when he successfully sought audience with some African leaders at the expense of Mugabe, who was conspicuous by his absence during the Accra ceremony.
He, however, feels Tsvangirai’s perceived endorsement by African leaders was not enough.
“It is not so much of Tsvangirai’s endorsement by African leaders but it is building a critical mass against Mugabe that would be important in the final analysis,” he said.
“It is therefore prudent for MDC-T to build a multi-faceted system, enhance its dexterity and guard against rigging by any means necessary so as to deliver egalitarianism in Zimbabwe.
“All the same, Tsvangirai’s acceptability by African countries can help in encouraging free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and protect people’s democratic votes as observers from African countries play a crucial role in legitimising elections in Africa.”
Kudzai Kwangwari, another Harare-based political analyst, said Tsvangirai was barking up the wrong tree by seeking support from Mugabe’s peers.
“African leaders and least of all Sadc leaders, have never showed any political stamina to challenge Robert Mugabe and there is no reason now to believe they will,” he said.
“So the behaviour of Mugabe is almost an African political culture which finds currency with many African leaders as evidenced by the former Gambian president.”
Kwangwari said most African leaders’ terms were mired in vote fraud and hence they lacked any moral authority to intervene positively in Zimbabwean affairs.
But Alexander Rusero feels quoting foreigners by the ex-premier was a masterstroke.
“The MDC-T, through its able leadership, is brilliantly exhibiting tact and diplomatic competence,” he said, adding that Zimbabwe attained its independence through a diplomatic offensive among the former Front Line States.
“... It is through SADC and AU that auspices of GNU and GPA were agreed upon. As such, any form of regional engagement especially by an opposition party not only diplomatic victory but a critical political symbolism which should rattle feathers within the ruling party.”