PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has defended his decision to publish his memoirs, insisting he wanted to correct historical “distortions” by his critics.
‘Morgan Tsvangirai: In at the Deep End’, was published by Penguin Books on Saturday.
“So much has been written from other people’s perspective and not from my perspective," Tsvangirai said.
"There has been so much distortion, so much undermining of my character, even misrepresentation of certain events over the last 20 or so years, so I am just putting the record straight.”
Political memoirs are typically published at the end of one’s politically career, and Tsvangirai has found his motives and timing being questioned by many.
The book was ghost-written by his former spokesman, the journalist William Tagwirei Bango.
Bango told the Voice of America’s Violet Gonda on Friday: “All I did was to take his views which he had put on paper, and to talk to him for long periods [200 hours] and then I summarised his thoughts and gave it back to him to approve, which he duly did.”
Bango said the book showed Tsvangirai “swimming against a very harsh tide which was determined to stop any movement towards the democratisation of this country”.
He added: “I gathered from the material and from his story that he is a person who lived an extraordinary life as a human being, starting off as a first child of peasant parents in an arid rural area like Buhera, working through his education under very difficult circumstances during the colonial era and finding his first job in a textile factory as a weaver and finally rising to a position of becoming a Prime Minister of a nation.”
In the book, Tsvangirai deals with the 2005 split in his Movement for Democratic Change party which he blames partly on former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Tsvangirai charges that the MDC’s founding secretary general Welshman Ncube, now leader of a rival MDC faction, held secret meetings with a faction of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF aligned to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in the run-up to the split.
Tsvangirai also speaks of his “shock” when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he was working closely with the MDC for regime change in Zimbabwe, which severely undermined him in the eyes of African leaders.
Excerpts from the book are set to be serialised by at least 11 South African newspapers and The Daily News in Zimbabwe.