IT was Oscar Wilde who suggested that only the ugly and the stupid have the best of this world, and the matter of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the many women in his life suggests that, that equally scandalised 19th century Irish poet and playwright may have been onto something after all.
By Jove, hasn’t our Prime Minister been a busy old chap! The fellow has been enjoying without restraint his clearly voracious lust, in the process paying little if any regard to the old maxim that the upper orders of society should be careful to minister to their vices with a sense of finesse, discretion and proportion.
Harold Wilson did say a week is a long time in politics, and right he was too! Indeed, over these last few days, what we have learnt of the man who would be leader of this great nation is quite simply incredible. Dizzying is what it is! What a charmed life the fellow has been living!
The MDC-T boss bedded Locardia Karimatsenga and Elizabeth Macheka at about the same time and still found the energy to take his charms across the borders into South Africa where Nosipho Regina Shilubane found her lucky self being sprung from the slums of Yeoville to be ensconced into more posh digs at a cost of about US$1,500 a month to our PM.
Not only that, the South African so enchanted our amorous PM that he took her on an expensive holiday off the coasts of the Seychelles where they went seafaring on a cruise ship called the Legend of the Seas. How very charming!
Some may say what’s the fuss? The man has every right to bed who he wants, when he wants, as long as the said bedding is consensual and not with minors. Indeed, Tsvangirai has not been accused of forcing himself on any of these women. What they complain about, in fact, is the possible denial of his delightful charms through the prospective marriage to one of their number.
Again, shameful as these revelations maybe, the suggestion that Tsvangirai’s irresponsible wassailing and rather liberal ways with women and sex could harm his prospects at the next election, as feared by his backers and the rest of the ‘anyone-but-Mugabe’ lobby, is entirely contestable.
Rightly or otherwise, the morality or lack thereof, of our leaders is unlikely to feature on the list of concerns when voters cast their ballots at the next election. In addition, those who have voted for Tsvangirai are neither priests nor bishops; and we know anyway (thanks to a former ‘Pious’ one,) that men of the cloth are not beyond enjoying the illicit pleasures of life either.
MDC-T activists may see the hand of state security agents behind these embarrassing revelations and would be right complain that their Zanu PF rivals are not subjected to the same scrutiny and exposure.
But the MDC-T project promised that it would be different and yet we still do not see encouraging signs in that direction. Instead, we have the totally discomfiting picture of a party leader who treats women with the consideration of a medieval lord; a man who is clearly living it up, showering his many mistresses with expensive gifts and holidays at a time the large majority of the people he promised to deliver from Mugabe’s supposed tyranny continue to live a life of penury.
The more significant point however, was probably made by veteran journalist, Geoff Nyarota, in a recent article for The Standard newspaper when he suggested that Tsvangirai’s embarrassing conduct was unedifying and beneath the dignity of the office of Prime Minister.
It may also be suggested that the messy and imprudent manner in which he has conducted his private life is not becoming of one who would be head of this nation; indeed, and to again borrow from Wilde, the masses expect that stupidity and immorality should be the property of ordinary people; their leaders must be people of good character and, when possible, awesome intellect.
Tsvangirai is evidently not gifted with an awesome intellect; and now we know that he does not have a good character either. When I was a schoolboy, my father (God rest his soul for the man keeps popping up in my dreams complaining about one thing or the other) always reminded me and my brothers that Mugabe’s Zimbabwe would be no place for the uneducated.
However, more than ten years since he became leader of our biggest opposition party, I still do not have a clear idea of what kind of a country Tsvangirai’s Zimbabwe would be. What I am certain of now, at least and thankfully too, is that I must always tell my daughters to stay well clear of the fellow.
But perhaps we are being too harsh with the man; perhaps the people responsible for this mess are the forces behind the MDC project who, in the premature belief that conditions were ripe for anyone/anything to win an election against Robert Mugabe, may have burdened this mediocre individual with responsibilities much too onerous for one so simple; indeed one so rudimentary.
Tsvangirai was and remains a simple man who never had any grand designs for his life. He laboured through his secondary education, became a miner and started looking after his family; perfectly honourable.
The MDC-T leader never lived the ascetic and studious life of his bitter rival who read for all of six degrees and must have determined, at a very young age, that he, one day, would win power and retain it with a ruthless efficiency – which he has done.
To be fair with him, Tsvangirai did well to become head of the country’s largest trade union body but to seek to propel him beyond that achievement is to promote the man beyond his capabilities and appropriate station in life. We are all for upward social mobility, but only up to a point.
As such, whether or not these revelations are a CIO and Zanu PF hatchet job is not the issue. The point is that if the last three decades have been a nightmare, then this nation deserves something better and it has since become evident that, with Tsvangirai, the ‘anyone-but-Mugabe’ lobby has failed to deliver.
Gilbert Nyambabvu is the deputy editor of New Zimbabwe.com