By Vincent Tsvangirai MP
HAVING gone through a lot of Alex Magaisa’s recent articles, it is fair that a response by a Zimbabwean youth is given.
After the disastrous 2013 election the MDC-T family and its president Morgan Tsvangirai woke up to see a picture of Alex Magaisa, Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and other G40 kingpins at a lodge on the outskirts of Harare.
Immediately, it began to dawn on the over trusting MDC-T that the man whom it had entrusted with the duty of advising its president could actually have been secretly dining with their opponent, the then united, if not a faction of, Zanu PF.
After the coup in November, 2017 it was clear that Dr. Magaisa’s sympathies lay with the Zanu PF element that had been ousted from power.
His writings were very clear. After the death of President Tsvangirai, there was a rush by G40 to try to influence his succession within the party. It clearly sided and sponsored Nelson Chamisa’s violent and unconstitutional take-over of the party.
It went on to sponsor Chamisa’s presidential bid in 2018. After Chamisa failed to get the national presidency, the G40 group sought to control the party. It seconded its members and officials to occupy strategic posts within the MDC Alliance.
Notable G40 elements in the MDC Alliance are; Paddington Japajapa, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Shadreck Mashayamombe and Jim Kunaka. The G40 group also helped Chamisa purge senior members of the party who included Douglas Mwonzora, Elias Mudzuri and Morgen Komichi.
In this way, the G40 envisaged to stage a spectacular political comeback using MDC Alliance’s numbers. The G40 also sponsored certain “intellectuals” in order to deal with certain elements within the MDC Alliance, Douglas Mwonzora included.
Dr. Magaisa chose to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil when Chamisa behaved in a clearly unconstitutional manner and usurped power in the MDC. He was spectacularly mum when Chamisa’s thugs tried to burn Mwonzora and Khupe in that hut in Buhera during the funeral of the late Morgan Tsvangirai on 21 February 2018.
It is not a secret or malice as it was witnessed by a number of diplomats there present including the Americans and British. He chose to keep quiet when Chamisa made political and legal blunder after blunder including going to the Supreme Court to challenge the 2018 presidential election without adequate evidence to back his case.
Dr. Magaisa as a pro Chamisa senior lawyer failed to advise him and the MDC Alliance when they mounted their disastrous legal campaign against Mwonzora and the MDC-T for the greater part of 2019. Magaisa’s trademark answer to Chamisa’s defeats is that the courts are captured by Zanu PF.
Yet ironically Chamisa whom Magaisa idolises so much is an officer of the same courts. What appears to have got Magaisa mad is the dramatic comeback of Douglas Mwonzora in a manner that many people including him never anticipated.
After the defeat of Chamisa at the Supreme Court, an angry Magaisa tried to reargue the case on social media where he tried to look smart in the presence of non-lawyers. He teamed up with Jonathan Moyo and Pedzisayi Ruhanya targeting to destroy Douglas Mwonzora.
All their guns have been turned against Mwonzora all the time. Magaisa and team are so angry that having written Mwonzora off so many times, the wily legislator has always smartly won his battles.
Instead of acknowledging the clear intelligence and tactical tenacity that Mwonzora possesses, Magaisa and Ruhanya resort to calling him names. On the other hand, Jonathan Moyo resorts to various threats and exudes boundless hatred for Mwonzora.
In one of his latest Big Saturday Reads, Magaisa describes Mwonzora derogatorily as a “toad”, and “a small man with a big shadow”. Despite its trademark winding and hallucinatory length, the last BSR can simply be summarised as follows: Mwonzora must not be involved in dialogue, Mwonzora has not played any role in the democratic struggle, involvement of Mwonzora in any dialogue amounts to “rigging” his way into the negotiating table because he was not a presidential candidate in 2018.
Further, without any evidence expected of a polished intellectual, Magaisa blatantly claims that Mwonzora has been paid by Zanu PF to destroy Chamisa.
With a stunning soothsayer aura Magaisa claims without shame that Mwonzora has no known political abilities and that he won’t score significantly in 2023, in fact he maintains that Mwonzora will score less than 45000 votes!
This claim without any shred of research based evidence. Just a figment of warped armchair intellectual delusion.
Magaisa further begs Mnangagwa not to negotiate with Mwonzora and that if these negotiations go through, they must not result in a government of national unity (GNU).
Practically, Magaisa is shamelessly rolling on the muddy ground begging Mnangagwa to have only Chamisa at the dialogue table. Why is Magaisa worried and panicky at the prospects of Douglas Mwonzora being involved in any negotiations with Mnangagwa?
Isn’t Magaisa actually the toad that is jumping about in day light? What or who is behind him? Why is Magaisa worried and panicky about the prospects of a GNU?
What is evident is that the 2009 to 2013 GNU period was one of the most progressive socio-political and economic periods in our post-independence Zimbabwe. There was relative peace and stability with extreme show of tolerance across the political divide.
From the day of his election as the President of our party Mwonzora has maintained that dialogue and tolerance would be the mainstay of his political strategy. He says that the country must get rid of the politics of hate, rancour and violence and replace it with the politics of rational disputation and tolerance.
He has also said that as an opposition leader he will be guided by what is in the best interests of the Zimbabwean people. Much to the chagrin of Magaisa, this message has been well received by the Zimbabwean people. Magaisa thinks that effective opposition politics is about name calling and insulting the opponent. With only a month in office, Mwonzora has hit favourable headlines in the mainstream media more than any other politician.
This is evident in both the public and private media. His political attributes have won him the praises of people like Professor Stephen Chan and Eldred Masunungure, undoubted gurus in political science and Zimbabwe’s political dynamics.
Magaisa tries very hard to belittle Mwonzora. Yet there is clear evidence that Mwonzora is actually a smooth political operator. This same Mwonzora successfully steered the only notable achievement of the Global Political Agreement- the new constitution of 2013.
This same Mwonzora walked out of remand prison to convince MDC T voters at the 2011 party’s 3rd Congress in Bulawayo to elect him the party’s National spokesperson. This is the same Douglas Mwonzora who beat Nelson Chamisa with close to 1000 votes at the MDC congress in 2014!
This is the same Mwonzora who masterminded the Mashavira case that saw the nullification of Chamisa’s unMDC constitutional rise to the party’s presidency. This is the same Douglas Mwonzora who clearly outmanoeuvred Nelson Chamisa for the legal control of the MDC.
He beat Chamisa and MDC Alliance in the fight for the control of the opposition caucus in parliament. He beat Chamisa and the MDC Alliance in the battle for control of Morgan Tsvangirai House and the right to receive the Political Parties Fund.
On the 27th of December, 2020 Mwonzora cleanly beat his contenders, with a landslide in the race for substantive MDCT presidency. He beat his contenders by roughly the same margin that he beat Chamisa in the 2014 congress. Is this not the same Mwonzora who at the age of 27 won the fight for the opposition to get state funding under the political parties’ fund?
Is this not the same Mwonzora who with Alex Magaisa’s undivided cheer leading totally outclassed Zanu PF in the fight for a new Constitution for Zimbabwe? Is this not the same Mwonzora who co-authored “Public Participation Under Authoritarian Rule: A case of Zimbabwe”.
Is he not the same person who wrote “The Problem of Our Civilisation: An African Perspective”? Is this not the same Mwonzora who negotiated and won significant electoral reforms including the biometric voters roll (BVR) system in Zimbabwe?
It is preposterous and shameful for anyone in his right mind to politically and intellectually belittle a man with such successes under his hat. Successes that are beyond debate.
Magaisa seems to suggest that Mwonzora must not be involved in calling for dialogue because he was not a presidential candidate in 2018.
Many Zimbabweans including church leaders like Andrew Wutaunashe, Kenneth Mtata, and Sebastian Bakare etc. have been calling for national dialogue and yet were not electoral candidates.
Clearly trying to copy Mwonzora, Tendai Biti, who just like Mwonzora was not a presidential candidate in 2018 spoke of the need for unconditional dialogue with Zanu PF.
For Magaisa, Biti and anyone else can speak of dialogue while Mwonzora should not. What kind of bigoted myopicism is that? At any rate why should the right to dialogue be the preserve of only those who lost the 2018 presidential election. Isn’t national dialogue supposed to be all inclusive?
Magaisa says that if dialogue happens it should not culminate in the establishment of a Government of National Unity. His obsession with dialogue not culminating in GNU is evidence of the fears of his handlers.
A GNU will likely bring sanity and stability in the socio-political and economic arena thereby dealing a blow to populist sand throwing mantra that capitalises on the suffering of the ordinary people.
Mwonzora on the other hand says that dialogue must be unconditional and must be guided by what is in the best interests of the Zimbabwean people. While Magaisa’s message is clearly malicious and selfish, Mwonzora’s message is clearly motivated by the interests of the Zimbabwean people. That is why it is getting traction with the young people of Zimbabwe.
What is the source of Magaisa’s beef with Mwonzora? Has Magaisa not forgiven Mwonzora for not standing by him when those photos at a meeting with G40 surfaced in 2013? Or has Mwonzora become such an obstacle to the G40 project of hijacking and controlling the opposition in Zimbabwe?
Is it because Magaisa’s prophesies of doom, masked as academic treatises, in which he basically wrote Mwonzora’s political obituary time without number have clearly come to naught?
Or is it a case of some narcissistic academic activist who fails to come to grips with the reality that someone else other than him may be smarter? Is this a quest for relevance to be obtained by trying to pull someone down?
Magaisa must explain the convergence of his thought and method with the thought and method of Jonathan Moyo and Pedzisayi Ruhanya. Or has petty jealousy and threat of irrelevance turned this formerly good academic into a rebel without cause just like his brother Ruhanya, whose obsession has been a keenness to bring Mwonzora down by any means fair or foul?
Mwonzora was elected the President of MDCT barely a month ago. He has brought a breath of fresh air into Zimbabwe’s acrid politics. As the youth we have hope in the opposition once more.
For once the opposition has someone who is not rude, brash and easily excitable. For once we have someone who plays politics like chess, purposeful and focused.
For once we have someone who is not petulant when asked questions like Tendai Biti is.
Some of us who have stood by Mwonzora are not regretting our decision. Those who argue that Mwonzora has no mass appeal have a surprise awaiting them.
Dr. Magaisa must accept the reality that thanks to his unhelpful advice and method, his preferred horse is being outclassed. He must not sulk. He has to spare us his now too predictable intellectual toxicity and enjoy the British hospitality quietly.
Vincent Tsvangirai is an MDC-T Glen View south MP and the party’s secretary for presidential affairs. He is the son of the late Morgan Tsvangirai.