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Zimbabwe Activist Itai Dzamara Abducted – Can Morgan Tsvangirai Do More?

Itai Dzamara, a Zimbabwean political activist who has been a vocal critic of President Robert Mugabe, was allegedly abducted by state security agents on Monday, 9 March. He is yet to be located. Waza blogger, Philani A. Moyo, thinks that the opposition leadership could handle the situation better.

On Saturday the 7th of March Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition MDC since its inception, held a rally alongside Itai Dzamara, the leader of the Occupy Africa Unity Square Movement. On the next day Itai was abducted. Until now, his whereabouts are unknown.

On Friday, he was suspected to be at Harare Central Police Station, but at the time this writing was compiled, there were unfounded rumours that he could actually be dead.

On the 11th of March, Morgan Tsvangirai was in Bulawayo and this writer attended the press conference. Much to this writer’s appallment, Tsvangirai was more concerned with paper politics: that he and his party won the elections in 2013, that they would not contest elections until reforms are made. He blamed his ‘loss’ in the last elections on Nikuv, an irregular voter’s role, and frog-marching of voters by traditional leaders to polling stations.

Street battles

On the 11th of March something else happened: the Occupy Africa Unity Square Movement, along with the MDC led by Tsvangirai, marched to parliament and demanded the release of Itai Dzamara.

On that afternoon police and the protesters clashed, according to reports, even in the official state press, the police lost the street battle.

even in the official state press, the police lost the street battle.

On that evening, the police attacked Harvest House, the MDC headquarters. While social media was ablaze with these reports, Tsvangirai simply announced it in passing as something that just strolled through his newsfeed.

Leadership in the opposition

When I met the man for the first time in my life, I lost two strands of respect I had for him. First of all, in his entire address, he failed to address, in the strong language he had used a day ago in his press statement, Itai Dzamara’s disappearance. He overlooked the abduction of a man he had shared the podium with four days earlier.

Tsvangirai spoke of convergence between political entities to address local crises, yet he failed to show solidarity and urgency in handling affairs. He is here pandering to journalists as though we have all the time in the world. Remember, this is only the second year in a five year election term. And the forecast is dire.

Tsvangirai failed to show solidarity

In a room full of journalists, Tsvangirai failed to show solidarity with the cause in Harare which is bloodier than Bulawayo. Bulawayo is the only province he and his party managed to consolidate in the last election, yet somehow he fails to capitalize on that; to make Bulawayo an example of what the MDC can achieve in power.

Disillusionment

I was quickly disillusioned, the man I remember, when I watched TV, was charged with treason after he spoke words that rang with a young boy’s heart as the necessary course of action. He said to Robert Mugabe: “If you don’t want to go peacefully, we will remove you violently.” Yet he compromised in the 2008 elections. In his defense, he expected ZANU to honour the agreement, yet in truth the agreement was as shambolic as any election the country has seen.

Tsvangirai, by downplaying Dzamara’s relevance proved one thing to me: he is the same as Robert Mugabe, although he denied it. Yet, ironically in his denial, he says he is fulfilling the mandate of the people, something Mugabe has used even though all elections have been reasonably questionable.

Playing roles

It appears Morgan, who is still living on State property since his days as Prime Minister, is simply the face of the revolution. He is the face of opposition, and like Robert Mugabe said during the signing of the GNU, people misconstrue the role of the opposition, the opposition must remain the opposition.

To fulfil what purpose? Well, democracy is an elaborate play I always said, and parts have to be played.

Waza is proud to feature as part of its content local bloggers who have a knack for expressing their unique perspectives, independent thoughts and engaging stories. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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