Tsvangirais road to political maturity

citizen_of_zimbaTitle: Citizen of Zimbabwe- conversations with Morgan Tsvangirai
Author: Stephen Chan
Publisher: Weaver Press

Weaver Press has published a new book, The Citizen of Zimbabwe, written by internationally acclaimed writer and scholar Stephen Chan.

The book, so far the most comprehensive writing to lay bare the mind of one of Zimbabwes most fascinating political figures, questions whether Morgan Tsvangirai has his own intellectual agenda or is merely a charismatic leader of the opposition.

It is a series of interviews with Tsvangirai held in 2004 at the height of Zanu (PF)s attempts to end the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)s quest to take over power.

Tsvangirai had been charged with treason and Chan interviewed him on one of the day when his treason verdict had just been postponed.

Chan admires Tsvangirais composure: On the day he could easily have been sentenced to a hangmans noose. He was cordiality and openness personified- calm as ice.

Reading the book Chan reveals that Tsvangirai had become more open, more human less cautious and, paradoxically, more obviously and naturally presidential.

Tsvangirais entry into the political field with the formation of the MDC in 1999 was met with doubt by many intellectuals who believed that the man was not good enough to lead the party, let alone the country. This assertion was buttressed by the early blunders made by Tsvangirai.

Chans book then traces the origins of Tsvangirais political beliefs, his steady maturity in the uneven political field and Zanu (PF)s response to his weaknesses and strength.

The book also explains the ideological differences that were the source of the factionalism that later led to the split of the party and Tsvangirais consistent mistrust of intellectuals in politics versus his strong belief in the support of the grassroots.

Five years after his discussions with Tsvangirai, Chan concludes the books with an update of Tsvangirais steady rise to Prime Minister.

Tsvangirai is a vexed, difficult, contradictory, courageous, idealistic and determined person. It takes a lot to absorb all that is about him, he concludes.

Described by a University of Johannesburg Professor of Development Studies David Moore as an intimate, philosophically engaged and astute series of interviews, the book does not only portray the picture of Zimbabwean politics, but is an overview of the link between countrys politics with that of Africa and the rest of the world.

Chan is Professor of International Relations at the school of Oriental And African Studies at the University of London. He believes in the praxis principle, which entails that the academic engages with society as much as with books.

The book is available at Weaver Press offices, 38 Brodlands Road, Emerald Hill in Harare.

Post published in: News

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