Our political leaders are now so cheap

Recent public spats among our political leaders regarding their scandalous love affairs are a clear but tragic demonstration of the poverty of leadership in Zimbabwe today. Our leaders are labouring to outdo each other in showing how bad their rivals have been in their personal love relationships.

Tawanda Majoni
Tawanda Majoni

Instead of working earnestly to find sustainable solutions to their own internal problems and the crisis that Zimbabweans face, our political leaders have decided to weaken the discourse on the myriad problems we face by focusing on bedroom scandals involving their rivals. Not only is this diversionary; it shows how trivial and selfish they are. It feeds the leadership crisis that has reduced us to a population of hapless and tearful beggars in a land of plenty.

President Robert Mugabe, mysteriously, got the blame game going when, during a speech at the Heroes’ Acre where he was burying one of his lieutenants, he said he pitied Morgan Tsvangirai for his multiple relationships following the death of his wife, Susan, in 2009.

It would always be hard to understand Mugabe’s motive for going off the rails at an austere occasion like that burial to launch a personal attack on Tsvangirai’s shenanigans. Tsvangirai, through Luke Tamborinyoka, his spokesperson, hit back. He said it was surprising that Mugabe had decided to focus on his personal life while Zimbabwe was being reduced to ashes by a raging economic crisis.

But he didn’t leave it there. Tsvangirai brazenly reminded Mugabe that he had done worse things, by romping with his then secretary and now First Lady, Grace, while the president’s first wife, Sally, was agonising on her death bed. Mugabe’s statement had opened a Pandora’s Box.

But Tsvangirai was not finished with this type of rant. A few days later, he went to Bulawayo where he sensationally accused his former secretary general, Tendai Biti, of extra-marital affairs. He also revealed that a former top ally, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, was a wife snatcher. Biti and Sipepa Nkomo are now his bitter rivals, after breaking ranks to form the Renewal Team that wants Tsvangirai out of office.

The two have on several occasions played to the gallery by accusing Tsvangirai of being a bed-hopper. That was, in fact, one of the reasons why they wanted him to step down as leader of the party. It boggles the mind, of course, what they actually wanted to achieve by repeating well-known facts about Tsvangirai. Now that they have also been exposed, are they fit to a lead a political party?

But the point is that Tsvangirai contradicted himself. He had earlier attacked Mugabe for concentrating on his personal life but, there he was, firing broadsides at his political foes just as the President had done to him. Just like Mugabe, he was abusing a public platform to settle personal scores with Biti and Nkomo.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Biti and Nkomo take to the podium soon to say more about Tsvangirai’s bedroom gaffes. Just as the sun will rise, I bet my last dime that these two will do that. As the MDC congress approaches, we are also likely to see more of this soiled linen in public.

Yes, character assassination has always been the hallmark of Zimbabwe’s dirty politics, but that does not make it an acceptable strategy. I would readily listen to the rants by the brawling politicians if any of them were clean.

The truth, of course, is that all are as dirty as the dirtiest kettle and should not be singing about the badness in others. Since they all have big logs in their eyes, they better not waste our time by engaging in futile, puerile and vulgar talk about each other as they seek to settle personal scores.

Instead, they should be talking about Zimbabwe and how to get it out of the current mess. We have had enough of this cheap type of politics based on self-aggrandisement. What we need are philanthropist-politicians who are concerned with the people. – To comment on this article, please contact [email protected]

Post published in: Analysis
  1. Wilbert Mukori

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