Morgan Tsvangirai says he does not mind losing the next presidential race in 2018, insisting that he has done his part by fighting President Robert Mugabe’s “dictatorship” since 1999.
The words, uttered last Friday in Harare as he announced two additions to his presidium, mark a departure from the vibrant and confident Tsvangirai who has over the years vowed that he would lead the removal of Mugabe, now 92 and in power for 36 years.
After the 2014 congress and as late as this year, Tsvangirai insisted that he would dislodge Mugabe and restore Zimbabwe to its former glory. He has been at the helm of the MDC since 1999 when he led the party with the help of the late Gibson Sibanda.
He contested but lost in three presidential contests in 2002, 2008 and 2013, but many still believe that he was cheated out of the race by President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
He handed Mugabe his first official defeat in March 2008 but did not get an outright victory to form a new government, leading to a June run-off that he subsequently withdrew from due to widespread violence and intimidation.
With colon cancer, repeated failure to win elections and internal party rifts taking a toll on him, the MDC-T president fell short of announcing that he was resigning himself to fate.
God has created me for a purpose and if that purpose is not to be president of the country, that’s fine,” said Tsvangirai.
He added: “I have fulfilled what I think I was created to do and I am doing it to the best of my ability.”
Tsvangirai on Friday told journalists at his Highlands home that, after consulting with the party’s national council, he had decided to elevate Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri to vice president.
They join the other vice president, Thokozani Khupe.
Some analysts have viewed the appointments of Chamisa and Mudzuri as part of a noble plan to prepare the party for his exit.
The once firebrand opposition leader is now cutting a lone figure and announced the Friday elevations in the company of only his wife and presidential spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka.
Party spokesperson, Obert Gutu, distanced himself from the appointments and referred all queries to Tsvangirai.
It turned out Khupe was not consulted over the appointments and was not present when the national council met last Thursday.