(Last Updated on August 14, 2013 by Editor)
Making a point: Edgar Tekere affectionately known as “Two-Boy” captured in a hospital bed Monday in Harare.
Hospitalised veteran nationalist and Zanu PF founder Edgar Tekere, whose memoirs triggered heated public debate, has urged the two MDC formations which split in 2005 over irreconcilable differences stemming from participation in the then new Senate, to reunite and vigorously fight President Robert Mugabe.
Speaking from a bed at St Anne’s Hospital where he is being treated for cancer, Tekere — a former Cabinet minister and ex-Zanu PF influential secretary-general — said the vanguard party should “not disgust future generations” by its warped policies he blames for the country’s economic meltdown.
Tekere said the MDC split was unfortunate but the two formations — one led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the other under the stewardship of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara — should bury the hatchet and take President Mugabe head-on.
The luminary of Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence told NewsDay that the one-party state mentality was “highly addictive” and needed detoxifying.
He went on to castigate Tsvangirai for handing over power to President Mugabe on a silver platter despite elbowing him out in the 2008 presidential election.
Said Tekere: “I urge Tsvangirai and Mutambara to work together for the good of the nation. The two parties need to reunite and fight (President) Mugabe. They will never defeat him if they are not united. I know that man (President Mugabe).
I can assure them that if they join hands and fight strongly, they will win. Tsvangirai and Mutambara need to think again.
They need to do things in a smart way. Their goals need to be the same.”
The MDC was formed in September 1999 by people from various backgrounds who did not necessarily share the same ideology or philosophy, but had one common foe: President Mugabe. Undoubtedly, it became Zimbabwe’s strongest opposition since independence in 1980.
Tsvangirai was in sixes and sevens to meet the expectations of individuals from different socio-economic and political backgrounds, including international donors and the business community, that resulted in the infamous split Tekere wants patched.
The late Gibson Sibanda and the then secretary-general Welshman Ncube formed a breakaway party now led by Mutambara while Tsvangirai stood his ground supported by Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and a string of other founding members.
Meanwhile, Tekere snubbed the burial of his erstwhile colleague, the late Mashonaland Central governor Ephraim Masawi, last week despite earlier assurances to attend.
Masawi died of leukaemia and was controversially declared a national hero prompting President Mugabe to demystify the myth of who should be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre.
Tekere was approached by Information minister Webster Shamu and Youth Development and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere while in hospital in a bid to pursuade him to attend Masawi’s burial at the Heroes’ Acre.
The late Masawi fell out of favour in some Zanu PF circles for attending the launch of Tekere’s autobiography A Lifetime of Struggle.
“Masawi was hated by Zanu PF because he attended the launch of my book. What nonsense is this?” Tekere asked.
His book was the second detailed personal account by a high-profile Zanu PF politician after the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s The Story of My Life.
Tekere reportedly told the two ministers he did not have the proper attire to attend the burial and Kasukuwere chipped in saying that would not be a problem as clothes would be provided.
Tekere claims he was bought a suit, tie, shoes and shirt to wear at the funeral but he later changed his mind saying he would steal the thunder from President Mugabe because, firstly, he would have to be transported by a private ambulance “which costs $125 for the first hour and $50 thereafter”, and secondly, he would become the centre of attraction because he would be wheelchair-bound.
“I changed my mind,” Tekere said. “It would have been in bad taste. I did not want to be the centre of attraction. Besides (President) Mugabe talks for too long and my money would have gone down the drain.
“Kasukuwere even offered $1 000 to pay for the ambulance fees but I felt it was not right to take his money and become the centre of attraction at Heroes’ Acre.” – News Day