Bootlicking, Personality Cult Creep Into MDC-T

By Prince Tongogara


Zimbabwean politics particularly in Zanu (PF) it has been replete with praise-singing and building of personality cults especially among the top leadership. This phenomenon has seen President Robert Mugabe becoming bigger than Zanu PF and all members bowing to him like a deity while his word has become the law in the party.

Several senior Zanu (PF) have knelt before Mugabe and sang him embarrassing praises at political rallies much to the chagrin of some party supporters. The late Tony Gara, former commissar Webster Shamu and Obert Mpofu quickly come to mind.

Gara likened Mugabe to the second Jesus Christ while Shamu compared him to the famous Nestle creamer Cremora. Not to be out done Mpofu signed his letters to Mugabe as the most ‘obedient son’.

However, the phenomenon has crept into the opposition parties too with senior MDC-T leaders on Saturday battling to outdo each other praising party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The fawning of deputy president Thokozani Khupe and vice-chairman Morgen Komichi to Tsvangirai was comical if not nauseating considering the import of the august gathering at the Exhibition Park. Tsvangirai shadow hang all over the event despite that it was to commemorate torture survivors at the hands of the despotic regime since 1999 and to remember the 307 party cadres who have died in politically motivated murders since the party’s formation some 6 years ago.

National vice-chairperson Morgen Komichi was set the stage for praise singing when he took to the podium to introduce Tsvangirai. He painted the picture of the party leader as the country’s messiah in biblical terms.

“This survivor (Morgan Tsvangirai) was chosen by God to lead us to Canaan. When God chooses people to move it’s because there is torture and abuse and he will raise those that will lead people to freedom,” Komichi said.

The survivor party referred to Tsvangirai’s assault by police in 2007 at a prayer meeting dubbed ‘Save Zimbabwe Campaign’ where activist Gift Tandare was gunned down in the melee.

Other senior opposition leaders like Lovemore Madhuku, and Tendai Biti were also beaten up and detained on that black day.

However, Khupe took the bootlicking cup hands down with her own fanatical praise of the leader when she came to give the closing remarks at the memorial service for the survivors.

She intimated the political change was merely intended to get Tsvangirai in the State House.

“People have been maimed, killed and tortured because they want you to get into State House. We are ready to remain resolute until you get into the State House,” Khupe said.

She was not done yet as she went on to announce a new meaning of the acronym MDC-T.

“I will tell you what MDC-T means. It means Morgan Delivers Change Totally and indeed Morgan will Deliver Change Totally,” she added.

Political analysts concur that the trend of hero worshipping and propping of personality cults shows Zimbabwe opposition politics sliding down into well-trodden Zanu PF character. They said Zimbabwe has endured strong men in its politics for long, men whose sheer personalities made people coalesce and inspire great confidence among their followers.


However, they argue, it should not be allowed that a man can outgrow the ideologies their party stands for nor to have men whose names became synonymous with the ideologies they propagated at this juncture.