Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tsavangerai flawed leader

NYTimes reports:

....Mr. Tsvangirai, whose thrashing made him an international symbol of resistance to Mr. Mugabe’s repressive rule, returned to Zimbabwe on Saturday for a showdown with his nemesis in a June 27 runoff after six weeks of self-imposed exile. He bested Mr. Mugabe in a March 29 election, then fled the country in the middle of the night on April 8 after his staff said it got word of a plot to kill him.

Mr. Tsvangirai is a flawed leader who has sometimes been naïve and too conciliatory, according to critics and allies alike. And yet, many of them say, he has endured....

In recent weeks, he has come under increasing criticism for staying out of the country while his supporters have been attacked, tortured and even killed in a sweeping state-sponsored campaign to intimidate all who dare challenge Mr. Mugabe’s re-election. William McGee, the American ambassador in Harare, said there was evidence that an assassination plot was threatened, but he said he believed that it was disinformation meant to keep Mr. Tsvangirai from returning home....

Ah, but we pinoys remember Ninoy shrugging off an assasination threat....

“He’s been imprisoned, humiliated and accused of being a puppet of the West,” said George Bizos, a South African lawyer who represented Nelson Mandela in the apartheid era and was Mr. Tsvangirai’s advocate during his treason trial in 2004. “But I believe he is a Zimbabwean patriot in touch with the vast majority of his people. He has shown he has stamina.”

The son of a bricklayer and the eldest of nine children, Mr. Tsvangirai, 56, never went to college and labored in the nickel mines before rising through the ranks of the union movement. He faces a very different opponent in Mr. Mugabe, 84, a university-educated teacher who became the hero of his country’s liberation from white rule and its first and only president since independence in 1980.

Mr. Mugabe contemptuously mocks Mr. Tsvangirai for not having joined the guerrilla struggle in his youth, and the state-owned newspaper — a mouthpiece for the governing party — recently belittled him as a coward and Western stooge with “a big black nose” and “chubby and pimply cheeks.”

BUT Mr. Tsvangirai (pronounced CHANG-guh-rye) can rightfully claim to be the first politician to win more votes than Mr. Mugabe at the polls — and have it officially recognized. On Thursday, he toured refugee camps here in southern Africa’s economic capital where his countrymen — some of the millions who have fled their nation’s imploding economy — have been subjected to xenophobic attacks in impoverished townships....

No comments:

Free hit counters
Free hit counters