Tekere now a spent force

For someone who was once tipped to succeed Robert Mugabe and even gave him a scare in the 1990 presidential elections coming up with 30 percent of the vote, Zimbabwe Unity Movement leader Edgar Tekere is now a spent force.

Having been beaten by political lightweight Lawrence Mudehwe in the mayoral elections for Mutare, perhaps it is time the veteran politician threw the towel and concentrated on charity work which he said he now spends most of his time doing.

Why Tekere contested the mayoral elections in the first place baffles the mind and he has humiliated himself by proving that he is not even suitable to lead the country's fourth largest town.

At 62, his days are numbered too.

Popularly known as "Twoboy" during his heydays, Tekere was one of the most controversial politicians in ZANU-PF immediately after independence, only second to Mugabe.

As the party secretary-general, a post abolished in 1985 and replaced by the less powerful post of secretary for administration now occupied by another political spent force Didymus Mutasa, Tekere was so powerful that he survived the expulsion from the party to bounce back into the executive which he only left when he decided to form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement to stop the imposition of a one-party state by the ZANU-PF government which had managed to kill the only strong opposition in the form of ZAPU which it merged with in 1987.

But after a credible performance in the 1990 presidential elections where he retained his deposit because of his good performance, Tekere's political career has been on the slide ever since, leading some, including Zimbabwe Union of Democrats leader Margaret Dongo, to say he never left ZANU-PF but was merely allowed to "break" to give the western world the impression that Zimbabwe was a multi-party state in which the opposition could seriously challenge the ruling ZANU-PF if it produced the right candidates.

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