A lot of Zimbabweans were caught by surprise when one by one, Morgan Tsvangirai’s top lieutenants starting with the money-man Roy Bennett, followed by his deputy Elton Mangoma, and then secretary-general Tendai Biti, asked the Movement for Democratic Change leader to step down and give way to new leadership.
Tsvangirai and the party had just lost heavily in the 2013 elections.
Though the party claimed that the elections were rigged it also felt that it was time for a change in leadership because Tsvangirai had failed to unseat Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front for the third time, though he beat him in the first round in 2008.
But according to former journalist turned political analyst Sydney Masamvu, Tsvangirai would have been asked to step down if he lost the 2008 elections.
Masamvu said this nine months before the 2008 elections, shortly after meeting Tsvangirai to discuss whether the MDC would participate or boycott the 2008 elections.
Masamvu said Tsvangirai told him that there was a 95 percent chance that the MDC would boycott the elections because it was pointless participating “in a forlorn hope”.
Masamvu, however, felt that though Tsvangirai consistently pointed out that his supporters did not want to participate in a charade, Tsvangirai also appeared to have “selfish motives in that he realizes that the next election will likely be his last chance to become the President”.
“If Tsvangirai loses the next election, despite its character or legitimacy, MDC grassroots will likely look for another leader with a better chance of achieving a better result,” Masamvu said.
The MDC decide to participate in the elections of 2008 and Tsvangirai won but he was unable to take over because it was argued he had not won enough votes for an outright victory.
He pulled out of the run-off because of the violence that ensued but was forced to enter into a government of national unity with Mugabe.
Although the inclusive government was supposed to last only 18 months it lasted just over four` years.
Below are the first 360 of 725 Wikileaks cables on Tsvangirai.
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