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Citizen of Zimbabwe

Conversations with Morgan Tsvangirai

Stephen Chan

Publication Year: 2010

Morgan Tsvangiraiís appointment as Zimbabweís Prime Minister in 2009 followed many yearsí leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions and the Movement for Democratic Change. How has that experience equipped him for high national office? Does he have the personal, intellectual and political qualities required to be President? In July 2004, as he was awaiting the verdict in his treason trial, Tsvangirai spent several days in conversation with Stephen Chan. Chan was concerned to find out if Tsvangirai was more than ëmerely a charismatic leader of the oppositioní; if he had ëhis own intellectual agenda [and] political philosophyí. His questions were even-handed and astute. ëDiscussion by discussion, Morgan Tsvangirai had become more open, more human ñ less cautious and, paradoxically, more obviously and naturally presidential.í Five years later, having reviewed the events since their discussions took place, Chan writes: ëI have not made a saint of him, not even an Atlas. I hope I have not criticized him too much or too unfairly. Probably no one could have done for Zimbabwe what he has.í Citizen of Zimbabwe is a rare and intimate portrait of political leadership in Africa.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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pp. i-iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv


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pp. v-vi

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Preface to the Second Edition

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pp. vii-viii

The first edition of this book, Citizen of Africa: Conversations with Morgan Tsvangirai, was written in late 2004, after protracted interviews in Harare with Morgan Tsvangirai, and was released as an ‘underground’ or samizdat edition for the elections of 2005...

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pp. 1-7

The idea for this book came at Easter 2004. At that time the ruling party in Zimbabwe, ZANU(PF), thought it had turned a corner in its struggle with the opposition MDC. On 29 March the MDC had lost the parliamentary by-election in Zengeza – a seat it would normally have regarded as a stronghold. There had been no massive intimidation...

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A Short History

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pp. 8-20

Morgan Tsvangirai’s house is a comfortably sprawling single-story building in Strathaven, about five minutes’ drive north-west of downtown Harare. It is, as are all houses in what are called ‘low density’ areas, surrounded by high walls. It is the counterpart designation...

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Inclusiveness & Opposition

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pp. 21-30

One of the products of Westminster democracy is the idea of an opposition party. It is able to contest elections and perhaps become the government. Meantime, its duty – not just its right – is to oppose the current elected government. It does this not necessarily because...

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The Battle for Ownership of the Mind

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pp. 31-43

Ali Mazrui, the Kenyan scholar who has spent most of his academic career at Makerere University in Uganda and then in US universities, wrote a book that, eleven years before 9/11, sought to introduce the idea that culture and cultural traditions had a major role to play...

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Internationalism & Reconciliation

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pp. 44-51

The world of international diplomacy, although committed to gentlemanly manners, is a viper’s nest of ungentlemanly conduct. There are exceptions. I think the former French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin’s UN speech against war with Iraq will stand as a masterpiece...

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pp. 52-61

I need not have bothered. Overnight it seemed as if Morgan Tsvangirai had also decided to engage with the project of expressing himself more fully. The offending tree was still shedding its pollen; Tsvangirai was wearing a striped business shirt...

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AIDS & Aid: Disease & Conditionality

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pp. 62-69

The HIV infection rate in Zimbabwe has long been high. The sudden decline in living standards since 2000 has brought with it lower nutrition levels and even lower immunity to the various infections to which an HIV-sufferer is exposed. The number of deaths from AIDS...

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Traditional Culture, Modernity & Democracy

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pp. 70-80

The paragon, the darling, of the Africa-essentialist left is the Tanzanian academic Issa G. Shivji. His use of Marxist vocabulary and analysis is such that his vision of an Africa, uninfected by Western, bourgeois, and imperialist influences, is itself infected by European socialist influences....

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Healing & the Future

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pp. 81-88

The land ‘reform’ programme, with its ‘one-off satisfaction’, would leave Zimbabwe having to inherit many problems. Regaining agricultural productivity and halting ecological depredation are only two of them. Equity, however, will be the key issue. What was meant, crudely...

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A Rueful Reflection

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pp. 89-95

He wanted to show me around his garden, of which he was inordinately proud. The house, a sprawling single-floor bungalow, sits in the middle of it, but it is the garden that delighted Morgan Tsvangirai. ‘When my wife and I first saw it,’ he said, ‘I thought, yes, this is it. This is it....

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The Twisting & Turning Road Forwards

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pp. 96-106

In this chapter I will try to update the career of Morgan Tsvangirai. I have not spoken at length with him since the 2005 elections, but we have exchanged messages and his have always been, characteristically, and even when I was writing critically of him, full of good cheer...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781779221391
Print-ISBN-13: 9781779221056

Page Count: 116
Publication Year: 2010