EDITORIAL COMMENT: Democrats don’t gag media, Mr Morgan

tsvangiraiACCORDING to Soviet political scientist Natan Sharansky, the threshold Test for a free society is what he called The Town Square Test. The test holds that, ‘‘If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society.’’

While Zimbabwe has passed, and has always excelled in The Town Square Test as evidenced by the existence of political parties and quasi-political groups sworn against the national interest, Harvest House — the MDC-T headquarters has consistently been founding wanting.

While the MDC-T was launched on the back of promises of “bringing’’ freedom and democracy to Zimbabwe with Chapter 4 (4.6) of the party constitution saying; “The MDC firmly believes in freedom of speech, freedom of expression and further, the free circulation of ideas and information within the movement”; a look at events in the MDC-T over the past few years vindicates the adage, “talk is cheap’’ as MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has consistently failed to walk his talk.

All who tried to oppose his style of leadership had goons set upon them right at Harvest House or elsewhere in party structures, cases in point being Mrs Trudy Stevenson, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Fortune Gwaze and Elton Mangoma to mention just a few. Other opponents were simply hounded out, the likes of Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti. And the latest revelation that Tsvangirai is a wolf in sheep’s skin came on the 4th of this month by way of a letter he wrote to his party’s structures expressing dismay at their use of social media and directing them to exit all such groups.

Tsvangirai’s reason, as we report elsewhere in this issue, he believes the social media groups — where he has been getting some flak for his personal and political failures — are being used for individual glorification at the expense of the party.

While political parties are private clubs that can set their own rules, our problem with Mr Tsvangirai is that he has sought to build a career on a shrine of lies to the extent that his handlers victimised an entire nation with sanctions because he claimed the incumbent government was closing democratic space.

The MDC-T, he has said ad nauseum, is ‘‘the paragon of democracy, defends free speech’’. Now if this man can’t defend free speech in his own party, can he defend it at national level?

If he threatens to clamp down on free speech when he does not have the regulatory powers to do so, what more if he is given access to instruments of the State?

Tsvangirai’s true colours keep emerging and he is a scary specimen.

We wait to hear what his Western handlers, who claim to be latter day Voltaires, have to say about this.

It’s day four, still deafening silence.