Zimbabwean Prime Minister Tsvangirai Brings Out Autobiography

30 September 2011
By Violet Gonda | Washington
Our Discussion point: Trapped in leadership? Seeking freedom to be heard? One would think serving PMs have it all.

The Zimbabwean prime minister’s memoirs, called ‘Morgan Tsvangirai: In at the Deep End,’ are being published by Penguin Books of South Africa, and will be serialized in

11 newspapers in that country

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai this weekend is publishing an autobiography that chronicles his life from teenage mineworker to trade union leader to opposition party founder and his appointment as power-sharing prime minister.

His memoirs, called “Morgan Tsvangirai: In at the Deep End,” are being published by Penguin Books of South Africa, and will be serialized in 11 newspapers in that country.

The book contains a number of personal revelations:

  • Mr. Tsvangirai says he felt betrayed by former Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change before the party split in two in 2005 and now the president of a rival MDC formation whose main base of support is in Matabeleland.
  • The prime minister charges that Ncube held secret meetings with a faction of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF aligned to now-Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, and voices suspicions that then-South African President Thabo Mbeki nurtured the split.
  • Mr. Tsvangirai describes his shock when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he was working closely with the MDC for regime change in Zimbabwe, which severely undermined his position in pan-African opinion.

VOA reporter Violet Gonda asked Mr. Tsvangirai about what he hoped to accomplish by publishing the book while still in office. “So much has been written from other people’s perspective and not from my perspective,” Mr. Tsvangirai said. “There has been so much distortion, so much undermining of my character, even misrepresentation of certain events over the last 20 or so years, so I am just putting the record straight.”

Mr. Tsvangirai said he decided to subtitle the book “In At The Deep End” because he has experienced many trials and tribulations in his life, “some of which were knife edge – it’s like being thrown at the deep end. I had to swim and overcome all the obstacles.”

His former spokesman William Bango polished Mr. Tsvangirai’s draft as ghost writer – a common practice in high-profile life stories. He said the collaboration led him to a deeper understanding of what makes the Zimbabwean prime minister tick.

Bango said that among other sources he consulted Mr. Tsvangirai’s diaries and recorded 200 hours of interviews with him. The book will be translated into French, Arabic, Zulu and Zimbabwe’s two main indigenous languages, Shona and Ndebele, he said.


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