The whispers and the sniping have been around for years. He's "not clever" enough. He loves his golf a little too much. He's brave, for sure, but no strategist.
Today Zimbabwe's thrice-failed presidential contender, Morgan Tsvangirai, must surely be facing the real possibility of political oblivion following his party's crushing defeat in last week's election - and there are plenty of people who feel he deserves it.
If you think Zimbabwe's election campaign was bitter and polarising - wait for the furious new battle taking shape in a country that rarely finds "closure" at the bottom of a ballot box.
Before the official results are even announced, and before the legal challenges are even drafted, the fight now begins for control of the narrative - of the "true story" of what just happened to Zimbabwean democracy.
There is, perhaps, only one question that really matters in Zimbabwe this week, as the country finally tries to move beyond the violent, disrupted elections of 2008, and the five years' worth of tortuous negotiations and snarling political stalemate that followed.
It is an intriguing twist in an already dramatic and fractious pre-election campaign in Zimbabwe.
As Zimbabweans prepare to decide whether to grant President Robert Mugabe another term in office at the end of this month, a brand new television channel has just been unveiled - after weeks of rushed and secretive preparations - promising to offer viewers "quality, independent information" in sharp contrast to the "biased reporting of the state media".
Picture the scene. You are being held hostage by pirates on a ship just off the coast of one of the most lawless corners of Somalia. You have been there for more than two years in the grimmest conditions.
Now your ship has sunk in stormy seas, and some of your colleagues are missing.
Not for the first time, I'm straying off topic today - and back to a country I once reported. Burma, or Myanmar, has changed a lot in the five years since I left the region. What follows is a report which first appeared on From Our Own Correspondent, based on a recent family holiday.
It wasn't much of a disguise: a baseball cap, sunglasses, and a few days worth of stubble.
Instinct tells you to look away. A family in meltdown is a grim sight, and the very public spectacle of South Africa's "first family" turning on itself in recent days has left many people here shaking their heads in dismay. We all knew there were tensions. But that it should come to this…
The battle over the graves. The power struggle between daughter and grandson over who should "lead" the family. The talk of marital infidelity. The earlier court case about Nelson Mandela's money. And now the claims - contained in a legal document drawn up some time ago and evidently designed to nudge a judge towards making a quick decision about exhuming Mr Mandela's dead children - that the 94-year-old is in "a permanent vegetative state" with doctors advising that his life support system "should be switched off."
If US President Barack Obama's first, brief visit to the continent four years ago was characterised by inflated expectations followed by a lingering sense of disappointment; his second tour of Africa is taking place in a rather different atmosphere.
For a start, there is the inevitable preoccupation here in South Africa with Nelson Mandela's state of health - and the fear that it might entirely overshadow the American leader's trip.
If you want to know about the health of South Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela there is really only one person to call - and it is not some junior spokesman in the presidential bureaucracy.
Instead, it is one of Mr Mandela's oldest, closest friends - a silver-haired, razor-sharp, 78-year-old South African called Mac Maharaj, who spent years imprisoned on Robben Island with Mr Mandela, and even transcribed and smuggled out a draft of his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom.
"It's time to let him go" reads the main headline in South Africa's Sunday Times this morning. It quotes Nelson Mandela's friend and fellow struggle veteran Andrew Mlangeni, urging Mandela's family to "release him spiritually and put their faith in the hands of God". But in most other local papers, the frail Nelson Mandela's latest hospitalisation is treated - as one might, perhaps, expect after so many previous "scares" - with far less sense of drama.
The City Press leads on a new twist in the long-running scandal of President Zuma's lavish home refurbishments, while the tabloid Sunday World is more preoccupied with celebrity stories. The Sowetan Live website captures something of the increasingly phlegmatic public attitude towards Mr Mandela's fading health by quoting this Tweet - "Let him die with dignity. It's not a circus folks." While others urge the 94-year-old to fight on, a man in Mandela's home village, is quoted as saying "I think we should just accept it that Mandela is old and he will go soon."
Don't expect another tearful, edge-of-seat, courtroom drama just yet.
South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius returns to the dock in Pretoria on Tuesday, but it will be a brief affair - perhaps just a few minutes - as the prosecution asks the magistrate for more time to complete its investigations.
Is it a practical joke? A laughable ego trip? A crude piece of opposition propaganda? Or the first real insight that Zimbabweans have been offered into the inner-workings of the party that has ruled their country for decades?
I have been following Baba Jukwa on Facebook for a few months now, on the advice of a businessman and friend in Harare who was convinced that this was something special, something important - a genuine insider's account of the factional battles and corruption with President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
Africa correspondent since 2009, covering the continent's highs and lows - from the World Cup, Africa's economic boom, and the literary treasures of Timbuktu, to the pirates of Somalia, the conflict in Ivory Coast, and the struggles of Zimbabwe.
Twenty years as a foreign correspondent, based in the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia.
Reported on the 1993 parliamentary rebellion in Moscow, two Chechen wars, the Asian tsunami in 2004, and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Congo, Sudan, Liberia and beyond.
Born in the UK, grew up in Belgium and boarding school. Married with three children.
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