• How The Talks Will Progress This Week

    Now that we all know the game plan Morgan Tsvangirai has, it is easier to predict with accuracy how this week will pan out on that front.


    Morgan sees the ouster of Mbeki as a way of revising the deal he signed on Sept 15, essentially meaning that he wants to go back on his word because he now thinks that, with Mbeki out of the way, he can refuse to compromise, have another election and gain the presidency, which is his First Prize. We all know that Mugabe is as tough as old boots and that is unlikely to happen. There will be NO new elections, in two years or three or six six months. We will have to wait the full 5 years.

    So, here's how it will go: On Monday, they all troop down to Swaziland to meet the SADC Troika. The Toika will say that the offer on the table appears reasonable to them and Morgan should accept either rotation or some of the other compromises suggested for the Ministry of Home Affairs. Tsvangirai, because any decision that does not hand him Zimbabwe on a silver platter is wrong in his eyes, will then denounce SADC (as he has previously done) as a club of dictators and seek to escalate the dispute to the African Union (AU) level.

    At the AU level, the response will be same: This is the best deal around. Morgan will then scold the African Union and seek to escalate the dispute to the United Nations. But here, he will hit a brick wall, because the mediation he submitted himself to did not involve the UN, except simply as observers (who were not even allowed into the country by Mugabe, if you remember). So they have no standing regarding this deal and its implementation.

    Then there is the issue of showing cause. Strictly speaking, Mugabe has not breached the agreement, since Tsvangirai short-sightedly appended his signature to an incomplete agreement, which did not contain adequate guidelines on the composition of the power-sharing cabinet. The agreement only provides for the number of posts each party gets, but remains quiet even on the vague notion of "equitable distribution of power" - who gets what in order to balance scales. Tsvangirai and his army of advisers slipped there, as they have always done The dictator laughs all the way to the black market yet again. Inexperience is costing the people of Zimbabwe dearly.

    When he realises he can't go the UN route, Tsvangirai will either come back to negotiate with Mugabe (we have seen this before: a lot of grandstanding based on fatal miscalculation: Remember the "Mugabe will gone in six months" comment, shouted a rally in 2002 by Morgan Tsvangirai?

    We will be back to square one, a lot of time wasted. In the end, we will all be brought back to the de ja vu of now by Morgan Tsvangirai. He will come back to the agreement that is on the table right now.

    That is how this thing will pan out. It is going to be an interesting week and can even spill into the following two weeks. In the end, though, come what may, after a lot of unecessary suffering humming and hawing, Morgan will come back to sign, much more weakened. Mugabe will be much emboldened, knowing that there is nowhere left for the MDC to run to. You see, Britain and America and shout, but they may as well shouting boo to the Niagra Falls: he will not be moved. There is little else they can do. Africa neither has the inclination, nor indeed the power, to haul Mugabe over the coals and give him a good roasting.

    Checkmate.

    As Mutambara said: There is a leadership crisis in this country. Unfortunately, that crisis is on both the ZANU PF and the MDC-T sides. One is a rock. The other is a hard place. And the people are getting swung back and forth, pounded against one, then the other. They are past the stage of crying out now. They can only whimper and moan.

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