Zimbabwe: Poiltical Games, Grandstanding While The Nation Suffers
There are still reports of a deadlock in Zimbabwe, although you should not pay much attention to them. It is unlikely that the parties will walk away now. Tsvangirai wants this as badly as Mugabe needs it.
My reading is that this whole "deadlock thing" is a mask, meant to throw the media off the scent. There will be an announcement today, over the weekend or Monday at the very latest. Arthur Mutambara, the most level-headed of all the participants in these negotiations, is getting very frustrated. His comments, however, betray a hint that the talks are not in as much danger as the sensationalist Nelson Chamisa would like to make it appear.
In fact, all the principals are saying things that are at odds with what Chamisa is saying. Tsvangirai, who is not at all good with diplomacy, chose the wiser route of not commenting as he left the talks last night, lest he inadvertently lets the cat out of bag. Mugabe said he had been "asked to be here at 11 tomorrow morning (Friday)".
It may be hoping against hope, but I am almost certain that things are not as bad as they sound. The parties have come too far. And if the talks should really fail, I think we can say that this is the end of Morgan Tsvangirai's hope of ever leading Zimbabwe. I don't think he wants that.
Mugabe can continue even under an official inflation rate of a trillion percent. Having tried to negotiate, he will now get SADC and his other friends to stand more solidly behind him. Mbeki will tell SADC, who gave him the mandate, of the intransigence of MDC and Tsvangirai during the talks, their refusal to compromise and their unrealistic demands when they have no power base from which to act as if they have an upper hand.
Still, you will hear from me later on in the day and I hope I will be delivering good news. I expect the stock market will go bonkers today, as will the exchange rate. The hope is that all this will add pressure to Mugabe. The truth is that he does not give a hoot. No matter how badly people suffer, Mugabe is not going to cave in. That we have experience of. He would rather rule over a rubbish dump than see he and his party emasculated.
The tactic of destroying the economy as a means to force Mugabe's hand has failed and will continue to fail. Unity of purpose, tactful positioning and coaxing are the things that will carry the day. Which is how Mbeki managed to hammer out an agreement in the first place. The MDC should sit down with him and get some lessons in drawing in your prey, lulling them into a false sense of security and then pouncing when least expected.
But, as I have been saying since 2002, the MDC is still mired in student politics, which values grandstanding and meaningless gestures over progress towards the people's objective.
Lets see how this day goes.