Most news agencies and organisations, as well as the ordinary people in Zimbabwe, have taken a stand on the talks between Mugabe and MDC-T. A frighteningly small minority want the talks to fail and that includes pretty much every single Zimbabwean online news organisation based in the UK, USA or South Africa.
This is fine as it goes, but the problem is that, when it comes to reporting, these media no longer carry news, but actually twist whatever information comes out to reinforce their prejudice and effectively lead their readers astray. In this, they are egged on by a lot of Zimbabweans, mostly outside the country, who also do not want to see the crisis in Zimbabwe resolved for their own reasons. These range from their fear for their own status in the UK, say, where, should the situation normalise, there will be no grounds to claim asylum to those who are benefitting from the system either directly through exploiting the opportunities presented by the economic meltdown.
I am holding here today the results of a survey we commissioned, done by a South African company within the borders of Zimbabwe and amongst Zimbabweans in South Africa. The results are astounding. 75% of the people in Zimbabwe, half of them in the rural areas, say a GNU should be formed regardless of the misgivings of either ZANU PF or the MDCs. Across the border, in South Africa, however, the picture is different: 82% of Zimbabweans in South Africa say the GNU should not be formed. 56% of these say they should be no GNU at all, no matter what and the remainder say that the GNU should only be formed once the MDC has all its conditions met. In South Africa, 80% of those interviewed could not name a single MDC condition for the formation of a GNU apart from "control of Home Affairs". Within Zimbabwe, 97% of those interviewed say a unilateral government by Mugabe without the MDC would increase their suffering, a fact on which they agree with 99% of Zimbabweans in South Africa. Anyone who wants a copy of the results can email me and I will send them through to be studied more closely.
All this exposes the fact that , for the people in Zimbabwe, the ones who actually voted in the last election, the troubles facing the country are more important than any other consideration. They want a government and they want it now. But to hear the media discussing this, you would think the people of Zimbabwe are against the power-sharing deal. The truth is that they are not and only a handful of so-called commentators and analysts, who either have not been in Zimbabwe for the last 8 years or come to visit once every three years (keeping to the flashy restaurants and hotels and consorting only with an opposition elite as biased as they are), dominate the international conversation and poison international opinion based on what can frankly be called lies and wishful thinking.
And now, to the subject of the heading of this post. It is now emerging that the prospects for these talks and for a government of national unity are very slim, because the MDC and ZANU PF are not even talking to each other anymore. ZANU PF drafted the Amendment number 19, which the MDC said is what they are waiting for to join the government, all by themselves and sent it off to Thabo Mbeki in South Africa. The two MDCs had to get the draft from the South African High Commission (Embassy) in Harare, after it had already been sent to Mbeki.
And this is where it gets interesting. The MDC-T has not bothered to collect the document and instead says it has drafted its own law, its own Amendment Number 19. Today, the opposition signalled that it has no intention of looking at the "ZANU PF Bill". This ensures that Mugabe will also act in like manner and refuse to look at the "MDC Law". There is no doubt that ZANU PF has acted arrogantly on this score. They could not have lost anything by sitting down with their new partners in government and going over the draft together so that there was agreement prior to Mbeki seeing this thing.
But you have to understand the high-stakes, finely-tuned game of chess being played here. Mugabe knows that MDC-T have no intention of passing this Bill and is simply going through the motions. If he had asked the MDC Tsvangirai to come in and take a look at the draft together with him, they most likely would have refused until their other conditions were met. And he also heard the comment on Tuesday by Tsvangirai, while he was still in France (he is now in Germany), that the bill has no chance of passing in parliament because his MPs will all vote against it.
All this confirms what I told all of you on this blog the day the MDC came out with their resolution. A lot of online media dismissed our analysis here, but, as with all the other analyses we have put up before, it is being proven correct right down to the smallest detail.
This draft Bill will have to be presented to parliament by a minister. Mugabe's current, illegal ministers, whom ZANU PF are calling "caretaker ministers" can not do this job. It will have to be done by the new cabinet, which can not be put in place until the MDC agrees to participate......its a chicken and egg scenario.
However, Mugabe is now intent on showing SADC and the AU that Tsvangirai and the MDC are the ones negotiating in bad faith. That infamous resolution Number 3 from the MDC National Executive, will now be the party's undoing. You see, Mugabe has now resolved to ask the MDC to at least nominate someone to steer this Bill through parliament. By doing this, the MDC would basically have appointed a minister. Mugabe is counting on the MDC refusing outright to nominate such a person. The ZANU PF leader then intends to go through to SADC and show them how impossible the MDC is being, asking for Amendment Number 19 and then refusing to steer the same Bill through Parliament.
SADC is almost certain to agree with Mugabe's viewpoint that the MDC-T are being intransigent. And it is at that stage that, as we have said before here, SADC will then cut off all communication with MDC and give Mugabe the go-ahead to form a government on his own. That would be the end of the diplomacy of Tsvangirai in Africa. He would then have to take his matter to Europe and America. But, at that stage all these bodies, including the United Nations, will then come into Africa to find a united SADC and AU position that MDC-T are the ones who killed the talks and that there is a deal on the table that the Africans are waiting for the MDC to pick up.
Economically, the path we are now on will not save Zimbabwe, but that has never concerned Mugabe at all. All the talk about him collapsing in six months is simply the experimental rantings of a few people who have no idea just how hard Mugabe's heart is. This country will completely grind to a halt and he will not resign. The state of the nation at the moment is such that, any other leader guided by anything other than a hard heart would have packed it in a long time ago. But not Mugabe. Please note this, because it is going to come true: there will be deaths amounting to more than 3 million people in Zimbabwe in the next twelve to eighteen months and Mugabe will still not go, blaming these deaths on sanctions and hoping that the statistics will finally move the US and UK to climb down from their positions. But Europe and the US are unlikely to be moved by even the deaths of half of our population. We are not their citizens and they are not about to do us any favours. But Mugabe will not resign and the MDC will be locked out of power for the next five years. That is what Mugabe's game plan is and the MDC-T are helping him along very nicely.