What Will Happen At The Talks Tomorrow & London Telegraph Falls Prey To Hoax on Zimbabwe

South African Cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko announced yesterday that his government will take a "hard stance" on Zimbabwe during the SADC meeting to be held tomorrow. All of a sudden, some people can now see hope. They take this to mean that South Africa will now abandon quiet diplomacy and take the gloves off with Mugabe.
That is wishful thinking. I know a man who was a portfolio chairman three parliaments ago who worked closely with Mugabe and what he told me gave me cause for thought. Let me share this with you. According to this man, who has met all the presidents of SADC, four of the presidents told him essentially the same thing, that there is something about Mugabe even at presidential level that ties the tongues of other leaders.
"They all say you can scream and shout while you are outside, but when you get into a room with him and are face to face with him, grown men, leaders of their own countries, suddenly find themselves tongue-tied." And these are presidents of other countries speaking! The same people who are supposed to take a "tough stance" on Mugabe!
Maseko gave the game away by saying the problem is that there are "three parties that can't agree...." He misses the point. There was no condemnation of Mugabe in his statement. They all still dance around him and he will make them dance to his tune again on Sunday. Nothing will be achieved. Nothing at all.
What will happen is that, once there is no agreement, SADC will refer to matter to the AU to sit down and come up with a new process, perhaps a new mediator. Mugabe will simply announce that he has had enough, the country has not had a government for close to a year and he will announce that he is now forming a cabinet while the process proceeds. The world will do nothing except perhaps compound the matter by piling on more sanctions. These sanctions are not "pressure" to Mugabe. The world should know that by now.
Here's what Mugabe wants: to play for time until the next election is due, whenever he decides that will be. He believes very strongly that even if a new election is called, he will be able to repeat his tactics of June 27, torture, kill, intimidate and win the day. That, to him, means that he will then have a strong position from which to continue negotiations with the MDC. So it boils down to this: either the MDC accepts his terms or he goes it alone.
Madness, I hear you say? But those of us who know this man now know that there is no such thing with Mugabe. No leader in his right mind would have handled the land issue the way Mugabe did. No president worth his salt would have refused to leave office in the face of the frightening destruction of Zimbabwe that we see now. Mugabe has a set of values all his own, utterly alien to the world we live in and the sooner people realise that, the sooner we will be able to find a way to deal with him. As Morgan Tsvangirai said after his lunch with Mugabe, the Zimbabwean leader believes everything he says. He believes his own rhetoric. Understanding that is key to coming up with a strategy to get him to move to the side and let the people of Zimbabwe breathe.

Morgan knows all this. He has now left with his whole family and is based in Botswana. This, I personally believe, is preparation for the setting up of a government in exile, which will be recognised quickly by the USA, Britain and other countries. It is an empty and futile gesture because Mugabe wil simply ignore him and his government in exile. Morgan, ladies and gentlemen, is preparing for a long haul. It will be at least another five years before we see an end to this circus in Harare.

P.S. I have had to add a postscript to this post because the London Telegraph has fallen prey to a hoax on Zimbabwe. International newspapers, especially, are keen on stories from Zimbabwe and this has led them into traps. The Telegraph reports today that it is in possesion of a ZANU PF "memo" urging Mugabe to hand over key ministries to the MDC. These would include Home Affairs. The "memo" was leaked by a "senior intelligence official."

According to this admirable piece of fiction, Mugabe's "inner circle" have "told" the ageing president to hand over Home affairs to the MDC chop chop.

The fact of the matter is that this "memo" is a fake. Robert Mugabe's government is disciplined in this regard. The only official documents you will find on Zimbabwe are cabinet minutes because Mugabe considers these inconsequential. Ask yourself this: with all the politubro meetings that have taken place in Zimbabwe over the years and all the leaks that have come from there, have you ever seen a leaked copy of the minutes? No. Because there are none. Those who leak stories from the Politubro do so from memory only because they never get sight of the minutes, if any are made. Even Thabo Mbeki had to resort to paying Mugabe's inner circle to spy from memory because information is tightly held in the ruling party. You will all remember that the spies were caught and jailed.

It is certain (and I say this with some authority) that there is no memo to Mugabe as described by the Telegraph. If I worked in government, I could draft a "memo" containing any fiction I liked, give it to a Telegraph reporter, claim it was given to Mugabe by "top-top" military and intelligence advisers, get some money and laugh all the way to the bank.

Desperate for a "scoop", the reporters for international newspapers will obviously swallow this nonsense hook, line and sinker. But that does not make it true. No memo of the sort has been submitted to Mugabe because whoever attempted to do that would find themselves in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison faster than they can say "fake". Or worse. There will be no agreement in South Africa. Mugabe and his party are united on this. There is no more giving ground. Full stop.

Already, with threats of a ZAPU breakaway hanging over his head, Mugabe is now more determined than ever to keep his party intact. MDC takes what it is given or they walk into the sunset. That was the final decision taken by Mugabe's coterie this week. Shame about the Telegraph, it is normally such a quality paper, good at verifying facts.


  1. And, what about this story we are hearing that the MDC is training militias? I think it's another super-hoax, hey!
    Any way, wether they agree or not, or whether Tsvangirai goes to form a government in the dispora, and ZANU PF continues widening its graveyard, Mavambo will sweep Zimbabwe clean!

    Regional Diasporan


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