Wow! So much has been happening I do not know where to start!
Regional Diasporan said we should not boast about the almost 100% success rate we have on this blog with our analysis, so I am not going to dwell on this too long. To read the analysis in which we predicted what Morgan Tsvangirai did last night, please refer to the post entiled The MDC Plan, published on November 16 right here on this blog. Just as we deduced back then, he has now called on the African Union to come in and mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis. And just as we predicted back then, you can expect that he will not get any success at that continental body.
He does not expect to. But that is not the object of the exercise. Again, like we said, you can expect him to take his bag grievances all the way to the United Nations. Even there, he will get no success. He also knows this. What's the point then, you may ask. Patience, please. I will explain.
Morgan Tsvangirai is right when he says that he is not walking away from this deal. Instead, on the advice of hawks within his own party and some outside of it, the purpose of all this is to drag this thing out because they all believe that, in the process, Mugabe's regime is going to collapse under the weight of the economic problems facing the country. The hawks believe that they will then be able to simply pick up the reins of government very easily. They give it six months, but are prepared to wait for a year.
They have also factored in the possibility that this collapse may actually not happen, Mugabe may continue limping along as they drag the negotiating process all the way to the United Nations. Which is where the "we are not walking away from this deal" statement comes in. If, after six months or a year of playing this game, the MDC see that Mugabe is not collapsing, they intend to come back to the table claiming, quite rightly, that "We never walked away, so let us pick up where we left off and form this government".
We did say that, by that time, the conditions under which the opposition party will then join government will probably be less favourable than the ones on the table now.
The MDC leader has tried to anticipate this and mitigate it by signing Amendment No 19, which he expects to be the starting point of his re-engagement with Mugabe after he has exhausted the appeal "fake" appeal process all the way to the United Nations. Amendment No 19 basically locks in all the gains Morgan Tsvangirai has achieved so far and which he considers the minimum needed for him to form a government with Mugabe. With that under his belt, he now embarks on the merry-go-round journey to try and wear down Mugabe in the hope of gaining his prize number 1: the presidency.
Mugabe has countered this strategy by coming up with his own, so that he is not paralysed while Morgan tries to wear him down. That strategy, as we explained yesterday (see post below), has to do with the creation of conditions the world will accept as making a State of Emergency not only unavoidable, but necessary.
After taking his sweet time, not rushing back home as his soldiers "mutinied", Mugabe will land in Harare tomorrow (Wednesday, 03 December 2008). He is still pursuing his strategy of declaring a state of emergency. The only difference now is that this course of action has been somewhat interrupted by the planned demonstrations due tomorrow and Thursday, organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National Constitutional Assembly respectively.
These are going to be put down by the police. The army will be nowhere in sight.No armed forces member will join those demos because they are, so to speak, "still under whip". Their staged "rampaging", which has been going on since Friday last week is now temporarily to be suspended so that the police can deal with the unexpected inconvenience of the demonstrations. And deal with them they will. Mugabe knows his people, they have no stomach for a fight with the state at all.
Mugabe is absolutely adamant on this point, apparently: The state of emergency he is planning should not be a reaction to civil unrest, because that will only bring more opprobrium down on his head: he will be accused of declaring it to quash freedom of expression and democracy. A state of emergency declared under those circumstances would be a bit harder to sell to SADC and the African Union. He knows the police will easily deal with these protests. No emergency rule is going to be announced as a response to them.
Once the demos have been quashed, you can rest assured that the soldiers will be back on the streets. I am not sure of the time frame, but they will be back, causing the same havoc they have been causing over the last four days.
This is when you will see the big guns rolled out, some gunshots will ring out and soon after that, the state of emergency will be declared as a reaction to the army mutiny that threatened civilian life and property. The demonstrations, then, have only delayed the inevitable strategy, not made it impossible. The organisers of the demonstrations will also not be able to get the support of the army, as is their hope. Discipline in the armed forces is simply too good for that.
It appears that Morgan Tsvangirai has decided to ignore this strategy of Mugabe's and continue with his own as if nothing has changed. Like I said before, he risks simply being locked out of power for the next five years. This is because when a state of emergency is imposed, its lifting, according to Mugabe, will simply be dependent "on the normalisation of the economic crisis that gave rise to the "mutiny" by the soldiers". That could last five years.
Alternatively, and this was the original plan, with MDC still out of power, emergency rule in force, Mugabe will invite the NCA and other stakeholders to come together to hammer out a new constitution. And, after that is done, with army still camped in villages all over the country and the state of emergency still in full force, a new election will be announced in two years' time, just as the MDC has been asking for. You can all guess who will win that one. If the MDC refuse to to participate because of obvious reasons, Mugabe will simply ignore them and forge ahead. The original plan called for the lifting of emergency rule six weeks before this election under the new constitution. As is usual, no foreign observers will be allowed except the usual: SADC, AU, Russia etc.
These are the two options put forward by the originators of this strategy and I am not sure what each one will depend on, because they also expect civil society to refuse to participate in a Constitutional Conference under emergency rule. In which case, emergency rule will last for years, "Mugabe's" full term. But crafting a new constitution under emergency rule or virtual military rule is not without precedent as all of you reading this will know.
So, this thing is proceeding at the moment with the inevitability of the Green Mile walk down to the gallows. Mugabe has the might behind him, although we must admit, as we pointed out before, that the MDC had, this time around, come up with an astonishingly accomplished strategy.
This strategy would have, all things being equal, led the two bulls, MDC and ZANU PF, fighting each other to a standstill, at which point mediation would have once again become necessary. This was the objective of Tsvangirai's very daring and crafty strategy.
It is a pity that it appears Mugabe has come up with an even craftier strategy, backed by the might of the state army, an elephant that has now been asked to make a mock charge at the president, in order to justify shooting democracy.
The truth, whether you agree with it or not, is that, right now, Mugabe is on top.
Your move, Morgan.