Mutambara to Mugabe: "You lost the election" Mugabe's Response: "I promise you that will never happen again"
Kgalema Motlanthe, president of South Africa seen here arriving at the conference venue in Harare last week with President Guebuza of Mozambique
President Motlanthe of South Africa and the Chairmano of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) apparently lost his cool with Morgan Tsvangirai at the last SADC meeting in Harare this past week, according to an inside account just published by the Sunday Telegraph of London.
Motlanthe is said to have to have burst out at Tsvangirai, "You speak to yourself and you don't even listen!"
Apparently, this was after Tsvangirai had asked to be excused for a few minutes, disappearing for two hours and then re-emerging with a completely new document that had been prepared by aides on the 15th floor of the former Sheraton Hotel where the negotiations were taking place.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that according to a member of Tsvangirai's own delegation, the MDC-T leader "appeared to be less than coherent and seemed unsure of what was in the documents that he had just brought in."
In a direct criticism of Tsvangirai, the London-pulished, Tory-leaning paper says: "Yet although the former trade union leader is presented as the champion of Zimbabwe's downtrodden voters, there is a growing sense that his own weaknesses have sabotaged any chance of a peaceful resolution." "
In addition, the paper also reports that Tsvangirai's own aides and party loyalists say that "the less educated Mr Tsvangirai is insecure", even in the presence of his own aides and party loyalists".
After the debacle that took place as he handed out his new document, Tsvangirai then "suddenly" demanded a face-face meeting with Mugabe, which was duly arranged. The paper reports that the meeting lasted less than five minutes and that Tsvangirai emerged from it "humiliated" and "infuriated".
The mediators then asked Mutambara to speak to Mugabe and try to bring him round. Mutambara apparently went in and told Mugabe: "You came second in the election." To which Mugabe responded: "I promise you that will never happen again."
For what it is worth, this little snippet should give us some sense of how the SADC Chairman plans to present the Zimbabwe issue at the Extraordinary Summit on Monday.
The London Telegraph, in the same report, says that Southern African leaders are privately indicating that if Monday's meeting fails, "they may walk away" because they have other pressing matters to attend to in their own countries. Which would leave Tsvangirai is limbo, basically as Mugabe feels vindicated and goes ahead to form a government that will be recognised by SADC on the strength of the "intransigence" of his opponent.
You can read the full story from the telegraph here
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