Cabinet Swearing-in: Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe pats Tendai Biti's hand soon after he was sworn in as Finance Minister (top pic) and watches as his new Defence Minister and now confirmed heir, Emmerson Mnangagwa, signs his appointment papers
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has told the world to leave Mugabe alone and stop personalising the politics of Zimbabwe.
Speaking to the veteran London Guardian Southern African Reporter, Chris McGreal, Tsvangirai "called on the world "to get over" President Robert Mugabe and stop seeing him as the principal problem facing his country" according to a report published by the paper yesterday on its website.
Tsvangirai spoke to McGreal yesterday, a couple of hours before he was due at State House to see his ministers sworn in by Mugabe and just over an hour before Bennet was arrested at Charles Prince Airport in Harare.
So thoroughly has Tsvangirai been outwitted by Mugabe that he practically spent the whole hour of the interview acting as Mugabe's biggest apologist.
"Unfortunately," said Tsvangirai, "people are preoccupied with Mugabe as a person. People need to stop talking about him as the only issue. Mugabe is part of the solution. He is not the obstacle we are now facing."
Clearly, Tsvangirai has taken seriously Mugabe's words to him, first uttered just before they went together to South Africa in January for the last SADC Extraordinary Summit on Zimbabwe.
Back then, Tsvangirai had gone to see Mugabe to tell him to concede ground on Home Affairs and other security ministries. The Prime Minister told Mugabe he was under immense pressure from "hardliners" in the MDC who were looking to scuttle the deal unless Mugabe conceded on these issues.
Mugabe responded by mockingly telling Tsvangirai that he also faced the same problem with his own hardliners, who wanted to him to dump the agreement with the MDC and form a government alone. This conversation was publicly confirmed by Mugabe's spokesman towards the end of January. as he mocked Tsvangirai in his weekly column.
So now, Tsvangirai takes this mockery seriously and is basing his entire approach to the GNU on the false "fact" that Mugabe should be sympathised with because he is a victim of hardliners in ZANU PF.
So badly has Tsvangirai been played, in fact, that he also defended Mugabe's continued detention of Jestina Mukoko and scores of other MDC supporters on terrorism charges.
Asked about his failure to get them released even though he is now Prime Minister, Tsvangirai told the London Guardian:
" The problem is not Mugabe. It lies elsewhere. It is others. We need to overcome that."
The naivety is breathtaking and I really can not believe that Tsvangirai has fallen for this. As one man who was at Mugabe's side almost daily from 1975 to the mid-1980s said to me: "Mugabe is firmly in control within ZANU PF and Tsvangirai needs to disabuse himself of the notion that Mugabe is a victim just like him. All the events we see now are being controlled by him. No one dares say anything against him and it does not matter who they are: army, air force or whatever."
Mugabe has apparently told Tsvangirai that the army are dead set against the new Prime Minister, as are the heads of the police and the air force. Yet on Tuesday, while driving to Mount Darwin with Perence Shiri, the commander of the Air Force, as Tsvangirai announced his cabinet picks, a high-ranking ZANU PF member tells me the Air Force commander was upbeat about Tsvangirai's acceptance of the GNU.
Shiri told this source that this was the end of Zimbabwe's problems and he looked forward to the modernisation of the Air Force as Zimbabwe's financial position improved. He even said in two to three years, the Air Force of Zimbabwe would have surpassed the South African Air Force in terms of technological advancement and general prowess.
"We have the talent, mudhara," was how he was quoted to me by his travelling companion, " we have the people. We just need the other resources and on that, Tsvangirai is good for the Air Force."
I am still, quite frankly, in shock that Tsvangirai would fall for such a well-known and tired "Good Cop, Bad Cop" routine. His new-found sympathy for Mugabe is misplaced. Mugabe is still firmly in the driving seat otherwise he would have been replaced at the head of ZANU PF if he was as powerless as he has now convinced Tsvangirai he is.
The same source who drove with Shiri on Tuesday tells me that the boycott of Tsvangirai's inauguration by the Chiefs of the Armed Forces (Service Chiefs) was agreed with them by Mugabe. Although the thought itself was the brainchild of General Chiwengwa, the Commander of the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe, Mugabe actively encouraged it. He is said to have thought that it was a good idea because it would show the world that Tsvangirai had no power base within the armed forces. This would strengthen Mugabes hand, since the world would see him as the only man with a hold over these armed forces.
The idea was to also psychologically intimidate Tsvangirai even as he took the oath of office. It has worked. In his interview with the Guardian, Tsvangirai alludes to this animosity towards by the Armed Forces by saying "they" will not succeed. "The region will not accept a coup. The world will not accept it. We know they are disgruntled and the leadership challenge is negotiate away these areas of disgruntlement."
It is now almost certain that Tsvangirai will seek to align himself with Mugabe in what he believes will be united front against the hostile armed forces chiefs. Almost certainly (mark my words), Tsvangirai will soon be seen in Western capitals arguing that sanctions and other measures against Mugabe need to be lifted "in order to strengthen Mugabe's hand against the people in his party who are against this deal".
The complete subjugation of the MDC has now been achieved. This was the reason people were against Tsvangirai getting into bed with Mugabe. They feared that the man would be outwitted at a much higher intellectual level and this has now come to pass.
Tsvangirai now obviously believes Mugabe's nonsense that the president is powerless to stop the abductions of MDC supporters, the arrests of people like Bennet and so on.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS ZIMBABWE, THE ACTIVIST BLOG, ARE DOING AN EXCELLENT JOB GIVING UPDATES ON THE ARREST OF ROY BENNETT. VISIT THEM FOR THE LATEST UPDATE ON WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH HIM. YOU WILL A LINK TO THEIR SITE ON THE SIDEBAR ON THIS PAGE.
Previous Articles (Please Click On One To Read The Full Post):
- Roy Bennet Arrested, Ministers Sworn In Anyway
- Defence Force Chiefs Boycott Tsvangirai Inauguration
- Tsvangirai Sworn In By Mugabe
- Tsvangirai Announces Cabinet
- Anti-Simba Makoni Alliance Crumbles
- Jestina Mukoko Near Death
- Obamas Secret Message To Mugabe
- The Facts Behind The "Firing" Of Simba Makoni
- Starving Zimbabwean Villagers Destroy 40-Acre Maize Field in a Land Feud
- Zimbabwe Monetary Policy Highlights
- Gono Refuses To Pay US$22 000 Debt
- Mugabe Explains Why He Won't Go
- MDC Dreaming, Say Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Officials
- MDC Formally Agrees To Join Mugabe In Government
- Right Again! Budget Announces Full Official Dollarisation
- Tsvangirai Seeks A Face-saving Way To Join Government
- Mugabe: "I promise you I will never lose an election again."
- Mugabe Settles on Successor
- Why I Blog About Africa And Zimbabwe
- As Zimbabwe Talks Collapse, Dollarisation Now Official
- Grace Mugabe Punched Me Repeatedly - British Journalist
- How SADC and Mugabe Have Boxed-In Morgan Tsvangirai
- Mugabe Prepares To Arrest Tsvangirai
- 2 year old Freed From Zimbabwe Maximum Security Prison
- Jestina Mukoko - Real Reasons For Arrest Revealed
- Zimbabwe Approaches South Africa To Officially Use The Rand
- Zimbabwe Army Commander Demands Top Government Job