"I am all ears." Obama sent a direct message to Mugabe via the South African President, promising serious engagement once a coalition government was in place.
Some puzzling latest news from Zimbabwe: A few days after he was inaugurated, President Obama apparently sent a personal message to Robert Mugabe via the South African president. I have only just learnt of this.
Two senior sources in Robert Mugabe's current illegal government have confirmed the fact that a message was sent, but their versions of what the message was vary a bit. Still, I think looked at together, they point us towards the truth.
The message to Mugabe, apparently, was that the new American administration wanted "to make its own mistakes" and was not going to pursue the tactics of the Bush years. It is further claimed that Obama also asked Motlanthe to tell Mugabe that the new US president was willing willing to repeal The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), but Mugabe had to give Obama cause to change course.
To achieve this, he urged the quick formation of a government of national unity and said, depending on how that went, he may engage the Zimbabwe government directly before the trial period of the GNU ends (referring to the six month after which SADC has promised to "review" the progress of the coalition in Harare.0 The government source claims that Obama specifically asked the South African president to convey the fact that the America believed in engagement, as it is doing in Iran and with other nations hostile to America, not isolation.
Both sources say no mention was made by Obama of the targeted sanctions. Mugabe responded by telling his advisers that Obama understands the impact ZIDERA has on the Zimbabwean economy and that this was an admission by the Americans that they had indeed placed broad sanctions on Zimbabwe.
He is reported to have been in good mood at the news. The message he asked President Motlanthe of South Africa to convey back to Obama was that he was "bending over backwards" to accomodate Tsvangirai but that he would not be held responsible if the MDC refused all "reasonable" arbitration.
Personally, I just have an observation to make about this. It has been clear since at least 2003 that what Mugabe wishes above everything else is vindication. He has even stated openly to his cronies that, should the British, especially, admit that they are wrong on the issue of land, "then the whole matter is settled."
It may well be that the famously "clever" Obama has decided to "flatter to decieve". It is a strategy that has been urged on the Americans by their very on Council of Foreign Relations. This was during the Bush years.
I do believe that this sort of approach may bear fruit in ridding Zimbabwe of Mugabe. Much like you would agree and nod your head as a madman who has invaded your house speaks, so that he quickly makes his point as you politely usher him out the door.
In the emotional shouts and the like that we get from some of our citizens, it is always forgotten that Mugabe does not live in this world anymore. Those close to him tell of the dictator's obsession with "legacy". He actually believes that he is still at war with the British. He has, like most people in kind of mindframe, written off the opinions and judgement of his contemporaries, looking instead to how history will judge him.
One of his most common phrases since 2002 has been. "History will absolve me," a quote taken directly from Mugabe's greatest living hero, Fidel Castro.
The downward spiral of his ratings in the world since the late 1990s have wounded him deeply and it is no exaggeration when members of ZANU PF say, as they now do, that the old man wants to die in power.
There is no question about it all: The real reson he would die in power is because he will not give up trying (in vain, obviously) to clean up his image, to recapture the glory he had in the first decade after independence. He believes only Britain's attitude stands between him and that goal.
Still, I believe you will hear from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton within the next two weeks. I know that she has already asked for the opinions of two Zimbabwean analysts currently living in Zimbabwe itself what the best approach to resolve the Zimbabwe issue is. She sounds serious about giving understanding the issue.
Previous Articles (Please Click On One To Read The Full Post):
- 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