SADC Heads of State pose for a group photograph yesterday at their summit in Swaziland, where they once again told Zimbabwe they can help financially and can only try and lobby the west to lift sanctions. Prof Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti of the MDC said at the meeting that "the sanctions have had an effect on the economy". The Heads of State have pledged to specifically target the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act in the United States, lobbying for it to be repealed.
The MDC has now effectively admitted that it has been cut loose by its friends and allies in the West and has to instead seek the intercession of Zimbabwe's neighbours to talk to its former allies in the West about helping the limping Inclusive government.
Yesterday, Tendai Biti, the MDC Minister of Finance in this Inclusive Zimbabwean government, together with Robert Mugabe and Prof Welshman Ncube, asked the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State to intercede on Zimbabwe's behalf with Britain, America and other rich nations.
SADC itself repeated at the same meeting that they can not give Zimbabwe any money, as had been hoped for by Tendai Biti. Of all the SADC countries, South Africa is the only one that has stumped up some cash - they pledged US$30 million, to be disbursed in monthly US$10 million tranches over three months.
This is not even enough to cover the government wage bill, which stands at about US$50 million a month when you factor in allowances. Salaries themselves alone need US$30 million a month.
Interestingly, though, Biti adopted Mugabe's and ZANU PF language this week, after "touring banks" according to the government newspaper, The Herald.
Biti told the state-owned paper that he is "aware of saboteurs who want the Inclusive government to fail" because they are questioning whether the government can sustain the payment of foreign currency salaries.
It was Mugabe who said during his birthday interview that he did not think the payment of salaries in foreign currency for the civil service was sustainable because " we do not have the money."
So there is one saboteur right there.
But Biti also shoulders the blame because of his alarmist talk that the Treasury coffers are "empty". He carries blame for his statements warning of "chaos" unless the donor countries give him money to pay the salaries of this bloated government.
I feel sorry for the man and for the MDC in particular, because they are clearly in over their heads on this issue.
Biti is perhaps still learning that his words now carry a lot of weight as Minister of Finance. He is no longer an opposition politician whose words have no impact on the running of the country and he must realise this and start to work accordingly.
Still, even after those dire warning, except for the US$30 million from South Africa (enough for a month's salary bill), no other southern African country came up with any funds.
Even Botswana, the MDC friend in the region, appears to also be dumping the Inclusive government. They did not pledge anything. Namibia said it will continue working with the Zimbabwe Power utility, ZESA, to refurbish Hwange Power station.
And that is it.
The bottom line appears to be that the West, the people with the "deep pockets", as Biti called them at the summit in Swaziland yesterday, are keeping their money deep in their pockets.
Was it not the MDC that always insisted that there must be good governance before aid is given to Zimbabwe. That good governance does only mean doing what the MDC wants, which is what the opposition thought before they joined government.
Good governance also means not buying luxury cars when taps are dry because water treatment chemicals can not be bought.
Good governance means setting priorities right, deciding whether it is better to bloat a government by providing "jobs for the boys" when there is no money to pay those "boys".
Good governance means coming up with workable policies to turn the economy around and not simply announcing an "it will alright on the night" STERP document, which is bereft of any policy except begging for money.
Good governance means demonstrating fiscal responsibility, deciding what is more urgent, furniture for minster's offices or US$1.5million to refurbish Harare Hospital (this is sum that Morgan Tsvangirai said was needed to get the hospital in top condition).
In effect, the West have dumped the MDC because the party has failed to demonstrate, just demonstrate, that its presence in the corridors of power has resulted in a shifting of priorities.
It is unlikely that SADC will succeed in garnering the aid that they have undertaken to demand from the west. Britain and American and the IMF and the Word Bank are not amenable and no one can force them.
Their position is still the same: they do not see any meaningful change in the way the affairs of the country are being run and they are not keen to part with their money under these circumstances.
With Biti cutting away all the infrastructure development provisions in the budget and leaving only consumptive budget provisions in his "hunter-gatherer" economy as he himself has insultingly called his new regime, there is no policy in place to stimulate growth of the economy from within.
Their hopes were pinned on others giving them money to spend on salaries and also money to start production in Zimbabwe.
South Africa, by giving away the insulting sums of US$10 million, is only looking after its own interests. As long as Zimbabwe does not have a manufacturing sector, South African companies have a dollarised market in Zimbabwe that will give them even more money and grow the South African economy even more.
Meanwhile, dumped by the West, the MDC can only flounder, together with its new best friend, ZANU PF.