Jestina Mukoko Released - Tsvangirai Rising

Morgan Tsvangirai last week took delivery of his official car, a brand new black Mercedes Benz S600 (pictured above). Mrs Tsvangirai was allocated a brand new S320. These are state vehicles, which means the country is spending money on things like this while it goes begging for handouts outside the country. If I were a donor, I would see no reason to reward such irresponsible spending.


Robert Mugabe, the dictator of Zimbabwe, has struck a deal with Morgan Tsvangirai which has already seen Jestina Mukoko "freed" - (sort of, I'll explain), and which will also result in the freeing  on bail of Roy Bennett, the MDC Treasurer and Deputy Agriculture nominee, who has been in custody since mid-February.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai finally came to an understanding regarding the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation commission for Zimbabwe, which will look only at the electoral violence going back to 2000. They have agreed to specifically leave Gukurahundi out of the ambit of this new body.

The Commission, however, shall not have any powers to recommend convictions in any form, but has to be a "strictly healing" formation, where stories, and nothing more, are traded.

There are still many details to be worked out, such as protection for witnesses as well as those fingered by victims as perpetrators.

Tsvangirai is said to have told Mugabe from the outset, "I really want to end all this.." 

This issue had been deliberated on by the Joint Monitoring Committee (JOMIC), set up by ZANU PF and the two MDCs to abitrate on areas of dispute within the GNU. The JOMIC had recommended that the detainees be freed on bail. 

The powerlessness of this body was demonstrated by the fact that, once they had taken this decision, they found they did not really know what to do next. They could not order the courts to do anything because the body has no legal authority over the judicial system.

The only thing left was to take this whole thing to the President (hence the point of where the power lies is made). The president, of course, could only talk to the Prime Minister, not the whole of JOMIC, because, as he put it, "This is not an inquisition."

Tsvangirai, who saw Mugabe together with Mutambara, appeared geuinely interested in avoiding retribution and told Mugabe that he did not know what else he could do to show that he could be trusted.

Together with Mutambara, I believe they showed deft diplomatic skill today and certainly maturity in politics. It could be seen by others as giving in, but this is necessary for this country to be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course, no one can be sure of the dictator's trustworthiness. But still, there surely is no harm in trying.

Again Mugabe repeated his sentiments from one of their meetings in October last year, where he apparently told Tsvangirai that he did not care who ruled after him as long as that person respected what the Liberation War was about:.

Mugabe claims that his land reform programme is "Affirmative Action" which is no different to what is done in countries all over the world.

And once they met, and Mugabe came clean on what the agenda was, it was easier to find common ground. 

Mugabe's only concern was that all the proposed prosecutions and investigations which the MDC MPs in parliament had wanted to start earlier this year before parliament was suspended "due to lack of funds" be withdrawn to "start afresh".

This also explains the puzzling insistence by police to the detainees' lawyer that he drop applications asking the courts to order the police to release 10 abductees who are still unaccounted for and whom the police said they knew nothing about all along.

Today, they said they did know something about it. The abductees are in their custody "somewhere" and will be released "unconditionally" if the lawyers withdrew their applications from the courts.

Of course, the fear is that, if they (the police) respond to the court application, they will then face a criminal trial for abduction, unlawful detention and God knows what else. They want to release them quietly and never have to face any law or any consequence as a result of the abduction.

The detainees' lawyers seem to indicate that they will comply and get the men released with no questions asked.

Jestina Mukoko remains at the Avenues Clinic where she is gravely ill. She was taken there in leg-irons and handcuffs and shackled to her hospital bed. Tonight, the police and jailguards guarding her have been removed. Which means she is free.

It is clear now that she is gravely ill, WHICH BY THE WAY, gives the lie to the comment left on this blog by someone saying they had just spoken to someone who had just seen Jestina and she was nowhere near death as I was reporting.

It is also likely that Roy Bennett will be released on bail tomorrow .

The Attorney General will only be replaced once the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is set up and running. This a condition from Mugabe.

Gideon Gono is also likely to stay, with Mugabe telling the two MDC leaders today that Gono had nothing against the new Inclusive Government to warrant being fired. He is insisting that the MDC minister of finance work with Gono first and see if he finds him obstructive or insurbodinate and then there would be grounds to dismiss Gono.

"What if he takes the government to court. He would have a strong case of wrongful dismissal and we would all be embarassed as we are ordered by the courts to reinstate him." It is more likely that, as Mugabe is supposed to have hinted at today, in the spirit of inclusiveness and healing, Gono would be allowed to continue. 

Theoratically, Gono may maintain the front of following lines of authority, but we all know that Mugabe is a regular visitor at his home less a kilometre away from Mugabe's own residence in Helensvale, Borrowdale. Still, if the MDC think this will restore lines of credit and open the floodgates to aid, then it is worth a shot.

By Independence Day this year, we should see the Truth Commission in operation or at least appointed. 

The agreement at least does show a measure of trust setting in. Of course, you can never be sure of The Moustachioed One, because you may wake up tomorrow to find him cooking up another Witches' Brew.

I fully expect that, at the next elections, ZANU PF will be back to its old self, hacking off limbs, dropping molten plastic into peoples' mouths and generally being a nuisance in the neighbourhoods. They will revert to type.

This is despite a surprising comment Mugabe made on Saturday at his birthday party. Speaking in Shona, he said, "Kana tikabika mbodza kumaelections, ndizvozvo, tinongodya mbodza yacho". Essentially, he said that if his party bakes humble pie, "then we will have to eat that humble pie" - suggesting that if he lost next time, then he would just let it be and accept defeat.

Do you see that happening?


  1. This animal called Truth and Reconcilliation is another grave injustice a people can ever be subjected to. Matters before the courts should never be directed by Politicians.The issue of bail must not be debated and passed at State House. This is what is now making those in the Executive like the Prime Minister to write letters to the court providing surety. This is unacceptable and is an affront to democracy.If I was the Attorney General I was going to stand by the principles and refuse to be directed by these selfish creatures called "Politicians".

  2. "Do you see that happening?" YES! Vachadya mbodza, vachida vasingadi! They will eat humble pie, like it or not. I think Mugabe is clever enough to read the mood in the country and the results of any election in 18 months or 5 years time. He does not care much whatever happens then as he will be too well-stricken in age to be of any use to anyone, even the Hague will find him a reject!
    I rather like your objective analysis, Denford, even though I do not always agree with you, but have to when events prove you right! Yes, Tsvangirai is maturing. After all, he is beginning to do what you advised him on this blog looooong before he joined the inclusive government.
    Mugabe refusing to let the generals resign i.e. Chiwenga, Shiri, Chihuri, Zimondi and Bonyongwe? What is the story on this one Denford, if at all true?

  3. Petros, thanks for the compliment, hey. You ask about the resignation of the Generals. I did write here twice that Chiwengwa had already told Mugabe he intends to resign and wanted the seat in ZANU PF vacated by Manyike.

    Mugabe needs them on side, especially now. He is very wary of the MDC and is especially determined to keep the armed forces well away from Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC ministers.

    To date, NOT ONE of the Generals has had a face to face meeting with Tsvangirai.


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