Mugabe and Tsvangirai Lock Horns


It is a gloomy and rainy day today in Harare, with thunder rumbling and overcast skies since morning, occasionally broken by a few minutes of bright, bright sunshine. And even during the few minutes that the sun shines, the skies still rumble with thunder.

It is a fitting tribute to what is going on at State House right now, as I write this just after lunchtime in Zimbabwe.

Morgan Tsvangirai arrived at State House a few minutes back for a scheduled meeting with Mugabe to discuss the unilateral appointment of Permanent Secretaries announced by Mugabe's Cabinet Secretary last week.

Also up for discussion are Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor and Attorney General Tomana, both of whom Tsvangirai wants fired.

Mugabe, who used his birthday speech on Saturday to mock Tsvangirai by insisting, "I am still in total control, I am in charge", has already indicated that the two are not going to get fired.

Now that Mugabe knows the MDC are not going to pull out of the government no matter what provocation is thrust upon them, you can expect him to dig his heels in even further. Which means Tsvangirai will most likely walk away empty-handed from the meeting currently taking place at State House with Mugabe.


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Meantime, we have a total loser, former minister Walter Mzembi (ZANU PF) now in charge at the Ministry of Tourism.

Over the weekend, he said he is going to "direct" tourism companies to design packages for Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

For startes, most in the diaspora have no intention of coming back any time soon, and if they did, they would stay with relatives and rive to the tourist attractions instead of staying at overpriced hotels.

Perhaps what this relic from Communist era does not realise is that companies go where the profits are, they do not get directed to sell anything by government, especially a government that has failed completely to do its own job.

Tourists are not coming to Zimbabwe for a number of very simple reasonsm, as any street kid or homeless hobo will tell this so-called minister. While in their countries, tourists hear on the news that a deputy minister has been arrested in Zimbabwe "on trumped-up charges", they hear that despite court orders to release and treat human rights activists currently held on even more trumped up charges are being ignored by the government. All this leads them to decide to spend their time and money in Zambia or South Africa instead, where there are no such horror stories.

Zimbabwe has nothing that these neighbours do not have. Even Victoria Falls now belongs to Zambia.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY: The minister must realise that tourists are unlikely to come to this country as long we remain the most expensive country to visit in Africa.

Yes we are. Take food for instance. A double burger that costs US$1.20 in the United States is sold for US$5 here in Zimbabwe. This trend can be seen across all food types, with Zimbabwe's food costing more than any other place you can think of in Africa.

Even telephones, especially cellphones, have not escaped this madness. So ridiculous are the charges for cellphone usage that I personally know of six (6!) people who have gone to South Africa, got themselves contract lines, and then put themselves on a roaming package with their South African Service provider before coming back home.

Surprisingly, by roaming from Zimbabwe, using their South African cellphone to call within and outside Zimbabwe, these guys are saving an average of 50% on the bill that they would have paid (in US dollars) had they been using one of our local cellphone companies.

Hotel charges are also not competitive, especially for a basket case like Zimbabwe that should be bending over backwards to attract visitors.

Accommodation across Harare, especially, is also more expensive than in Canada or the United States. Poky little houses in poor low-density suburbs like Westgate are being rented out for US$750 per month.

That is double the going rate for a comparable place in Canada or the United States.

Bottom line: Zimbabwe business is too greedy to attract any tourists. Our pricing structure is skewed and the mentality of our business people, including tourism operators, is still that of making a quick buck because there is simply no confidence in this new Inclusive Government creature.

They expect it to fail, so they want to make as much as they can now before it all crumbles around our ears.

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As soon as we hear back about the meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, we will put up a post here to tell you the results. As I said, don't expect Mugabe to give in an inch on his appointments. He has the MDC where he wants them and they continue to buy the story that it is only "hardliners" who are doing underhand things to destroy this Government of National Unity.

The biggest of these hardliners, I can tell you, is Mugabe himself.

Comments

  1. I think to say most Zimbabweans in the Diaspora do not intend to come home soon is not the most accurate statement. From experience, and discussions, majority of Zimbabweans, particularly in the UK and USA are dying to go home, only if there is something to sustain their lives, or things improve. They do not enjoy living in these countries were they are relegated to to the lowest social class, dicriminated and dehumanised. Professionals are doing menial jobs just for a living.
    Some can not come home because of their refugee status, not because they do not want to come.Their status does not allow them to go back to the country where they claim they will face persecution, otherwise it will be revoked.One thing for sure is if these professionals are called back and given just a living wage, a lot will come home.
    Zimbabwe has become expensive for tourists, as stated in the article above, making it difficult to attract tourists.
    The issue of arrests, etc is no issue, it is actually the media that is doing a diservice to the nation, by sending alarmists signals. Why do they say Bennet was arrested on trumped up charges, so is Mukoko and others. They are practising "gutter" journalism. They are trying to influence the courts and are trying to impress the hostile west by potraying every arrest as political. Let the courts decide upon the evidenced before them, not every Tom and Dick to exude their anger on issues that are not related at all.

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