Morgan Tsvangirai is saluted as he arrives for the memorial service of his late wife at the Methodist Church in Malbereign in Harare, yesterday. Above, Tsvangirai can be seem sitting with his children: Edwin, Gari and Vimbai
Zimbabweans gathered at Glamis Stadium for Susan Tsvangirai's send-off rally cheered and clapped loudly when Edwin Tsvangirai, first born son of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, told them in his address:
"I also want to thank His Excellency the President of The Republic of Zimbabwe, President Mugabe, for words that have changed my understanding of him."
The gathered crowd, MDC supporters, cheered this statement although they had not been anywhere near the Methodist Church in Malbereign where Mugabe made the remarks. They, therefore, had no idea what Mugabe had said.....
This shows the power of leadership in a country like Zimbabwe, where our people rarely, if ever, wish to exercise their own minds, preferring instead to believe and follow whatever their leader tells them is the correct thing. The most recent and glaring example was the vehemence with which these empty vessels shouted down all talk of Morgan Tsvangirai joining Mugabe in government on the basis of a shared Home Affairs ministry, amongst other conditions.
Those who urged Tsvangirai for the sake of the people were called ZANU PF apologists and given unprintable names, espcially on the internet, where the worst species of our people seem to congregate. It is by no means all of them (I, of course, excuse the readers of this blog: in all my time of blogging, I have only ever received ONE crude and obscene comment, which was directed at Mugabe and ZANU PF).
These MDC people shouted and screamed, demanded that Mugabe give up Home Affairs or they were prepared to suffer and die and so on and so forth. Never ever were they going to join Mugabe's government, they said, until they got what they wanted.
When Morgan did join Mugabe without getting any of the things he wanted (the Attorney General was sworn into parliament on the same day as the Prime Minister and now becomes an ex-officio member of the cabinet), these people went quiet at first. They were embarassed, I suppose.
Now, they are coming out unashamedly, if tentatively, supporting Morgan's every move even as Mugabe and his cronies play clueless and act at fostering "harmony."
To put this new-found belief in Mugabe in context, consider this: Today, just before lunch, the most senior Judge in Zimbabwe, Chief Justice Chidyausiku (He that eats the night, is what his name means), announced that he has postponed "indefinitely" a decision on whether Roy Bennet should be granted bail or not.
Bennet, mind you, was given bail last week by the High Court, but theAttorney General, a self-confessed "Mugabe-man", appealed against that and the case went to the Chief Justice at the Supreme Court. He is the one that said today he is postponing indefinitely his decision on the matter.
He did say that the matter of a bail application is by its nature urgent but nevertheless, he "will need time to study the proceedings in the lower court" before he can make a decision.
INDEFINITELTY. That is a loaded word....
Anyway, there is also now a lot of talk and excitement that Emmerson Mnangagwa has spoken out against the appointment of permanent secretaries. And the MDC leadership and their supporters cheer this?
Are they not aware of the infighting within ZANU PF, of Mnangagwa's push for the presidency of Zimbabwe? Have they forgotten Tsholotsho and Jonathan Moyo? Was that event not put in place to promote Mnangagwa's ambitions?
And was it not Moyo who got fired while his Permanent Secretary, George Charamba, was elevated in practical terms to become Mugabe's doorkeeper?
Are they not aware that this incident of the appointment of Secretaries is now being blamed squarely on George Charamba and Misheck Sibanda (Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet)? Finally, are they not aware also that Mnangagwa also wants Charamba out? It serves his purpose to have this man, whom he is certain was part of the efforts that sabotaged Mnangagwa's bid for the vice-presidency, which eventually went to Joice Mujuru.
If the MDC allow themselves to be used to get rid of Charamba, they should not think for a minute that it is a victory for them. It will be only Mnangagwa's victory.
I have written here before asking just how the Prime Minister could swallow Mugabe's excuses on this matter, as he has done. Mugabe's excuse, for those who did not read my previous post, was:
"Did I sign their appointment letters? I don't remember. I signed so many papers yesterday. But what you do, Mr Prime Minister, is take their CVs and go through them and see if any one of them has no merit.......blah blah blah"
Aides of the Prime Minister say he came from that meeting shaking his head and saying, "Sometimes I wonder if that old man is really the president of this country."
He should look to the Roy Bennett saga for an answer to that question.
Here's the bottom line: Mugabe wants money to rescue the country. He will be nice to the MDC and its leader especially (that, "Honourable Prime Minister" line from Mugabe at the Memorial Service yesterday was priceless). After that, gloves will come off.
I think that Zimbabweans who watched the whole service in person or on television now know what sort of wile and guile Tsvangirai is up against. We witnessed first hand, Mugabe's mastery of diplomatic sleight of hand, his absolute determination to sway with the wind in order to save himself. He did it in 1980 with Ian Smith's Generals.
He is doing it again with the MDC. And from where Zimbabweans sit, it is clear that he is winning this latest battle of wits and charm.
By the time the MDC realise they have been had, it will be too late.