Reason For The Mugabe/Tsvangirai Clash To Come

Well, the latest news from Zimbabwe is that Tendai Biti joined the fray yesterday at the burial of Susan Tsvangirai in Buhera.

Following on the comments by Edwin Tsvangirai, the PMs first-born son, Biti told the gathered crowd: "President Mugabe is not just a head of state, he is also human." He went on to say that, the day before at the memorial service for Mrs Tsvangirai, Mugabe had "spoken as a father."

This is, of course, in line with Tsvangirai's own words during Mugabe's visit in hospital, when he referred to Mugabe as "Baba" - "Father". It is one big happy family, I suppose.

While the MDC are busy celebrating their new-found love for Mugabe, a festering sore within government is not being paid any attention at all and it is going to explode before long.

Here it is.

Within the last few weeks, close observers of this inclusivised government of the MDC-PF heard Mugabe say, "I am still in charge. I hold executive power." He proceeded to challenge his Prime Minister by stating explicitly that "the few remaining white farmers must get out."

This was coming barely a week after Morgan Tsvangirai, in attempting to flex his muscles, had summoned ministers to his office and told them that the continuing farm invasions should stop because they were impacting negatively on food production and confidence in the GNU. He was right, of course. But....this is ZANU PF we are talking about here. And Mugabe.

Mugabe gave his answer to Tsvangirai talkwith the ministers (who included Emmerson Mnangagwa) in that direct challenge.

Just a couple of days later, the Prime Minister answered in his own speech, setting the record straight by correcting Mugabe and stating, "Executive power resides in the President and the Prime Minister."

I don't think Mugabe paid any attention. 

Before the thing could become serious, the accident and the tragedy intervened. But this is merely a hiatus. 

The biggest battle looming on the governmental horizon is related to that exchange between Mugabe and Tsvangirai before the accident. It is going to be a bruising battle in which Morgan Tsvangirai will almost certainly get the short end of the stick.

Again, it all goes back  to that accursed Global Political Agreement (GPA) that the MDC signed quickly without fully perusing it first.

That document says, in two different parts

"The President shall have executive authority."

"The Prime Minister shall have executive authority."

Over whom? Over what?

For Mugabe as President, it is clear, because the things over which he has executive authority are clearly enunciated in the constitution.

For the Prime Minister, however, he realised only after signing that he had been sold a dead Dodo on this one. His authority is specified in Ammendment 19 and in his job description. Both of these documents make it clear that he plays second fiddle to Mugabe in matters of state and executive authority.

He does not see it that way. What he wants is to be on par with Mugabe. To be, effectively, a co-President. Mugabe, of course, is having none of that. And since, as the American government put it last month, "his supporters are the ones with the guns", it means Tsvangirai will have to defer to Mugabe.

The only other alternative will be to pull out of the government and Tsvangirai has ruled that out already, as has the firebrand Biti.

Now that they have all "discovered a side of His Excellency, the President of  Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe that we never knew" (as Biti put it yesterday), they may well decide to play ball, even if doing so means playing second fiddle.

But, whatever the case, you have been warned, rest assured that the next bruising fight between PM and President will be about the definition of Executive Authority as it applies to either of them.

My sixth sense tells me the Prime Minister should simply not start this fight at all, because even he knows he is guaranteed to lose it. But he most probably will go ahead anyway and we will have yet another unecessary crisis.

The MDC should simply accept that it was outwitted at the negotiation table. Their supporters all over the world claim that Tsvangirai was "forced" into this SADC. He was not. Here are the facts:

  • It was Tsvangirai who suggested a Government of National Unity first, even before the African Union Summit that passed a resolution to ask the Zimbabwean parties to form a GNU. Tsvangirai actually ASKED for a GNU as the way out after the June run-off joke.

  • SADC did not pressure Tsvangirai to sign this atrocious, unfair and unbalanced Agreement. They could not. The AU did not force him to sign it. They presided over the hegotiations and had no power to order anyone, Mugabe or Tsvangirai, to accept anything. They simply watched as the two sides debated and deliberated. This is the meaning of the word Moderator, to moderate and not to impose solutions.

  • Tsvangirai then decided that he had got as much as he could and decided to sign on the dotted line.

  • Once he did that, all SADC and the AU did was then demand that he honour his word, not go back on it. His signature was his word. Everything else that was being brought up (Home Affairs etc) the MDC knew about when they negotiated. They knew about when they signed. But they signed anyway.

  • All SADC and the AU did was ask Tsvangirai and the MDC to honour their contract, a contract they had signed without pressure from anyone. They could have refused to sign until all outstanding matters were resolved. They did not, and had to chalk it up to experience and move on.
It is called taking responsibility for your actions, a concept some supporters of the MDC to this day refuse to see not only in politics but also in their own lives, I suppose. You make a decision, you live with the consequences. No one you are not related or married to has an obligation to pull your chestnuts out of the fire for you.

Watch and see, a lot of people, supporters, are going to get on this executive authority bandwagon. Just remember that the fullest extent of the definition of Executive Authority for Tsvangirai in the GPA says "The Prime Minister shall also have executive authority."

That is all that matters.

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  1. I think the Prime Minister Comrade Tsvangirai knows very well that the Inter-Party Political Agreement (which some call Global Political Agreement)was among other things, sharing Executive Power. It was about stripping President Mugabe of some of his executive Powers. It was not shared equally between Prime minister and President. It was only some of it that it managed to shade off from the President. Comrade Tsvangirai sorry Mr, knows very well that according to the constitution most executive powers are with the President, that is why he still can make certain appointments which no one can do anything besides himself , if he so wishes.If the MDC tries to make any challenges, the Constitution will just be spread infront of them. It will be embarrassing for outsiders to end up saying he is even ignorant of his own constitution. Like what happened during the talks when Angolan President Dos Santos ended up saying to Tsvangirai that he should get a good lawyer to advise him, since he appeared to be ignorant of the constitution, this was after Tsvangirai had claimed that he won the elections and should be the president.The Prime minister will not want such humilliattion.


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