Morgan Tsvangirai may not be back in the country for the burial of his wife in Buhera on Wednesday.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the MDC, refused to commit himself to a time for the Prime Minister's return, only saying "the MDC president and Prime Minister of Zimbabwe willl return once medical attention and procedures have been completed."
Like I said in my previous post, if Tsvangirai does not return for the funeral, it would send an alarming signal about the future of the Coalition government and I doubt that, despite Chamisa's fuzziness, the Prime Minister would really stay away for such a sad and deeply personal occassion.
At the same time, Tsvangirai appears now to be succeeding in convincing western governments to back his deal and provide the aid Zimbawe needs to start working again.
The Australian government announced yesterday that it was rethinking its approach to Zimbabwe and considering "supporting Tsvangirai with aid" that goes beyond the humanitarian assistance currently provided.
It is a signal that Tsvangirai may have broken through with his insistence that the world should respect what Zimbabweans have decided about the future of their politics and step in with aid and credit lines.
Trevor Manuel, South Africa's minister of finance, also said last week that the ANC government is looking at reviving "an old credit line, going back to Rhodesia's UDI" to extend credit to Zimbabwe as part of the US$2 billion requested recently by Finance Minister Biti and the Prime Minister himself.
Perhaps they realise now that giving Zimbabwe a hand to get back on her feet would also strengthen Tsvangirai's internal position.
There is not much they can do about the politics, these foreign partners. But as the Australian Foreign minister said yesterday, "It is a bit difficult because of the continued presence of Mugabe, but I am sure we can find ways to work around that."
Mugabe is guaranteed to frustrate that approach, since he believes, as he said at his birthday party, "I am still in charge and hold executive authority." Any attempt to circumvent him will see him assert himself. You should expect to hear him say the aid should stay out if it is going to deny his legitimacy.
Still, it is a victory, I think, that Mugabe is now reduced to having to tell people that he is still powerful, indicating that he feels a bit less powerful now, perhaps, or at least that his power is now doubted.
BURIAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUSAN TSVANGIRAI
Mrs Tsvangirai will lie in state at her Strathaven Home at No 2 Lyndhurst Close in Strathaven. This will be today. Tomorrow, she will be taken to Glamis Stadium, near the Harare Showgrounds, where government ministers and the party faithful will take part in a Service.
From there, she will be taken straight to Humanikwa Village in Buhera, at about 2 p.m.
She will lie in state also at her rural home overnight and will then be buried on Wednesday morning.
Dr Makoni as well as our own movement, Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn, extend our sympathy and condolences to the Tsvangirai family and the MDC-T on this irreplacable loss, and we wish the Prime Minister a speedy physical and emotional recovery as he faces the personal and national challenges that lie ahead.