Most of you reading this blog know that you can not mistake a call from "The President's Office". Yes, it is that unique number, the one with five zeroes in it (and it is a land line). The presidential switchboard numbers, as you will know, have 7 digits where most others in Harare have six.
Well, I was extremely surprised at about 3 p.m. today to get a call from that number and even more surprised that the caller seemed keen to "clear the air" about the meetings I reported on yesterday between Tsvangirai and Mnangagwa.
To start with, I was surprised that the caller referred to "the article you wrote in the Zimbabwean". I did not. I have never written for The Zimbabwean in my life, ever. I checked it out later and it turns out the article was taken from this blog by an online newspaper called The Zimbabwe Mail. The Zimbabwean then took the same article from the Zimbabwe Mail.
This is now a familiar story with my articles. I must say that I have personally given permission to The Zimbabwe Mail to use my articles on condition they credit the source and provide a link to this blog within that story, as is normal ethical practice in the online industry.
Other "publications" on the Internet are also now so obsessed with this blog that, normally , within an hour of me publishing anything here, they would have stolen it and put it on their websites. I thought I would clear the air on that and tell you that it is only The Zimbabwe Mail who use my posts here with permission.
The Zimbabwean did nothing wrong in picking the article up from The Zimbabwe Mail, together with the credits to source at the bottom of it.
Anyway, my caller today puzzled me greatly because I was not sure what he was trying to achieve. He claimed that he wanted to give me "context", which is surprising because the President's Office does not bother itself with newspaper stories, let alone bloggers.
Whatever the case, the person at the other end, who I would have cut off as a wacko were it not for the number reflected on my screen, claims that I "missed the true significance" of the story that was given to me about the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence.
He says the true story is not about Mugabe's reaction and that I was "supposed" to look into the fact that the two men, Tsvangirai and Mnangagwa, are both from the same ethnic group (Karanga). This, apparently, is where the true significance of the story lies.
"How do you know that it was not His Excellency himself who asked Mnangagwa to speak to Tsvangirai as a home boy? No matter what happens in the future, the president knows that if Mnangagwa is a big player in the politics of tomorrow, then the Minister of Defence would always safeguard the interests of not the president, but also the liberation war?"
What my caller was insinuating, basically, is that the president was using the ethnic bond between the two men to sound out the future, to see whether his "legacy" would be protected once he leaves the national stage.
What I found disconcerting was this caller's emphasis on ethnicity. For instance, he claimed that "the two people who have mastered African tribal politics in post-colonial Africa are Robert Mugabe and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya."
It is disconcerting for me because, I have never, ever thought in terms of tribal politics and I really do not think that such politics has a place in the 21st century.
Still, the mentality seems strong enough and I am not sure whether MorganTsvangirai would want to perpetuate such divisive politics. I have never seen him as a tribal politician, which is a hallmark of ZANU PF power games.
Which means I doubt very much that the PM would be swayed by ethnic considerations in his decisions. I could be wrong, but I hope I am not.
But the call puzzled me because I can not see what it was trying to achieve really. A colleague in our office pointed out to me that the PM is now working from the Presidential Office Complex and that the call could easily have been made by one of his own as opposed to one of Mugabe's men.
Even then, I still can not see the point it.
So I am going to do an unusual thing here: There are three readers of this blog who have, in my experience of exchanges with them, proved astute analysers of events and I would ask that they perhaps give their thoughts.
So step forward, Mr Mutota, Thokozile and Oliver (I will not give the last name, cause I am not sure he wants to be identified, but you know who you are and I have even made an article out of one of your email comments to me).
Do any of you guys see anything in this that I am missing? I would really really appreciate those incisive and insightful analysis from you right now. And, of course, anyone else who believes I may be missing something here.
The story was straightforward to me before that accursed call came through!!!
P.S. By the way, I am failing to access my blog to post new stories today, must be the internet connection again. So to post this article, I have used a very convenient feature in Wiindows Vista, where you can compose your article in MS Word and, as long as you have some form of internet connection, you then "send" your post to your blog by putting in your Google user name and password into the Windows Vista dialogue box.
This explains why this post has no pictures in it, I have not figured out how to do that yet!! And, although Windows Vista tells me my ppost has been published, I have no way of seeing it on my own blog until the connections improve enough for me to see my Blogspot blog.