Morgan Tsvangirai has phoned Jacob Zuma's office to request an invitation to the newly-elected South African president's inauguration on Saturday. SA Foreign affairs say that they have invited Mugabe because protocol dictates that only Heads of State and Heads of Government are invited.
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's Prime Minister and leader of the MDC-T which is now in a coalition with Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF has called the office of Jacob Zuma begging for an invitation after he was left off the invitation list.
According to the Independent of South Africa, Tsvangirai was not invited because he is not a Head of State. Mugabe, as Head of State in Zimbabwe, has instead been invited.
The paper reports that Department of Foreign Affairs in adamant that, according to protocol, only Heads of State and Heads of Government are invited, hence no invitation was sent to Tsvangirai.
South African Foreign Affairs spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa is quoted by the paper as saying the extension of an invitation to Prime Ministers were to be done by the presidents who had been invited.
In other words, he is saying that Mugabe is the one who, if he so wished, could extend an invitation to Tsvangirai for him to attend as part of Mugabe's delegation.
I think that the fact that Tsvangirai phoned Zuma's office to ask to be invited means that Mugabe has not asked his Prime Minister to accompany him.
Apparently, Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, is also in the same predicament.
Things could change, of course and we could well hear that Mugabe has decided to take Tsvangirai along with him after all.
But as things stand right now, it is only Mugabe who has been invited and Tsvangirai is clearly unhappy about this!!!
By saying that only Heads of State and Heads of government are invited, the South Africans are basically saying they do not recognise the Prime Minister as a Head of Government.
Which, I suppose, is correct, since Mugabe chairs cabinet (government), which means he is both Head of State and Head of Government in Zimbabwe. Because he retained his Executive Presidency he retains both titles.
I wonder what this makes the Zimbabwean Prime Minister? Just another Minister? I said in February this year that Tsvangirai's true position is that of First Minister in Mugabe's cabinet and this is being borne out now.
The story is carried by the Independent Online website today and is entitled "Uninvited Guests Cause Havoc"!
Meantime, Dr Simba Makoni has sent a message of congratulations to Jacob Zuma and the ANC on their victory in the elections.