For the next parliamentary elections, the MDC-T and ZANU PF have agreed to split Zimbabwe in half as if it is their private property.
According to this deal, revealed by impeccable sources, the MDC-T will field candidates in the the urban areas of Zimbabwe, with ZANU PF fielding candidates in the rural areas. The objective is to have yet another coalition government after the next elections, with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ("or his nominee/successor) retaining the Pm post, while Mugabe or his successor/nominee retains the presidency of Zimbabwe.
Just today, I have spent a good one hour on the phone with the Prime Minister's office trying to pin them down on this story.
They refuse to confirm or deny it. Judge for yourself their response and tell me whether you do not smell a rat here. A very big rat.
The response from the PM's office was as follows on phone: "Right now, we are fighting to smoothen relationships within this transitional government." That was their first line. When I kept pressing for an answer, I was then told:
"The MDC will continue to exist, we are a separate party to ZANU PF, which will also continue to exist."
I was looking for a yes or no answer and it never came. Instead, all I got was this slipperiness.
Under these circumstances, I have no option but to conclude that the deal really was struck and, as my sources say, it is just waiting for an "opportune time" to be announced.
All I can say is that, by agreeing to this deal, the MDC-T are the ones losing. You see, Mugabe knows that he has to write off the urban areas. He will never win there. His popularity with urbanites is ZERO and is likely to remain that way for some time. So Mugabe would never win anyway even if he ran in the cities and towns.
The MDC-T, on the other hand, can indeed make inroads and win the rural areas. Their popularity there has been increasing (especially prior to the Inclusive government).
By agreeing to this deal, they are throwing away their chance to win an outright majority and rule the country by themselves, all things being equal.
Yes, I do understand that the MDC-T may have come to the conclusion that they will never be "allowed" to run the country by themselves (by the military and those phantom "hardliners" Mugabe speaks of), but they could have at least tried.
Still, it appears as though the deal is done, especially considering the slipperiness of the PM's office on the issue today.
By agreeing to remain in perpetual opposition on the basis that they will get the Premiership of the country, is the MDC not selling out the hopes of its supporters? And will those supporters accept it?
I do know that the Prime Minister says that he is so popular within his party that he can sell them anything and they will fall in line with whatever he decides, but he may be biting off more than he can chew here.
Time will tell, but there are also very strong indications now that this Inclusive government may actually last for more than two years, maybe as much as five years. Too many people within the government are giving this indication for it to be mere rumour.
If that does indeed happen, then it will also be confirmation of this deal that they have struck.
At least now we know. But have these two parties considered that Zimbabwe is not their to carve out like a cake? There are other parties in the offing, not bound by this agreement at all. ZAPU has come back into its own (the PM apparently dismisses it, saying that Matabeleland "is mine" - that is how confident he is.)
And what of the MDC-M, which apparently has been considered such an insignificant player that it is not part of these Nicodemus moves between Mugabe and Tsvangirai? What will they do with this party?
I think we should all brace ourselves because the political landscape in Zimbabwe is about to get a lot more interesting.