There are two things that have been making it impossible for Robert Mugabe to simply resign, bugger off into the sunset and leave us all alone.
People forget that Mugabe is an example of what disaster can ensure when an idealist with the wrong ideas gets some power. For, no doubt about it, Mugabe is an idealist. The only problem is that the vision he has is outdated, outmoded and utterly destructive to the spirit of the 21st century.
Because Mugabe is an idealist, he actually sees no problem with suffering for a "cause". Hence, as Zimbabwe melted under his watch, he castigated his countrymen at rally after rally in Zimbabwe. One time, he told a crowd that Zimbabweans should not be so fickle that "if you have no salt, you say oh its the end of the world, I'd do anything to get that salt."
There was, in other words, nothing wrong for him in Zimbabweans suffering unto death for the sake of his big cause: returning land to blacks, taking it away from white owners. He is so idealistic about this that he considers failure to implement this transfer would negate everything he has fought for and lived for all his life.
This is one thing that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai realised in his early meeting with Robert Mugabe. One of these meetings took place at the Rainbow Towers in Harare, where the two men sat and had a private lunch together soon after signing the GPA in September 2008.
Tsvangirai told a reporter a couple of weeks later that he had been surprised to realise that Mugabe "actually believes what he says..." Meaning that the Prime Minister "realised" that Mugabe was "not politicking" when he pronounced his "never, never, never" speeches.
He believes that the MDC is a tool for the former colonisers to get back into Zimbabwe through the back door. Clearly, if he was sincere in believing this, the Prime Minister had to find a way to disabuse him of this notion, to demonstrate to him that the MDC was not only patriotic to the country of Zimbabwe, but that they were also patriotic to the idea that is Zimbabwe.....basically Mugabe's obssesion with "total independence" on the economic to add to the political independence Zimbabwe got in 1980.
The second thing that has made it impossible for Mugabe to go is that he really was never going to agree to go out in disgrace. This is why he forlornly fought the tide of inflation and economic meltdown, social and infrastructural decay, hoping to turn it around and "prove he could do it", then leave with his some vestige of honour.
With a crumbling economy and a generally destroyed country, Mugabe is not the type to throw in the towel and say someone else may have other ideas. He will seek to regain the upper hand with the economy so that people do not say that he "left his country in ruins."
Tsvangirai has realised this as well. And I say this with some authority. It is the realisation of these two things that have apparently informed the Prime Minister's new strategy with Mugabe.
By giving him his due, insisting as Tsvangirai does, that journalists refer to Mugabe as President Mugabe, telling the west to leave him alone because he is not the problem, addressing him as "Father" even in their one on one meetings, the Prime Minister is directly seeking to give Mugabe back his dignity.
Doing so would mean half the job done.
Should there then be success on the economic front, Tsvangirai is certain that Mugabe would then be more amenable to retiring, knowing that he would do so with applause, and not jeers, ringing in his ears.
There is certainly some sense to this strategy. But then again, it is based on, at best, the most accomplished study of the intractable subject called Mugabe. It could succeed. If, and only if, the reading of Mugabe is correct, by making sure that, in his retirement, he would believe that he has nothing to lose.
Like I said today to my conversationalist from the Prime Minister's office: it is exactly like what one would do if one had a madman in the house and the madman was refusing to leave.
You would promise the most ridiculous things, agree with his most ridiculous statements and so on, just as long as doing so keeps him moving towards the door.
This is where we are. And certainly I, for one, have a different outlook on what it is that the Prime Minister is trying to do.
I still protest, though, about the quality of the ministers he has given us and their failure to be more imaginative than ZANU PF in strategy for the revival of the economy.
And I am still disgusted that there is so much sanctioning of greed by the MDC in government
All the same, at least we all know now that there is method to the pally-pally madness. And we wish the Prime Minister well as he throws the old dog a bone.