SADC Heads of State at a meeting of the regional body in Swaziland after the formation of Zimbabwe's Coalition Government. The regional body says there is no deadlock in Zimbabwe
"The first hundred days of Zimbabwe's Unity Government were given the seal of approval by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which dismissed any notion that the fledgling government was facing difficulties - a view not shared by Western donors," reports IRIN, the United Nations news service.
Tomaz Salomao, the Executive Secretary of the regional body, told the news agency yesterday that SADC was happy with the strides made by the Zimbabwe Unity Government so far, according to a story issued by IRIN here.
The Executive Secretary says no deadlock has been declared to them "but we are happy with what they have achieved so far."
As I told you before, Tsvangirai appears to be working against his own party on this supposed deadlock. He is happy to let Mugabe get the Permanent Secretaries, Ambassadors and so on.
The MDC National Council took a decision to refer "outstanding issues" to SADC because they are not happy with what Tsvangirai has agreed with Mugabe. The issues that they highlighted include the following:
- Continued harrassment of MDC supporters, officials and even MPs
- Continued dententions and arrests of MDC activists and supporters and officials
- Failure by Mugabe to convene a meeting of the National Security Council, which is supposed to replace JOC
- Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana appointments
- Permanent Secretaries' appointments
- Swearing in of Roy Bennet
- Governorships of the ten Provinces of Zimbabwe.
The Council, led by people like Biti, wants ALL of these to be referred to SADC because they do not trust Mugabe one bit. They do not believe that he will honour his word and swear in Governors and Roy Bennet, especially since he will not give a specific date on which he will swear them in.
Of course, he has refused to discuss the continued trials of Jestina Mukoko, Gandi Mudzingwa and other MDC activists and Tsvangirai has not pressed him.
At his press conference yesterday, the Prime Minister said nothing about any of these issues of the arrests and harassment of MDC activists. Nothing at all.
So, Tsvangirai has essentially undermined that Resolution from Sunday by announcing that he has agreed to most of the issues that the National Council wanted referred to SADC.
The statement from SADC today shows that he has also not even taken the issue of Gono and Tomana (the only issues he says he will refer to SADC, in contravention of the Resolution of the MDC-T issued on Sunday) to them.
But Tsvangirai knows his supporters at the grassroots well. They will follow him unto death. He knows that, even if he were to tell them today to vote for Mugabe for president, they would unquestioningly do so.
His supporters at the grassroots level also seem to accept that it is OK for Mugabe to continue to detain MDC supporters as long as the MDC-T gets Principal Directors and Governors. They are happy with these "crumbs" as one diplomat put it to me yesterday, and are not worried about anything else really.
He is also quite happy with the junior "Principal Director" posts he has been given. Principal Directors, as one long-serving diplomat explained to me yesterday, have "no impact whatsoever on policy".
The hierarchy of the civil service is as follows:
Minister, followed by a Deputy Minister, followed by a Permanent Secretary, followed by an Undersecretary, followed by various Assistant Secretaries and then followed by the Principal Director.
In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for instance, it was explained to me that Ambassadors report to Assistant Secretaries. They do not even report to the PermSec. The ambassador would report whatever he has to say to the Desk that covers his region, which is manned by an Assistant Secretary.
He will take the matter to the Undersecretary, who, if need be, will take it to the Permanent Secretary. Ambassadors can not speak to the PermSec unless the PermSec asks to speak to them.
In any case, Tendai Biti is privately saying now that he has had enough and he has the National Council backing him.
He is baffled as to why there would be silence on a fundamental issue like the continued sham trials and detentions of MDC-T activists, why Tsvangirai would consider these closed when Bennett, Mukoko, Mudzingwa and others are still being tried and face stiff jail sentences.
He is also baffled why Tsvangirai would continue on this route when all the donors say these are the very issues upon which aid to Zimbabwe depends.
Does the Prime Minister not realise that he has a no chance whatsoever of getting aid and assistance as long as he quietly accepts these breaches and leaves Mugabe's patronage structure in place?
In any case, it appears that even the matter of Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana has not been referred to SADC. But when one leads sheep, it is a walk in the park. Tsvangirai only needs that statement he made yesterday and then he will remain quiet, with his supporters thinking that his word alone at that Press conference means that the issue has been referred.
Soon, they will start again pointing fingers at Mugabe and SADC, forgetting that their leader has not sent a letter to the regional body and that the MDC-T itself can not approach SADC, only the three leaders can and it appears not one of them (Tsvangirai included) wants to take that futile route.
It is called smoke and mirrors and the gullible have already swallowed it.
End of story. The dispute is closed, unless Tendai Biti and the National Council decide to continue pushing Tsvangirai to fight for real power.