The Real Reason Why Morgan Tsvangirai Joined Mugabe In Government

25 February 2009: Tsvangirai,flanked by Mutambara, declaring Permanent Secretary appointments made by Mugabe as "null and void". Three much later, the PermSecs are proving to be neither null nor void

With Morgan Tsvangirai telling workers at Gwanzura stadium on May Day that his government was broke and could only continue to pay civil servants US$100 (and was duly booed for his pain), it is perhaps time to examine why the MDC-T and Morgan Tsvangirai decided to join government.

Few saw the interplay and connection between what ZANU PF had started doing internally and how the MDC reacted. The timing is especially betraying.

Here's what it is.

As Morgan Tsvangirai and his party refused to be sworn in and ran away over our borders from the very agreement they had signed, Mugabe was finally persuaded to abandon his long-standing, ideological aversion to dollarisaton.

First, it was Patrick Chinamasa who stood up in parliament as Acting Minister of Finance and delivered not only a dollarised Budget but also a green light for Monetary Authorities to go ahead with wholescale licencing of businesses to trade in foreign currency.

Then Gono came in and announced just that. The Zimbabwean economy was dollarised. In Kombis and other public spaces, commuters discussed the rumour that Barak Obama and his government had given Zimbabwe seven days to stop using the Greenback because they did not have permission.

Even the ZCTU, which had been campaigning against dollarisation, suddenly found itself making public demands for specific salary figures in US dollars.

Meantime, the MDC-T and its leader were still playing the coy bride. Tsvangirai was cooling his heels in Botswana. Tendai Biti was spotted over oceans on his way overseas.

"Junior partners? Never?" was one sentiment expressed by both Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa.

"Better to have no deal than a bad deal," was how Tsvangirai put it at a rally he held while he was stuck in Zimbabwe because Mugabe had apparently taken to walking around with the Prime Minister-designate's passport in his back pocket.


Within a couple of weeks, Tsvangirai, who could clearly see that Mugabe was in a corner, failing to form a government without him, decided to give in.

So, at his strongest, the Prime Minister capitulated.

Well, he himself will privately acknowledge that dollarisation pretty much flushed the MDC-T out from the bushes. Running in tandem with this, of course, was the carefully planned destruction of the MDC as a political force by labelling it a terrorist organisation that trained insurgents.

The MDC-T's own immediate short-term strategy for stabilising Zimbabwe was to dollarise. When the MDC-T conceived of the idea, long before Mugabe adopted it, a strategist and leading Banker in Harare described the impact such a move would have as "dramatic, immediate and almost miraculous."

For the MDC-T, though, this strategy was backed also by a "promised" US$10 billion which the opposition had told supporters during the March campaign was "waiting at the border" to be shipped in as soon as the MDC-T went into government. "Friends", is how the benefactors were described.

So then, seeing Mugabe pull the rug from underneath them and convinced that Mugabe's bitterest foes, the economy and inflation were about to be tamed with dollarisation, the MDC-T and, especially Morgan Tsvangirai, decided to go in and hopefully take a share of the credit for the stabilisation that was to follow dollarisation.

Well then, it is the dollarisation, combined with the pressures from the heat Mugabe was turning on the party membership internally that drove Tsvangirai into Mugabe's arms.

Everyone said Tsvangirai had no appetite for it. His hand had been forced (though I think it would have been a scandal if Thabo Mbeki was seen wrestling the MDC-T leader and forcing him to sign the Global Political Agreement), we were told.

But the Prime Minister has proved that he does have an appetite for working cordially with Mugabe. This agreement, which is supposed to be reviewed by SADC in four months, is in no danger of collapsing.

The Prime Minister says, "We will not leave this government", preempting not only the Generals' suspicions but also all hope from his supporters who thought that the review remained the one light at the end of the dark tunnel into which Tsvangirai has now been shoved by Mugabe.

How can the MDC-T go back to SADC when they keep saying that their new-found "father" is just dandy and wonderful, but it is only a handful of frightful men in uniform who are wielding more power than the President and Prime Minister combined, who are the real problem?

The review itself could well be cancelled.

By the way, there has not been an official release of the findings of that SADC mission to investigate the insurgent claims by Mugabe against Tsvangirai? Botswana was paid a visit. And the SWAZI Monarch, who presented the report to SADC Heads of State, has not made it public. Nor has the SADC Full Summit itself.

We wait with bated breath for when this will be brought out. Meantime, we enjoy the show that is being put on by the MDC-PF. Fact: the Prime Minister is now implementing ZANU PF policies, has joined hands with ZANU PF. It is also fact now that Tsvangirai's MDC-T are the government in Zimbabwe. The MDC-T can not therefore, choose to enjoy the trappings of the office without sharing the responsibility.

As PM Tsvangirai told a reporter: "We are aware that we will be credited with the success or failure of this government."

If Mugabe fails, he fails.

So, essentially, when you strip away all the noise, you are left with this: Tsvangirai is now working to ensure that Mugabe succeeds, because therein also lies his own success.


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