Zimbabwe: Mukoko Re-Imprisoned As Mugabe Further Weakens Tsvangirai

Jestina Mukoko is seen here on March 2, after she was freed on bail in a move that many said indicated the strengthening of Tsvangirai's influence in government. She was sent back to jail today after the state indicted her, showing yet again that Mugabe continues to use state apparatus for party purposes. The magistrate indicated that the matter was "now outof my hands."

A couple of hours after the traditional Tuesday Cabinet meeting started here in Harare today, Jestina Mukoko and 15 other MDC activists were sent back to Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. The Magistrate told a visibly stunned and shaken Mukoko that the matter was now "out of my hands".

Which was very telling.

Tsvangirai was alerted to the re-imprisonment of Mukoko as he sat at the oak Cabinet Room table with Mugabe, Mutambara and other ministers from all the parties. At the time of writing of writing this, it is not clear if Mugabe has allowed Tsvangirai to bring up the matter under Any Other Business in the cabinet (He is a stickler for protocol and will only entertain what is on the agenda. As Chairman of Cabinet, he also has the power to rule not to allow any matter to be put on the agenda.)

But this move by Mugabe is not really a surprise for those who are in the know.

This is a reaction to the renewed efforts by the MDC-T to investigate Gideon Gono. JOC, which is still unofficially meeting (mostly at private residences) resolved last Thursday, just before May Day, that the gloves would now come off.

By going after Gono, Mugabe says, the MDC-T have basically signalled that they are not interested in reconciliation and healing. Reconciliation and healing for Mugabe means that anyone who has ever done anything for ZANU PF should be allowed to get away with murder, if it comes to that.

Hence, Mukoko and the other activists are once again the bargaining chip in the Gono fight. But the Gono fight itself is only a symptom of a deeper underlying problem within this GNU.

As Tsvangirai is exposed to have absolutely no power whatsoever in this Coalition, expected to do all the giving without getting anything back, he is being dressed down rather swiftly by the dictator.

In addition to the Gono issue, apparently what convinced Mugabe and ZANU PF that there is nothing to lose in behaving so badly is the conviction they have now that, no matter what they do, as long as Mugabe heads government and state, no funds will be forthcoming from the international community and the Bretton Woods institutions.

Essentially, therefore, there is nothing for Mugabe and his party to lose, except their position of power within Zimbabwe. Now they see that, even if they were to concede ground to Tsvangirai and the MDC, they will still be in a fix, they have decided simply to re-assert their authority.

As a ZANU PF minister said almost two weeks ago as the Gono debate raged: "Tsvangirai should be grateful to Mugabe for allowing him to not only continue walking around free, but also even become Prime Minister. If he does not show enough gratitude, he will be bitten (acharumwa)."

The case of Jestina Mukoko is now part of the wider "reconciliation" fight between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, into which Gono's own head has also been sucked.

As Kubatana asked in their SMS message sent to thousands of people in Zimbabwe less than an hour ago as I write this, "How does this reflect on the MDC-T?"

True, it is yet another humiliation for the Prime Minister, who vowed after his inauguration that Jestina and her fellow prisoners would "not stay in jail a day longer."

It also demonstrates yet again that where the power in this government lies. And more importantly, it shows just how the Prime Minister was unprepared to go into government, how he did not have a bigger strategy for dealing with what he must have known would be intransigence by Mugabe.

If he had a strategy, he certainly would have been concentrating on larger issues than the piddling fights for Permanent Secretaries, Ambassadors and Governors, which do not increase his authority or standing in any manner within government.

He would have picked his quarrels with Mugabe much more carefully than he is doing now.

As things stand now, the Prime Minister has been pushed to the very margins of power and is in danger of falling off the power radar completely.

Tsvangirai is essentially now in the same position Joshua Nkomo was in during the 1980s, when he was Minister of Home Affairs. As I have said before, people like Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku were arrested without Nkomo, their leader and Minister of Home Affairs, knowing anything about it.

You will recall that the same MDC-T supporters who were busy fighting against the GPA and agreeing with Tsvangirai as he refused to join the government changed their tune after he announced he was going in.

They dismissed my assertion that Tsvangirai would become another 1980s Nkomo by saying, "It's different. We are in the 21st Century now."

How different is this, I ask?

As usual, you will get no answer, only attempts at diversion!!

Proof is being provided by Mugabe that he still holds all the cards. He continues to state institutions and apparatus to dish out patronage to ZANU PF members and activists, just as he is currently doing in Mashonaland West and parts of Manicaland, where he is dishing out diamond money to supporters to start "projects".


  1. I agreed with the people who were not happy with the way the Gono issue was being developed because you could see the mess it would create from a mile away. Firstly it is an extension of the succession battle within Zanu and secondly it exposes Morgan as a hypocrite. On one hand you are stressing the importance of building trust within the GNU, while you are trying to go after an individual? How is that building trust or is this only for certain individuals?

    Gentlemen, we all need to be up to the game. Someone like Gono is bound to mess up one way or the other in the next 12 months. In the meantime quietly throw mud at him while acting like you do not know.

  2. Denford I think it's about to heat up to a boil.
    forgive my prediction, but to remind you of an old saying from south africa "When You Have Touched a Woman You Have Moved a Rock"..OOOOOOO ooohhhhh, because I am going to pull out the Black Candle on Saturday and that's it.

    sorry my friend as I've tired of the games now and think it's time to lend my hand to work with the sangomas and get this thing done.

    take good care of yourself as things will get much rougher very quickly; I can assure you of that.

    expect there to be many quick and catastrophic events that will reshape the entire fate and State of Great Zimbabwe.

    You are In My Prayers.


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