Dumiso Dabengwa And The Vice-Presidency of Zimbabwe

Dumiso Dabengwa, seen here at Heroes Acre sitting just behind National Security and former Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi. Reliable sources are insisting on the story I broke a few days ago about Dabengwa being offered the vice-presidency. ZAPU itself, Dabengwa's party, was insistent that he will not rejoining ZANU PF, which is an entirely different thing from joining the government as Vice-president. The party has said in interviews and statements that an offer for Dabengwa to join the Inclusive Government as a Vice-president was "a different matter".

Harare, Zimbabwe, 23 August 2009

You will recall that I broke the story about Mugabe's offer of the Vice-presidency to ZAPU Supremo Dumiso Dabengwa. The story spread like a wildfire throughout the world and it took some time before there was a response from ZAPU itself and Dabengwa.

My sources are insisting that despite the denials by ZAPU, Dabengwa was indeed offered the vice-presidency and that the offer still stands.

You will also notice that my assertion that Dabengwa was meeting with emissaries was subsequently confirmed by The Zimbabwe Independent, which revealed that the former Home Affairs Minister and ZIPRA Commander had met with two ZANU PF people at the burial of Vice-President Msika on Heroes Day in Harare.

My source pointed out several things.

In denying the story, ZAPU says that Dumiso Dabengwa will never rejoin ZANU PF. The party also said that the offer could be made in the context of the Inclusive Government, where Dabengwa is invited to be vice-president in his capacity as leader of the revived ZAPU.

Dabengwa himself, speaking to the Zimbabwean, was also at pains to emphasise that he will not be rejoining ZANU PF, saying the party told him when he endorsed Simba Makoni that he had expelled himself.

This is significant because Mugabe's approach, as I reported as I broke the story, was premised on the proposition that Dabengwa come back to the fold to revive the Unity Accord of 1987. I warned in a subsequent article that indications were that Mugabe was even prepared to work with Dabengwa while he remained in the revived ZAPU and that his initial demand was an opening gambit. It is a well-known Mugabe tactic to open negotiations with outrageous demands in order to appear to have made "concessions" later on"

The MDC-T especially has fallen for this tactic every time and have been trumpeting illusory triumphs over the dictator on issues he simply put on the table to mask his real intentions.

Dabengwa himself has revealed that Angelina Masuku is one of the emissaries sent by Mugabe to try and talk him back into the party. He insists that he rebuffed her.

So, where are we now?

In Dabengwa, Mugabe has found a cool, calm and collected customer (cliches, but true). The ZAPU leader, known as "The Black Russian", appears to harbour no ambitions at all.

Further, Dabengwa's operating style, which I have witnesses at close quarters, is not to rush into things. He is one of the most methodical political operators I have ever encountered in Zimbabwe and will probably hold out until he gets exactly what he wants.

Mugabe knows that Dabengwa is not desperate to be Vice-president and is almost certain to also work very hard to get him to give in. Mugabe is aware that this gambit would be one of his shrewdest moves ever and is determined to land Dabengwa, according to my sources.


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