Mugabe and Botswana's Khama Thaw Relations In Namibia?
Good Old Days: Mugabe with Bill Clinton at the White House. Ian Khama is reported to have offered to work to repair relations with the West if Mugabe would play ball and seriously start implementing the "outstanding issues" that the MDC-T are complaining about. There is great optimisn that this gambit by Khama may pay off.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 20 August 2009
There is great excitement today within MDC circles after it emerged that Robert "The Solution" Mugabe spend some time chatting with Botswana's Ian Khama in Namibia yesterday, where the aging leader was attending a tourism conference together with other Southern African Heads of State.
The excitement comes from the the belief that the discussions centred on "outstanding issues" the MDC-T has brought up in SADC. Authoritative sources in the Zim government confirm that the discussions did centre on the MDC-T demands.
More precisely, it is reported that Khama adopted a less confrontational approach to Mugabe than has been the case so farm, pressing the Zimbabwe dictator to give ground in exchange for more support for the Inclusive Government from the Botswana administration.
Khama is reported to have undertaken to also lobby the international community on Mugabe's behalf if the dictator showed seriousness in dealing with issues such as ambassadors and governors for the MDC-T.
Khama was also in Namibia with Mugabe for the tourism conference, where nine southern African states are looking to come up with a common strategy ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
The MDC-T, now part of government, believes that Mugabe may well change course as a result, since he so desperately needs not only the money to get the country going again, but also the respect from western powers that he used to enjoy.
This may well have been a tactic that was agreed with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in his quest to settle all "outstanding issues" with Mugabe, who has been showing signs of being reluctant to implement any of them.
Mugabe, who returned to Harare last night, is accusing the MDC-T of not only having "outstanding issues" of its own that it must address, but also administrative incompetence, pointing to the failure by the Prime Minister to formulate and implement any policies with regards to the economy.
He particularly bitter about sanctions, which he accuses the MDC-T and Tsvangirai of soliciting from the Western powers.
Khama's gambit may well pay off because Mugabe considers him to have the ear of the western world, a poster child of such countries as Britain and America.
Should the promises given him not materialise, however, you will almost certainly see a hardening of his attitude later on, which would puzzle those who do not follow these issues closely.
What remains to be seen now is whether Mugabe goes ahead on any of the issues that the MDC-T is complaining about.