Zuma Visit - Dashed Hopes and Expectations

Robert "The Solution" Mugabe and Jacob Zuma are seen here last night at the State dinner hosted by the Zimbabwean dictator for the South African leader who is in the country to open the Harare Agricultural Show. Zuma will leave today for South Africa and it is unlikely that he will have resolved anything in the single day he is here, although he met both Mugabe and Tsvangirai separately last night.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 28 August 2009

Morgan Tsvangirai was at the Harare Showgrounds yesterday where he backtracked, telling journalists that South African president Jacob Zuma was not in Zimbabwe to confront Mugabe about unfulfilled promises.

Tsvangirai specifically said:

"President Zuma is here to Open the Agricultural Show."

This betrays the delusions of his misguided supporters and apologists who had started celebrating ahead of the arrival of the SA leader saying that he was going to read the riot act to Mugabe.

Zuma himself, speaking at the State House last night where a State dinner was hosted for him by Robert "The Solution" Mugabe, the South African leader said he was happy with the progress made so far by the Inclusive government, while echoing Tsvangirai's sentiments that the challenges that remain are not "insurmountable."

What this means is that as Zuma jets back to South Africa today, we are left exactly where we were before he came here.

Roy Bennet is still not sworn in, nor are the governors from the MDCs. Ambassadors from both MDCs are still cooling their heels in Harare, with Mugabe pleading poverty as the reason why he can not post them to their stations.

It really is doubtful that Zuma could solve anything on this flying visit, which is essentially a one day visit (he flies out today).

As I said during my interview with SW Radio yesterday, Zimbabweans continue to believe that outsiders are the only people capable of solving Zimbabwe's problems and this has led them and leaders like Tsvangirai to take a back seat in the quest to resolve the problems of their own country.

It is, more importantly, a reflection of the lack of faith people have in the MDC-T especially and Morgan Tsvangirai.

Even MDC-T and Tsvangirai apologists seem unaware that their stance betrays their leader. They do not believe that he has what it takes to pick his way away Mugabe and the ZANU PF band of thieves.

Having lost faith and hope in Tsvangirai, having realised that he does not have what it takes to get rid of Mugabe and the poisonous ZANU PF ruling class, they now seek to bully and intimidate the regional leadership into helping Tsvangirai become president.

This is not going to happen any time soon.

As one reader on the South African Mail Guardian blog asked last year when Tsvangirai was threatening to walk away unless he got sole control of the Home Affairs ministry, "What if Mugabe says no? What are they going to do to him?"

Nothing, is the answer.

Zuma also made it clear last night both at the airport and during the state dinner that he still considers himself a comrade of Mugabe and ZANU PF.

Finally, those who continue to harbour the illusion that Zuma will be tougher on Mugabe than the hated Thabo Mbeki need to realise that last year, when Mothlanthe was president of South Africa, he also failed to move Mugabe, even as Tsvangira played the coy bride and threatened to scupper the whole deal.

Mothlanthe was keeping the seat warm for Zuma. He was pursuing Zuma's agenda during his short reign and was taking instructions from the ANC president throughout. Yet he failed to bring Mugabe into line, which was easier back then that it would be now, when there is a government of national unity in place in Harare.

The expectations foisted on Zuma are simply designed by MDC apologists to provide an alibi for the failures Tsvangirai is going to deliver to the democracy project in Zimbabwe before long.

The point is to be able to find someone to blame when it eventually turns out that Tsvangirai has failed dismally to have any impact on Zimbabwe's intractable problems.

Many countries have suffered under dictatorships before, some more brutal than Mugabe's and yet they themselves have always found solutions. The most spectacular example is the Soviet Union, whose people threw off the yoke of Communism all by themselves, led by courageous and crafty leaders like Boris Yeltsin.

But some think Zimbabwe is special and Mugabe is a special kind of dictator who can not be defeated by his own people and their leaders.

The democracy project in Zimbabwe as led and conceived by Tsvangirai has now collapsed and the search for scapegoats to blame in the region only exposes Zimbabweans to derision and mockery by their fellow Southern African citizens.

The people will eventually be freed, but this is not something that will be done by Tsvangirai. It is clear to all but sheep that he has now failed and is seeking compromise with Mugabe and ZANU PF for his own personal comfort.


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