A Furious Morgan Tsvangirai Draws Blood
George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman (above), launched a broadside at Morgan Tsvangirai in a humiliating diatribe on the front page of the Herald on Thursday, but it now appears the Prime Minister has won out in that particular battle. Charamba refused to give Tsvangirai his due title of Prime Minister and said he should "get it through his head" that the outstanding issues will not be resolved because Tsvangirai had not managed to get sanctions lifted
Harare, Zimbabwe, 05 September 2009
Fuming at the humiliating diatribe from Robert Mugabe's pit-bull terrier, George Charamba (presidential spokeman in Zimbabwe), Morgan Tsvangirai has managed to get what insiders are calling a 'grovelling apology" from George Charamba.
A couple of days back, Charamba tore into the Prime Minister, not even dignifying him with the title of Prime Minister and saying he should "get it through his head" that Roy Bennett was not being sworn in and that his governors and all the other outstanding issues were also on ice until he called for the lifting of sanctions.
I reported on this in my article, "Suddenly, Morgan Tsvangirai Is No Longer Prime Minister."
Tsvangirai confronted Mugabe with this, demanding to know whether the "civil servant" was using language approved by the president.
The Prime Minister told his senior staff members that he was "prepared to accept and tolerate some form of abuse from Mugabe himself, but not from a mere civil servant who has never been voted for by a single person in his entire life."
I am told Mugabe said he was not aware of the insults directed at Tsvangirai (he reads The Herald daily, though, and the insult was the main story in the front page) and said it was well within Tsvangirai's ambit to demand that Charamba apologise.
Tsvangirai insisted that Mugabe should tell Charamba to do this.
The president's spokesman gave the "grovelling apology" yesterday, Friday.
"He claimed that it was an editorial decision to leave out the Prime Minister's title at the Herald and that he had no control over this."
But Charamba did not dispute the words attributed to him. He could only say that he got carried away.
"You could tell the man was not genuine, " said a source in Tsvangirai's office. "He said he got carried away. But he did tell the Prime Minister that it will not happen again."
At the very outset of the Inclusive Government, Tsvangirai also had cause to complain to Mugabe after Charamba and Secretary to the Cabinet Misheck Sibanda took unilateral executive decisions that threatened to undermine the new regime.
Tsvangirai, you will recall, held a press conference together with Arthur Mutambara where he declared that "no civil servant" had powers to make executive decisions about appointments in the new government.
It was at that time that I also got a detailed briefing which resulted in my article on this blog entitled "The Three Men Who Run Ziimbabwe".
Charamba remains a Mugabe favourite, however, and the Prime Minister knows this. When Mugabe fired Jonathan Moyo, for instance, he praised Charamba to the heavens, even as he told a rally that "Jonathan's head" was as tough as a Monkey Apple.
Despite the apology, Tsvangirai is under no illusion that there is now a coordinated attack directed at him from the state media and the ZANU PF side of government.
As I explained yesterday, Mugabe now wants Tsvangirai gone from government. But the Minister of state in Tsvangirai's office, yesterday told a symposium in Harare that it would take a bullet to get the Prime Minister to vacate Munhumutapa Building (the Presidential Office complex).
ZANU PF, meanwhile, has sent its people out to bried people like me that, in that case, they are going to so utterly humiliate the Prime Minister that he will be left with no dignity whatsoever.
Dirty tricks will also be implemented, digging up dirt and inciting even more hate language.
"We have been there before. They are just barking. They can not bite, now. They are yesterday's men," says a source in Tsvangirai's office.