The Generals' Return - JOC Rides Again
Harare, Zimbabwe, 23 September 2009
A few weeks back, I told you that that the National Security Council is no longer meeting and that it is all but disbanded.
Tsvangirai had that one meeting, like a baby given a dummy to suck on and shut up, and that was it.
In fact, JOC (Joint Operations Command) was never disbanded. Why, only last month, they were deploying truckloads of soldiers to base camps in Manicaland, which has been identified as the decisive battleground in a future election, where Mugabe will be seeking to regain a majority of seats.
The people of Manicaland, JOC has now decided, must be taught a lesson.
That there are soldiers guarding the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields is a bonus. It means that the shifting of armed men into the province will be easily written off as changes of shifts for the soldiers guarding the diamond mining area.
Only when you look closely at the locations of the bases does it become clear: Manicaland is slowly being encircled. Corner to corner, there will be no escape should things get nasty.
I hope this is not another Gukurahundi in the making.
My interest in the continued existence and meeting of JOC was sparked initially by the revelation that Mugabe told Tsvangirai he could not convene any more National Security Council meetings because the Generals were refusing to take part again.
Mugabe claims the Generals are saying they were made fools of by Tsvangirai, who smiled to their faces and then, they claimed, went ahead to de-campaign them in foreign capitals and clandestinely call for the maintenance of sanctions.
Mugabe is obsessed with ZIDERA, the Zimbabwe Democracy And Economic Recovery Act passed by the American Congress, which bars any American from doing business with Zimbabwe and directs USA officials at the World Bank and IMF to vote against anything favourable to Zimbabwe until and unless the President of the USA (POTUS) says it alright to do so.
He is desperate for that money and all these moves are designed to put pressure on Tsvangirai and the West to cough up. The sanctions, he says, create an uneven electoral landscape in favour of the MDC because of the suffering of Zimbabweans.
So, although Morgan Tsvangirai had to leave after only ten minutes of their last meeting when it became clear that there was nothing to talk about, Mugabe had managed to communicate a latest reneging on agreements he made with Tsvangirai.
I told you that Mugabe would escalate the humiliation of Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. This is only just the beginning.
But it begs the question:
Why were the people out there, MDC supporters and the like, so overjoyed that Chiwengwa and Co were smiling and having their photos taken with Morgan Tsvangirai after that National Security Council meeting?
We said it did not mean anything and we were called doomsayers. So who, then, is the real Prophet of Anarchy here? Is it not those who, instead of seeking a genuine change of heart from their enemies by the way they treat them (the Mandela Way), they look for meaningless gestures and invest them with the gravest implications.
It was a Great Leap Forward, said some telescope analysts. They had vowed not to salute him, now look at them! And on it went.
Now, they have changed their hearts right back again and do not think Tsvangirai is such a nice fella after all. Which also explains why General Chiwengwa himself made a point of not even shaking the Prime Minister's hand at the Defence Forces Day ceremonies.
You remember those? Where it was claimed that Perance Shiri had saluted Tsvangirai. Poor fellow. He had to do some deft moves to get rid of that stain on his credentials.
It feels like Square One around here, doesn't it?