Looking in different directions: Mugabe has lost round one in the battle at the SADC Summit in the DRC before it has even begun. The two fighting parties in government will both be at the Summit, but it is also almost certain that Mugabe will refuse to excuse himself during the Heads of State meeting that deliberates on Zimbabwe. He will be at an advantage, because the Tsvangirai will not be allowed in that meeting, since he is not a Head of State. The result may well be same-same, no different to what we have come to expect from SADC in the presence of Mugabe
Harare, Zimbabwe, 07 September 2009
Robert "The Solution" Mugabe has lost the battle to keep Zimbabwe off the agenda of the SADC Summit in Kinshasa this week.
On Sunday, the Secretary General of SADC, Tomaz Solamao, told the media that there is "no option but to implement the Global Political Agreement."
It is now understood that President Jacob Zuma of South Africa will definitely present a "report" during what is being called a "review" of the process in Zimbabwe.
Although Morgan Tsvangirai is not attending as part of the Heads of State meetings, it is now certain that he will have the chance to put his case directly to the Heads of State during the "review".
South Africa's ministry of foreign affairs also said that there is no option but to implement the GPA in Zimbabwe, signed between Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe.
I'll venture to take a bet on this with anyone who dares:
I say that the "review" will be an anti-climax. Listen carefully and what you are not hearing is condemnation of the party that is known to be backtracking on clear commitments within its own control: ZANU PF.
You do not hear condemnation of the failure to swear-in a legally and duly nominated cabinet minister.
In other words, there is no condemnation of the person we know to be most at fault in all this: Robert Mugabe, the "president, head of state and commander in chief of the Defence Forces".
It is a foregone conclusion that, at the end of the Summit, the Heads of State will retreat to deliberate and Mugabe will once again not excuse himself. He will sit through those deliberations.
What you will get at the end of the day will be wishy-washy "resolution" demanding that "both parties" implement the outstanding matters.
Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe will both be urged to hold up their side of the bargain. For Tsvangirai, that means coming out forcefully, using Zanufied language, against sanctions. He will have to dump "restrictive measures" and demand that the world "remove sanctions".
The problem with this is that it is unlikely that Tsvangirai will go that far. Which will give Mugabe an excuse because, and here's the heart of the matter:
Who judges whether Tsvangirai has done enough, used the proper language and has done "all in his power" (as the resolution will inevitably say)?
Most likely. And he can continue to refuse to budge, until he "sees the money."
The only hope is that Mugabe puts a foot wrong.
Which he may well do. He has announced through his lapdog media that he is going to "gently remind" his SADC colleagues that they had committed themselves to helping with the lifting of sanctions.
I hope he tries that one and starts a fight with his fellow SADC Heads of State. It is to be hoped that the irritation that came through the state media last week is taken by Mugabe to the Summit.
It will, for the first time, allow the other Heads of State to confront Mugabe on a warpath. A confrontation having already been established in this way by Mugabe, the impatience the other Heads of State have been feeling may well come out into the open and turn things upside down.
If, however, Mugabe recoils from this and maintains, as he has always done face to face, a respectful, legalistic and conciliatory approach, then what we will get is that watered down "resolution" calling on everyone to love each other.
My bet is that we will end up with that watered down resolution.
I have no idea what yours is.