Mugabe Refuses To Open Parliament - New Parliamentary Elections Early Next year
THE END OF THE LAUGHTER: Mugabe has now launched the most determined assault on Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC since the formation of their ill-fated coalition. That laughter I told you about before the formation of the coalition is now getting louder in ZANU PF, who told the United Nations News Agency yesterday that they have "worn down the MDC". It is either Tsvangirai walks, or they will treat him so shabbily that he will become an object of derision all over Africa. Mugabe does not care one bit about the consequences
Harare, Zimbabwe 04 September 2009
I got wind of this yesterday and spoke to a few analyst friends to try and get to the bottom of this.
Robert "The Solution" Mugabe is refusing to open parliament, saying he wants to see how the SADC meeting goes first.
He has already briefed his party to expect fresh parliamentary elections to be announced for early next year, perhaps as early as January.
As has been hinted before, Mugabe's position now is that the new elections will be called only for parliament, since he insists that parliamentary results remain the foundation of the Inclusive Government.
The Presidency will not be contested and there is nothing much Morgan Tsvangirai can do about this.
The position by the MDC Tsvangirai that Mugabe's presidency is premised on the GPA is nonsensical, says the President's office.
Mugabe insists that he was elected into office. Of course, on this one, the MDC will make noise but they will not get anywhere. When Mugabe showed up at the African Union Summit soon after he was sworn in immediately after the June joke of a run-off, the gathered Heads of State received him as a legal President.
The MDC themselves bowed to Mugabe's demands that they had to recognise his election in June before he could finalise negotiations for the Coalition. This they did and, as one analyst with local independent paper said to me yesterday as we discussed this issue:
"The MDC can not backtrack on that one, and they can not walk out because they would be pilloried by all the African leaders and countries, they would lose all credibility and be seen as spoilers."
Of course, MDC supporters will never see it like this, preferring to find out the hard way so that they can shout at African leaders once again for refusing to help the utterly clueless and strategically incompetent Tsvangirai regain his lost glory.
Mugabe was supposed to have opened parliament on 01 September but gave the excuse that he was in Libya for the African Union Summit.
When he did come back, he still refused to officially open the new session of parliament, forcing the Legislative bodies to "adjourn".
Day before yesterday, parliament issued a statement saying both Houses had adjourned until 29 September 2009.
Briefings from within ZANU PF say that the president is "sure that the MDC-T will realise after the SADC Summit that their position in government is untenable". As a result, Mugabe expects that Morgan Tsvangirai will walk away from the Coalition government.
Of course, Tsvangirai and the MDC are unlikely to walk, no matter what is done to them. This, though, has emboldened Mugabe, who is now simply grandstanding and turning up the heat of Morgan Tsvangirai.
The MDC leader, as of yesterday, is no longer referred to as Prime Minister by the state media. He is now simply "Morgan Tsvangirai".
Mugabe, through his spokesman, finally made a public statement with regards the "outstanding issues" the MDC wants addressed yesterday, signalling the hardline position he will take at the next SADC Summit.
Roy Bennett will not be sworn in, despite the premature celebrations within the MDC-T.
Governors will not be sworn in.
Ambassadors are not going to get posted.
Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana are here to stay and Mugabe says he will not fire them, no matter what.
This is the position that Mugabe is taking to SADC. He also revealed in the state media yesterday that he will be playing up the issue of sanctions and the fact that "Morgan Tsvangirai" is still working for regime change.
Having decided to humiliate Tsvangirai like this, Mugabe is fervently hoping that, rather than take the humiliation and continue as a lame-duck Prime Minister, Tsvangirai would prefer to walk out.
He expects this to come within a month of the end of the SADC Summit in the DRC.
He is then expecting to call new parliamentary elections for next year.
There are delusions that Mugabe will be stopped in this plan by South Africa, which will fear for the World Cup.
But that is wishful thinking.
Mugabe has shown before that he is not in any way intimidated by SADC and in fact hold them in contempt, as evidenced by his withdrawal from the SADC Tribunal early in August.
It is a forlorn hope nurtured by people who now realise that Tsvangirai has played all his cards and is now exposed to the machinations of Robert Mugabe.
Strategically, he is at the end of the tether and, as he said on Tuesday, sees the GNU as the "only option".
I can assure you that these warnings are lost on the MDC and its supporters and apologists. They will be dismissed, only to have the opposition party crying into their beers next year as they shout at everyone from Jacob Zuma to Joseph Kabila.
But it will not help them at all.