Tsvangirai Talks Tough......yawn
Morgan Tsvangirai, seen here on Sunday addressing the faithful at a party rally in Bulawayo, tried to talk tough, but it is too late. Most people now know that Mugabe will do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and the Prime Minister will stick it out because he has run out of ideas and even the energy to continue the fight.
Harare Zimbabwe, 13 September 2009
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's Prime Minister and leader of the MDC-T, today tried to pick up his spine and confront Mugabe. Verbally at least.
He is "not going to stand by", he says, while ZANU PF arrests and "persecutes" his parliamentarians and violates human rights.
He was oddly quiet on what exactly he will do if he will "stand around."
Standing around is exactly what he has been doing.
His Minister of Home Affairs, he says, is working "fantastically" with the ZANU PF co-Minister for the same post. If violations are occurring, he is as much at fault as Mugabe and his men.
Did we now warn on this very blog that there was the risk of going the Joshua Nkomo route? Of having a Minister of Home Affairs who never knows who signs warrants for the arrest of his own comrades.
Where we not told that this was the 21st century, in which the wise Tsvangirai and his team would make mincemeat of Mugabe. They would not be treated the way Nkomo was treated when he was minister of Home Affairs.
People forget this is not new territory for Mugabe. He offered Joshua Nkomo the titular presidency that eventually went to Canaan Banana. Nkomo, like Tsvangirai, refused and said he wanted control of one of the security ministries since Mugabe had appointed himself Minister of Defence in addition to being Prime Minister.
Eventually, Mugabe relented, but made sure that Nkomo had no government business to conduct in his office. Arrest warrants for Dumiso Dabengwa were executed without Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, knowing anything about it.
But at least Nkomo did not insist that he was working "fantastically" with Robert Mugabe. Even as held press conferences to answer questions on decisions he had nothing to do with, he did not hide the fact that Mugabe was behaving badly.
He too, sought an understanding with Mugabe, preferring to soldier on in the Coalition Government of 1980 in he hope that he could prevail on Mugabe to see sense and accept the existence of ZAPU as the second largest party in Zimbabwe and a power broker in parliament.
Mugabe would hear none of it, even as he smiled at Nkomo during cabinet meetings, addressed him respectfully in public.
Nkomo, unlike Tsvangirai, eventually saw that there was talking to this man and withdrew from that arrangement after his own ministers were arrested without his knowledge.
Unlike Tsvangirai, who merely shrugged and carried on as before when his Deputy Minister of Agriculture was arrested, Nkomo took the route that made sure that his support base, through all persecution, remained solidly behind him.
The tough talk from Morgan Tsvangirai, even as the MDC National Executive failed to issue any Resolutions in Bulawayo today, rings hollow. Everyone can see through this and there is an air of dismissal here in Zimbabwe as the news of the speech spreads.
"Angoitei?" was the question put to me by the weekend guards at our buildings in the city centre. Meaning, "And what can he do?"
Nothing, of course.
But if the Prime Minister now says his supporters are being persecuted, why was he, barely two moths ago, calling on exiled Zimbabweans to come back? He was lying then, that it was safe back home?
We all know that SADC, in whom the Prime Minister now trusts, is going to do nothing about the situation here in Zimbabwe apart from calling for the European Union to lift sanctions.
Despite the protests, we know that, as long as the Prime Minister remains unhappy about not getting enough jobs for his boys, there will be no credit lines or balance of payment support. Should that money slip in somehow, as has happened with the IMF money, which is apparently cheaper than the money our companies borrowing locally and even on the international stage, it will be returned whence it came, so that pressure is kept up on Mugabe.
As I told you in November last year, Mugabe has repeatedly said, "No one threatens me." Meaning that he will not take this lying down.
He has already said he is willing to see this government fail over Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana. On the other hand, Morgan Tsvangirai has said he will not leave no matter what happens. This is, he says, a "train without a reverse gear". And he is too afraid to jump off.
The rally today therefore, signifies nothing at all except a chance for Tsvangirai to speak to his faithful.
Zimbabwe television barely mentioned the rally, but devoted quite some time to the Prime Minister's speech at a National Healing meeting in Bulawayo, at which he admitted, "I have no solutions" for the healing process.
He also said he can not promise when things will improve.
This is a government of the insane leading the blind.
It an accident waiting to happen.