We Were Right Again - Mugabe IS Refusing To Open Parliament
Harare, Zimbabwe, 23 September 2009
So yesterday, a full 18 days after I broke the story, the Times of South Africa has finally confirmed that Mugabe is refusing to open the Zimbabwe parliament.
I told you all about this on 4 September in an article headlined "Mugabe Refuses To Open Parliament, New Parliamentary Elections Early Next Year"
Originally Mugabe had been slated to open the legislature on September 1, but he ran away.
Parliamentary officials had already announced that the president would open the new session of parliament on that date.
They then had to send letters to newsrooms to say that parliament was going into recess and would instead be opened by Mugabe on September 29.
Now Mugabe says he is "too busy".
Yesterday, a parliamentary official, Deputy Clerk of Parliament Helen Dingani told the Times that Mugabe responded to the new date by saying it was not convenient for him. He did not offer alternatives or suggestions as to when would be convenient.
Regardless, parliament is now preparing for official opening on October 5. It remains to be seen if Mugabe does not run away again and go visiting a foreign leader friendly to him on one pretext or another.
It was only after I broke that story that I got the real reason why Mugabe does not want to open this House. The MDCs have combined majority in parliament. They, the parliamentarians, have been at the forefront of demanding that the Inclusive Government last a full five years because they wanted to serve out their full terms and reap the benefits and rewards attendant with having completed a full term in the House.
But Mugabe sees his opening of parliament as blessing a five year term for the parliamentarians.
That's the first thing. He does not want to do that.
Secondly, he is trying to snub the Speaker of Parliament, whom Mugabe has privately said is working for donor agencies and not the "people of Zimbabwe". Mugabe was referring to the funding of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution by foreign NGOs.
We all know that Mugabe has publicly stated his opposition to a process funded by NGOs. "We are not an occupied country," Mugabe is said to have told his Politburo. He wants the money handed to government, which will control the purse strings and steer the Select Committee.
Mugabe is deadly serious about wanting this Inclusive Thingy dead and buried by 2011. Statements at the weekend from the MDC now make them appear desperate for the Inclusive Government to continue.
They will only participate if the Constitution is changed and there is a new Electoral body, they say.
If the impasse over the Kariba Draft continues, Mugabe will press ahead regardless. The World Cup in South Africa will be over by then. And pressure on him to behave will be much diminished now that we know Jacob Zuma also practices quiet diplomacy.
This boycott idea will never work, like I said in an earlier article. Bishop Muzorewa and Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole could tell you how ineffectual such an empty gesture would be against a man like Mugabe.
He has no shame. He will run alone if need be and swear himself in.
And Zimbabwe will do some more talking and insulting for another five years, appealing hopelessly to the world, to SADC, to the UN.....
Until it's time for the next elections.