Mugabe Convenes Cabinet Sans MDC-Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T Deputy, Thokozani Khupe, working as usual on Monday, 19 October 2009 (day before yesterday) in Tsvangirai's government office at the Presidential Office Building, Munhumutapa in Harare. Tsvangirai later left the same day to tour Southern African countries to drum up support for his pull-out from "engagement" with ZANU PF in Cabinet and the Council of Ministers. This was to demonstrate that he has not left government and is still reporting for work as Prime Minister, although he and Mugabe are no longer talking to each other. I thought he said Mugabe was "The Solution"?
Harare, Zimbabwe, 21 October 2009
Robert "The Solution" Mugabe yesterday convened cabinet despite the absence of MDC-Tsvangirai ministers. The Tsvangirai camp ministers, however, reported for work at their offices before proceeding to hold their own "cabinet" meeting at Harvest House in Harare.
The move by Tsvangirai's ministers to hold a cabinet all by themselves is really pointless because none of the decisions they take can be taken as cabinet decisions, since the MDC agreed that Mugabe is the one who chairs cabinet. This means the meeting they had at Harvest House was not really a cabinet meeting.
Webster Shamu (formerly known as Charles Ndlovu), the ZANU PF Minister of Information and Publicity, told state media that the meeting had gone smoothly with Mugabe in the chair:
"Cabinet met and fully discussed all the issues that were on the agenda," said Shamu.
This comes as a spokesman for Jacob Zuma, the South African president, revealed that Tsvangirai had not yet requested a meeting with Zuma nor had there been any communication from the MDC on the alleged "disengagement" from Cabinet and Council of Ministers.
"There is still no official communication from Zimbabwe requesting a meeting," said Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for the South African presidency. "However, if they do ask, they will accommodated."
Zuma is now just another Southern African head of state, after handing over the Chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a staunch Mugabe ally.
Tsvangirai was in Mozambique yesterday, where the Secretary-General of SADC also was. The Prime Minister is meeting the Mozambican president because he is part of the SADC Troika of Politics, Defence and Security.
It is Mozambique which was supposed to have convened a "Summit" to discuss the outstanding issues brought up by Morgan Tsvangirai at the last Heads of State meeting in the DRC in September. However, no moves have yet been made to convene the meeting. The DRC Summit ignored Tsvangirai's complains and fobbed him off with the explanation that the Troika would meet to hear him out.
Mozambique is also a staunch Mugabe ally. Mugabe helped Mozambique militarily during the civil war in that country involving Frelimo and RENAMO, just as he did with the Democratic Republic Congo where Kabila would probably not be president today if it were not for Mugabe's military adventurism in that country to prop up the current president's father.
Most analysts and observers say that there is little likelihood that Tsvangirai will get any joy from the SADC leaders, which means that he will back in cabinet very soon. The issues he raises and over which he is pulling out are not global in nature but have to do with the appointment of civil servants to the Coalition Government.
SADC would not want to set the precedent of intervening in the appointments of government officials in a member country.
Mugabe himself remains quiet and has not been seen in public since the day the MDC announced its "pull-out".