We Are Proved Right As Biti Accuses Tsvangirai of Twisting His Arm
Tendai Biti confirms for the first time what we said during December last year and January this year, that he and others were dead set against joining Mugabe. As one of the negotiators, Biti knew that there were issues on which there had been no agreement, issues that the negotiators ha referred to their "Principals". Mugabe used well-known and tired negotiating tactics in his one on one negotiations with Tsvangirai, after these matters had been referred to the Principals. Tsvangirai panicked, seeing his chance to be Prime Minister slipping, even though the African Union had specifically said it would only recognise a Coalition government in Zimbabwe. As a result of the panic, he gave in to Mugabe and forced his National Council to adopt a resolution to join the government over the objections of Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa, Roy Bennett and others.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 October 2009
Finance Minister and MDC Secretary-General has now confirmed that it was Morgan Tsvangirai who forced him to go into the Inclusive Government against his wishes.
You will recall that, through all the announcements by Morgan Tsvangirai in January that he would join the Inclusive Government, we informed you on this blog that Tendai Biti and people like Nelson Chamisa were so set against the move that there was a risk of the party being split.
It was Morgan Tsvangirai who insisted on pushing his National Council to agree to go in, even as Tendai Biti said that there had been no guarantees from Mugabe that would ensure the smooth functioning of the government.
MDC supporters became regular visitors on this blog, accusing me of all of sorts of things and saying that the MDC was united in its decision to join Mugabe and that I was only bitter because Makoni had been left out.
Time has not only proved that I am not moved by such nonsense from people who do not think, but also that I was right. They were wrong. Full stop.
Biti, who was speaking during an interview which has also, surprisingly, been picked up by the State media. told an audience of ordinary Zimbabweans:
"As you know, I did not want to part of this government. But after the MDC National Council resolved that we should go in, I had no option. I only took this job because Mr Tsvangirai asked me to."
Biti and others were insistent that Tsvangirai had erred when he signed the GPA without finalising certain outstanding issues. They could not understand why he was rushing, when it was clear that Mugabe was on the ropes.
This also gives the exposes the lie from desperate MDC supporters and sympathisers who still insist to this day that Tsvangirai was forced to join the government by SADC, despite my detailed analysis here showing that no one could possibly have twisted Tsvangirai's arm into actually signing.
The pressure on Tsvangirai was to conclude the negotiations so that Zimbabwe could start moving forward.
Mugabe used a tired tactic, appointing a caretaker government, appointing civil servants like Gideon Gono and the Attorney General.
Tsvangirai, seeing this, panicked.
He though Mugabe would make good on his threat to go ahead and form a government if the MDC kept trying to push him to make more concessions. The ZANU PF Politburo joined in, passing resolutions urging Mugabe to form a government by himself.
Even in the face of these well-known negotiating tactics, known the world over to be used to stampede negotiating partners into making mistakes, Tendai Biti still insisted that the MDC should not join until all its demands were met.
And he was one of negotiators, so he knew that the MDC was in a strong position. He knew Mugabe was failing to form a government because the African Union and SADC had directed that a Coalition Government be formed in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai's panic was only a symptom of his inexperience and bad judgement, which is now being proved as Mugabe runs circles around him.
In the same interview, Tendai Biti also revealed that he would quit if the government took a policy decision to return the Zimbabwe dollar now, saying the currency was used as an instrument of arbitrage and corruption.
Otherwise, he says, he is staying in government.
Turning to the much-discussed issue of his refusal to take money from international lenders, he says that he believes taking a loan and incurring a debt now would not be morally defensible because Zimbabwe is essentially a basket-case with no capacity to repay. He advocates Zimbabwe declaring itself a Highly Indebted Poor Country, a move opposed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Biti says he is quite proud of the fact that since he became Finance Minister he has not incurred "a single cent" of debt, knowing as he does that he country right now has no capacity to pay.
Only last week, Gono told the State media that Biti was essentially imposing sanctions on his own country by refusing to take the money from Afreximbank.
Biti responded during this interview by saying that Zimbabweans will notice that criticism of him is not coming from government but from "some quasi-government organisations" - meaning the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.