MDC-Tsvangirai Activist Stays On Remand

With pivotal people like Roy Bennett (above, at the High Court in Zimbabwe), being "harassed" and brought before the courts for lengthy trials, the MDC-Tsvangirai is adrift, putting all its efforts into seeing whether they can pack even more useless bodies into government. Mugabe thinks that is all fine: it leaves him free to continue with his plan to ensure that he gets back into a commanding position at the next elections.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 17 November 2009

A Zimbabwean court yesterday threw out an application by Pascal Gwezere, an MDC-T Intelligence Department official (he is officially called a Transport Manager) t be removed from remand on charges of masterminding the theft of 21 guns from Pomona Barracks in Harare.

Gwezere, however, was granted the application on the second charge he faces: getting military training in Uganda.

Not that any of this makes the slightest bit of difference in practical terms to his plight. He effectively remains on remand, awaiting trial, with the State now claiming that there are witnesses who are falling over themselves to testify against Gwezere.

It now also emerges Gwezere has been arrested on a tip off, which came to the police two days after the offence was committed.

It is because of this that I think it yet another shaky case from Mugabe's prosecutors. Although not known how many snitches there are in this whole thing, the testimony they will offer in court is likely to be all hearsay or third-hand information, otherwise they would also be charged together with Gwezere if they were actually in the scene and witnesses the crime being committed.

That the police also say the soldiers who helped Gwezere have disappeared and can not be found (it is almost a month now since the weapons were stolen) weakens their case even more.

But this is not the point of the whole exercise. As I explained on the eve of the MDC-T joining Mugabe in the fatal embrace called the Inclusive Government, the plan has always been that of distraction: with their officials and party members, including high-profile ones like Bennett, on trial, the MDC, it is hoped, will be so preoccupied with these moves that it fails to properly organise itself ahead of any election as Mugabe sends more of his youths and military into the countryside to secure his advantage.

It appears there is nothing the Prime Minister and his party can do about any of this.

Tsvangirai himself bemoaned the "militarisation of the countryside" during his fumbling "disengagement" announcement. Yet this very crucial issue, which goes to the heart of the matter of a free and fair election, does not form part of the agenda of re-engagement as announced by the Prime Minister in Maputo after the SADC Troika meeting.

MDC-T structures even in the urban centres have all but collapsed, with the only visible activity being the series of 10th anniversary rallies that Tsvangirai has been conducting all over Zimbabwe.

Meantime, discontent in the MDC National Executive and the National Council has now reached fever-pitch, with three camps lined up to dislodge Tsvangirai.

The country of Zimbabwe is going to be shocked by the realignment of Zimbabwean politics that is going to take place in the next three to four months and this will come about only because Tsvangirai has now sat on his laurels, content to play second-fiddle to Mugabe while implementing ZANU PF policies and defending the continued decline of Zimbabwe into poverty, lack of service delivery, disease and unemployment.

Here's the problem: the MDC-T egged on by its dwindling base of fanatic, hero-worshipping, and personality-cult followers, is behaving as if it has already taken power from Mugabe. Elections are nothing but a distant prospect for them, with Morgan Tsvangirai believing that he only needs one month to campaign in order to force another deadlock in parliament and make a comeback as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, with Mugabe continuing as president.

This is the truth of the Zimbabwean politics today, that the people's project is now being sacrificed on the alter of the power-hunger of the MDC-T leadership. They are content to rub shoulders with murderers and thieves, as long as some of the proceeds from the plunder of our nation are given to them in the form of luxury cars, luxury offices and lavish travel and subsistence allowances.

The MDC-T's own MPs and Minister have gotten in on the act, of that there is no doubt, with some of them said to be drawing thousands of litres of fuel (as much as 5 000 litres in one month in one instance). They tag along with Mugabe to useless talking-shop summits all over the world, where they arrive with their own little bags of unaccounted-for cash.

Acquittal or conviction is not the object of the current prosecutions of such people as Roy Bennett and Pascal Gwezere. The distraction of the MDC is first prize. Everything else is a bonus to ZANU PF.

Tsvangirai is playing straight into their hands.

But then again, he is going to win, no matter what he does or says, his supporters believe. He could tell all of them to vote Mugabe for president and MDC-T for parliament (a very real possibility despite the disbelief) and they would still shout "Save!"


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