Tsvangirai Offers Mugabe Deal On Outstanding Issues
Robert Mugabe, seen here with the FIFA World Cup Trophy, has turned down a proposal from Morgan Tsvangirai that would have seen the issues of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana resolved. Mugabe is now instead saying the approach by Tsvangirai signals that the MDC-T realise that they are on a back foot and can not win the fight they have got into with Mugabe and ZANU PF. ZANU PF hardliners are over the moon
Harare, Zimbabwe, 29 November 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is offering to drop opposition to Gideon Gono's continued tenure as Governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank in exchange for the scalp of Johannes Tomana, the Attorney General who is seen as vindictively pursuing MDC-Tsvangirai officials and activists.
The proposal is said to have found no favour with Mugabe. Instead, he is using the approach by Tsvangirai to tell his crew that this is evidence the MDC is on a back foot and can not sustain their calls for the firing of the two men.
This news also comes as it emerges that the negotiators for the three parties, locked in talks that are on the verge of collapse, have put the issue of Gono and Tomana on the back-burner and are concentrating on the other 20-odd sticking points on the agenda.
Jacob Zuma, the South African president whose country is tasked as the mediator in the Zimbabwe negotiations, has just appointed a team to come to Zimbabwe and look at progress.
But this means nothing.
As mediator, SADC can not really lay down any rules, as evidenced by the ignoring of their deadline for the conclusion of the talks in Harare. The regional body can not even act as a referee, with powers to punish players who commit a foul.
It is puzzling that Tsvangirai would seek to retain Gono while looking to hang Tomana out to dry. But for those who understand the motivation behind Tsvangirai getting in to government, this is no surprise at all.
Although Gono presided over the demise of Zimbabwe's economy and is a danger to the economic prospects of the country, this is not Tsvangirai's foremost worry. He wants his supporters and officials left alone more than he wants the economic recovery of Zimbabwe sped up.
To him, if Tomana goes and a reasonable fellow put in his stead, then he (Tsvangirai) would have secured the loyalty of his officials, on whom he relies to mobilise people on the ground. The focus, therefore, is still on political power and control and not economic recovery of Zimbabwe.
What Tsvangirai seems unaware of, however, is who exactly controls Tomana. It is not Mugabe. Tomana is part of a circle of hardliners in Zimbabwe who are bent on "keeping the MDC in its place" (in opposition or destroyed). He hold regular meetings with some of the better known hardliners and is known to enjoy boating trips with them on Lake Kariba.
His actions and strategies are informed by this group.
And they will also fight to protect him.
Mugabe, who feels under siege even in his own party (especially after the last elections in March when most of his MPs deserted him and campaigned covertly for Simba Makoni's candidature), can not afford to go against his hardliners (he is one of them, after all). And these hardliners will stand and fight in Tomana's corner. So, Gono may have been a softer target, but Mugabe personally can not even think of giving in on the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Stalemate, then and it appears Tsvangirai has chosen the wrong strategy for resolving this issue.
With twenty issues on the agenda, Roy Bennett's trial adjourned to January next year (Mugabe will not have to swear him in, then) and the holidays coming up, it is likely that the politics of outstanding issues are with us for a very long time.
The deadline announced by Morgan Tsvangirai himself expires on Monday and it is likely that he will do nothing about it.
But he knows his supporters, happy when he talks tough and issues deadlines and then not really bothering about whether the talk is backed with action. He can kick them around like a football and they are not bothered at all.
Even if Tsvangirai were to ask them today for vote for Mugabe, these supporters will do so.
That is the caliber of MDC-T supporters the world over and they would never ever, not even for a moment, think of critically looking at the way in which they are led.
Deadline will now pass and we will still be hungry, dying of cholera and other diseases, sending children to schools where they are achieving nothing.