"We Will Never Forget Mugabe's Help" - President Kabila
President Joseph and Robert "The Solution" Mugabe soon after their talk at State House in Harare on November 2. Kabila was at the Africa University yesterday delivering a lecture in which he thanks Mugabe for helping prop up his father's government in the DRC. He also said it was a courageous move for anyone to share power with their former adversaries and says he should know, because he has done the same in the DRC.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 04 November 2009
If anyone harboured any illusion as to where in Zimbabwe the loyalty of Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and current Southern African Development Community (SADC) lay, they were left in no doubt yesterday at the African University.
Kabila was delivering a lecture at the University (the Dag Hammarskjold lecture named after the former United Nations Secretary General who died in a plane crash in the Great Lakes Region in the 1960s).
Kabila thanked Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe for their intervention in his country, which intervention actually saved the government of his late Father, Laurent Kabila.
"We will never forget the blood shed by their gallant sons and daughters to help us preserve our independence, territorial integrity and national sovereignty," Kabila told his audience.
Even more tellingly, he also exposed the fact that he thinks Mugabe was courageous to allow Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-T to share power with him in the Zimbabwe Inclusive Government:
"Indeed, accepting to share power with adversaries, or granting amnesty to rebels is seldom an easy decision. It can be politically painful and even dangerous. It takes vision, wisdom and, above all, courage, " noted Kabila.
He has since left the country and flown back to the DRC. Even as he left, he gave no indication that he thinks that there is anything serious going on in Zimbabwe.
The DRC president, after his meeting with Mugabe, also tried to give the impression that he was not in the country for the crisis facing the Inclusive Government. He told reporters that he was in Zimbabwe because he had told Mugabe in Kinshasa in September that he would pay a visit to the Zimbabwean president.
The bottom line is that he, Jacob Zuma and the rest of the SADC heads of state are saying that Morgan Tsvangirai should continue talking with Mugabe, exploring ways to find a solution. They all echo Morgan Tsvangirai's often-stated position that "there is no alternative in Zimbabwe to the Inclusive Government." Yes, those words are coming back to haunt Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe, on the other hand, now knows that there is no joy coming Tsvangirai's way from SADC. It will now be a case of he either takes what he is given or he walks. Mugabe is not too bothered either way.
After Thursday's meeting of the SADC Troika, you will Tsvangirai express "disappointment" at the way the Troika would have handled the Zimbabwe situation. He may even posture publicly that there should be new elections in Zimbabwe held under the supervision of the United Nations and SADC/African Union, as he did when he announced his pull-out.
But Mugabe has already started floating, through the state media, the idea that there will be no new elections while sanctions remain imposed on Zimbabwe "because Zimbabweans will be forced to vote with their stomachs instead of their heads."
The so-called crisis in Zimbabwe is nothing of the sort and all Morgan Tsvangirai has managed to do is diminish his standing even further with his own supporters who fail completely to understand what it is he has just done. Most are of the view that he is no longer Prime Minister and has left government.
They fear the return of the Zimbabwe dollar. If that does not happen and Tsvangirai remains "disengaged", then the benefit will all be Mugabe's, at least as far as the voters are concerned.
Time will definitely tell.