Mugabe Attacks Tendai Biti

Robert "The Solution" Mugabe delivers his official opening address to the ZANU PF Congress at Harare International Conference Centre yesterday. During the speech, Mugabe made it clear that he still thinks the MDC should be destroyed, castigated Tendai Biti and denied that Roy Bennett was a Zimbabwean.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 December 2009

Again, I remind you that we remain the only ones closely following Mugabe's demands for Finance Minister and MDC-T Secretary-General Tendai Biti to be reassigned or fired.

Yesterday, at the ZANU PF Congress official opening in Harare, Mugabe publicly made his sentiments known.

Speaking of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) funds (SDRs), Mugabe said it was unacceptable that the money is still unused.

"We have not used a single cent of it because someone thinks it shouldn't be used. That is wrong. That is very wrong," he told the Congress.

For Mugabe, this behaviour by Biti is a continuation of sanctions from within the government. Gideon Gono last month told the media, "We are imposing sanctions on ourselves" in reference to Tendai Biti's refusal to take the IMF funds.

In the same vein, Mugabe yesterday spoke of Tendai Biti's "wrong" behaviour in the same breath as the European Union sanctions. The MDC, he said, "told the European Union Troika, which was here recently not to lift sanctions yet. 'Not yet', they said," Mugabe told his audience.

Recent reports that the negotiators for the GPA parties had agreed that the MDC-T was not responsible for sanctions have been proved to be arrant nonsense.

Mugabe directly contradicted this today by publicly repeating his charge that the MDC called for sanctions to be imposed on Zimbabwe. He said the EU had asked those in the MDC who have asked for sanctions to be lifted "why did you ask us to impose those sanctions on yourselves in the first instance?"

It is on this issue that the talks are going to fail, because Mugabe is opposed completely and totally to giving in to the MDC demands without getting movement on sanctions. The unfortunate thing is that SADC has agreed for the issue of sanctions to be put on the agenda of the ongoing talks. (We have now gone two weeks since the expiry of the deadline that Tsvangirai gave Mugabe and nothing at all has been achieved.)

So there is no change of mood within ZANU PF. Mugabe still sees the MDC as a party that must be destroyed, an alien creature "created by the British", as he put it on Thursday.

Like I have always said, for Mugabe, this is simply a hiatus, room to exhale before jumping back into the fray against the MDC and using all his tried and tested tricks to destroy them.

But, to get back to the subject at hand: it is unlikely that Tsvangirai will do anything to Biti just because Mugabe wants it done. Mugabe is aware of this, but the continued focus on the Minister of Finance means that there will be one more thing on which Tsvangirai will be on the defensive when he meets Mugabe.

Distraction is the name of the game.

Meantime, Mugabe also revealed today that his refusal to swear in Bennett was deliberate and personal on his part. He told Congress in Harare yesterday that Bennett was "an offspring of colonisers" and not really a Zimbabwean, even if he was born n Zimbabwe.

As I explained back in February this year, Mugabe has told his aides that the nomination of Bennett for the Deputy Agriculture Minister post was "an insult".

The trick now seems to tie him up in court until the end of this Unity Government.


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