Tsvangirai Finally Gets Mugabe's Phone Number
Harare, Zimbabwe, 5 January 2010
It was "outstanding issue", according to the MDC-T submissions to a South African mediation team appointed by Jacob Zuma late last year, that the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, had no direct access to Mugabe and had instead to place his calls through the president's PA.
The MDC demanded that Tsvangirai be given direct access so that he would call the dictator any time he wants to chit-chat.
It has now been revealed that the Prime Minister was finally given the president's so-called "personal mobile number" in the last week of December.
Mugabe, however, was quick to point out that when he is on leave (as he now is, until February), he does not take kindly to being interrupted unless "it is a matter of life and death". Mugabe claims that he is "an old man with a young family" and that his children rarely every get to see him when he is on duty. His annual holiday, he says, is the only time that he has to give his family and especially his children "undivided attention."
Sources within ZANU PF claim that the number the Prime Minister got is a temporary one and not the real number the president uses! I suppose after they go their separate ways and the Inclusive Government no longer exists, the PM will find that the number will no longer be reachable!
The upshot is simply that Mugabe wants to be left alone for the whole of January and will almost certainly be out of the country the week before schools reopen, which is according to his tradition. As for his destination, you can expect him to be in either Malaysia or Singapore (or both, as happened last year).
For now, the old man is tending his fields (this is the height of the agricultural season in Zimbabwe and he has multiple farms to see to. The law that forbids ownership of more than one farm in Zimbabwe obviously does not apply to Mugabe and his cohorts!!
So, the Prime Minister is left to lick his wounds this month and he is not even going to be allowed to chair cabinet meetings in Mugabe's absence, despite the fact that the GPA says he is the Deputy Chairman of the cabinet. As I have pointed out before, Joice Mujuru, as Acting President, will chair cabinet in the absence of Mugabe.
Because of the way Zimbabwe is run, the country's various sticking issues, including the ongoing negotiations, will be effectively at a standstill until Mugabe returns.