The Games Tsvangirai Plays

When the MDC saw that Thabo Mbeki had been deposed as president of South Africa, they immediately envisioned all their dreams coming true. In a signal act of revisionism, Tsvangirai now saw that this was his chance to get another mediator as long cherished by his party, which accused Mbeki of not being an honest broker.

The problem was that there was nothing left to mediate. Tsvangirai had already signed on the dotted line. Strictly speaking, the sharing of cabinet posts had nothing to do with Mbeki. If the MDC leader had, through lack of foresight and good judgement, signed an incomplete deal, trusting Mugabe to do right by the agreement, then it was a bed he had made. Circumstances now tell him to sleep in it.

But no, the prospect of a tougher mediator to revise the original agreement of September 15 in favour of the MDC was too good to pass. There was only one thing for it: precipitate a crisis. Which is what Tsvangirai and his people duly did. Now they've got their wish. They head to Swaziland. ( I suppose Mugabe was frisked by Mbeki in the Presidential Suite and Tsvangirai's passport was fished from his back pocket to be handed to its rightful owner.) While in that oppressed kingdom, Tsvangirai is hoping that the SADC will recover their lost spines and read the riot act to Mugabe.

Fat chance.

Whatever happens, the MDC will not find joy. That much is certain. No leader in Southern Africa would dictate to Mugabe what ministry should go where. They are all to timid. Will the MDC walk away? Probably not. Now seeing the stumbling block, in the form of the "point man" on Zimbabwe, Thabo no longer holding sway in Sout Africa, they want to try their luck, perhaps have the SADC leaders declare the problem too big for them and ask for AU or UN help in solving the impasse.

The problem, though, lies in the fact that, strictly speaking, Mugabe has not broken or violated the deal. Everything he has done is within bounds. Nowhere in the agreement is it specified what ministries should go to whom. That was a fatal mistake made by the negotiations novice Tsvangirai. His inexperience is now coming back to haunt him. Worse, it is plunging Zimbabwe into the acutest economic crisis any nation on earth has faced in the last 100 years or more.

In all likelihood, after Morgan has wasted yet more time, and the people have suffered some more, he will succumb to the inevitable and form the imperfect government that he is now rejecting. It may well be that he will end up getting considerably less than what he was being offered this time around.
Next week promises to be a grand old party.


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