MDC Formally Agrees To Join Mugabe - And The Real Reason Botswana Turned On Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai addresses a press conference a couple hours ago to announce that his party has agreed to join ZANU PF in government, a decision that takes the opposition into government on Mugabe's terms, not theirs.

The latest news out of Zimbabwe is that the MDC of Morgan Tsvangirai has just announced formally that it will join Mugabe in a "coalition government". You will find the full text of Morgan Tsvangirai's Capitulation Statement at the end of this article.

The opposition party is going into government with most of what it called its most important demands unfulfilled by Mugabe.

The MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai, however, are putting on a brave front, claiming that they were" given concessions by SADC" that most of their demands will be met.

As I mentioned previously, the really important demands which have not been addressed at all by Mugabe are:

  • The release of MDC activists abducted by Mugabe and subsequently charged with plotting to overthrow the ZANU PF government through force of arms. These banditry charges still stand and the acticists are still in custody, with Mugabe's judges refusing to release them on bail. The judges also refuse to iunvestigate the unlafu; abductions of the same activists, including Jestina Muukoko
  • The "equitable distribution of ministries" has not been addressed at all. The MDC goes into government on the basis of the same distribution of ministries that they said made them junior partners in the deal
As is usual, the loud voices that we heard saying that Morgan must hold out until he was given what he wanted, that it was better to die than to accept this deal will now try to find a face-saving way to justify this utter capitulation by their party.

And there is no doubt that it is a capitulation. To all intents and purposes and if we go by what MDC supporters have always been saying, then their party has surrendered to Mugabe. They go into a government that is loaded to the gills with Mugabe's cronies.

The judiciary system, which is playing fast and loose with the law, endorsing abductions and torture in the interests of "state security" is still beholden to Mugabe. Their appointment are still made by Mugabe and Mugabe alone. He resisted throughout this impasse any suggestion that anybody, including Morgan Tsvangirai, had any say in the matter, saying the "consultation" stipulated in the agreement did not mean approval. He could appoint whom he wanted when he wanted.

He demonstrated this by appointing Gono and Tomana at the Reserve Bank and in the Attorney General's office respectively.

Because of bad negotiation skills or simply thick-headedness, the MDC signed a document that left Mugabe's patronage infrastructure in place. He will still be able to use it to keep judges, service chiefs and so on beholden to him and him alone.

I say this because, as I have just mentioned and now repeat because it is so important, throughout the impasse, Mugabe maintained that he retained the right to appoint senior personel like Service Chiefs, Ambassadors, Permanent Secretaries and so on without the approval of anybody. He maintained the requirement to "consult" the Prime Minister did not give the First Minister veto power over Mugabe's appointments. SADC agreed with him. 

And so, the MDC are going into government in a signal act of capitulation that endorses Mugabe's position on all these points.

To fully understand what the MDC says are "concessions" from Mugabe, please read my article "Tsvangirai Finds A Face-saving Way To Join Government".

But we must also understand just how it is that Botswana turned on Morgan Tsvangirai. The Tswanas issued a statement urging the MDC to join with Mugabe and work with him after the SADC summit.

I now have the details of just how this came to be.

SADC leaders apparently piled on Botswana, accusing it of sabotaging the efforts the region was making to end the Zimbabwe impasse. King Mswati and President Motlanthe of South Africa apparently directly challenged the Botswana president in the meeting, telling him that his behaviour gave ammunition to Mugabe's claim that he was training MDC bandits.

They claimed that his departure from SADC resolutions on Zimbabwe played into the hands of Mugabe, who asked the regional body to investigate Botswana for training insurgents on behalf of the MDC.

"If you are for peace in our region, you will stand with SADC." King Mswati is reported to have told President Khama. 

It appears this pressure, which was backed openly during the meeting by all the other SADC states present without exception, led to Botswana also giving in. The Tswana volunatrily went further and said they would demonstrate their good faith by issuing a public statement backing the regional bodys resolutions and approach to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Regular readers, you willnow be treated to a comedy of epic proportions as those who were saying all over the internet: "We would rather die than join Mugabe until our demands" now backpedal and try to justify this capitulation.

Keep in mind, whatever spin they put on it, they have now joined on Mugabe's terms, not the MDCs. Evidence is provided in the form of their activists still in jail, a shared Home Affairs Ministry and Mugabe's gazetted list of allocation of ministries.


Today, the MDC’s National Council met as we once again find ourselves at an historic crossroads in our decade-long struggle for democracy. Throughout this struggle, the MDC has been guided by the principles of democracy and by the will of the people. This campaign is neither easy nor straightforward and often we have had to change the fronts on which we wage the struggle in response to changing circumstances and conditions.

The MDC was established to bring about change through the ballot box. This we achieved despite overwhelming odds, culminating in our historic victories in the March 29th Parliamentary, Presidential and local government elections.

Then, the brutal campaign of violence unleashed against our supporters by Zanu PF, forced us to withdraw from the June 27th event. Thus it became obvious that we could no longer wage our struggle via the polling booth.

We looked to the region to support our position and the will of the people by acknowledging the results of March 29th as the basis on which a new government should be formed. Subsequently, we succeeded in forcing Zanu PF to the negotiating table which became the new frontline in our quest for a democratic Zimbabwe. It was for this reason that we signed the Global Political Agreement on September 15th, 2008.

I know that you are very familiar with the events from that date. We in the MDC have abided by the letter and spirit of both the Memorandum of Understanding and the GPA. Sadly, Zanu PF was not the type of constructive and positive partner that we envisaged when we signed the GPA and therefore, the consummation of the agreement has been subject to unnecessary delays.

Nonetheless, we have consistently tabled our outstanding issues to SADC and we have remained committed to finding a negotiated settlement to the political crisis in Zimbabwe. This process culminated in the SADC summit on Monday 26th January, where the Southern African leaders made the following resolutions:

I. The parties shall endeavour to cause Parliament to pass the Constitutional Amendment 19 by 5 February 2009.
II. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers shall be sworn in by 11 February 2009:
III. The Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall be sworn in on 13 February 2009, which will conclude the process of the formation of the inclusive government.
IV. The Joint-Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), provided for in the Global Political Agreement, shall be activated immediately. The first meeting of JOMIC shall be convened by the facilitator on 30 January 2009 and shall, among other things, elect the chairpersons;
V. The allocation of ministerial portfolios endorsed by the SADC Extraordinary Summit held on 9 November 2008 shall be reviewed six (6) months after the inauguration of the inclusive government.
VI. The appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General will be dealt with by the inclusive government after its formation
VII. The negotiators of the parties shall meet immediately to consider the National Security Bill submitted by the MDC-T as well as the formula for the distribution of governors: While we felt that these resolutions do not represent an acknowledgement of all our issues, they do represent significant concessions on the part of Zanu PF and a recognition by SADC that our demands are justified as a first step towards a sustainable solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Our National Council’s meeting today was therefore convened to evaluate the party’s position in relation to the inclusive government. The concessions made by Zanu PF incorporate four out of the five outstanding issues. These four issues are the allocation of Provincial Governors, the National Security Legislation, Constitutional Amendment 19 and the breaches to the Global Political Agreement.

Thus, the parties have agreed on the sharing of Provincial Governors portfolios and have already met to begin negotiations on the allocation formula. Similarly, with regard to the National Security Legislation, the negotiators have met to discuss the draft bill submitted by the MDC.

It is clear therefore that these two issues are subject to negotiation and therefore constitute work in progress. It is hoped that the work in progress will be concluded to the satisfaction of all the parties as soon as possible.

The third issue relates to Constitutional Amendment 19. The MDC has insisted that Constitutional Amendment 19 is enacted by parliament and signed into law prior to the swearing in of the Prime Minister and this has been agreed to by the parties as reflected in the SADC communiqué.

On the issue of the equitable allocation of ministerial portfolios, SADC reiterated its position from November 9th, 2008 and expanded its commitment to review the allocation of all ministries, not only Home Affairs, within six months of an inclusive government being formed.

On the breaches to the GPA and the MOU, SADC resolved that the Joint-Monitoring Implementation Committee (JOMIC), is established to review and reverse these breaches. This committee comprises four members from MDC-T, four members from MDC-M and four members from Zanu PF.

However, the MDC is concerned that the issue of the unwarranted and illegal abductions and detentions of MDC members and other democratic activists needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and to this effect, the MDC will ensure an end to the persecution of all Zimbabweans.

In light of these resolutions, todays’s debate centred around two issues:

Firstly, what will allow us the best opportunity to continue to pursue our goal of achieving a free, democratic Zimbabwe in line with the roadmap from our Congress of March 2006? and;

Secondly, what is the best way of alleviating the suffering of the Zimbabwean people, stabilising the economy and restoring and retaining some semblance of a normal society?

Let us make no mistake, by joining an inclusive government, we are not saying that this is a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, instead our participation signifies that we have chosen to continue the struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe in a new arena. This agreement is a significant milestone on our journey to democracy but it does not signify that we have arrived at our destination – we are committed to establishing a democratic Zimbabwe regardless of how long that struggle takes us.

We have the majority in parliament, we control all the main urban councils and many rural councils, we will have control of 13 ministries and a presence in the key decision-making bodies of the executive.

Throughout the course of our deliberations today we referred to, and were guided by, the road map that we established for ourselves in March 2006, namely - negotiations, a transitional authority, a people driven constitution and fresh, free and fair elections.

In this respect, the National Council resolved that through joining an inclusive government in line with the GPA and the SADC resolutions the party will be able to achieve the following: • To move towards a new, democratic Zimbabwe by ensuring that a people-driven constitution is crafted and adopted.

  • That this inclusive government will serve as a transitional authority leading to free and fair elections.
  • The restoration of the people’s freedoms through creating democratic space, restoring the rule of law and basic human rights.
  • The stabilisation and rebuilding of the economy and the provision of all essential services, in particular health care and education.
  • To maintain the principles of the working people’s convention established in 1999.
  • To ensure that we begin a process of national healing and integration.

Therefore, in accordance with the party’s constitution, the political agreement we signed on September 15th 2008, and in the best interests of the welfare of all Zimbabweans the MDC has resolved to form an inclusive government with Zanu PF and MDC-M.

The success of this inclusive government is dependent on many factors including the goodwill of the parties involved, the support of the people of Zimbabwe and the continued engagement and vigilance of SADC, AU and the broader international community in ensurinhg that all parties are bound by the letter and spirit of the GPA and the commitments made at the last SADC summit. In this respect, the party shall continue to monitor the implementation of the agreement, in particular in shall assess and review its position in the inclusive government after 6 months in line with the SADC resolutions.

Now is the time for us to put aside our political differences , to prioritise the welfare of the people in both our policies and our actions and to focus on stabilisation, development, progress and democratization. In this I know that we have the support of the vast majority of Zimbabweans, both in Zanu PF and the MDC, in the civil service,the workers and the business community and we look forward to working with you to rebuild our great nation.

In conclusion, I would like to note that in this struggle we have not been alone. I wish to acknowledge the commitment and perseverance of SADC to finding a negotiated solution to the political crisis. In particular, we have had the unwavering support of our regional allies who have stood by us and our democratic ideals throughout this process and we are grateful for their solidarity.

We would like to acknowledge the support and solidarity that we have had from trade unions, civil society and democratic peoples’ and governments all over the world. We appreciate this support and know that we could not have come this far without them.

Most importantly of all, we have had the support of the people. A people who have stood by their right to live in freedom, with access to jobs, health care, education and prosperity in such a principled and peaceful manner.

I would like to appeal to all these forces to continue to support us in whatever decision we take because the struggle is not over, our commitment is not lessened, our vision is not dulled and our resolve has not been weakened.

We will deliver a New Zimbabwe to the people.

The struggle continues.

I thank you

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  1. When we consider how hopeful Zimbabwe began, it makes you sick and sad at the same time. I really hope that the tolerant, prosperous Zimbabwe that almost was comes back again, but I don't see how that can happen as long as Mugabe's in the picture. His tyranny is making Ian Smith's look mild.

  2. It is sad to see how African leaders, in fact, SADC leaders, granting Mugabe what he does not deserve. If it is true that Botswana was pressurized to change its principled and democratic position by Mswati and SA prsedent, then African leaders' heads need examination. To MDC I say GOOD BYE! it they think that they can fight a struggle within the system, they are misleading themselves, not in Zimbabwe. In fact, Mugabe is going to swallow them.Poor Tsvangirai! Again, who is Mswati among all the people to force Botswana to change her position? Like Mugabe, he has not be elected by anyone. He still believe in this oppressive thing called Kingship. He should not prescribe and encourage dictatorship. It is sad that MDC supporters died, and will continue to die for nothing. only God will save the people of SADC hence SADC and their leaders have forsaken them.

  3. Are you listening to yourself, Anonymous? Who elected Khama? How democratic is the process leading to him taking over from Mogae? Did the people of Botswana elected khama or Mogae.

    Joining the government is the best decision MDC has ever made. We know ZANU PF will have its own strategy but i hope they have theirs too so that they can avoid being rendered useless patners in this Inclusive government. For the sake of the people Zimbabweans, we are on the right track. Who said ZANU PF always have it their way anyway?

  4. benjamin from Nigeria.
    pls let us leave Mugabe and his mp alone. if it is Europe and america that this happen we will all congratulate them and say that is a major break through.
    there is economic problem now in Europe and America now, can we criticis the leader as we are doing to Mugabe now?


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