SADC Continues To "Fix" Tsvangirai

It was at this SADC Heads of State Meeting (where Mugabe attended as the Head of State of Zimbabwe and seen here flanked by Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and the absolute monarch of Swaziland, King Mswati III), that SADC leaders openly declared their continued contempt for Morgan Tsvangirai.

The presidents of Angola(through a representative), Namibia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, the absolute monarch of Swaziland, the Prime Minister of Lesotho openly declared at the last SADC Heads of State meeting that the regional body should do absolutely nothing to help strengthen Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe.

This was on March 30, apparently, at a SADC Heads of State meeting in Swaziland.

It has emerged that Jakaya Kikwete, the president of Tanzania, whom I told you very last last year had personally called Mugabe with regards the disappearance of Jestina Mukoko and Gandi Mudzingwa, had made a very sensible suggestion at the meeting, which is what prompted the open declarations by these leaders, who appear to be led in this opinion by King Mswati of Swaziland and Angola.

Angola's Dos Santos has ruled Angola since 1979. He has not attended any of these regional meetings in years and is becoming increasingly reclusive. He runs his country, like Mugabe, through his network of Army Generals, who hold real power in Angola, together with Dos Santos.

I have previously told you to watch very carefully the relationship between Zimbabwe's ZANU PF and Angola's powerful army, but that is another story.

Kikwete, whom the state media called a "friend and ally" of Tsvangirai in January this year, after that call to Mugabe which I published here in December last year, had suggested that the easiest way to help Zimbabwe would be for the regional grouping to help the country pay off its relatively paltry debt to the IMF.

Kikwete argued that, by doing this for Zimbabwe, SADC would not have to come up with the urgent US$2 billion that Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance, the MDC's Tendai Biti, says is needed. That two billion would then be accessible from the IMF, which still insists that Zimbabwe must pay off its debt before it can get balance of payment support and more loans.

King Mswati apparently retorted that Tsvangirai had shown all through the negotiations that he has contempt for the regional grouping and for Africa in general, preferring to "hobnob" with Western countries instead. Tsvangirai must therefore go and get that money from his friends in the west, Mswati said.

He is said to have claimed that Mugabe will not be affected at all by SADC's failure to support Zimbabwe with funds.

Sure enough, to date, SADC has proved unwilling (or unable if you go with the public statements) to make any tangible moves to help Zimbabwe leave behind its travails.

It is an interesting revelation this and shows you just what sort of forces are stacked against Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who is still insisting that he will not pull out of this government with Mugabe, no matter what.

This is also the clearest indication yet that some SADC leaders are deliberately sabotaging Tsvangirai, whom they have never forgiven for his shoddy treatment of the regional grouping.

Mswati, especially, is still sore that Tsvangirai rebuffed him at that meeting in Swaziland, to which the Prime Minister refused to travel, even after the Swazi monarch offered to dispatch his private jet to pick him up in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai was pushing for SADC to pressure Mugabe to give him a passport and refused to travel without it. This was before he was sowrn in as Prime Minister.

This latest revealation is also bolstered by the memory of that scathing letter to Morgan Tsvangirai from Thabo Mbeki, who told MDC-T leader that he had contempt for African leaders and thought that countries in Europe were better friends of Zimbabwe than African countries. Mbeki reminded Tsvangirai that "Zimbabwe is geographically located in Africa"

The letter, you will recall, led to Tsvangirai saying he had cut off all communication with Mbeki and no longer wanted him as mediator. But the SADC leaders insisted that Mbeki was still the Facilitator and refused to indulge Tsvangirai.

It is worth noting, however, that Kikwete, who, in my opinion is the most progressive president on the African continent today, had an excellent point.

Zimbabwe can access huge amounts of money from the IMF and the World Bank if it clears its arrears, which are said to be around US$400 million. The IMF has always said that its objections to helping Zimbabwe were based on two things: policy and the outstanding debt.

Now the IMF is praising the policies of the new government, which leaves only the issue of the outstanding arrears. If these are paid off, the IMF will have to find another (new) excuse to deny Zimbabwe access to balance of payment support.

This will expose the real motive behind the refusal to support Tsvangirai's coalition government with Mugabe and could well discredit the Bretton Woods institutions in the eyes of many many countries.

It would have been sensible to accept Kikwete's proposalas as it is the only one that has a snowball's chance in hell of actually helping the reputation of this Coalition government.

But it appears that SADC presidents are still holding a grudge against Tsvangirai.


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