Mugabe Refuses To Open Parliament - New Parliamentary Elections Early Next year

THE END OF THE LAUGHTER: Mugabe has now launched the most determined assault on Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC since the formation of their ill-fated coalition. That laughter I told you about before the formation of the coalition is now getting louder in ZANU PF, who told the United Nations News Agency yesterday that they have "worn down the MDC". It is either Tsvangirai walks, or they will treat him so shabbily that he will become an object of derision all over Africa. Mugabe does not care one bit about the consequences

Harare, Zimbabwe 04 September 2009

I got wind of this yesterday and spoke to a few analyst friends to try and get to the bottom of this.

Robert "The Solution" Mugabe is refusing to open parliament, saying he wants to see how the SADC meeting goes first.

He has already briefed his party to expect fresh parliamentary elections to be announced for early next year, perhaps as early as January.

As has been hinted before, Mugabe's position now is that the new elections will be called only for parliament, since he insists that parliamentary results remain the foundation of the Inclusive Government.

The Presidency will not be contested and there is nothing much Morgan Tsvangirai can do about this.

The position by the MDC Tsvangirai that Mugabe's presidency is premised on the GPA is nonsensical, says the President's office.

Mugabe insists that he was elected into office. Of course, on this one, the MDC will make noise but they will not get anywhere. When Mugabe showed up at the African Union Summit soon after he was sworn in immediately after the June joke of a run-off, the gathered Heads of State received him as a legal President.

The MDC themselves bowed to Mugabe's demands that they had to recognise his election in June before he could finalise negotiations for the Coalition. This they did and, as one analyst with local independent paper said to me yesterday as we discussed this issue:

"The MDC can not backtrack on that one, and they can not walk out because they would be pilloried by all the African leaders and countries, they would lose all credibility and be seen as spoilers."

Of course, MDC supporters will never see it like this, preferring to find out the hard way so that they can shout at African leaders once again for refusing to help the utterly clueless and strategically incompetent Tsvangirai regain his lost glory.

Mugabe was supposed to have opened parliament on 01 September but gave the excuse that he was in Libya for the African Union Summit.

When he did come back, he still refused to officially open the new session of parliament, forcing the Legislative bodies to "adjourn".

Day before yesterday, parliament issued a statement saying both Houses had adjourned until 29 September 2009.

Briefings from within ZANU PF say that the president is "sure that the MDC-T will realise after the SADC Summit that their position in government is untenable". As a result, Mugabe expects that Morgan Tsvangirai will walk away from the Coalition government.

Of course, Tsvangirai and the MDC are unlikely to walk, no matter what is done to them. This, though, has emboldened Mugabe, who is now simply grandstanding and turning up the heat of Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC leader, as of yesterday, is no longer referred to as Prime Minister by the state media. He is now simply "Morgan Tsvangirai".

Mugabe, through his spokesman, finally made a public statement with regards the "outstanding issues" the MDC wants addressed yesterday, signalling the hardline position he will take at the next SADC Summit.

Roy Bennett will not be sworn in, despite the premature celebrations within the MDC-T.

Governors will not be sworn in.

Ambassadors are not going to get posted.

Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana are here to stay and Mugabe says he will not fire them, no matter what.

This is the position that Mugabe is taking to SADC. He also revealed in the state media yesterday that he will be playing up the issue of sanctions and the fact that "Morgan Tsvangirai" is still working for regime change.

Having decided to humiliate Tsvangirai like this, Mugabe is fervently hoping that, rather than take the humiliation and continue as a lame-duck Prime Minister, Tsvangirai would prefer to walk out.

He expects this to come within a month of the end of the SADC Summit in the DRC.

He is then expecting to call new parliamentary elections for next year.

There are delusions that Mugabe will be stopped in this plan by South Africa, which will fear for the World Cup.

But that is wishful thinking.

Mugabe has shown before that he is not in any way intimidated by SADC and in fact hold them in contempt, as evidenced by his withdrawal from the SADC Tribunal early in August.

It is a forlorn hope nurtured by people who now realise that Tsvangirai has played all his cards and is now exposed to the machinations of Robert Mugabe.

Strategically, he is at the end of the tether and, as he said on Tuesday, sees the GNU as the "only option".

I can assure you that these warnings are lost on the MDC and its supporters and apologists. They will be dismissed, only to have the opposition party crying into their beers next year as they shout at everyone from Jacob Zuma to Joseph Kabila.

But it will not help them at all.


  1. If indeed that is the case, then what then Denford?

    What is the way forward?

  2. It is as clear as mud that Tsvangirai had no strategy in entering into this GNU, but driven by ambitions of assuming a title, and of course a better asset balance.

    Our people are still dying in the midst of this mutt scuffle and resource wasting.

    My only hope is that a higher power will perceive the situation at hand and intervene to save the lives remaining.

  3. @ Farai - howzit going my friend? The way forward appears to be that Morgan Tsvangirai will stick it out in government, staring at Mugabe and daring him to "fire" him, which the dictator can not do, of course. Tsvangirai will hang on in order to push the wider democratic agenda, such as ensuring that a constitution is in place, a new Electoral body is in place, as well as a media commission and that perhaps, by some miracle, Mugabe will allow press freedom.

    Once this is done, Tsvangirai will have no reason to hang around but will then walk out and dare Mugabe to call and election.

    Mugabe is hoping that the humiliations he gives Tsvangirai, the refusal outright to do anything the MDC demands anymore, will see the party walk out rather than lose face.

    But I think he is miscalculating.

    Tsvangirai has a larger frame in mind and that means sticking it out and harping on and on about the things that will widen the democratic process, while giving Mugabe due respect so that he can have some hope of extracting these concessions from the dictator.

    For parliament to be opened, Tsvangirai will have to concede to Mugabe on the following:

    Roy Bennett


    And become almost as loud as Mugabe himself in denouncing "sanctions".

    He will also have to at least make a statement like he made infamously to the diaspora at Southwark Cathedral, but this time to the "foreign-based" radio stations run by Zimbabweans, asking them to immediately abandon their operations overseas and bring them home.

    Just the statement on the above issue will suffice, if Tsvangirai is clever, because he will then ask Mugabe what more he can do. Does Mugabe expect him to physically go to Britain and bomb the SW Radio studios as Mugabe did with the Daily News in Harare?

    That ought to shut the dictator up.

    But Tsvangirai is getting bad advice and is buckling to pressure from within the MDC to burn his bridges.

    His instinct, I think, will save him in the end, since he also still retains dictatorial powers in the MDC.

  4. @Vulindlela:

    Tsvangirai did have a strategy going in, but the problem was that he overestimated his capabilities or underestimated the power and influence Mugabe still has.

    It reminds me of a late 1800s cartoon from Britain, soon after the British were beaten black and blue by the Zulu army in Zululand.

    It shows a Victorian Englishman sitting on a stool, like in a class. A "native" in loincloth was standing in front of him and writing on a blackboard the following words:


    It is a common mistake in the MDC to mistake their wishful thinking for reality.

    Simply because you wish Mugabe to have no more power does not mean that he is finished.

    Simply because you THINK Mugabe "would not dare do that" does not mean that he wouldn't dare.

    The farmers here in Zimbabwe found that out to their cost, after they told me, point blank in the mid-1990 when I had meeting with David Hasluck that Mugabe would not dare take land "just like that. He would be finished."

    He did dare. And ten years after he did, he is still around, strutting about like an inflated Peacock.

  5. MDC can not pull out because they know for certain that political violence will rise because MDC will be viewed an outright bandit organisation.At present zanu pf view MDC as a weakened force,short of workable strategies and ineffective as long as they are in the inclusive government.Musatambe ne Zanu pf shasha.MDC ngaikwinye nekuti yakadenha Mangwiro(MDC slapped the leopard in the face so they must take on the beast)


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