Mugabe Returns To Zimbabwe, Smug and Triumphant

The heady excitement that greeted Morgan Tsvangirai's swearing-in as Prime Minister within the MDC circles is fast fading as the realisation sinks in that the MDC leader is reverting to old ways, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. A year ago, it was Mugabe who was in a corner, fighting for survival, now it is Tsvangirai who is pushing himself into a corner. At the SADC Summit just ended,the regional leaders did Mugabe's bidding and did not even give Tsvangirai a chance to address them. They also ignored all his outstanding issues, while including Mugabe's issue (sanctions) in their communique

Harare, Zimbabwe, 09 September 2009

Robert "The Solution" Mugabe returned home last night looking smug and satisfied after he won out over Tsvangirai at the SADC Summit in the DRC.

Truth be told, Mugabe got what he wanted and Tsvangirai didn't.

In a move that showed just how much SADC bends to Mugabe's will, the regional leaders, in their communique at the end of the Summit yesterday, called on the world to lift the sanctions they have imposed on Zimbabwe.

Mugabe had signalled before he left that he and his party thought that the outstanding issue in Government is the issue of sanctions, while Tsvangirai insisted that the swearing in of Roy Bennett, his Treasurer-General at the MDC, the reversal of the appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana were the real outstanding issues.

Tsvangirai is also disappointed that Mugabe now seems reluctant to swear in his governors and resident ministers in some provinces of Zimbabwe.

The SADC Communique did not mention a single one of Tsvangirai's concerns, but did Mugabe's bidding and duly issued a call for sanctions against Mugabe to be lifted.

Tsvangirai only got a promise that the SADC Troika, comprising Angola (a staunch Mugabe ally), Mozambique (another staunch Mugabe ally) and South Africa, whose president Jacob Zuma is now a practitioner of quiet diplomacy, will look at his issues and call a special meeting in Mozambique.

The MDC is vainly hoping that this Troika meeting will lead to a full Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State, but I wonder where they get their optimism. If the SADC leaders intended to do anything about MDC outstanding issues, they would have don that at the Kinshasa meeting.

That they decided to ignore these issues and instead go with Mugabe's line is an indication that the MDC can just keep dreaming.

While they are distracted like this, back here in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is clawing back his standing with his people, while Tsvangirai is increasing being diminished because it appears there are no more successes he can lay claim to in the country.

With unemployment still at over 90%, industry still operating at around 20% capacity (Tsvangirai had promised that they will operating at 60% by year end, but this is looking like a pipe dream now), teachers still on strike and nurses and doctors on go-slow, Tsvangirai risks losing relevance with the people of Zimbabwe.

Donot expect anything much to change. As Professor Steven Chan, who has written a biography of Tsvangirai pointed out late last year, the MDC leader inexplicable seems to have a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

It appears he lacks the killer instinct of pressing home any advantage he gains, letting it slip through his fingers like sand and giving Mugabe a new lease of political life.

So, much as it may pain MDC supporters to hear, this battle is now lost for their party and their leader.

Time (a month or so) will prove us right yet again.

It should also be of concern to the MDC that the regional body is now led by two very good friends of Mugabe. Joseph Kabila Junior, DRC president, is now chairman and Namibia, which is basically a twin of Mugabe in terms of policy and talk, was elected Deputy Chairman.

The likelihood that anybody will do anything to to help the MDC at the top of the SADC structure now looks remote, if at all existent.


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