Mugabe's Hostages

Jestina Mukoko soon after being freed on bail at the Avenues Clinic in Harare where she was being treated for torture injuries earlier this year. She was only released after Morgan Tsvangirai had been in office as Prime Minister for some time. The charges have not been dropped and the State keeps pushing back the start of her trial. She and others, including the parents of a 2 year old who spent months in a Maximum Security prison in Harare, still face the charges. But there is a grand strategy, which goes back to November last year and which has been published extensively on this blog

Harare, Zimbabwe, 15 September 2009

I told you sometime around November/December last year that the ZANU PF government was so fed up with Morgan Tsvangirai that had now come up with a grand strategy to "finish it once and for all."

The plan started with the arrest of hordes of MDC supporters and officials, including people like Jestina Mukoko and 2 year old Nigel Mutemagau, on charges of plotting to overthrow the government of Robert Mugabe.

The case roped in Botswana, to which the recruited insurgents were supposed to have been shipped for training.

Also arrested was Ghandi Mudzingwa, the "unofficial" MDC Director of Intelligence who is now working in Prime Minister Tsvangirai's office while out on bail (the conditions attached to Roy Bennett do not seem to apply to him, I wonder why).

There were leaks that the arrested people had implicated the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai in their "confessions".

That case is now quiet. A couple of weeks back, the Zimbabwean courts denied Jestina Mukoko permission to get her passport back so that she could travel overseas to collect awards that have been given to her.

But the case is still to come to trial. It is being continually dragged out, leading Mukoko and others to say this proves there is no case against them.

But this is a case that is simply in suspended animation, a sword hanging over Morgan Tsvangirai's head.

Mugabe and ZANU PF, it is quite clear, are still pursuing the agenda of utterly destroying the MDC and its leadership. It is just that the plan is now on hold. It has not been abolished.

Now convinced that Morgan Tsvangirai is not sincere about reconciling with ZANU PF (on its own terms, it must be said), they are waiting for him to leave the Coalition, to abandon the Inclusive Government.

And then the sword will fall.

This was Mugabe's trump card, the magic bullet that would drive all his problems away. He fully expected that, after the trials of Jestina Mukoko and others, political convictions would be passed down, whereupon, it would be announced that the leader of the party for which they worked, Morgan Tsvangirai, was also part of the plotting.

Th expectation was that Tsvangirai would then either flee the country, or be arrested and locked away for a good number of years while Mugabe continued governing.

I know for sure that Mugabe preferred the route of getting Tsvangirai to flee into exile and hopefully create a case of "out of sight, out of mind" for the electorate.

The MDC, as a next step, would then have been banned as a terrorist organisation.

This plan is still in place and is now being dusted off as the noises about the pull-out become even more shrill from the MDC Tsvangirai.

Jestina Mukoko and her accused, although roaming free on bail while waiting trial, are actually Mugabe's hostages to try and make sure that Morgan Tsvangirai behaves.

In the even of the MDC refusing completely to play ball, Mugabe wants to have something on which to fall back.

This is why their trials are yet to start,more than a year after some of them were arrested (or "abducted", if you prefer). This is why Roy Bennett's case is being drawn out.


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