This Level of Strategic Incompetence Is Frightening

It now turns out that when Jacob Zuma came to Zimbabwe last month, the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, told him the Inclusive Government was working well. This informed Zuma's report to the Heads of State gathered for the SADC Summit in Kinshasa. This was a point on which the MDC National Council and Executive Council confronted Tsvangirai

Harare, Zimbabwe, 18 September 2009

As the Zimbabwe Independent (still one of the best reads around, by the way) reveals today, Jacob Zuma says his report to SADC was premised primarily on the fact that both Mugabe and Tsvangirai told him that the Inclusive Government was "working well."

Tsvangirai, yes, repeated his statement that the problems facing the Inclusive Government now were not "insurmountable."

By doing this, he relegated his own "outstanding issues" to the back burner. The MDC National Council confronted him with this, but it appears the Prime Minister had no answer to it.

After all, this is the man who has publicly said that the trials of Jestina Mukoko and others should go ahead because he does not want to be seen as "interfering with the judicial process."

This is the man who, when one of his ministers spoke of the persecution of MDC supporters while he was touring Europe, he dismissed her as "paranoid and delusional."

Readers of my blog will know that a couple in March and April this year, I repeatedly warned that Morgan Tsvangirai was secretly sabotaging his own party's efforts to bring Mugabe to heel.

There was the issue of the letter to SADC, which the MDC National Council decided to send at their meeting in Masvingo. Tsvangirai told them he had sent it. SADC Secretary General Solamao as well as the Chairman of that body said they had not got the letter.

It turned out the Prime Minister had not sent it. It was sent only three weeks after he originally said it had gone.

Furthermore, on the very issues his party decided to seek SADC intervention, the Prime Minister went behind their backs and accepted Mugabe's assurances on the appointment of Ambassadors, Permanent Secretaries and Governors.

Members of the MDC-T National Executive were stunned to see their leader before the press announcing that he had reached agreement with Mugabe on these issues, even though the party had resolved to send them to SADC.

It turns out Mugabe did not, after all, agree to any of the things the Prime Minister announced. You will notice that it was the Prime Minister himself who rushed to tell the media that he reached agreement with Mugabe.

Mugabe himself remained silent. His office did not comment.

And now this.

That the Prime Minister would tell the SADC Chairman "everything is working well" and then expect him to convince other SADC leaders that there was a problem in the Zimbabwe government is simply beyond comprehension.

We have then to assume that the Prime Minister is working to his own agenda, which neither his party nor his supporters know about.

Other than that, we have to accept the only other explanation: the Prime Minister is proving hopelessly incompetent at strategic maneuvering around Mugabe.

Either way, it is scary.


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