Tsvangirai Gives Up

STUMPED: With Mugabe's breaches now reaching monstrous proportions, emboldened by a weak SADC approach, the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has clearly run out of ideas on the next step. His behaviour this last week shows that he has given up already and it is increasingly difficult to understand his continued faith in the SADC regional body, whom he says he is sure will attend to his "outstanding issues as a matter of urgency." SADC appears in no hurry, and that should tell the MDC something.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 10 September 2009

There can be no other explanation for the Morgan Tsvangirai's behaviour around the continued intransigence of Robert "The Solution" Mugabe except that he has given up.

First of all, he has given up on Mugabe, despite all the protestations to the contrary, despite the "we remain committed", despite the "no reverse gear", "we sink or swim together".

The problem, of course, is that while Tsvangirai thinks he will swim or sink with Mugabe, his swimming partner is busy trying to drown him.

That Tsvangirai has given up on Mugabe is clear from the fact that he is now running to SADC. He knows that, internally, the government has all but collapsed. Ministers under Mugabe are now openly taking over the responsibilities assigned to Tsvangirai's ministers, such as was the case yesterday, which I report below in the story "Mugabe Steals Another Ministry."

But even Tsvangirai's running to SADC itself shows he has also given up.

Surely, the Prime Minister does not expect any different from SADC this time around. He surely does not expect that they will behave different to what they have been doing all along?

As Dr Makoni told me yesterday: "SADC have really discredited themselves this time around." He was of the opinion, as I am, that the regional leaders have "added another blemish to their names".

The Communique that they issued on January 27, after they had arm-twisted Tsvangirai into agreeing to join hands with Mugabe by saying they did not want to do anything more specifically said the government arrangement would be looked at in six months time.

They should have at least "reviewed" the arrangement in Kinshasa, but they chose the route of only listening to a speech on Zimbabwe from Zuma. After that, they genuflected to Mugabe and issued a condemnation of "sanctions" as he demanded.

Tsvangirai got a promise that the Troika would look at his concerns........basically, he was dismissed.

I do not believe that the Prime Minister is stupid, so he surely realises that the regional body will do nothing further for him. They are glad to be shot of the Zimbabwe problem. Even as Mugabe shows that he will still behave like a dictator even in a coalition, they will still not crack the whip.

Tsvangirai has all but admitted that this is the last card up his sleeve. He has not other strategies left. As he told the BBC: "If Zimbabweans wanted to Mugabe to go, they should have staged a revolution".

He has also said "there is no other option", quite openly.

So, he knows that SADC will not help. He knows that Mugabe wants him gone because he has failed to give the dictator money to oil his patronage machine. He knows Mugabe will be giving no more concessions.

The MDC-T, therefore, is drifting around right now without a strategy.

The briefing from their camp that they see the meeting of the SADC troika as a "Halfway House" on the way to a full SADC Summit is wishful thinking, especially in light of the opposition's insistence that they will not leave government.

In the absence of any other option, in the absence of any other strategy (all the cards having been played), it is now clear that Tsvangirai has given up and is simply coasting along, hoping that "something" will give.

I have said before that the one thing that stampeded Tsvangirai into joining Mugabe was the dollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy. Tsvangirai knew that this move by Mugabe would return a semblance of stability and normalcy to Zimbabwe and he wanted to be able to share in the claims for the success that would follow.

If he were to leave now, dollarisation would stay, even if Gono should bring back the Zimbabwe dollar anchored on a gold standard, as he is proposing (in fact, just before our launch of Mavambo as a party, we were addressed by a visiting professor from the London School of Economics, who suggested just such a move, supervised not by the Reserve Bank, but by a Currency Board).

So, Zimbabwe remains in limbo, Mugabe and Tsvangirai staring down each other.

Mugabe will not advance the issue of the Constitution because he wants the next elections held on the basis of the current one.

He will not advance the Zimbabwe Media Commission because he wants the next election held with him in full control of the local media, spreading lies and propaganda.

He will not advance the issue of a new Electoral Commission because that can only come about with a new constitution, which he is now resisting.

He will do nothing about POSA and AIPPA, the two laws that make it almost impossible for his challengers to campaign, so that he can continue to use these laws to harass, as he is now doing with Simba Makoni, who is back in court on Tuesday to face charges of addressing more than 400 people "without police clearance".

Tsvangirai is aware of all this. And it appears he is now just sitting there waiting for Mugabe's next move.


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