Utter Disarray At SADC For Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai, seen here with his Spokesman James Maridadi in the DRC earlier today, has failed to get the SADC Heads of State to deal with the issue of Zimbabwe at the Summit. He was not part of the Summit, telling journalists that he had come there as head of his political party and not as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. In the end, there was no opportunity for him to address the presidents. Zuma disappointed and gave his own version of quiet diplomacy, praising the two parties in Zimbabwe and urging both of them to remove obstacles to the full implementation of the Agreement upon which the Agreement is based.

Harare, Zimbabwe 08 September 2009

Morgan Tsvangirai's plans are in disarray at the SADC Summit in the DRC today.

The Heads of State, under intense pressure from Mugabe, have taken Zimbabwe off the Agenda and insisted that the Zimbabwe issue remains the child of the SADC Troika. 

This is despite confusing statements issued by Tsvangirai's party in South Africa yesterday that the SADC Heads of State had decided to convene an Extraordinary Summit in three weeks time to deal with Zimbabwe.

It may have been that one or two SADC Heads of State wanted this, but Tsvangirai himself revealed today that the matter is now a child of the Troika.

The Zimbabwean Prime Minister called a press conference on the sidelines of the SADC Heads of State meeting. During the press conference, held barely two hours ago in Kinshasa, he was asked by international journalists in what capacity he was attending the Summit and he replied that he was there "in my capacity as head of the Movement for Democratic Change."

Tsvangirai publicly admitted defeat during the press conference, saying:

"Now that the SADC Troika is specifically vested with the matter of Zimbabwe, it is my hope and belief that it will deal with all outstanding issues as a matter of urgency."

Jacob Zuma gave a wishy-washy speech, during which he failed to put on the table the "outstanding issues" that the MDC demanded should be dealt with, specifically the issue of Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana (Reserve Bank Chief and Attorney General) and Mugabe's continued refusal to swear in Roy Bennett as well as his backtracking on Governors and on MDC Ambassadors.

This is the man in whom the entire MDC leadership and their supporters had put their hopes. Wishful thinking and flawed strategic analysis led them to believe that Zuma would be more hard line on Mugabe.

We were told that Zuma owed his position to COSATU, who are against Mugabe and that they would push for Zuma to be exercise "loud diplomacy".

Those of us who pointed out that this was flawed analysis were shouted down by the know-it-alls.

Now they have been put out to pasture by their presumed saviour. Indeed, the MDC and its supporters have all become very good at clutching at straws, mostly because they are now totally bereft of any strategies to take the democratic project in Zimbabwe forward, apart from saying that Mugabe will die one day.

But even that straw of Mugabe's death is no guarantee, as I keep pointing out, but enough of that.

The bottom line is that it appears now that SADC has once again fallen in behind Mugabe, passed the buck to the SADC Troika and have, as I pointed out in November last year, "washed their hands of the Zimbabwe problem."

Tsvangirai, by taking the post of Prime Minister and establishing a government, has saved SADC a lot of headaches. The fact that he keeps repeating that he will not leave the government no matter what happens, also means that the regional body sees no prospect of an embarrassment in the near future, except maybe that of Tsvangirai.

They can refuse to engage the Zimbabwe issue, saying as they did in November last in their Communique:

"Once there is a government in Zimbabwe, it can deal with all the outstanding issues."

We can expect that this will be the response from the SDC Troika on the matter of Zimbabwe's and MDC's outstanding issues.

Tsvangirai's problems started even before the negotiations that led to his deal with Mugabe.

There was a strategic blunder that was made by the MDC leader and his party in their earliest dealings with the African leaders.

The strategy was that African countries relied on the West for aid and that all the MDC leader needed to do was get the West in his corner and they would pressure the rest of Africa into dumping Mugabe.

From the outset, Mugabe sought to gather the African leaders around him and he succeeded, as they saw Tsvangirai's strategy as disrespect towards them.

Whether one despises them or not, the African leaders, for better or worse, hold the key to the Zimbabwe problem and Tsvangirai has failed to find a strategy to bring them on board his sheep.

There will probably be a meeting of the Troika in Mozambique to deal with the Zimbabwe issue, but as I have pointed out above, it will only be so that they can ask the Zimbabwe government of Tsvangirai and Mugabe to deal with their outstanding issues without prescribing solutions.


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