Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Forces MDC To Commit Suicide

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, seen here yesterday in Bulawayo with the visiting Swedish Minister of International Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, has prevailed on his party to stick it out in a government where they are becoming more and more functionally irrelevant. The MDC, which held a 10th Anniversary rally in Bulawayo today, will issue "resolutions" later on condemning Mugabe's bad faith and appealing to SADC to act on the outstanding issues, but they know full well that they are merely shaking their fist at the wind. The party appears intent on political suicide by sticking it out even as they are held up for ridicule by Mugabe

Harare, Zimbabwe, 13 September 2009

As I write this, the party of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has not yet issued an official statement (resolutions, they tend to grandly call these things, although there is nothing resolute about the way the party behaves).

Yesterday and again today, the MDC Executive met in Bulawayo to discuss their role in government and Mugabe's continued flouting of the GPA rules.

But, and here is the crucial thing, the party still refuses to give Mugabe an unequivocal ultimatum. Morgan Tsvangirai, under pressure at the meetings to tell Mugabe to comply or see the MDC walk out, prevailed in making his party retreat from such a position.

So, the MDC remains in government, and now waits for the SADC Troika to try and tackle the thorny Zimbabwean issue.

It's a cop-out, is that this is.

Of course, Angola, Mozambique and South Africa are once again going to sing the Mugabe song and the MDC will walk away from any Troika meeting (if it happens), disappointed.

Only minutes ago, I spoke with a source in the Prime Minister's office just as they left the White City Stadium in Bulawayo where Morgan Tsvangirai had addressed a record crowd that is estimated at 60 000 people.

The Prime Minister's staff member confirms that, although Tsvangirai said that he must not be taken for granted and that "he has tried to make this Inclusive Government work", there remains no clear strategy on how to deal with this Mugabe and ZANU PF's continued bad faith.

The source I spoke to also confirmed that they are now aware of Mugabe's move to unilaterally make Gideon Gono a de facto co-Finance Minister with Tendai Biti.

The Prime Minister is, I confirmed, aware that Gono will usurp the authority of Tendai Biti at every given opportunity and, as it was put to me, "when the Finance Minister confronts Gono, the Governor has been instructed to say that he is doing what he is doing on orders from the president and refer Tendai to the president."

But the failure by the MDC to actually put in place any strategy apart from waiting to see what Mugabe is going to do next means that the party is condemning itself now to not only a junior role in government, but complete and utter irrelevance in the day to day running government.

In a nutshell: the MDC is not leaving government, even after Mugabe declared on Friday (again) that Gono and Tomana will stay and there is nothing anyone can do about it. He said this as he addressed ZANU PF Youth who had gathered for their national conference where they were electing a new leadership.

The MDC "resolutions", when they are issued, will simply repeat the moaning about outstanding issues, berate SADC (another classic mistake in diplomatic circles) and call on the regional body to fulfil its mandate as a guarantor of the Zimbabwe Global Political Agreement.

In other words, during the meetings yesterday and today, which were supposed to be crisis meetings under normal circumstances, the MDC decided to let the status quo prevail.

They know they can do nothing to Mugabe.

They know SADC will do nothing about the outstanding issues.

They also know that Mugabe wants them out of the government like yesterday, but they choose to stay in, take the humiliation and accept whatever is thrown their way by the Zimbabwe dictator.

The suffering of the people continues. The humiliating position in which the MDC finds itself remains in place.

There is no other strategy in place. And that is all there is to it.

The party itself is unhappy, but Tsvangirai holds so much sway (as much as Mugabe does in ZANU PF) that he is managing to force them to commit political suicide. Like the rats following the proverbial Pied Piper, they will go over the cliff to his tune of "irreversible".


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