Mugabe and Tsvangirai Meeting Today

Morgan Tsvangirai seen here in South Africa. He has now returned home and is meeting with Mugabe as I write this. I will update you as soon as this meeting is finished. It is unlikely that anything of substance will come out of it, though. Mugabe has taken the strategy of making "promises" which will allow Tsvangirai to get back into cabinet and start engaging ZANU PF without losing face. These promises will, of course, never be honoured. And Tsvangirai knows this

Harare, Zimbabwe, 26 October 2009

A few minutes ago, along Herbert Chitepo Avenue in Harare, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pulled me (and other motorists) to the side of the of the road with his motorcade (three brand new Toyota Land Cruisers, a maroon Mercedes Benz S340 and a Double Cab Toyota Hilux).

The Landcruisers (which are not marked) are the ones with sirens, leading the way and clearing people out of Tsvangirai's way.

The Prime Minister was on his way to his meeting with Mugabe, which is going on as I write this.

The meeting today was agreed to by Mugabe on Wednesday last week after it became clear to the Prime Minister that Southern African leaders were not interested in taking him seriously.

Jacob Zuma, the MDC-T supporters' supposed Knight in shining armour is now seen as practising a quiet diplomacy that is even quieter that Thabo Mbeki's. At least, when Mbeki was President of South Africa, if something like the MDC-T "disengagement" had taken place, he would have been on the next plane to Zimbabwe to try and at least meet both parties and hear what the problem was. Zuma, on the other hand, does not even bother with all of that.

Mugabe has been emboldened by the attitude of Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders and said on Friday he will not do anything the Prime Minister wants.

What he is now doing is giving Tsvangirai a way, a face saver so that he can come back into government. One of the ways in which he is doing this can be seen by the recent announcement that the Zimbabwe government has now "promised" to give the Constitution-making process US$11.4 million so that it can get back on track.

It was ZANU PF that had refused to go ahead with the process, saying they did not have the money. Their position was that Tsvangirai and the MDC continued to urge the world to maintain sanctions behind the Inclusive Government's back, hence no money was available to fund the process.

Mugabe has also announced that MDC-T ambassadors will be posted to their missions in December. A couple of months ago, the Foreign Affairs ministry had said that the ambassadors would only be posted next year, again pleading poverty "brought about by sanctions."

Of course, the rejoining of government by Tsvangirai is inevitable, as he says repeatedly that there is no option to the deal he made with Mugabe. Like I have said before, the Prime Minister has run out of ideas and has no faith left in elections any more as a route to gaining the presidency of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe knows this.

The meeting today will not resolve any of the outstanding issues that the MDC-T are complaining about. Tsvangirai's pull-out, as I said when it was announced, was motivated by the fact that Mugabe was refusing to see him.

Now that Mugabe has obliged and made "promises" on the Constitution-making process and on ambassadors, Tsvangirai will be able to save face by suggesting that Mugabe has made "some concessions", just as he did when he eventually agreed to join government in January, saying he had got "significant concessions" when in fact he had got nothing at all, as evidenced by the fact that the issues that were outstanding in January are still outstanding.


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