Prime Minister Tsvangirai: "Null And Avoid"?

February 11 2009: Tsvangirai signs on to become "Prime Minister". But what is he in charge of, really? What does he do apart from fighting for space at the feeding trough for his cronies? Why has he remained silent as Mugabe assaults the freedoms and rights of the people of Zimbabwe? Where is his voice as media freedom faces grave danger? Can this man really be called a Prime Minister as he watches farmers being beaten up without a word of protest (amongst many other things)?

Harare, Zimbabwe, 01 October 2009

I am still waiting for the predictable statement from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai calling the appointments of Army men and ZANU PF loyalists to boards overseeing media matters in Zimbabwe "null and void".

He is becoming quite good at that.

This time though, I have a feeling we will not be seeing or hearing any such nullities! He will avoid the embarrassment that comes from having to climb down from that statement later on.

I think it is now sinking in for Tsvangirai that he is the one who is null and void in this Inclusive Government.

He is being treated as though he does not exist. The official Zimbabwe Government website does not list him as Prime Minister of the country at all. In fact, that official website, although being updated with other things, does not betray the fact that there is now an Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe.

The failure by Tsvangirai to quickly condemn this travesty of the spirit behind the Inclusive Government is worrying at a very fundamental level.

It appears the Prime Minister will not fight for the crucial opening of media space in the country, that he will sit quietly by the side without doing anything as anti-democratic forces are foisted onto the media fraternity to intimidate, harass and menace them into silence.

He considers the appointments of his governors a big enough issue to warrant approaching SADC and threaten to scupper the Inclusive Government deal. He considers the failure by Mugabe to swear in the MDC deputy Minister of Agriculture a big issue.

Yet he will not fight against the imposition of ZANU PF people, including one who is well known for being anti-independent media, on the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Board.

He says nothing as Brigadier-Generals are brought into the newsroom at State newspapers to run matters, even as the Commanders of these Brigadiers refuse to attend National Security Council meetings with Tsvangirai.

He says nothing as Mugabe ignores the parliamentary process for these board appointments (especially the BAZ one) and dishes out patronage to his ZANU PF officials "in the money".

Tsvangirai instead demands the appointment of his ambassadors, permanent secretaries and Principal Directors, saying nothing as media freedom faces a very clear and present danger through these shocking appointments?

It should be clear now to everyone what the priorities of Tsvangirai are: jobs for his boys, nothing else. You only hear him speak up with force when his people are being denied space at the feeding trough.

The rest of the time, he is letting Mugabe treat him like a doormat.

Farmers continue to be beaten up and Tsvangirai turns his back to ask Mugabe when his ambassadors will be posted.

Journalists are being arrested for reporting on matters to do with the cabinet and court records. Tsvangirai turns his back and asks when his Deputy Minister of Agriculture will be sworn in.

The Inclusive Government seizes one of the most valuable companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on political grounds and Tsvangirai turns his back to ask Mugabe when he will be allowed to chair cabinet.

People are still going without running water, electricity is still being cut, hampering mining and industrial operations, setting back prospects for recovery and Tsvangirai turns his back to ask Mugabe when he will next meet with the Commanders for a National Security Council meeting.

Civil servants, paid peanuts like monkeys, are on strike: teachers, doctors etc. Yet Tsvangirai turns his back and pretends everything is alright.

"Give my boys jobs!" says Tsvangirai.

And yet he will not speak up in defence of basic freedoms that are now under threat. 

At least we now know what his priorities are.

It is now clear that the Prime Minister focus is not on serving the people, but on jobs for his people, on patronage, like his best friend, his "Solution", Robert Mugabe.

If these latest appointments are not a crisis, then I do not know what is.

But we are not holding our breath.

We know now, as does the whole country, nay, the world world, that it is Morgan Tsvangirai himself who is now "null and void."

Who champions the people's freedoms and rights while the Prime Minister is busy trying to chase away ZANU PF snouts from the feeding trough in order to make room for his own snouts?

I say again: It is now Morgan Tsvangirai who is null and void.


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