Tsvangirai Tours Southern Africa As Mugabe Refuses To Recognise "Disengagement"

Jacob Zuma, the South African president, with Joseph Kabila, the new Chairman of SADC and a Mugabe ally in the DRC in September this year. Tsvangirai left Harare yesterday without biding goodbye to his new best friend, Robert Mugabe as the relations between sour over outstanding issues. It is unlikely that Tsvangirai, who is visiting, Mozambique, DRC, South Africa and other SADC nations, will get any joy from the SADC leaders, who have made no moves to convene a Summit despite the pullout.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 20 October 2009

Morgan Tsvangirai left Harare yesterday to tour Southern African countries in an effort to get SADC to intervene in Zimbabwe and "save" the Inclusive Government, while Robert Mugabe's staff insisted, as I told you over the weekend, that the Prime Minister had not communicated officially what his party's position is and therefore was still Prime Minister and the MDC still part of government.

There is a cabinet meeting today at Munhumutapa Building in Harare and staff in the president's office have told State media that the agenda for the meeting has been circulated "to all minister". No one has indicated that they will not be attending, say the President's men.

It also emerges that Tsvangirai tried to get money for his regional trip from government yesterday, but the request, made through the PM's Permanent Secretary, Ian Makone, was refused by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet because he says he did not know what the trip was for or how it would "benefit the government as a whole".

Indicating that the President considered the Prime Minister's pull-out null and void, Mugabe's Spokesman, George Charamba, told reporters: "The Government is not run through media statements. The Prime Minister must communicate any decision to disengage, or whatever they are calling it, in a formal manner."

This comes as government sources confirm that Mugabe has already gone ahead of Tsvangirai to lock up support for his position with SADC leaders. Angolan, Mozambican, South African and Namibian presidents have already spoken to Mugabe, who has advanced his side of the story.

Mugabe has pointed to the ambassadors from the MDC-T who are being trained in preparation for posting (which posting is said to be delayed by the lack of funds as a result of "sanctions" on Zimbabwe, according to Mugabe). Mugabe is claiming to the SADC leaders that the MDC pull-out is because of two things:

The putting on trial of Roy Bennett, whom the State media has now resorted to calling a former "Rhodesian Security Forces member (Bennett is said to have belonged to have belonged to most hated of the Rhodesian Armed Forces Divisions, the Selous Scouts, who used Mugabe's own guerrillas tactics against him, sometimes masquerading as Mugabe freedom fighters in order to trap the liberation war guerrillas)

Secondly, Mugabe also claims to SADC Heads of State that the MDC is now pulling out in an effort to "get out of their commitment in the GPA to get sanctions they got imposed on Zimbabwe lifted." SADC leaders, as was evidenced in the Democratic Republic of Congo in September, have swallowed Mugabe's line about sanctions and also look to the MDC to persuade Western nations to lift credit and balance of payment embargoes imposed on the Harare regime.

It is unlikely that Tsvangirai will get any joy from the SADC leaders, who were ecstatic when Tsvangirai tied himself in knots by signing the deeply flawed and one-sided September 15 Agreement at the HICC in Harare, leading to the formation of the Coalition with Mugabe.

Tomaz Solamao, the SADC Secretary-General, is in Mozambique today to speak with Amando Guebuza, the Mozambican President who is part of the SADC Troika, which was supposed to have convened by now to hear the grievance the MDC tried to present in the DRC during the last SADC Summit.

The hope from the Secretariat is that the Troika will now finally meet to hear out the MDC, although SADC leaders are understood to be "sick and tired" of Zimbabwe and unwilling to intervene in the civil service appointments dispute in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe is still insisting that he has shown good faith by the things he has done so far, while the MDC's biggest "outstanding issue" - the lifting of sanctions, remains a thorn in his flesh.

Tsvangirai is expected back in Zimbabwe on October 29 from the regional trip. Despite the noise from Mugabe's office about him leaving the country without Cabinet Authority, it is almost certain that Mugabe will not be able to discipline his Prime Minister or indeed do anything else to him. This, after all, is a negotiated appointment, which means Mugabe can never fire Tsvangirai, no matter what he does.

The biggest accusation now coming from Mugabe's side of government is that the MDC is "pulling out of cabinet but not government" in order for them to continue using State resources for the benefit of their party.

The accusation of running a parallel government using funds from the US, Britain and the West still looms large and will be one of the cornerstones of Mugabe's argument to SADC leaders if this crisis escalates beyond what it is now.


  1. I think a lot has been terrible for the MDC-T but it must b pointed out that they contributed to their own mess. Their lack of political maturity and tact is evident. This pullout was not thought through in as much as the joining into GNU was not thought through. Decisions are taken at a whim even with lawyers like Biti on board.
    At one point we heard them complain that they had signed a 'doctored' document and we asked how come because they owed it to the people and to themselves to have checked. So many of these careless mistakes-incompetences to be precise. The next thing Biti claims it was an atrocious agreement but where was he all along? Did he foresee or is he saying things that everyone can clearly see.
    Now we have a confusing act which they call a pullout. In all fairness why has Tsvangirai not communicated it formally? Why did he even try to get Cabinet approval from Mugabe's office? What does a pullout mean because one commentator was questioning its feasibility given that even some ministries under the MDC have ZANU PF deputies, Perm Secs etc.
    The MDC risks making a mockery of itself.

    Denford I once asked if it was Tsvangirai's initiative? I dont think it was and I don't think even Biti has an idea of how it is supposed to go.
    The question that really lingers in my mind is who is really responsible for decision making in that party and do they have time to strategise before doing so. Clearly Mugabe is coming out tops.
    The West may soon begin to ignore Tsvangirai and focus on the one man who can give them access to investment and resources in Zim and that is Mugabe!!!

  2. In my first comment I referred to another. It is a comment that appears on the Standard's website. The guy is from Moscow, he writes and I quote:

    " Sad state of affairs and the disengagement is not practical. Many ministeries headed by MDC-T have ZANU PF Deputy Ministers, Perm. Secs and vice-versa. Can one practically disengage from the other, and is it beneficial? What is the strategy calculated to achieve? Basing on the controversy around the 2008 elections I'd say elections have a 10% chance of solving the problems in Zimbabwe at this point in time therefore creating a constitutional crisis that would lead to elections might not be a realistic solution. Unfortunately, the issue of Bennet is a real complication in that Bennet is percieved as a disgruntled former white farmer who represents the whole reason why people waged the Chimurenga. Mugabe sees the appointment of a Bennet to the Ministry of Agriculture as a smack forbidden dance on his nationalistic ancestral spirits grave by the "Rhodies". THE APPOINTMENT TO THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! The MDC should have woken up to this reality way before they even negotiated for the ministries. The best way forward is to swap Bennet's post with another MDC deputy minister in a ministry that is not a resource based, security, legal or empowerment ministry and then Bennet. On the other hand, one does not understand why Mugabe would like to hold-on to the man who almost single-handedly plunged the country into chaos. Gono caused untold suffering amongst the populace with his ill-advised policies that saw record hyper-inflation that has not been seen even in CUBA although it has been under sanctions longer than Zimbabwe. In 2008, Gono and not the MDC was the greatest threat to national stability- keeping people in bank queues where they couldn't access their money- whose value he was constantly diluting by printing m*re trillions!! UN-INTENTIONALLY he was creating the seeds for civil strife as soldiers got restless, war-veterans got restless and it was only a matter of time! And yes, he would want the Zim-dollar back - that's his source of POWER and he wants CONTROL- he wants the generals, police commissioners, ministers, everyone to come back to the


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