Tsvangirai Not Allowed To Stay At Official PM's Residence? No?

The unhealthy focus on perks and freeloading by the MDC has now seen them complaining about their ministers being refused permission to stay in grace and favour homes owned by government. And they are trying to circulate a false story about Tsvangirai to strengthen their Yet as even a ZANU PF minister told the Standard today, he, despite having been a minister for many years, has never been granted this favour. I fear that the poverty of MDC ministers, who have no independent wealth of their own, would see them stampede to rob the people through greed and corruption, should they ever be given the chance to run this country, which makes them no better than ZANU PF.

Harare, Zimbabwe 04 October 2009

The Standard today makes much of the "fact" that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was locked out of Zimbabwe House by Robert "The Solution" Mugabe, who told him, apparently, that he himself "keeps his things there" and can not move them on account of Tsvangirai.

This obviously false story is also bolstered by the real concerns of MDC Ministers who have been refused permission to move into "grace and favour" homes in Harare while serving in government. This courtesy is extended to all Ministers in the government. Jonathan Moyo, if you recall, was asked to leave his Gunhill Grace and Favour home at a moment's notice and in a very undignified manner after he was fired by Mugabe.

We can say with confidence that the story is false because it is one of the things we watched for as the government was formed. In a widely circulated article on this blog entitled Paranoia In The Presidential Corridors, I pointed out that I asked very senior sources in the Prime Minister's office at Miekles Hotel whether the PM was going to move into Zimbabwe House.

The answer than was that the Prime Minister had specifically taken the decision to stay at his Strathaven home and work from there. The reason was security concerns. In the same article I narrated all the pains the Prime Ministers staff were going to in order to ensure the safety of the Prime Minister's tea, sugar, food and even transport arrangement.

This was also the article in which I revealed that the Prime Minister had been given a whole troop of CIO bodyguards by Mugabe. Some naive MDC supporters said this was not so, could not be so, that Tsvangirai would not be that stupid. Yet this last month, we read in the papers that Tsvangirai had suspended 15 CIO bodyguards assigned to him over their kicking out of State House grounds MDC bodyguards assigned to the Prime Minister.

Still, the truth of the matter is that the Prime Minister took a conscious (and correct decision) not to move into Zimbabwe House, which is just across the road from State House, where Mugabe works, and a couple of minutes' walk from the Headquarters of the most elite fighting force in the Zimbabwe National Army, the Presidential Guard and the King George VI Barracks.

Should things go pear-shaped and he has to leave at a moment's notice, the Prime Minister has a head-start coming from his own house than he does coming from under the noses of Mugabe's troops!

So, while it is true that the new "Included" Ministers from the MDCs are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the feeding trough and the gravy train, for Tsvangirai, it was a deliberate choice that took many factors into account.

Even as he encourages the rest of the world to trust Mugabe and says the Solution is committed to the GNU, he is not the problem and so on, he is himself trying to cover his back.

That the Ministers from the MDCs are not getting free accommodation in addition to their three cars each, expense accounts, bodyguards, police protection at their homes and so on, should not be cause for concern to any of us, really.

Instead of bleating about being denied space at the feeding trough, in order to further burden the people of Zimbabwe, they should direct their energies at ending the doctors' strike, the teachers' strike, ensuring that the country has enough farming inputs as the rainy season starts, defending press freedom, formulating policies that put in place job-creating industries and cutting the civil service down in order to be able to pay competent and motivated people proper salaries.

Simply crying that Mugabe won't let them is a red herring. At least we should have seen the policies to create jobs, to cut the bloated civil service and to ensure availability of farming inputs.

These policies do not exist in STERP. They do not exist in the 100-Day Wishlist which the Prime Minister tried to pass off as a Plan.

Because they were not anchored in policy but in simply enumerating Zimbabwe's problems and then begging for money to make them go away, these two so-called policy documents have now dismally, as even the Prime Minister himself admitted in Nyanga when reviewing the 100-day Wishlist.

The MDC are serving no purpose in government except to drain the fiscus and burden the people of Zimbabwe with their gluttony, greed and corruption, joining ZANU PF in gleefully keeping the people of Zimbabwe and their hopes down.

They should shut up about real change because they know nothing about it, could not deliver it even if they were elected into power all by themselves.

They lack what it takes to govern a modern state with aspirations to greatness. Their culture and that of ZANU PF are indistinguishable except in the talk which, when crunch-time comes, they fail to live up to, even if given all the tools to accomplish the job.

They know nothing about real change.


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