"Butt Out"- Mugabe Tells Kabila

Robert "The Solution" Mugabe and Joseph Kabila at State House in Harare yesterday. Mugabe basically told Kabila to butt out of Zimbabwe, saying that Zimbabweans are grown ups who can solve their own problems. This is echoing statements from SADC itself, whose Troika Foreign Ministers said in Harare last week that SADC can only "help Zimbabweans to help themselves".  The problem is that the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, is hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with Mugabe on his own.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 03 November 2009

Robert "The Solution" Mugabe, the dictator of Zimbabwe, has effectively told the Southern African Development Chairman, DRC president Joseph Kabila to "butt out" of the Zimbabwe issue and leave Zimbabweans to sort out their own problems.

Mugabe is only doing this because he knows that, if Morgan Tsvangirai is left to him and only him, he would be able to run rings around the hapless Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, who is finding it difficult, if not impossible to get a foothold on any part of the power matrix in Zimbabwe.

After meeting with Kabila at State House, Mugabe told the media that Kabila, "will, however, know that we are grown-ups and an intelligent people who know that we went into the agreement knowing that there would be handicaps to be met and we need to sit down and discuss the problems."

Kabila then met for an hour with Morgan Tsvangirai later in the evening and the Prime Minister continues to hope against hope, saying that Thursday's Troika meeting is "going to find a solution." I wonder where he will hide his shame when the SADC leaders prove to him that they are serious when they say that it is not their job to find solutions to Zimbabwe's problems. As their ministers said last week when they were here, it is up to Zimbabweans to find solutions and SADC will only facilitate.

Then again, the Prime Minister has become a past master at raising his own expectations and then blaming SADC and the African Union when they fail to live up to those expectations. By now, he should know better. SADC will NEVER, ever, read the riot act to Mugabe. The sooner the PM realises this, the sooner he is able to formulate strategies  that can actually work internally, right here in Zimbabwe.

The problem has become this: the Prime Minister does not have what it takes to upset the ZANU PF apple-cart. He will be at it for the next twenty years and still will not be able to deliver a killer-blow to the Ruining Party of Zimbabwe, ZANU PF.

Excuses abound - hardliners, Mugabe, the army, the police and, at one point, the Prime Minister even blamed the people of Zimbabwe themselves, saying they were "cowards". This was during an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent a few years ago, when he asked the reporter whether the people wanted him to die alone on the streets and that he would be of no use dead!!

No one would have fought the liberation struggle if they took that view. And, as one very senior Commander of the Defence Forces put it to me last year, between the run-off and the inauguration of the "Inclusive Government": "The Old Man (Mugabe) will never respect anyone who is not prepared to spill blood."

I know some of you always write to me complaining that I inject Simba Makoni here and there into my posts and articles, but you can not escape the fact that, as I have said before, he, in my opinion (to which I am, of course, entitled) is best placed to put the cat amongst the ZANU PF pigeons where Tsvangirai can't even put in a dead rat.

Makoni himself, during an interview with Supa Mandiwanzira to be aired on Thursday, said: "I know how to deal with ZANU PF, I know how to handle them." Tsvangirai, of course, does not, and that is the tragedy of Zimbabwe.

Still, to get back to the matter at hand: Kabila himself appeared all cozy with Mugabe and his talk did not show that he is taking the grievances of the MDC-T seriously at all. He repeated the sentiment that the GPA has to be implemented, which Mugabe is translating as meaning that the MDC-T must do something about sanctions.

MDC-T on the other hand, are saying this means Mugabe must give their people the jobs Tsvangirai wants: ambassadors, governors, Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and so on.

Realistically, then, does the Prime Minister think that the SADC leaders who are known to be Mugabe's best friends in the region, the Troika (Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland) will on Thursday say the issue of sanctions is not a matter for discussion and instead tell Mugabe to appoint all the people Tsvangirai wants appointed, as well as fire Gono and Tomana?

Dream on.

The Swazi monarch, King Mswati, actually harbours a naked hatred of Morgan Tsvangirai, stemming from the humiliation the monarch suffered last year when he sent a private jet to pick up Tsvangirai from Harare. The MDC-T leader refused to board it and it returned empty. Mswati was subsequently at the forefront of telling other SADC leaders that Tsvangirai was indeed training bandits in Botswana with the help of the Americans and the British, with whom he was playing gold when he refused to board the King's plane.

As for Zambia, the new president, Rupiah Banda, born and raised in Zimbabwe, is a good friend of Mugabe, to the extent that Mugabe was one of only three presidents invited to swearing in of Banda in Zambia, even though at that time, Mugabe's own status as Head of State was still in dispute (he had hurriedly sworn himself in after that violent run-off in June).

Mozambique. Well, FRELIMO, the party of President Guebuza, would not exist today if it were not for Mugabe, who sent in hordes of soldiers to help FRELIMO fight Alfonso Dhlakama's RENAMO and the South African army, who were threatening to overrun Maputo and Beira.

So, none of the Troika members will read Mugabe the riot act, that is the bottom line. Like it or not. Tsvangirai is being pushed into the ring unarmed, defenceless, like a Roman gladiator at the Colosseum facing an untamed and hungry lion.

Thursday will come. It will pass. And we will still be where we are today. Tsvangirai will come back to Mugabe and get back into cabinet without a single concession, except perhaps the ambassadors, who will posted only when Mugabe is good and ready. 


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