Kabila Arrives In Zimbabwe, Plays Down "Crisis"

Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and current Chairman of SADC, seen here with his new bearded look, has arrived in Zimbabwe, playing down the crisis in the country. He will meet with Mugabe and Tsvangirai, Mutambara today but is definitely not here to mediate on the crisis. Mugabe showed his contempt by sending his Vice-president to meet the DRC president, although he has traditionally been on hand personally to meet every single Head of State that has come to Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe, 02 November 2009

Joseph Kabila, the young man who was thrust into the presidential seat by army Generals upon the violent assassination of his father, appears to have learned the diplomacy game quickly.

Kabila, the current Chairman of the Southern African Development Community, flew into Harare yesterday from South Africa, where he had gone specifically to get orientation on how to handle the Zimbabwe issue from the South African president, Jacob Zuma and to also understand the background to the current "crisis" from the former SADC mediator and South African president, Thabo Mbeki.

Kabila, even before landing in Harare, had already signaled that he will be following in the footsteps of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, saying that there was no option to the GPA (Global Political Agreement,, which gave birth  to Zimbabwe's now fracturing Coalition). In other words, he had already told the world that the parties to the agreement had no option but to talk through the problems that led to the pullout from cabinet by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Kabila told journalists at the Rainbow Towers upon arrival that he had "come to visit friends."

Whether Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-T consider him a friend is something that I am not so sure of. 


He is here now and will be meeting with The Solution and the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai separately today. Also today, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara will take another stab at meeting Robert Mugabe to talk through the problems that are making the MDC-T weep into their beers at the moment.

Mugabe's hand has been immeasurably strengthened by the results of the tourof Zimbabwe by a SADC Ministerial Team that left the country on Friday. They, like Kabila, like Zuma and like all the other SADC members, say that the parties to Zimbabwe's Coalition Government should sit down and talk.

Mugabe duly announced at the burial of a National Hero on Friday that he was indeed talking to the MDC-T, a sly move designed to forestall any move towards mediation, because if they are still talking, then there is no impasse and SADC says it will only step in if all the parties declare a deadlock.

The SADC ministerial team also hinted at the fact that there is no mediation coming when they told journalists in Harare last week that all the parties to the Agreement had said that they were committed to the Inclusive Government. The Ministers specifically pointed out that the implementation of GPA was slow. They even went to the extent of giving excuses for Mugabe, saying that the GPA was a "complex and demanding document" which needed vast resources terms of time to be implemented fully.

No mention whatsoever was made of any of the grievances of the MDC-T (the appointments of Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana, the deployment of ambassadors and the governors as well as the swearing-in of Roy Bennett.)

Although the MDC-T and its supporters refuse to see the truth, the bottom line is that there is nothing coming from SADC. The regional body appears to be taking the strategy of being seen to be doing something while not actually doing anything at all.

No Summit on Zimbabwe, no mediation between the MDC and ZANU PF is coming. If SADC was going to do something, they would have acted by now, as did when there was a coup in Madagascar and in Lesotho. They would have taken action within three or four days. That they have not done this should tell the MDC-T and its supporters something.

By mid-November, I say, the MDC-T will be fully back in government, still treated, as Morgan Tsvangirai put it, "like a third-rate, treasonous element."

Nothing will change.


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