"SADC IS Not Our Headmaster" - Mugabe's Party

Morgan Tsvangirai at the airport on Thursday as he left for Libya to meet with Muamar Gaddafi, a Mugabe ally. None of the issues that led to his short-lived "disengagement" from ZANU PF and Cabinet have even been talked about. Now ZANU PF says there is nothing anyone can do to them if they drag their feet and do not stick to the SADC timeline of 30 days to resolve the outstanding issues

Harare, Zimbabwe, 22 November 2009

After failing to meet the deadline of 15 days within which talks must start to resolve the impasse in Zimbabwe's Inclusive Government, ZANU PF, Mugabe's party, now says that the deadline is not really a deadline and that the regional body of leaders is not a "headmaster". They also effectively said there is nothing SADC (Southern African Development Community) can do to them because Zimbabwean leaders are "children in school".

The comments come from one of Mugabe's senior ministers and a negotiator in the talks that led to the formation of the coalition between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Nicholas Goche, who is also one of three ministers in this bloated government in charge of the Communications Portfolio in government, said:

"The situation is not like that of a school where the headmaster would punish us for not meeting the timeline. We are going to meet and update the SADC Organ on the progress made."

The SADC Organ on Defence and Politics has been delegated by the full SADC Heads of State Summit to deal with the Zimbabwe situation and the news coming out of Zimbabwe today do not augur well for the health and life of the government.

Tsvangirai's reluctance to pull the plug completely on this charade is well-known to Mugabe and it is this that is emboldening the dictator to ensure that he does not give the MDC anything it wants.

The 15 day deadline is obviously not being taken seriously at all, especially by ZANU PF. Tsvangirai's MDC also complained last week that the other MDC formation led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara was prioritising flying around "world capitals" instead of staying at home to discuss the impasse in the Inclusive Government.

It can then also be safely said that the issues at stake are not seen as crucial by the MDC formation led by Mutambara.

With no clearly spelt out ramification or consequence for failing to resolve the grievances they have, there is not incentive for Mugabe to behave and no incentive for any other part of the Inclusive Government to fall in line.

As I said back in April this year (much to the chagrin of the MDC-T bootlicking crowd!), Outstanding Issues Will Remain Outstanding.

There is no one in the region with the muscle to move Mugabe, that is the one thing.

The other thing is that the fundamental mistakes made by Tsvangirai in stampeding into the coalition in the wake of the dollarisation of the Zimbabwe economy by Mugabe (Tsvangirai feared being overtaken and made irrelevant by events) can now not be reversed.

The full text of the report made by the SADC Ministerial Team that visited Zimbabwe last month ahead of the Troika meeting in Mozambique also makes sad reading indeed for the MDC.

Not only does the report state that "there is harmonious working relations within the co-shared Home Affairs Ministry" but it also states explicitly that the grievances that Mugabe has against Tsvangirai are "genuine" and should also be addressed just as the MDC-T concerns need to be addressed.

Remember that the issues that ZANU PF are bringing up are not part of the original GPA or the SADC Communique of January this year. The issue of a "Parallel Government in the Prime Minister's Office", for instance, which the report says is one of the genuine grievances Mugabe has against the MDC-T, is not part of the original GPA.

What can be said to be part of that GPA are the issues of sanctions and the so-called "pirate radio stations". But these, if all things were looked at fairly, are things that Tsvangirai can do nothing about.

If, as Mugabe says, the issue is between him and Britain (the issue of sanctions) because of the Land Reform programme, then he should know that Tsvangirai can not change that policy because it is solely reliant on his word but on, as Mugabe would have us believe, "the reversal of the land reform programme."

But, of course, all of this is now academic. Tsvangirai accepted responsibility for the sanctions in the Global Political Agreement (GPA). He accepted for the issue of radio stations based overseas to be included in the same GPA.

It is, as has been said by a long list of non-partisan Zimbabwean observers and commentators, a bed that the MDC-T and they simply must lie in it.

All hope that SADC could now finally crack the whip on an errant Mugabe have been put to rest by the latest statement from ZANU PF: SADC are not our headmaster, they say. And there is nothing they can do to us if we fail to resolve the matter in the stipulated time frame.

All the while, Mugabe will continue bleating about sanctions and pirate radio stations, knowing full well that, no matter what he does, Tsvangirai can not change any of these things.


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