Tsvangirai Denied Access To Mugabe

Although they may appear together in public, it emerges now from a report compiled by the South African Facilitation Team appointed by Jacob Zuma that Morgan Tsvangirai can only get access to Mugabe through the dictator's PA. This state of affairs does not sit well with Tsvangirai and he has made this one of his "outstanding issues" in the current talks going on in Zimbabwe. Why on earth would he think this is more important than the real issues that affect people's lives. Does he think getting direct access to Mugabe will change how the dictator sees him or get him to take the Prime Minister and his party seriously?

Harare, Zimbabwe, 19 December 2009

"I meet him (Mugabe) whenever I want," Prime Minister MorganTsvangirai boasted in South Africa back in April this year.

Well, it turns out that is not quite the case.

The report compiled by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika point man on Zimbabwe, Jacob Zuma, this last month says Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T complains that the Prime Minister does not have direct access to Mugabe.

The opposition party has made this issue one of their "outstanding issues". It is now officially a grievance. In all fairness, this is not news, because back in October, when he pulled out of the Government of National Unity (or Inclusive Government), Morgan Tsvangirai told the media at a press conference I attended that it was the government could not function "when the President refuses to see the Prime Minister."

The report submitted by the Task Team appointed by Jacob Zuma to oversee the ongoing crisis talks in Zimbabwe says the MDC is very unhappy that the Prime Minister can only gain access to the President through his (Mugabe's) personal assistant.

The Prime Minister is apparently not allowed by "protocol" to phone up Mugabe and have a chat or request a meeting. He has put his request through the PA!

This is unacceptable for Morgan Tsvangirai, who had led his supporters and party members to believe that he is going into government as an equal to Mugabe. Of course, you remember his Chinhoyi rally statement: "There is nothing Mugabe does without my approval."

Egg on the face then.

Mugabe's aloofness is legendary. As Jonathan Moyo once pointed out, one can sit with Mugabe on a ten hour flight and thew old man will be completely quiet, engrossed in his own thoughts. He will listen in silence to anyone who engages him on these flights and apparently only gets responsive when gossip is involved, but only in terms of wanting to hear the details of the gossip.

Unlike Adolf Hitler, for instance, the other dictator whose modus operandi closely resembled Mugabe's, the Zimbabwean dictator never gets into long monologues or offers his own opinions and experiences in conversations with those he works with.

He has always been like this, which is one reason why he has stayed so long at the top: no one can ever say they know him and what motivates him. No one has been able to read him enough to know his weaknesses and exploit them to dislodge him.

Still, it is a curious thing for Morgan Tsvangirai to complain about. I should think he would want to keep as much of a distance between himself and Mugabe as possible, dealing with him only when absolutely necessary. We fear the closer he gets to the dictator, the more he will come to resemble him!!

But he wants to be able to pitch up at Mugabe's home or office at a moment's notice in order to discuss government business.

The problem is that Mugabe does not think Tsvangirai is part of government. As far as the dictator is concerned, Tsvangirai is only being tolerated in the corridors of power and that is why Mugabe now refuses to come to his office at Munhumutapa Building, where Tsvangirai als now has an office.

Instead, Mugabe has fled to the sanctuary of State House, where Tsvangirai is not even allowed to just show up and get in. He has to state who he is coming with and what business they have accompanying him to see Mugabe. The last time Tsvangirai ignored this requirement, he ended up leaving State House in a huff after one car in his convoy was barred from entering State House by Mugabe's security men.

So now we know: Tsvangirai does not meet Mugabe any time he wants. He pulled out of government the last time because he said there was a crisis in the Inclusive Government and Mugabe said he was too busy to see him. as soon as Mugabe decided it was time to meet his Prime Minister, the PM and his party ended their boycott!!

Could it be that Morgan Tsvangirai wishes to be accepted and respected by Mugabe more than anything else and that if this is forthcoming, he is willing to compromise endlessly?

The details of the things he agreed to with Mugabe (through their negotiators) tend to confirm this. They also confirm my story of a few days ago in which I told you that Morgan Tsvangirai had lost heavily to Mugabe in the ongoing negotiations. No agreement, according to the South African Facilitation Team, has really been reached on the crucial things that Tsvangirai brought up when he "disengaged". He has added a whole lot of other things that were not part of his original "outstanding issues".

The idea is to announce agreement on these less important issues and ignore the real issues, such as the Bennett saga and the Governors' appointments. Tsvangirai will, mark my words, shamelessly claim "victory" on these small things while ignoring the major stumbling blocks themselves.



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