Go on Morgan, Do It!

EDITORIAL – WITH a huff and a puff, former president Thabo Mbeki has written a sharply worded (but extremely long) letter to the leader of the Zimbabwean opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), chastising him for failing, thus far, to get into the spirit of the Mbeki-brokered peace deal in the country.

The letter is a study in Mbekism and may one day come to be regarded as the piece of writing that most accurately illuminates him. For one thing, in the letter Mbeki finally betrays his long- suspected empathy with Zim- babwe’s despotic leader, Zanu (PF) leader "president" Robert Mugabe, when he, too, tells Tsvangirai that he is a tool of the west. "It may be that, for whatever reason, you consider our region and continent as being of little consequence to the future of Zimbabwe, believing that others further away, in western Europe and North America, are of greater importance," Mbeki wrote.

Regular Mbeki watchers will recognise what happened next (it happened to Desmond Tutu and former Anglo boss Tony Trahar) What, asks Mbeki angrily, is this "nullity"? He went on to threaten Tsvangirai. "It does not help Zimbabwe," Mbeki wrote, "nor will it help you as prime minister of Zimbabwe, that the MDC (T) contemptuously repudiates very serious decisions of our region, and therefore our continent, describing them as a ‘nullity’."

Our sympathies in this are with Tsvangirai. For Mbeki may say what he likes, as eloquently as he can, but it will not change the fact that Mugabe, thanks to Mbeki, has a huge political advantage once Tsvangirai joins a new government, despite the fact that Tsvangirai beat him in the elections of last March. He will be able to undermine him and will no doubt try to destroy him, if not kill him. Tsvangirai is scared to form the government that will bring Mbeki’s peace deal into life and who can blame him? The dice are already loaded.

But, in stalling for more time and more intervention, Tsvangirai must understand that while Mbeki may be about as popular in SA as George Bush is in the US, on the matter of the Zimbabwe peace deal Mbeki and the new leadership of the ANC are as one. ANC leader Jacob Zuma says privately that Tsvangirai signed the Mbeki deal and he must now make it happen. That’s what Mbeki’s letter was saying too. No one forced Tsvangirai to sign.

And, though it pains us to say it, we think Mbeki and Zuma are right. It isn’t perfect, but the September peace deal is all there is. Tsvangirai must get on with it and form a government, where he will be prime minister, with Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe badly needs some hope. If it fails, at least let it be said the MDC (T) gave it a shot.

And, if it is of any cheer to Tsvangirai, forming the government might finally mean he is rid of Mbeki. Other organs might be created to monitor Zimbabwe’s progress and, as prime minister, Tsvangirai will much more easily be able to involve Mugabe’s and Mbeki’s despised west in Zimbabwe’s recovery and in the preparations for free and fair elections in the not-too-distant future.

The other thing Tsvangirai can look forward to once a government is formed in Harare, is an improved relationship with the ANC.

There is tremendous anger in this country and in its ruling party towards Mugabe and considerable shame at the way Mbeki indulged him. It’s time to turn that to Zimbabwe’s advantage. SOURCE: Business Day