Tsvangirai Now Sees Mugabe For What He Is

OPINION – As far back as September 2008 when Robert Mugabe went to Swaziland for an SADC Troika meeting with Heads of States of Mozambique, Swaziland and Angola after instructing his operatives to block MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai's passage to Swaziland by denying him travel documents;

When Mugabe unilaterally claimed the most powerful ministerial posts for his own party when the Global Political Agreement stated only that Zanu (PF) would have 15 Cabinet posts, MDC 13 and MDC-M three;

When President Mbeki told the MDC that its concerns about the draft GPA would be resolved in the final draft, but this did not materialise – leading Mugabe to claim that it was his prerogative to distribute the Ministries as he saw fit;

If David Cameron could be bullied by China to not  even mention the incarcerated Nobel Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, how can he be expected to tell off China for continuing to arm rogue regimes such as what Mugabe’s is turning out to be.

When Tsvangirai was forced to say: “A prime minister cannot be given responsibility without authority and be expected to deliver" – negotiating for his share of the power.

When, despite the signing the unity agreement, Zanu-PF youth militia continued beating up MDC supporters for wearing their party regalia and destroying homes of MDC councillors, with impunity;

The then United States assistant secretary of state Jendayi Frazer used a Press conference in South Africa to say that the US no longer supported the power-sharing deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, because a viable unity government was not possible with Mugabe in power.

"Fresh elections are necessary but not possible under the current environment," Frazer told reporters, but by then Tsvangirai and the MDC had become well aware that the Americans, and even the British, could take such principled public positions, but when it came to actually helping us to achieve change they would not be forthcoming.

Tsvangirai and the MDC thought it best to take their chances within the framework that SADC had provided, and a process which Mugabe had signed for, giving away a significant amount of power; a flawed power-sharing agreement, which at least offered a peaceful way to avoid the certain precipice that Zimbabwe was heading towards.

The MDC thought it best NOT to take heed of the Americans’ advice, with Tsvangirai insisting that he and Mugabe were working well together; that Mugabe, just like him, had the best interests of Zimbabwean people at heart.

It took two more years of abuse by the Zanu (PF) for Tsvangirai to come around to the realisation that he was dealing with an insincere partner who is only concerned about staying in power – or, maybe more precisely, who is being driven by the junta that is his Politburo and their hangers-on, to stay on in power so that they can install one of theirs as President when Mugabe retires or goes to meet his maker.

All the talk about Mugabe being concerned about his legacy has turned to nothing; maybe because Mugabe cannot extricate himself from the junta, or maybe because he wants to groom a dynastic succession.

Either way it was all a deceitful ploy by Mugabe who was buying time for his party to regroup after their trouncing in the 2008 elections.

And, if any proof was needed, the fact that Tsvangirai went along with Mugabe for these two years after the Americans had said that they did not support the arrangement any-more, is sufficient proof that Tsvangirai is his own man and the MDC its own party, not beholden to Americans, nor the British.

Tsvangirai and the MDC had to discover for themselves, and they, together with the people of Zimbabwe, who have also been keenly following the political football, now say Enough is Enough/Zvakwana/Sokwanele; we can no longer pretended that we are working together; let us just go to elections – even if it means doing so on the basis of a transitional constitution, especially after seeing the insincerity exhibited by Zanu (PF) during the constitutional outreach exercise.

The final straw was the appointment of Provincial Governors and Ambassadors without so much as a word to Tsvangirai – a final kick in the teeth by Mugabe, which threatens to manifest literally, though it seems unlikely because of the vigilant Press, which despite limitations, is filing stories furiously, as if to make up for lost time when there was no independent Press.

The scale of military deployment is already under surveillance and when Zanu (PF) decides to use the military capability that it has been building up in the rural areas, the MDC knows that neither Britain nor America will be there to protect its members; the United Nations remains paralysed by geopolitical considerations or is tripping on its own bureaucracy.

With Britain and America now clearly putting their own economic problems and trade relations above all else, the goings-on in little-known places like Zimbabwe tend to be relegated to the back burner. If UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, could be bullied by China not to even mention the incarcerated Nobel Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, how can he be expected to tell off China for continuing to arm rogue regimes such as what Mugabe’s is turning out to be.

It is solely because of China that Robert Mugabe feels he can withstand any peace-meal economic pressure that the West is putting, and which Mugabe is successfully using politically to claim that sanctions, and not corruption, are behind the country’s economic collapse.

Barack Obama, despite having the moral authority to take on a black regime on his mother continent and leave a few indelible lessons in respect for human rights, has proved a failure and a letdown to the democratic movement, though his support to civil society has contributed much to the international awareness about repression, corruption and the looting that characterizes the Harare regime.

All we can ask for is for them to keep talking about it, so that the regime knows that what it is doing is under the international spotlight. This makes a good case  for David Cameron to accept engagement with the Mugabe regime – even if it is only to be able to tell the Mugabe regime face-to-face that it cannot be accepted in the international community without respecting human rights.

Cameron needs to come out clearly and unequivocally saying that sanctions cannot be dropped against Mugabe and his comrades – unless they live up to the letter and spirit of the agreement that they entered into with the MDC and the SADC African community.

And SADC which had hitherto exercised some influence on the Zimbabwe situation, seems to have abrogated its responsibilities, leaving facilitator President Jacob Zuma, fumbling in the dark as Mugabe reverts back to revolutionary rhetoric, a sure sign that Zanu (PF) has run out of ideas.

When they run out of ideas they revert to their liberation war tactics – using terror to force villagers to do as they want, as aptly described by Roy Bennett recently – himself a living example of Zanu (PF) force as he has been forced into exile for the second time.

There is therefore a real danger that Mugabe will declare, as he has done before, that elections are going to be held under the old constitution, which allows him to decide when to call elections, whom to appoint to run the elections, and whom to invite as observes, a constitution which allows him override any delimitation that he does not like.

Mugabe can even declare that the election was not run properly and order another one, in the event of him losing the election – observers have termed this “refereeing a game in which he is also a contestant.” After all, neither Mugabe nor his party believed in the government-of-national-unity, but only joined it to secure a possible ending of sanctions..

He would rather force an election, which he deludes himself into believing that he can win, thereby guaranteeing Zanu (PF) another four or five years to forestall the sweeping changes envisioned by the MDC.

The MDC, itself the winner of the 2008 elections, is very boisterous about a home and away victory in a fair contest any time.

Either way the election would be bloody, leaving Zimbabweans with a question about whether this would not lead to the same result as in 2008 when people were beaten for having voted for the MDC, forcing Tsvangirai to withdraw from the election.

Tsvangirai himself has said there is not an election victory that is worth the life of even one Zimbabwean. If Zimbabweans do not understand this and they have not arrived at this reality, that elections are a free expression by free citizens, making free choices freely, and exercising their rights in a free environment, then there is no need for an election.

But election time has come. The Electoral Commission has no money and has done nothing to prepare for the election – creating just the kind of confusing situation in which Zanu (PF) thrives. The struggle has just escalated.-Changezimbabwe