By Denford Magora
The Zimbabe Independent has in its possession the report compiled by a SADC Facilitation Team appointed by Jacob Zuma, the South African president, which confirms what I told you last week about Tsvangirai losing out heavily to Mugabe in the ongoing talks in Harare. (See my article “Tsvangirai Loses Out Heavily To Mugabe In Ongoing Talks”).
The talks talks are a result of Tsvangirai’s temporary “disengagement” from ZANU PF, Cabinet and Council of Ministers.
Back in October, when he announced the pull-out, Tsvangirai spoke of specific grievances:
- Failure by Mugabe to swear in Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture
- Security Establishment reform
- The continued meeting of the Joint Operations Command (JOC)
- Failure to Swear in Provincial Governors from the MDC-T by Mugabe
- Failure to post ambassadors appointed by the MDC-T
- Militarisation of the countryside (rural areas)
There has been no joy for the MDC-Tsvangirai on any of these, according to the report, which was also authorised by the three political leaders in Zimbabwe’s government before it was forwarded to Zuma.
ZANU PF has maintained its position that Bennett will only be sworn in when and if he is acquitted.
Mugabe’s party has also told Tsvangirai’s people to go and jump into the nearest lake on the issue of JOC meetings.
The ambassadors nominated by the MDC-T and the MDC are also still here in Zimbabwe, despite the quick announcement in October that they would be dispatched in December to their respective posts. Mugabe is now dragging his feet on this and is daring Tsvangirai to pull out yet again.
Tsvangirai’s grievance about the militarisation of the countryside was not even discussed.
On Provincial Governors, ZANU PF is still insisting that they will not be appointed according to a political formula but that Mugabe, if he were to agree to appoint them, would be doing so out of the goodness of his heart and not because of the Agreement that gave birth to the Inclusive Government.
Even on new issues introduced after the current talks began, Tsvangirai is also losing out to Mugabe. ZANU PF has refused to entertain Tsvangirai’s request that he chair Cabinet in the absence of Mugabe, since the GPA makes the MDC-T leader Deputy Chair of the Cabinet.
ZANU PF says there are Vice-presidents who act as Acting Presidents during Mugabe’s absence and these have a higher claim to the chairing of Cabinet than Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai has, on the other hand, agreed to hold a press conference next week with Mugabe, during which he will publicly call for the removal of sanctions.
He has also caved in to Mugabe on the issue of the so-called “pirate radio stations” and has agreed to approach Botswana and Mauritius to ask them to stop facilitating the broadcasts of radio stations beaming into Zimbabwe.
On the funding of Non-Governmental Organisations, Tsvangirai has also caved in to Mugabe and agreed that the Government will take the position that no money will be allowed to be disbursed to NGOs in Zimbabwe. Instead, the new position is that all foreign money coming to Zimbabwe will be given to the government, which will decide what to with it.
A Loota Continua, then.
Curiously, Tsvangirai is also now insisting that he should get the same travel arrangements as Mugabe, with a full motorcade and outriders, clearing everybody out of the way and behaving as though he is a mini-me version of the Dictator of Zimbabwe.
But ZANU PF has shot that down, saying even the Vice-presidents of Zimbabwe do not get such treatment and that Tsvangirai is only fourth in the order of seniority in government. He will, therefore, not have his transport arrangements beefed up.
As is usual, there were voices that disputed my scoop here about Tsvangirai’s loss to Mugabe on the talks. Desperately, they wanted to believe that Tsvangirai had put Mugabe in a corner and got what he wanted.
The report from the SADC Facilitation Team reveals that he not got anything he wanted from Mugabe. The big issues from his disengagement back in October remain very much unresolved to his satisfaction.
Then again, wishful thinking now informs most of what MDC-T supporters say, with no regard to reality.
And here was Tsvangirai last week in South Africa telling the world that there has been “progress” in the talks!! The internationl media swallowed that one and reports started appearing about the “toughness” of Zuma and the people he had appointed.
A lot of people have egg all over their faces this weekend.