‘Mugabe losing it’: Swazi deputy PM
By Wongai Zhangazha
President Robert Mugabe’s discomfort in working with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was clear right from the first day of the coalition government as he vowed that his erstwhile foe would not get anything much from their marriage of convenience.
As some regional leaders tried to persuade Mugabe to be “more flexible” and allow Tsvangirai to play a more meaningful role in determining the affairs of the country, confidential US embassy cables show that Mugabe was determined to ensure that Tsvangirai would not have his way.
This issue came up in a discussion between Swaziland’s Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku and the US ambassador to Swaziland Earl Irving on November 2 2009.
In a cable published by WikiLeaks based on the discussion, Masuku is said to have told Irving that two weeks earlier on October 19 2009, he had been in Uganda representing King Mswati at an African summit on refugees, and had sat next to former Zambian President Rupiah Banda, who was next to Mugabe for dinner.
The cable says Mugabe explained to Banda that “the problem with Tsvangirai is that he doesn’t know he can’t get everything he wants when he wants it”. Masuku is said to have been shocked to see how arrogantly Mugabe had abruptly cut off a fellow Head of State.
“Even though (Mugabe) can be quite lucid at times, I think he’s losing it,” the cable quotes Masuku as saying. Based on his assessment of Mugabe’s response to Banda, Masuku said the Zimbabwean coalition government was destined for failure because it consisted of political parties with clearly different and irreconcilable agendas.
Masuku also had some brickbats for South Africa’s ruling tripartite alliance comprising the African National Congress, South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. He also had no kind words for Botswana’s President Ian Khama, whom he said was a military man through and through and had packed his cabinet with fellow military officers.
This, concluded Masuku, was making it “more difficult to be in Botswana”. Although Masuku stated that the views he expressed were his and not of the government, his sentiments appear to be widely shared by Southern African leaders.
Banda lost the Zambian presidency to long time rival Michael Sata on September 20. During his tenure, Banda occasionally came under fire from Zanu PF apologists who felt he was trying to arm twist the government to give too much power to Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe Independent