Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has finally come to his senses and divorced Robert Mugabe, his partner in the ill-fated government of national unity.
It took the Movement for Democratic Change a little too long to realize that they had made a mistake in joining this nonsensical unity government.
The MDC’s efforts and good faith were never reciprocated and they were always frustrated and humiliated at every turn.
SADC and disgraced former South African president Thabo Mbeki were basking in the false glory of having brokered a monumental achievement in Zimbabwe.
This political divorce, which ironically erupted when SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao was in Zimbabwe, should shame Salamao’s purposeless and ineffective SADC.
I just wish Tsvangirai had disengaged a little earlier than today because his action, commendable as it is, will now cause new problems, emanating from his prolonged and unnecessary presence in a marriage of convenience that caused a lot of inconveniences.
I, however, personally feel vindicated by this development, belated as it may be.
But Tsvangirai’s delayed move does not, once again, appear to have been clearly thought out.
It is a reaction, not a plan.
Had it been undertaken earlier, it could have caused less problems.
Now it has been carried out when there was no other alternative left for them and when so much hope had been stirred among the long abused Zimbabwean populace.
Yesterday, Tsvangirai released a statement to the media in which he itemized all the things that were a persistent irritant to him and his party and that had never been put right within the unity government.
Ironically, Tsvangirai’s effort to justify his latest move compelled him to itemize the bad things and problems that dogged the unity government from its formation, thereby contradicting all the positive things he has been saying to the world about how well things were within the unity government.
“On our part, we have papered over the cracks and have sought to persuade the whole world in the last eight months that everything is working,” Tsvangirai conceded. “We have sought to persuade our constituencies that the transitional government was on course and was the only business in town. In the process, we have put at stake the reputation, credibility and trust of our movement and ourselves as leaders.”
He said the MDC had done everything in order to make the unity government work and had done so purely for one reason: the need to restore hope and dignity to Zimbabweans; the need to give Zimbabwean people a new start and a new beginning.
“However, it is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner,” said Tsvangirai. “In this regard, whilst being in government, we shall forthwith disengage from ZANU-PF and, in particular, from Cabinet and the Council of Ministers until such time as confidence and respect is restored amongst us.”
The MDC then ordered all its cabinet ministers to vacate government offices and work from home or from party headquarters. Tsvangirai said that they are not leaving government, they are just “disengaging” from ZANU-PF (whatever that means) and will not be attending cabinet meetings.
This is typical of the MDC: indecisiveness.
Are they in or are they out? They have vacated government offices but will keep their official Mercedes Benz vehicles and collect their salaries but run their government ministries from private offices.
In unsaid words, they are literally setting up a parallel government, which might require them to appoint more ministers “to replace” those of other parties in the unity government.
Prepare for the clap of thunder; Mugabe will hit back soon enough.
Tsvangirai is signatory not only to the Global Political Agreement but to the existing constitution, as well.
Using the same constitution, Mugabe can easily charge them with treason and lock them up, setting the whole process backwards and using the long-suffering Zimbabweans as hostages.
Violence is simmering not very far from the surface and Mugabe needs violence to survive.
Not that the rogue Mugabe needs the constitution to do anything but setting up a parallel government would not be a wise thing for the MDC to do under any circumstances and is totally not advisable.
It is not good for Zimbabweans.
The MDC should simply have pulled out of the unity government and the world would have understood. The world has always understood from the very beginning but were wondering what it is that the MDC wanted since the purpose of the unity government was not being met.
In that context, the decision by the MDC is, plainly speaking, stupid. This was not an MDC government; it was an inclusive government and ZANU-PF is part of that inclusive government. How will the MDC carry out government duties without engaging its partners in the unity government?
We told the MDC not to be part of it and they insisted; now they don’t want to be part of it but the situation, for them and the people, is no longer the same as it was when they ignored people’s warnings and joined Mugabe.
They can’t even decide to either stay in or leave but they can choose where they will cooperate and where they won’t.
I would have supported them more if they had declined their salaries, cleared their desks, surrendered their posh cars, moved out of government houses and went back home rather than keeping government property, collect their pay, keep government cars with free fuel and say they will be working from home.
Get out of here!
The only good thing that might come out of this is that this act, more than any words, tells the world the truth about this unworkable “solution” that was imposed on our country.
If Salamao and his teamsters at SADC had any spine or honest mandate, we would have cheered that the SADC Executive Secretary would not be needing any report since all the happenings unfolded right under his nose while he was in Zimbabwe.
But, I bet, Salamao, unlike Botswana President Ian Khama, will not be giving any news briefings over this.
Speaking to Agence France Presse on Wednesday, Khama said that the unity government was tittering on the brink of collapse and added that should that happen ZANU-PF should not expect any recognition from Botswana.
“‘If it was to collapse for genuine reasons we would certainly not recognise a ZANU-only government or, certainly, not one headed by President Robert Mugabe because he certainly did not win the presidential election last year.”
At least Tsvangirai has finally reacted to something; his patience was beginning to worry me.
I worry, however, about the hopes that had been raised. The people recognized the difficulties involved but had started to hope that maybe something positive might come out of this after all…until a few months ago when violence, human rights abuses, harassment, farm invasions, company grabbing and other ills were on the rise again.
Mugabe never intended to do what they agreed they would do. He continues to embarrass his supporters in State Houses across Africa but these spineless African presidents seem to cherish more the smell of innocent human blood than see the demise of Mugabe.
SADC leaders have always been offered opportunities and reasons to restrain and contain Mugabe but have never seized the chances.
Now, look what they have done to our nation.
The MDC must now be strong. They should forget about those extravagant perks they were being given and prepare for a complete pull out of this mess.
It won’t be easy, I know. It might even cause another split, given the fact that most of their parliamentarians are unemployed and are of dubious character.
But here comes the real test of character for individual members of the MDC.