Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-Pf, Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and Welshman Ncube’s MDC, the three principals in the short-lived government of national unity a few years ago, are, once again, rumoured to be holding secret talks with a view to forming another Unity Government “to save the country’s economy”.
Press reports, which the government has meekly denied through the unreliable Jonathan Moyo, have stated that, indeed, the talks are on.
Like before, the talks by representatives of the three leaders are coerced by a prima facie concern to save Zimbabwe’s economy with other issues being secondary.
Like before, the talks are being undertaken under heavy secrecy, hidden away from the people the talks are supposed to benefit ÔÇô an abominable spit-into-the-mouth practice from former South African president, Thabo Mbeki.
Whereas under Mbeki’s misguided patronage, the endless talks were mostly held in South Africa, the current talks have so far been held further afield, reportedlyin Kenya and Ghana, with Norway tagged asfacilitating the talks, something that makes the whole scenario plausible considering how fast the European Union is moving in attempts to re-engage with the Zimbabwean government and how Mugabe himself has admitted an economic collapse, showing an uncharacteristic and unprecedented desire to re-engage with European countries.
Noble intentions perpetrated by the wrong people will not get far.
We keep recycling all the old failed leadership, using the same failed tactics and getting the same failed results.
The last time such talks took place, individual members of the participating parties benefitted and the people were screwed because the talks were not sanctioned by the people to the extent that the most important aspects of that agreement remain unfulfilled to this day.
What lessons did Tsvangirai learn from the previous political marriage of convenience? What happened to the reforms that SADC, South Africa and the participants themselves agreed to implement?
To this day, for example, there have not been any media reforms as we still have restrictive statutes such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) still in effect.
Furthermore, instead of demilitarizing most state institutions, we have more of themmilitarized; the police force still acts on behalf of the ruling party not on behalf of the people, “leading to continued impunity for human rights abusers”.
Electoral reforms were never attended to as the fiascos in recent elections show, prompting the Election Resource Centre, a Zimbabwean election watchdog, to urge Parliament “to enact laws to allow the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to be truly independent and initiate the required legal process freely”.
Be that as it may, the three amigos are eager for a curtain call after a play that hardly made a lasting impression on the people of Zimbabwe.
We have dealt with these three before and there was little success because the concentration of power remained in only one of the three.
To that end, therefore, the return of the three will not be for the people but just a cosmetic change to hoodwink the international community into believing that there is a concerted effort to save Zimbabwe.
Last time it happened we lost big time.
The three principals are also interesting.
Mugabe, while still president and leader of the ruling party, has deteriorated both physically and politically. He no longer appears in charge of anything both in and outside government because of the relentless pressure of age and ill-health. His party is in distinct four groups, each with its own target and muted leader.
But by being the president, albeit through chicanery, he is a principal.
What reason do we have to believe that as he becomes weaker both politically and physically, he will do any better, especially as we see he is no longer in control of not only his household but his party and himself.
Morgan Tsvangirai not only showed us the bad side of his self but displayed some of the most outrageous personal habits people do not expect from a leader. His tenure as Prime Minister was mostly colourless as he was always overshadowed by Mugabe.
He, however, enjoyed the office of being prime minister, showed little fighting spirit and depended on press releases with no backup tactics to employ when Zanu-Pf rebuffed his decisions or blocked him from implementing his policies.
We learned about his ineptitude and weaknesses when his party was robbed. He did nothing even after discovering the political burglary Zanu-Pf did on him on the so-called Global Political Agreement.
His bedroom manners aside, why should we believe that Tsvangirai will become better this time around, especially after presiding over yet another split of his own party that saw a big chunk of well-educated yuppies, who did so well to prop him up in the GNU, leave?
He too has been greatly weakened although he appears to hold the largest number of opposition supporters.
And, ah! Welshman Ncube!
I am still trying to figure out why and how he is even rumoured to be among the three principals. I am trying to figure out what criteria was used to include him at the expense of other opposition parties.
With not a single elected official in parliament, Ncube’s party further appears to have suffered the most in terms of defections so how he still remains as a third principal at the expense of one or two other political parties is a mystery, unless if Mugabe admires Ncube’s role to counter and harass Tsvangirai effectively.
Having said that, there has to be a cut-off line somewhere because Zimbabwe is stinking with political parties that exist in name only so there must be another reason why Mugabe wants to have another go with the same people that he successfully toyed around with before. From recycling, we learn that piles of trash always yield an unbelievable amount of usable garbage.
Is it possible then that by pulling Tsvangirai and Ncube close to his bosom, Mugabe is trying to forestall the imminent political splash that Joice Mujuru, his former deputy of ten years, might make any time soon? After all, Tsvangirai has recently held talks with Mujuru.
Mujuru has big name recognition and knows the inner workings of Zanu-Pf like no other, especially that it was her husband who made Mugabe president.
Her sudden publication of a “manifesto” after months in political hibernation aroused some hope among her followers and others. All things considered, she might give many political parties a run for their money in terms of head count of party followers.
Imagine the impact if Mujuru and her followers had parted ways with Zanu-Pf well before being kicked out the way they were.
Tsvangirai has been in the wilderness for too long.I do not want to believe that he is about to be used again but I fear he is ripe for another fake preening.
Unfortunately for Tsvangirai, to save Zimbabwe, he must work with Mugabe like he did before. But that will also save Mugabe. And, like before, a slightly stronger Mugabe will discard of Tsvangirai before Tsvangirai gets slightly stronger.
Tsvangirai has choices to make.