Sunday, 7 September 2008

Advice to the british puppet: Morgan Tsvangirai.

Catch train before it’s too late Morgan

Political Editor Munyaradzi Huni

OVER the past few days, the MDC-T spokesperson, Mr Nelson Chamisa, was the darling of the international media and the so-called independent media here at home. He gave this anti-Zimbabwe media what it wanted and in turn the media gave him acres of space. For someone whose job is to speak on behalf of his party, he did his best because the first task for any spokesperson is to get attention from the media.

The second task for any spokesperson is to be able to communicate and in this regard, Mr Chamisa missed the point. Although he really sounded bombastic and in some instances threw in his favourite jawbreakers, he was way off the mark.

The statement that made Mr Chamisa the darling of the international and the so-called independent media reads as follows: "Negotiations don’t work on the basis of political threats and ultimatums. We don’t understand all these outbursts. We are equal partners in the talks and we want to make it clear we won’t be intimidated or stampeded into signing a raw deal . . .

"We don’t want to swallow a poisonous offer. Why should we accept an agreement giving us the position of ceremonial or titular Prime Minister? Why on earth should we accept this proposal? The people don’t want it. We won’t be commandeered by anyone to sign the agreement."

He went ahead saying the talks had stalled because of Zanu-PF’s "inflexibility and rigidity".

He concluded: "First, if Mugabe goes ahead unilaterally and intransigently, that would be a further confirmation of his dictatorship and autocracy. Second, if he goes it alone it would be tantamount to political suicide."

Indeed, Mr Chamisa is right – "negotiations don’t work on the basis of political threats and ultimatums". And for that reason, he should not threaten the President that if he goes ahead and appoint his Cabinet, that will be "political suicide".

When President Mugabe said if the MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, does not want to sign the agreed deal, he would go ahead to appoint a Cabinet, that wasn’t a threat but a declaration of intent. It’s a declaration of intent because the President has the powers to appoint the Cabinet and if Mr Chamisa thinks that was a mere threat, then he should wait and see what will happen if his leader continues to listen to British instructions.

What makes Mr Chamisa’s statement a mere threat is that his party is banking on sanctions that they don’t really have control over. It is for this reason that many people think that even if Mr Tsvangirai signs the agreement, he won’t have the powers to remove the sanctions that he called for in the first place. The issue of sanctions has gone beyond Mr Tsvangirai’s realm and there is really nothing he can do about it. So as it turns out, it is Mr Chamisa and not President Mugabe who is making threats.

Mr Chamisa goes on to say the offer of a Prime Minister’s post to the MDC-T is "poisonous", adding that "why should we accept this offer?"

The Prime Minister’s post can’t be poisonous because in the first place, that is what his party’s negotiators to the talks, Mr Tendai Biti and Mr Elton Mangoma, asked for and got. They agreed to it. It only became "poisonous" when Mr Tsvangirai spoke to his British handlers, who think he deserves the bigger chuck of the cake. Well, the talks were between Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations and so President Mugabe is going by what representatives from these parties had agreed. The British have not yet been brought into the equation, although in due course, there will be need to move away from the inter-party talks to talks between Zimbabwe and Britain.

As for the question why the MDC-T should be given the post of Prime Minister, the answer is simple — Mr Tsvangirai was not man enough to stand in the June 27 presidential run-off. He therefore did not win the Presidency. President Mugabe went on to win the run-off and so he has the people’s mandate.

The MDC keeps harping on the March 29 results, but the law is clear that there was no outright winner. It is for this reason that Mr Tsvangirai initially agreed to stand in the run-off, only to back off after realising that President Mugabe had turned the tide against him.

As for the cheap talk that President Mugabe is a "dictator", that argument has failed to win any neutrals. What happened during the Sadc meeting that was recently held in South Africa should be enough to tell the MDC-T that the region does not view President Mugabe as a dictator. The attitude from the African Union is the same and if the MDC-T is dreaming of taking up the matter with the United Nations in a few weeks’ time during the General Assembly, then they should get ready for another disappointment, if not embarrassment.

By any standards, President Mugabe has contested in several elections since Independence in 1980 and won.

President Mugabe is very clear on this matter: "We are a Government and we are a Government that is empowered by elections. We should form a Cabinet. We should not allow a situation where we will not have a Cabinet forever . . ."

Indeed as President Mugabe said, the MDC-T can’t keep the country "frozen" forever and the mood brewing up across the country is that "if Mr Tsvangirai does not want to sign, let’s get on with it".

While it’s agreed that the country is going through severe difficulties because of sanctions, Zimbabweans are slowly being united by the sanctions and soon they will overcome.

The British and the Americans have tried to bring down the country through sanctions and so far they have an upper hand, but this is simply because for some unfortunate reasons, the Government has failed to fight sanctions with production.

No wonder why President Mugabe recently described the current Cabinet as the "worst in history".

Said the President: "This Cabinet that I had was the worst in history. They look at themselves. They are unreliable, but not all of them."

With the MDC-T banking on sanctions, Zanu-PF should bank on increasing production. The time for ministers whose job is to please the President by telling lies, the time for ministers who put personal interests before the people’s interests and the time for ministers who only become visible during Cabinet meetings, is over.

President Mugabe said: "I need managers. I want workers — people who take people to work. I do not want people with own businesses. I want one business — the people’s business." Indeed, it’s time to work.

Reports say South African President Thabo Mbeki is due in the country this week as he tries to make Mr Tsvangirai sign the power-sharing deal. It should be noted that the SA leader is not coming to continue the talks because Zanu-PF’s position is that the talks are over and what’s only left is for the MDC-T leader to sign the deal.

In fact, things are not looking that good for Mr Tsvangirai. While the general mood is "let’s move on and get on with it", developments in the House of Assembly should sober him up.

As things stand, the MDC-T could soon lose its majority in the House of Assembly if Zanu-PF manages to retain the Gokwe-Gumunyu seat that fell vacant after the death of its MP, Cde Ephraim Mushoriwa, and wrestle the Matobo North seat that fell vacant following the election of that area’s MP, Mr Lovemore Moyo, to the post of Speaker. If this happens, Zanu-PF will end up with 100 seats in the House of Assembly while the MDC-T will have 99 seats.

This on its own should be enough to tell Mr Tsvangirai that the game is very much on and the simple advice is: "Catch the train before its wheels chew you up!"

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