Thursday, 11 September 2008

Tsvangirai's misbehaviour knows no bounds.

Features & Political Editor

FORMER senior Rhodesian Forces chief Retired Colonel Lionel Dyck yesterday said Morgan Tsvangirai had asked him to take over as the Zimbabwe National Army head in the event that the opposition leader was appointed Prime Minister in an all-inclusive Government.

Col Dyck, according to insiders, backed out of the arrangement and revealed the set-up to Zimbabwe’s intelligence services.

According to the sources, Col Dyck, who was appointed Commander of 1 Parachute Battalion at Independence, tried to get in touch with Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga in late August to brief him on the developments.

The sources said Gen Chiwenga subsequently instructed him to communicate with the Central Intelligence Organisation and update them on what was going on.

"During the Sadc Summit in South Africa there was a meeting between Tsvangirai and Col Dyck during which the opposition leader offered him the post of Commander of the ZNA. The idea was that Tsvangirai would seek to fill the top echelons of the ZDF with individuals he thought would not take orders from President Mugabe as the Commander-in-Chief.

"However, Col Dyck assessed his position and between August 21 and 26 communicated to Gen Chiwenga from Australia, where he is now based, that he had vital information concerning the future of the ZDF.

"After discussions, it was agreed that Dyck should pass the information to the intelligence services as well. Today (yesterday) we spoke to him and he revealed that Tsvangirai was trying to subvert the authority of President Mugabe as Commander-in-Chief in any government borne out of the talks.

"Naturally, we wanted to know why he was passing up the offer of becoming head of the ZNA and why he was telling us all these things. His response was, ‘I gladly accepted the offer initially. But after reflection I realised that this was different from 1980 when I was asked to head the paratroopers in the integrated defence forces and I have to do what is best for the nation’," the insiders revealed.

The sources also said Col Dyck had said the South Africa meeting with Tsvangirai was organised by an ex-Rhodesian Special Branch operative identified as Major Simpson.

"Dyck told us that Tsvangirai and Major Simpson had been in contact since 1978. The two believed that Dyck would be a good candidate for Commander of the ZNA because of his military experience and because they thought he could be relied on to influence the rest of the army not to obey the Commander-in-Chief."

The sources said Col Dyck’s revelation exposed that

Tsvangirai was "negotiating in bad faith" and that "this was consistent with earlier assertions that he had entered the talks after making promises to certain constituencies over which he had no control".

"Tsvangirai naively thinks that a rose by another name smells differently. He remains implacably wedded to the interests that seek to reduce President Mugabe to a ceremonial leader and that is obnoxious to the establishment here.

"No one can understand why he is trying to embed a hierarchy that is unheard of anywhere in the civilised world."

It also emerged yesterday that Tsvangirai presented the other two parties to the inter-party dialogue being facilitated by South African President Thabo Mbeki with some more demands.

Tsvangirai reportedly demanded the creation of a National Security Council that would be headed by the Prime Minister and would be responsible for "making recommendations to, and advising Cabinet on policy issues".

Interestingly, the council would be comprised of all Cabinet ministers.

The other negotiators rejected the idea, pointing out that this would mean "ministers would be recommending policy issues to themselves in Cabinet".

Furthermore, Zimbabwe’s diplomatic representatives in the United States yesterday apparently reported that some American media outlets had been asking them to confirm whether President Mugabe had agreed to the creation of the council even though the matter had not yet been discussed at the talks.

This fuelled speculation among negotiators that Tsvangirai had been instructed by Washington to make this demand and this belief was bolstered by indications by intelligence sources that the opposition leader met with US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee before going to the talks venue.

Another issue that raised eyebrows during yesterday’s round of talks was Tsvangirai’s arrival at Rainbow Towers with a team of lawyers who had hitherto never attended the talks.

"The presence of the lawyers irked President Mbeki and the other negotiators who told him that their attendance indicated Tsvangirai had come to argue rather than to negotiate. They only left after it was made clear that their presence would not be tolerated in the closed-door discussions," the insiders said.

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