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MDC-T "disengagement": Much ado about nothing
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Herald
October 24, 2009

IT'S been more than a week since MDC-T announced its ill-fated decision to "partially disengage" from the inclusive Government.

The decision has completely failed to resonate with the feelings of the people on the ground.

The MDC-T leadership has tried in vain to explain itself by claiming it has only disengaged from Zanu-PF and not the Government.

Still that does not make sense.

Most people do not understand what the partial pullout is meant to achieve, other than mere political grandstanding.

Even traditional allies of MDC-T like ZCTU have said they don't see the wisdom of the action taken by MDC-T.

Whoever had told MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai that the "disengagement" would cause a constitutional crisis certainly misled him. Cabinet has met and is likely to meet again next week. It has been able to make binding decisions because no quorum is needed.

Mr Tsvangirai himself requested the Council of Ministers during the negotiations that led to the Global Political Agreement.

So he is boycotting his own creation, whose meetings he convenes and chairs.

He desperately needs to climb down from the high pedestal he has hoisted himself on.

The regional tour is more of a cry for someone to help him down than of genuine mediation.

He desperately needs a face-saver.

He needs the regional leaders to rescue him.

On Wednesday he had to spend the whole day waiting to see South African President Jacob Zuma and was only granted an audience late at night, more out of courtesy than anything else.

Mr Zuma's spokesman, Mr Zizi Kodwa, had earlier issued a statement saying: "President Zuma has a tight schedule for this week, and it does not accommodate the MDC president, Mr Tsvangirai."

This reveals the true view of South Africa and probably Sadc about the partial pullout and the issues at stake. They seem to believe that the so-called outstanding issues of the GPA are for Zimbabweans to sort out.

It appears they don't believe we need a mediator to deal with the allocation of positions of Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Attorney-General.

They now see us a nuisance for continuing to pester and nag them over issues that we should resolve on our own.

Mr Zuma actually told Democratic Alliance leader Mr Athol Trollip in the South African parliament that issues to do with Zimbabwe had been dealt with comprehensively at the Sadc Summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo last month. That summit had resolved that the GPA had been adequately implemented.

In other words, they don't see any major issue that should cause a collapse of the inclusive Government. Neither do we. Sadc is saying grow up and put your house in order.

Sadc leaders have been courteous enough to give Mr Tsvangirai an auidence so that he can explain himself.
We commend them for doing so.

We expect that in the next week or two one of them will come to his rescue by facilitating a meeting with the other principals of the GPA.

Sadc mediator Mr Thabo Mbeki has clearly refused to be bothered about issues he spent weeks and weeks going through with the Zimbabwean leaders. He deserves his rest.

So the grandstanding has not helped MDC-T at all.

Instead, it has further poisoned the environment. We have seen political temperatures rising again.

On Wednesday Zanu-PF members of the House of Assembly had to walk out of the chamber after Masvingo Urban MP Tongai Matutu and his fellow MDC-T legislators started denigrating the President.

Yet a fortnight ago the President had opened the current session of Parliament in a very friendly and strife-free atmosphere.

The people of Zimbabwe are disappointed at the behaviour of their leaders.

The same disappointment is shared within the Sadc region where the political settlement in Zimbabwe had come as a big relief.

We hope the inclusive Government will quickly re-group and continue with the work of rebuilding the Zimbabwean economy.

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