Mugabe wiggles out of Maputo summit

HARARE - Once again President Robert Mugabe has shown the kind of crafty statesman he is as he outwitted Sadc and the MDC formations over a Maputo weekend date.

Instead, Mugabe gave an excuse saying he was busy with “pressing constitutional duties”, among them preparing for the elections set for next month.

In wriggling out of the Maputo meeting, Mugabe has once again outwitted the MDCs which had lobbied Sadc for the crucial meeting that would have looked at the poll dates and its funding.

Reading from Mugabe’s deck of cards, he seems to want to announce dates for an election first before meeting Sadc.

Armed with dates for an election, Mugabe knows it would be very difficult for the African bloc to alter them; hence elections would go ahead without any reforms as stipulated under the GPA.

Talk of another sham election!

Mugabe’s refusal to attend the Maputo meeting meant that all the lobbying which was being done by political parties and civil society on the ground in Mozambique will go to naught.

Journalists from across Africa and the world have also been camping in Maputo for the no show.

Now Sadc will have to look at Mugabe to hear when he would be free, when he would have completed the constitutional issues at hand in Zimbabwe.

Will he ever finish them?

Mugabe was in quite some dilemma and could also not face Sadc with his party having not held party primaries as the African bloc could have asked him of his party’s preparedness for the July poll.

Indeed it could have been suicidal for Mugabe to attend the Maputo meeting without adequate preparations because all the constitutional issues tied to the elections are not in place and answers would have been very difficult at the summit.

In avoiding the Maputo meeting, Mugabe has saved himself and his party from embarrassment as he could have been exposed for double talk.

As we speak, time is ticking away and July is just around the corner.

Remember also not so long ago Mugabe and all those close to him, including the state media had been cementing June 29 as a cut throat date for elections.

But after the Constitutional Court ruling — which should have come as a sigh of relief — Mugabe and his associates are now parroting the July 31 date.

Will the July 31 election date stick this time around considering that Mugabe and his close associates have been promising announcing elections since 2009 without any success?

And most Zimbabweans are doubtful that after failing to pick up a date for elections in four years, Mugabe will do it in less than a month now.

Like law abiding citizens, Mugabe and company have this time around said they will respect a court ruling.
My foot!

How many court rulings has Mugabe and Zanu PF ignored since they came into power?

So numerous to mention that everyone had thought they were immune to judgments and were actually a law themselves.

From the land disputes to State agencies detaining citizens against court orders, Mugabe and Zanu PF have a bad record in terms of upholding judgments against them.

So now that Mugabe is back in the country after some overseas trips, we are looking forward to his game plan and he has a lot on his plate.

Mugabe will have to meet his other principals in government to discuss the elections and in particular funding and the actual dates for the polls.

He has little to debate with Arthur Mutambara as far as the elections date is concerned because the professor has openly supported his July 31 call.

Mugabe’s biggest challenge and only obstacle will be Morgan Tsvangirai who feels elections next month would not be possible.

As for Mutambara, the guy has nothing to lose even if elections are done today and as top Zanu PF official and Cabinet minister Savior Kasukuwere alluded in media interviews recently, they need him on their side.

And it is showing on whose side the professor seems to see light as he is now being given acres of space in the State media where he is advancing his “deep” thoughts on black empowerment and Africanism.

The coming weeks will be anxious time for both Mugabe and Tsvangirai as they will take their campaigns to the masses.

The days of the two drinking tea together in Cabinet seem to be nearing an end and sooner or later words, like swords — would be flying from opposite camps.

Indications that other smaller parties are mooting teaming up with Tsvangirai under the MDC banner and fighting elections from one corner will add a new dimension to this year’s contest.

But Tsvangirai should be wiser because some of these leaders from smaller parties will join in to cause confusion.

This will be time for moles and State agents to be planted among political parties to disrupt smooth running of strategies.

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