Tsvangirai's headache

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is in a Catch-22 situation in his bid to press regional leaders meeting in Zimbabwe next week to resolve a deepening socio-economic and political crisis.

His bitter rival President Robert Mugabe is set to take over as chairman of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

Sadc, the regional body that brokered the Zimbabwe power-sharing deal in 2008 after disputed elections, will hold its 34th summit on August 17 and 18.

The Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit will be held at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls.

However, analysts have pointed out that while Mugabe might now have an upper hand through Sadc, the economy and infighting within Zanu PF will be his undoing.

The summit will be the crowning moment for Mugabe, who became deputy chair of Sadc in Lilongwe, Malawi, during the 33rd summit last year, but takes the reigns as the new chairperson next week.

Southern African leaders, who last July endorsed the re-election of the Zimbabwean veteran politician, brushing aside appeals from the opposition MDC who said the vote was rigged, will enthrone Mugabe as the Sadc chair.

At 90 years, Mugabe is Africa’s oldest leader.

Assumption of the chairmanship entails hosting and chairing the summit of heads of state and government, council of ministers meetings, standing committee of senior officials’ meetings and sectoral meetings.

Zimbabwe will also be expected to chair extra-ordinary meetings at summit, ministerial and at other levels.

Tsvangirai’s party told the Daily News yesterday that there was still hope to use the summit to either formally or informally appraise regional leaders about the dire state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesperson, said the forthcoming summit offered the opposition party and the people of Zimbabwe “a window of hope”.

Mwonzora said the regional bloc should be informed that a new Constitution — that was a key component of the global political agreement (GPA)  brokered by Sadc leaders — has not been fully implemented.

“As a party, we will make presentations on the state of affairs in the country whether  formally or informally,” Mwonzora told the Daily News.

“We are going to dispatch a delegation to inform Sadc about the dire state of the country’s economy, the failure by the Zanu PF-led government to adhere to the new constitution which is a product of the GPA.

“For instance, there is an unwillingness to implement rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, people cannot demonstrate. There are a lot of human rights violations and the most
telling is in Chingwizi.”

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Chingwizi, a transit camp in Mwenezi district, which government set up in February to house at least 3 000 people who had been displaced from the flooded Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam basin where they used to live.

People at Chingwizi are living in squalid conditions and often fight running battles with the country’s law enforcement agents keen to evict them from the transit camp.

While Mugabe’s appointment, which will see him presiding over the continental body until August 2015 and subsequently as a member of the Sadc Troika until 2016, Mwonzora insisted that “Sadc is not Robert Mugabe.”  Analysts said the appointment has reinforced the importance of using Sadc legal and policy frameworks as a departure point for engagement.

“What we are doing is we are formally and informally approaching Sadc heads and appraise them about the situation,” Mwonzora said. “We will not go to Mugabe who is the author of the present problems.”

Tsvangirai’s erstwhile comrades in the MDC renewal team have also said they were going to dispatch a delegation to Sadc.

Rugare Gumbo, Zanu PF spokesperson, said Tsvangirai and his party and the entire opposition were free to do as they wish.

“We cannot talk about that. The elections are over, let us talk about the economy,” Gumbo said. “As far as we are concerned, what they are doing is their business. We are concerned about development.”

Piers Pigou, southern African director of the International Crisis Group, said Mugabe was being rewarded for ensuring elections were not violent, “even if there remains profound questions about the deficits in the process, raised by Sadc and the AU, although not major enough for them to pull back from endorsement.”

“An accommodation of Mugabe is regarded as the best way of containing him — better inside the tent than outside,” Pigou said.

Stephen Chan, professor of World Politics at School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, said it also suggests that there should be a succession process in Zimbabwe.

“It will likely be one of at least two years to allow for stable transition and to accompany Mugabe’s filling of these valedictory roles,” he said.

“Both Sadc and the AU accepted the electoral outcomes of 2013, despite the controversies involved; so, for these groups, no lines have been crossed.”

Pedzisai Ruhanya, the director of Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) think tank, said the MDC will yield nothing from the summit.

He said the fact that Mugabe will take over at Sadc does not however mean that the regional body will not listen to Zimbabwe’s problems.

“If they want to make presentations, it should be about the undemocratic terrain in the country,” Ruhanya said.

“They must speak about the broader institutions on governance. The fact that Mugabe will assume the chairperson-ship does not mean the MDC cannot be heard.”

“One person cannot constitute Sadc, but the MDC should not continue to be cry babies. The MDC should organise the people and confront this regime. The opposition is fractured. Before they go to Sadc, they should first organise themselves.”

Comments (19)

Its just a rotating a year chairmanhip! nothing special!

Track44 - 7 August 2014

With or without AU & SADC, Zimbabweans are on their own in their struggle for real freedom.It's not an MDC T freedom but the people of Zimbabwe's freedom. AU & SADC are toothless organizations who always support whoever is in power in any country. Yes it's just a formality for the opposition to air the people's grievances but we don't expect much from those hypocrites.The two organizations have never&will never help any fellow African country economically .Realistically,the sooner we forget about them, the better for us all.

HANYANANI - 7 August 2014

Zimbabwe's economic&political problems are a blessing in disguise for many SADC countries. We are their laughing stock.Alas, Bob will pride himself taking over a useless chairmanship while his country is burning.

TANDAVARAI RUNYEMBA - 7 August 2014

Morgan should have learnt that SADC is so useless if we cant solve the Mugabe matrix never expect outsiders to solve it for you, now is the time to infiltrate the intelligence set up counter rigging mechinery so as to get our country out of the hands fo these vapambepfumi who are milking it to death. we need a total change to pollitical aproach cde we have t beat them in their own game ukaramba uchitevedzana nana zuma vaneavowo matambudziko they will never lose sleep because zim's economy is deterioratin or crisis in Chingwizi coz kwake kukhayelitsha kuriworse than chingwizi. if you want to stay relavant take the bull by its horns now Morgan

ngwena - 7 August 2014

The muppets, puppets & sell-outs in MDC-T are hopeless and unthinking cry-babies!! SADC accepted and endorsed last year's poll, and have also accepted the legitimacy of Gushaz's leadership, yet they hope to approach the very same summit, which Chematama once dismissed as a club of old, spineless dictators!! KUPERERWA CHAIKO NDINOKUZIVA!!

ZVOKWADI - 7 August 2014

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fivestar - 7 August 2014

Zvokwadi,your ZANU PF hypocrites pretend to shout at the WEST in the day & yet secretly visit the WEST on their knees begging.We know these Chinese puppets keep talking about a stupid ''LOOK EAST POLICY'' yet China VP recently snubbed Zimbabwe on his way to Zambia. Earlier on a HIGH RANKING CHINESE GVT OFFICIAL visited many African countries including our neighbors but totally ignored Zimbabwe. WHO IS FOOLING WHO???

KUNGOHUMANA - 7 August 2014

The MDC must just forget about this group of actors called SADC. What they will simply do is to line up in giving hugs to their in-coming chairman with very big smiles yet ignorant of the 'opposition' MDC. If you really took your politics very seriously it is time to confront ZANU and stop the same mistake you made in GNU. You always want to beg and act as if you owe it to ZANU for you to be in existence. If you continue like this very soon no one will take you seriously. After failing to convince SADC to throw away the result of the past election what makes you believe that this time they have time to listen to you?

Regalia - 7 August 2014

It is time that MDC T start making more effort in countering zanu .s method of intimidating voters in rural zimbabwe durihg election times . Thorough Researches and consultations must begin now . Intimidation after intimidation of voters must be finished by Mdc t and no one else . Stop banking on a group of SADAC idiots misquarndering as leaders . We all know them as Mugabe ' s puppets they will never do anything for this country . Lets not waste our time on useless thing lets make election grand plans now while the sun is still shining

Diibulaanyika - 7 August 2014

SADC, AU are just a bunch of fools masquerading as our leaders and heads of states. Mr Tsvangirai should not waste his time with these misfits thieves and thugs, as they offer nothing with their grossly corrupted minds. They are a true image of fraud

mosquito - 7 August 2014

Yesterday I wrote the following in my comments on COLONIALISM - “One minute you people are moaning that colonialism was bad and the next minute you are moaning the colonialists did not do enough for us like giving us first class schools and hospitals for free and top jobs IN THEIR COMPANIES and upmarket houses while we sat on our backsides doing nothing. “But nobody says who was going to pay for these first class facilities”. I have just been reading an article by someone who calls himself “Politrics na Samaita” on the New Zimbabwe online with the title “Tsvangirai must crucify Cross”. I have taken excerpts from the article. Politrics na Samaita says, “Of course Cross [Eddie] does not tell us how many locals in these territories profited from Rhodes' remarkable enterprise. Neither does he admit that everything Rhodes did was in the service of empire and the belief that whites are a superior race”. He goes on to say, “As for most of the 6.63 million blacks living on the margins of this "prosperous economy"”. “…mother surprised by my sudden decision to pop out and therefore labouring in my grandmother's kitchen hut because the nearest health centre was Bonda Mission – hours away by bus. “Clearly Smith did not consider that pupils completing their primary education in these schools needed any secondary tuition. The nearest secondary schools were hours away by bus and run by missionaries (Bonda Mission, St Matthias and St Killian)”. “I also hope Mr Cross will, in his next article, explain to us why a country of 6.93 million people had only one university”. (continued below)

Musona - 7 August 2014

(continued from above) - You cannot believe that this Politrics na Samaita went to school. He does/did not like COLONIALISM but thinks the whites had a duty to MOTHER blacks while blacks sat on their back sides doing nothing. He thinks if his mother was pregnant the whites should have rushed to build a free top class COLONIAL hospital next to their homestead to accommodate his mother! He doesn't say where the money to build the hospital was going to come from. He wanted the whites to flood to country with COLONIAL universities - again he does not say where the money was going to come from. AT NO POINT DID THE WHITES EVER SIGN A CONTRACT THAT THEY WERE GOING TO BUILD ANY SCHOOLS OR HOSPITALS OR UNIVERSITIES FOR BLACKS - nevertheless they did out of pity. What makes people believe that the whites were under obligation to do so? Whites did not come all the way from Britain to indulge the people here He does not say why he did not build the hospitals or schools or universities himself. Why did he have to wait for whites to build schools hospitals and universities if he thought they were important? Politric na Samaita should have said to hell with colonialism, to hell with your colonial schools and hospitals NOT to say to hell with colonialism but give us more COLONIAL schools and COLONIAL hospitals. Ungati here vanhu ava vanga vachindipa chikafu chine chefu - ko wairamba uchidyireyi chikafu chakange chine chefu? Zvine musoro here izvozvo? (If you felt or thought the food [education] they were giving you was laced with poison [colonialism] why did you ask for more?). If he thought colonialism was despicable why did/are you clamouring for more colonial schools and more colonial hospitals? Without colonialism there would be no education to talk about - this is very very unpalatable for some. They wish they could change history to say education was brought by someone else before the colonialists came.

Musona - 7 August 2014

People like Politrics na Samaita always moan Smith did not do this, that and the other but if you ask them where the money was going to come from they have no answers. If you are educated you should know that it costs a lot of money to build a school or hospital. Ian Smith was always talking about whites bearing the tax burden but it did not make any sense to us because we blacks were exempt from paying income tax and black businesses were also exempt from paying corporation tax. It soon made sense when we voted Zanu into power in 1980 when Zanu compelled everyone to pay income tax (45% of take home pay) and all businesses to pay corporation tax. Now we can moan to the ZanuPF government to build us more schools and hospitals because we have been paying income and corporation tax since 1980 NOT before when only whites were the ones compelled to pay income tax and corporation tax. I will not lie to say I knew this all along. No. Ian Smith talked about tax burden all the time but since we blacks were exempt it did not make any sense what he was talking about when he said “tax burden”, it only made sense when Zanu compelled us to pay the income tax in 1980 and my white colleagues laughed at us saying they thought we knew all along that it was only the whites paying income tax and corporation taxes. No political party ever talks about this but some of them know. I will cause problems to say a black government made fellow blacks pay income and corporation taxes when white governments exempted black people.

Musona - 7 August 2014

Last sentence should read, "It will cause problems to say a black government made fellow blacks pay income and corporation taxes when white governments exempted black people".

Musona - 7 August 2014

Why should the daily news always quote two non-Zimbawean academic upstarts Chan and Pigou in nearly every political article as if we don't have competent analysts in the country. Honestly it beats me that these two idiots expect a call each day from this newspaper to comment on everything Zimbabwean and qualify this journalist's piece with their so called expert opinion ? I wouldn't even bother to ask them what the weather is like in London or South Africa. Give us a break Mr Editor!!

Philanthropic Institute - 8 August 2014

Philanthropic Institute 2014 should not moan about who comments on the Zimbabwe political or economic situation as if anyone was discouraged let alone refused a chance to do so. Those able & willing to comment on Zimbabwe's situation will always be free to do so without fear at all.These people talk what they see which in case is true. People are fed up with ZANU PF's lies&foolish propaganda.

mujakachi - 8 August 2014

To HELL with SADC thieves & dictators.

dandemutande - 8 August 2014

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GALLERYCARTRIDGES - 8 August 2014

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