HomeOpinionZanu PF, MDC Need Each Other

Zanu PF, MDC Need Each Other

I AM disappointed with the apparent breakdown of the talks. My assessment is that the MDC is overplaying its hand.


There are indeed echoes of Zanu PF in MDC’s take no prisoners approach to the talks.

It must be remembered that in essence these talks did not begin after the March election, they have been going on for a very long time now and if truth be told the negotiators from the three parties had negotiated and compromised on most issues which is why a draft agreement was in place.

What remained was for the principals to agree on the powers of the president and prime minister.

MDC-T has been saying that 57% of the voters rejected Mugabe so the agreement should reflect this.

This figure is based on the fact that almost 43% voted for Mugabe.

Yet using the same argument it is fair to say that 52% of the voters rejected Morgan Tsvangirai since he got almost 48%.

This kind of argument does not take us far.

Zanu PF can also argue that they got the popular vote (1 111 625) compared to the total vote the MDC-T received (1 038 617) and so on.

The important starting point for me was for the two major parties to understand that they both need each other to extricate Zimbabwe from the problems facing the country.

And this is where I believe that the MDC-T overplayed its hand.

It is unfortunate that there was this veil of secrecy over the talks otherwise people would see for themselves the kind of vacillation from Morgan Tsvangirai.

How do you discuss and agree on most of the things in the draft and then come the following afternoon with a 24-page document that seeks to undo all those things that you have agreed on?

Unfortunately I cannot say much on this now but when the full story of the Sadc dialogue is eventually told I hope people will be frank enough to agree that Tsvangirai made some strategic blunders.

Although the draft agreement is modelled on the Kenyan system it would have given Tsvangirai more powers than are granted to Raila Odinga.

It seems to me that there is an obsession with getting President Mugabe’s head on a platter.

There’s this idea that Mugabe has to be humiliated and forced out of office.

This is why there has been this insistence on having a ceremonial president.

Make no mistake, a ceremonial presidency will simply not be accepted by Mugabe and his backers.

I know that victims of Zanu PF’s violence will probably say Tsvangirai is right but what they fail to appreciate is that the political logjam such as we have in our country will not be sorted out if we fail to accommodate each other.

The greatest irony in all this is that Zanu PF has bequeathed to us its culture of intolerance.

We hate and are angry with Zanu PF so much that we have begun to act, speak and behave like Zanu PF.

It seems true what Isaiah Berlin said that: “It is a terrible and dangerous arrogance to believe that you alone are right, and have a magical eye which sees the truth, and that others cannot be right if they disagree.”

There is this belief that the economy will bring Zanu PF down.

This may well be the case, but the fact of the matter is that the economy will bring us down before it brings Zanu PF down by which time it may be too late.

Now Sadc has met and the deal has still not been signed.

Tsvangirai says he will embark on a southern African regional tour. Answer me this my brother: You spent almost two days with Sadc leaders; what exactly do you want to tell them on this tour that you could not tell them this past weekend? And if you are not signing this deal what is your Plan B?

The MDC will lose the momentum that it had gathered.

The AU will not assist, because their chairman Jakaya Kikwete was there in Sandton for the Sadc meeting and is part of this same Sadc which issued a statement to say you should sign.

Menkerios from the United Nations was also there. There is also nothing that the UN Security Council can do so long as Russia and China have veto powers. Look at the conflict between Russia and Georgia.

Do you think Russia can vote to support a position that is sponsored by the US or UK given their public spat on Georgia?

Within the region itself King Mswati who had started to question Mugabe is now certainly guaranteed to change his attitude towards Zimbabwe given the public demonstrations and lambasting that he got from civil society organisations during the Sadc meeting.

They lumped him together with Mugabe as dictators who should not be entertained.

He will now think twice before any condemnation of Mugabe.

The late president of Zambia Levy Mwanawasa had had enough on Zimbabwe and was also starting to be critical but he is now no more.

The acting President of Zambia Rupiah Banda is no fan of Tsvangirai and you can expect Zambia’s attitude to change especially given Tsvangirai’s intransigence this week.

So what is MDC’s Plan B? Nothing, it is simply not there.

If they do not sign this agreement, I am almost certain that Mugabe will convene parliament and in the not too distant future appoint cabinet.

The tag that the MDC is a puppet party taking its instructions from US and UK will gain currency. And the people of Zimbabwe . . . well, the people will continue doing what they have done best . . . suffering.

Is it too much to ask that the politicians put their differences aside and begin to build this country?

This has to happen now because in the long run we will all be dead!

By Percy Makombe: A Zimbabwean political commentator based in South Africa.


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