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Fro

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Matabele, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    This is the inside word I'm getting - interesting .....

    A Cliffhanger

    We never said it would be easy - yesterday and 14 hours of intense
    negotiation and still no agreement. The talks resumed this morning and it is
    quite clear that Morgan Tsvangirai is holding the line on the demand that
    the MDC emerge from these talks with a mandate to form the next government
    and to control the State with effect from the 1st of September.

    In the final analysis this is a straight fight between Thabo Mbeki and Zanu
    PF - the former has to secure an agreement that is acceptable to the MDC and
    also to the international community. The MDC has to accept the deal if it is
    to secure the approval of the general population and the latter if the
    international community is to then agree to fund the stabilisation and
    recovery of the Zimbabwe economy.

    The position of Zanu PF has always been quite clear - if they accept such a
    deal it means two years of working with the MDC in a junior capacity - with
    the MDC holding the reins of power and then at the end of the transitional
    period facing an election under free and fair conditions with a free press,
    no violence or intimidation, an independent election commission and
    international observers.

    In such an electoral process it is likely that Zanu PF would cease to exist
    as a political party - at least in the House of Assembly and perhaps in all
    local government Councils. Like the National Party in South Africa at best
    they would end up as a minor player. More immediately and of great concern
    to all of their leadership and many hundreds of others, they would face a
    independent Judicial system and possible prosecution for either human rights
    abuse, political violence and murder or corruption.

    When viewed like that this always was going to be a power game. After all
    that is politics. We will know today what the outcome has been and I remain
    convinced that Mr. Mbeki will have to get a deal - he simply cannot go back
    to South Africa without agreement and must therefore use his very
    considerable power as President of South Africa, to force Zanu PF to accept
    its fate.

    What happens if he fails? That has always been a possibility - many have
    said a probability. Those skeptics have argued that he simply does not have
    what it takes to exercise power at this level. That he does not have the
    moral authority or the leverage to force compliance. I disagree - he has
    always had the power to do so and has chosen not to use it up to now. I
    agree with Tony Leon when he said on SA television this morning that this
    thing could have been fixed 8 years ago and the long nightmare of the past
    decade avoided. But that is easier said than done. Right now its high noon
    on Main Street.

    If he fails this test then what happens to the rest of us? If I was on the
    Zanu side I would not come out of this with any optimism - if anything I
    would be tempted to start to pack my bags and leave. If they do not sign
    today, Zanu PF is really finished. They have no legitimacy; their
    administration will not be accepted by anybody of significance. The SADC and
    possibly the AU will ostracize them. Sanctions will be further tightened on
    their leadership and the collapse of the economy will continue - eventually
    making it nearly impossible to live here.

    Millions will flee to other countries - 80 per cent to South Africa where
    they will destabilize a fragile social system and security. The local
    security forces will disintegrate, eventually threatening the security of
    what remains of the regime. Capital will flee the country and little or no
    investment will come in to replace it and starvation and hunger will haunt
    what remains of the local population.

    Most commentators would predict that the regime could not last more than a
    few months under such conditions. I am inclined to agree but we could simply
    slide into anarchy and chaos with Zimbabwe becoming a pitiful failed State
    of the worst kind - unable to feed or care for the majority of the people
    and only a small minority remaining at home.

    What are the chances of a violent end to the regime - in this country I
    think minimal. We do not have any neighbors who might allow bases for an
    armed rebellion, we have no arms and even if the armed forces took matters
    into their own hands the result would not be recognised or accepted. It
    would be futile. Biti was about right when he was asked what MDC would do if
    they could not get what they wanted - he replied "we would let them stew in
    their own juices".

    What if Mbeki does put his foot down and gets a deal? Then I would expect
    the leaders to clear the deal with their respective parties and then a final
    agreement to be prepared and ready for signing in South Africa at the SADC
    summit on Saturday. After that we would have the opening of Parliament on
    the following Wednesday followed by the House voting on the legislation to
    give effect to the agreement and then the new Government being appointed by
    the 1st of September.

    If the transitional arrangements are acceptable to the international
    community then I would expect things to happen quite fast - by the end of
    September the basic outline of things to come would be in place - the
    Reserve Bank would have acted to start to stabilize the economic and
    monetary system, the emergency programme to get recovery under way would be
    in place and people should begin to see real things happening on the ground.

    In six months I would expect inflation to be down to single digits and the
    economy should start to exhibit real growth for the first time since 1998.
    The dollar will strengthen and exports begin to recover. Investment inflows
    would be positive - again for the first time in a decade and tourism would
    begin. The contrast between these two scenarios is so great that I find it
    difficult to believe that Mr. Mbeki can do anything behind those closed
    doors in Harare except tell the Zanu delegation that their future is sealed
    and they have no option but to sign.
     
  2. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    If Mugabe and his cronies accept any deal I assume that they will simply up their contributions to foreign banks and skulk out of the country at its handover?

    It appears that they won't be held to account for anything they have done?
     
  3. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    The deal was to grant Mugabe amnesty.  But that Mbeki soft cock seems to have allowed the negotiations to fall over and Mugabe to hold a gun t the head of the MDC courtesy of a "deal" with a splinter faction.
     
  4. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    When Tsvangirai refused to sign the agreement already approved by both
    Mugabe and Mutambara two weeks ago, it is sure that the one person who was
    not surprised was Mugabe. He knew from the beginning that Tsvangirai would
    never agree to the post of Prime Minister with responsibility but no power.
    In fact the wily old devil had been negotiating for a long time knowing that
    when the final crunch came, Tsvangirai would walk away.

    But the plan started to unravel before he had any opportunity to gloat. The
    MDC did not just refuse to sign but put in an alternative that in their view
    was practical, consistent with the outcome of the March 29th elections and
    workable. The second development was that Mr. Mbeki did not automatically
    endorse the idea of a unity government between Zanu and the Mutambara
    faction of the MDC. Instead he said that the problem would go to the SADC
    summit that weekend for arbitration and that he would go on from there.

    Even so Mugabe was still confident – he knew how to handle his detractors in
    the SADC and was a past master at subterfuge. At the summit Tsvangirai ran
    into a situation where he faced not just a recalcitrant Mugabe, but also
    Mutambara and Welshman Ncube who made it clear, in both the plenary and the
    closed sessions that they were backing Mugabe in this situation. They argued
    that we were being unreasonable in not signing the deal as they had already
    done and that if Tsvangirai continued to refuse to sign up, they would go
    into a unity government with Zanu PF.

    Mutambara played the role of “power broker” claiming that he held the
    balance of power between Zanu and the MDC and would use that influence to
    ensure that a unity government under Mugabe would have a majority in
    Parliament. As you can imagine this created severe difficulties for
    Tsvangirai and his team as well as for our many friends in the region.

    So the SADC summit decided to test the Mugabe/Mutambara hypothesis and get
    them to convene Parliament and see who ended up controlling the House of
    Assembly. Mbeki called for the formal opening of Parliament and in 10 days
    this was put into effect. After a delay of 5 months Parliament was called
    and on Monday the new Members of Parliament and the Senate were sworn into
    office.

    The issue at stake was quite simple – who controlled a majority in the lower
    House and therefore the third arm of the State? Behind the scenes activity
    was intense. Both Zanu and the MDC Mutambara held caucuses with their
    representatives and tried to whip them into line. Threats were made against
    those expected to rebel against the Party line and the regime pulled out all
    the stops to try and whittle down the MDC majority. They attempted to bribe
    MP’s they issued warrants of arrest against others and there were blatant
    attempts to threaten and intimidate.

    The MDC went to great lengths to protect their legislators – people in
    hiding were given security and moved to safe houses, MP’s were ordered to
    switch accommodation at the last minute to ensure their safety overnight. On
    the day, those MP’s who were under threat (15 of them) were transported to
    the Parliament and then smuggled into the building via a back door. Those
    using the front door, even with diplomats watching, were arrested – one
    escaping and making it into the building and the other two being hauled off
    to the Central Police Station. We managed to get one out of police custody
    in time for him to be sworn and to vote, but we were one short when we
    convened at 10.00 hrs.

    After the swearing in, we were asked to elect a Speaker by secret ballot.
    The atmosphere was electric – the tensions between the MDC, many of whom
    were new, and the Zanu PF benches
    were palpable. Zanu PF were supremely confident. I voted and then walked out
    of the building with a Zanu PF legislator. He said to me “you know what is
    happening in there?” he said pointing back into the House? “You are going to
    lose this vote, we have bought many of your people and you cannot win
    against a disciplined Zanu
    PF!” I grunted in reply “wait and see”.

    At 13.30 hrs the place erupted – MDC had won the vote for Speaker by 110
    votes to 98. We then went on to elect his deputy and this was also MDC. We
    now controlled the lower House and the Parliamentary Committees. Under our
    constitution the Speaker is the third most important post in the country.
    When the President is incapacitated he acts as the President until a new
    President is elected. Zanu PF was completely stunned – it was their first
    defeat in the House for 28 years.

    The majority of the Mutambara MP’s and 4 Zanu PF legislators voted for our
    candidate. The first major defection by Zanu PF legislators since we entered
    the fray in 2000. It gave the MDC control of the House and a clear response
    to the question raised by the SADC leadership. It also meant that Mutambara
    is probably finished politically and that Mugabe’s plan to form a unity
    government with him and to then move on without Tsvangirai, controlling a
    majority in the House that Zanu PF could gradually increase by eliminating
    MDC legislators, in tatters.

    Mbeki was not long in responding and called for the talks to resume to deal
    with the remaining issues. There is not a great deal to talk about – 98 per
    cent of the agreement has been wrapped up and it’s just the central aspect
    of the power and authority of the Prime Minister and the issue of the
    governors and the special Senate seats (5) that are outstanding. Mugabe must
    now face his regional mentors against the background that he has lost an
    election, held a run off election that was not recognised by the region and
    is in limbo politically. He has also now lost control of the Lower House and
    faces grave difficulties in securing support for his legislative programme,
    including budgets.

    It would appear that the plan for a unity government has more or less
    collapsed. Mugabe was holding back two Senate seats and two governor
    positions, I suspect as rewards for Mutambara and Ncube. I also hear that
    Munangagwa was set to be appointed to the watered down position of PM and
    that they would then implement the deal and claim legitimacy from the SADC
    process. Instead they are again thrown into the lion’s den with a hungry,
    angry lion and no defence.
     
  5. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Seems to me that there is a deal of posturing and not much action, in particular from Zims southern neighbour.

    The despot is still there although there appear to be positive signs.

    If they ever manage to get all the pollies in one spot for a vote and keep them out of jail there wont be much doubt as to the outcome of any voting.

    Mata where do the army and so forth sit in all this? after all they are the ones with the things that go bang, and it wont matter what the civvies want if the army is not in step with it.
     
  6. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    The army serve Mugabe for as long as they're paid - hence the mega-inflation.  There is the inevitability of a complete economic collapse that will tip the army into the same catastrophic basket as everyone else.

    The only way that will be avoided with a serious injection of external capital.  This will not come until Mugabe is effectively removed.
     
  7. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    that would be the end of the place wouldnt it, the army not getting paid would simply resutlt in a bunch of young hungry blokes fed up, trained and armed.....thats a recipe for complete chaos.

    And it is becoming pretty apparent that he is not going anywhere voluntarily.
     
  8. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    I wish we'd managed to save Colin the whale.
     
  9. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Didnt it end up Collete?

    i didnt follow it all that closely
     
  10. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Yeah - it was Female but does anyone really care now?
     
  11. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    Today the new Zimbabwe currency devalued to one South African cent. Issued
    just a month ago at parity with the Rand, it was a desperate move by the
    regime in Harare to try and meet the demand for cash in an environment where
    the local currency is halving in values every week or less.

    Even though we have no less than five sets of currency in circulation – the
    new notes, the bearer bonds, the agric cheques and two different sets of
    coinage, there is still a huge shortage of local currency. Businesses with
    cash are selling their surplus on the market at up to a 50 per cent premium.
    Bankers and the Reserve Bank are also selling cash and buying foreign
    exchange on the parallel market.

    In fact to the uninitiated the situation here can be quite bewildering –
    just take today for example. The US dollar was trading at Z$1334 per dollar
    at the so-called “Old Mutual Rate”. The “RTGS” rate was about Z$850 to 1.
    The street rate was Z$200 to 1. The interbank rate was slightly higher and
    the “official rate” was Z$0,0000003 of a local dollar to one US dollar.

    Then today we tried to buy some fabric from a local firm – 100 per cent
    cotton, locally manufactured and dyed – they quoted me Z$6060 per Metre or
    US3,10 – at that rate the exchange rate was 1955 to one US dollar. That is
    10 times the street rate.

    So if I was able to get an allocation of foreign exchange from the Reserve
    Bank at the “Official” rate, US$100 000 would cost me 30 Zimbabwean cents.
    If I sold the US$100 000 on the local market at the RTGS rate I would earn
    Z$85 million. If I then bought US dollars on the free market in Zimbabwe I
    would be able to buy US$425 000. This is what we call “Gononomics”.

    But if you were a worker in a clothing factory, your weekly wage would be
    about Z$200 – and a 300 mls Coke would cost you Z$1 800 – you would have to
    work for 9 weeks to buy a cold coke!

    Last month the militias were paid Z$3 trillion – that is 30 cents in the new
    currency. Worth a fortune in the hands of Grace Mugabe but not worth a dime
    in the markets in which they have to live. They are going to have to print
    currency and “create” currency through the Reserve Bank by simply issuing
    cheques or even just a credit for an account in order to pay the army – but
    the army will not be able to get hard cash and therefore cannot spend the
    money they get until it is worthless.

    How you function in such a crazy environment I simply do not know.
     

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