Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has dismissed as nonsensical a pronouncement by the United States that a power sharing deal with the opposition wouldn’t work while Mugabe remains the president. He said he would not stoop to international pressure to step down, adding he would go to his political death to see the opposition rule Zimbabwe. The president’s comments followed a statement by Washington that it had lost confidence in the success of the power sharing deal with Mugabe as president. Some political observers say Washington’s new stance would put pressure on the Southern African region to take a stronger position against President Mugabe. Glen Mpani is a Zimbabwe political analyst. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that Washington is playing into Mugabe’s propaganda.
“The statement coming from Robert Mugabe is consistent with the stance that he has taken that he is going to be rebutting everything that comes from the West that he is the president of Zimbabwe; that he is going to seek a process to legitimize the so-called victory that they got on the 27th of June,” Mpani pointed out.
He said Washington’s pronouncement would give Mugabe an excuse not to focus on the problems facing ordinary Zimbabweans.
“But I think on the side of the comment that have come on the side of the American government, while they have said in a previous statement that they don’t recognize the Mugabe government, what they are also doing is they are providing a side show for Mugabe to change the attention from the real issues within the country and start responding to external issues. Rather than focusing on the problems that he has created within Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mpani said there is reason to believe that President Mugabe is unwilling to equally share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“The indicators within the country show fully well that he is not prepared to share power. Going ahead to appoint the attorney general, the governor of the reserve bank, the outright condemnation or the hate speech that comes out of his speeches, is sign of a man who does not believe that they are in a power sharing agreement. In fact for him, this is all about accommodating the MDC rather than sharing power with the MDC,” Mpani noted.
He disagreed that Washington’s new stance on President Mugabe would put pressure on members of the Southern African development Community (SADC), especially South Africa to be tough on Harare.
“I don’t think it would do that because what the South African government would not want to be seen doing is that it doesn’t want to be seen as yielding to external pressure. Remember the argument that Mugabe has been putting across is that African countries that are independent are under external pressure. So, for the South African government to be seen capitulating to that, that in itself would alienate one, from the Zimbabwe government and two, it would be regarded as not being Africa,” he said.
Mpani said Zimbabwe’s powerful neighbor seems to be ready to thwart any effort at undermining Mugabe’s grip on power.
“So, what the South African government is going to do is to continue to protect Mugabe. Just like what they have been doing at the UN Security Council, blocking any initiative to put more weight on the Zimbabwe government. So, I think in a way it is retrogressive in that way that it emboldens the African position that it was slowly peeling out of the African leaders,” Mpani noted.
He described as a grave error Pretoria’s pronouncement that Mugabe as President and Tsvangirai as Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister is the only way forward.
“For them to say that is the only solution I think is based on the option that is on the table. But I think while they are saying that is the only option available and both parties have said that they are willing to go into agreement they should go beyond that and say what are the problems that have caused this agreement not to work? And how should they address them? For them to be simply saying they would want Mugabe to be the president and Tsvangirai to be the prime minister does not resolve the problem. The problem is the way the ZANU-PF government has arrogated itself the position of being the sole end of leadership in the country. Those are the real problems,” he said.
Power-sharing talks between the ruling ZANU-PF party and main opposition MDC have stalled over implementing a power-sharing deal, which would have left Mugabe as president and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as the prime minister.
Mugabe threatened early this month to hold new elections in the next one-and-a-half to two years if the power-sharing deal with the opposition arrangement failed.