Kabila in Zim as Mugabe ‘thaws’

2009-11-03 14:05

PRESIDENT Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo jetted

into Zimbabwe on Sunday night on a two-day visit and is expected to meet with

the country’s leaders in a bid to break the impasse that threatens the inclusive


Kabila is the current chairperson of the Southern Africa

Development Community (SADC), which is working to find ways of bringing

Zimbabwe’s political leaders working together again.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of cabinet and the

council of ministers in protest against the refusal by President Robert Mugabe

to implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Sources in the government said yesterday that Kabila’s visit was a

follow-up to the SADC ministerial taskforce that was in Zimbabwe last week to

review the GPA.

However, the state media insisted yesterday that the DRC leader was

coming to visit his counterpart Mugabe, following the latter’s personal

invitation to Kabila at the SADC summit two months ago.

“Kabila will hold separate meetings with Mugabe, Tsvangirai and

Mutambara. He is taking the crisis very seriously and it would be naïve to

suggest the SADC chairman would come to Zimbabwe on a social visit to Mugabe. We

are not sure if he will meet all three leaders together but that cannot be ruled

out,” our source said.

James Maridadi, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, confirmed Kabila would

meet with the prime minister although no time or place had been set yet.

“They will definitely meet. Remember the prime minister took his

complaints to Kabila soon after announcing his disengagement and the SADC

chairman promised such a visit. We have not yet been advised of the exact time

but it will take place,” said Maridadi.

The SADC taskforce indicated a full summit of SADC would be

convened “almost immediately” to deal with the Zimbabwe crisis. They did not

state the date nor the place but latest information has it that the summit would

be in Mozambique, which heads SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and


Kabila was received at the Harare International Airport by

Vice-President Joyce Mujuru and several government officials – all from Mugabe’s

Zanu PF party.

The DRC leader is scheduled to deliver a lecture on the operations

of inclusive governments at the Africa University, east of the country.

When Tsvangirai disengaged from working with Zanu PF Mugabe

threatened to replace his choice of ministers with his own. It appears he has

realized the folly of such arrogance and has since turned conciliatory, calling

for talks with his erstwhile enemy to solve the crisis.

Mugabe said at the weekend that there was no way he could dismiss

Tsvangirai or avoid him.

“He is ours to keep. We can’t throw him away or give him away to

anybody. If there is an idiot in the family that family will have to live with

and tolerate that idiot. You can’t report that God-given misfortune to anybody,”

said Mugabe speaking in the vernacular Shona language at the burial of a

functionary of his party on Saturday.

But political analysts view Mugabe’s climb down as a realisation by

the veteran politician that arrogance will not work anymore and that he could

not do without the former opposition leader.

Reports that Mugabe has finally agreed to accept the SADC

communiqué issued in January in South Africa as party of the GPA indicate a

major concession by the 85-year-old ruler.

The communiqué clearly specifies issues that Tsvangirai has been

complaining about but which Mugabe insisted were not part of the GPA. It is this

communiqué which instructs that appointments of the country’s central bank

governor and attorney-general must be done after consultations between Mugabe

and Tsvangirai.

It also spells out how the provincial governors would be shared

between the three political parties – Zanu-PF, MDC and its smaller faction led

by professor Arthur Mutambara – and a host of other issues that Mugabe

stubbornly refused to implement on the grounds that he did not recognise the

January SADC communiqué.

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