Three Cups Tea and One Sugar, Please!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 

By Rejoice Ngwenya, Harare Zimbabwe 

Rejoice Ngwenya PortraitFormer South African president Thabo Mbeki is back in Harare, to mediate in a political negotiation that is perverted with truancy, egotistical defiance and self-preservation. If the last six words of the previous sentence were compliments, they would certainly not be directed at anyone other than our very own self-styled ‘life president’ Robert Mugabe.
The 15 September 2008 power sharing agreement between Morgan Tsvangirayi, Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara was akin to three gentlemen agreeing to sharing three cups of tea. At this juncture, Mugabe has not only taken two cups, but also told the other two men that he has no sugar to share with because the agreement is silent on sweeteners!

Zimbabweans have repeatedly been reminded by unofficial Mugabe biographers that the man has neither shared anything in his life, nor been subordinate to any authority.  And therefore his post GNU-behaviour is a ‘syndromatic’ manifestation of his very solitary nature. Sharing is as much human nature as communal living, because we are social animals. As we grow, society subconsciously imposes a spontaneous and mandatory behaviour to take, but leave for others, albeit a smaller share. Then it is up to our parents, teachers, mentors and peers to explain that it is not always about bigger shares, but contentment – a cross between moral judgement and rationale.

Zimbabwe’s GNU was always destined for doom for two main reasons: first, Thabo Mbeki is only capable of reading the footnotes of the Riot Act to Mugabe, because theirs is a sinister game plan driven by nationalist camaraderie.
 Second, Mugabe always wants to negotiate from a pedestal of superiority. That is why he frog marched his cronies into legitimising presidential elections which were condemned by the entire planet except Mbeki’s two-faced administration.
I know some well-meaning African analysts have been questioning Morgan Tsvangirayi’s obsession with ‘military’ ministries like Home Affairs and Defence, when he can reap political capital from populist entities like Education, Labour, Social affairs etc. There is a grain of truth in this school of thought, on any other clear day, but left to his own devices [and he has many], Robert Mugabe can use his machinery to render any populist program dysfunctional.
And so we wait with abated breath as chief negotiator Thabo Mbeki strokes the ego of ‘King Robert’ to ‘have mercy’ on poor Zimbabweans by ceding ‘real’ power to the people. The man has a nerve of steel: he not only lost the 29 March Parliamentary election, but also presides over a one billion percent hyperinflation and still maintains a grip on Zimbabwe’s political destiny. Don’t we all wish we were him!