There is discord once again in the inclusive government as divergent views have emerged from President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on the way forward regarding the contentious constitution-making process and scheduling of impending elections.
Mugabe told Parliament last week that the elections would be held in March 2013 and that co-principals in the Government of National Unity (GNU) were agreeable to the date.
He also told delegates to the second all-stakeholder’s conference last month that the principals were the final authority to decide on the constitution and not Copac.
As reported in NewsDay on Thursday and the Zimbabwe Independent on Friday, Tsvangirai has refuted that there is consensus among principals on the two critical issues.
This ruse by Mugabe is not surprising at all. He has always wanted elections held on his terms, but he knows the perils of holding another sham election. He is worried about his legitimacy.
There is all the evidence that Mugabe is haunted by the issue of political correctness as leader.
Since the violent and highly controversial election of 2008, Mugabe has battled the ghost of illegitimacy as leader after voluble accusations that his retention of power was a direct product of vote-rigging and a violent crackdown on political opponents.
What has appeared to give Mugabe a measure of legitimacy during the tenure of the GNU has been the figure of Tsvangirai appearing by his side.
He has exploited this uneasy relationship to present a façade of a working political environment in which he agrees with his arch opponent on critical issues, notwithstanding their very divergent political views. He expects Tsvangirai to nod through this duplicity in the name of political consensus.
Mugabe requires Tsvangirai’s stamp of approval for the current subterfuge.
This should not be allowed because we know that the ultimate goal is to have a constitution doctored to suit Mugabe’s power retention scheme. Reforms of the security establishment and media laws have remained outstanding.
Tsvangirai should never lend himself to this dangerous project because he must abide by his commitment to democratic governance.
Mugabe should be reminded that bully-boy tactics can never substitute popular support.