Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mugabe bangs down phone on Chissano?

Been away from blogosphere for a week or so attending to pressing bread and butter issues – the family has to eat.

Anyway, while I was away, I met three senior government officials from South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique. As I introduced myself (or was introduced – in one case) the issue of elections in Zimbabwe would come up almost immediately.

Although I met them separately and they actually do not even know each other, the three officials would ask me the same question: “So, what do you think is going to happen on March 29?”

My one important question to them was what were their governments thinking or doing about the situation in Zimbabwe.

The one from Mozambique had this to say: “You know that our former president, (Joquim) Chissano is Mugabe’s best friend, right? He tried to tell Mugabe to retire but that man (Mugabe) does not listen. Chissano persisted but he had to stop when Mugabe stopped taking his calls or if he got through, your president would cut him off the moment he heard his voice.”

“We respect Mugabe. We are forever indebted to him and Zimbabweans for their help during the Renamo war, but right now he is costing us. Investors cite our proximity to Zimbabwe as a risk. He must go.”

The South African turned out to be a man of a few words: “Our current president (Thabo Mbeki) and our future leader (Jacob Zuma) have both agreed that anybody else is preferable to Mugabe. We know he is gone.”

The Zambian official added: “Mugabe must be hard of hearing because our president has been bending his ear since he came to power but he sits there like he is listening yet, he is not. Nobody wants him anymore.”

Their words, not mine. These are very senior people in the three governments who would know.

My final question to the three officials (separately, of course) was, if what they told me were the actual views and feelings of their leaders and governments, why were they not ganging up to approach Mugabe as a group and tell him that they do not support him anymore.

Almost to the letter, the three said: “He has been told.”

Uhmm, interesting.

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