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Mugabe -Tsvangirai relations; Mutambara bares his soul

by Mandla Ndlovu
24 Dec 2018 at 17:44hrs | Views
Former deputy prime minister Professor Arthur Mutambara's new book The Path to Power in Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream sheds new light on the Government of National Unity negotiations between former president Robert Mugabe and the late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
An excerpt:
I must emphasise that the discussions among the four of us – the three principals, Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and myself, and the Facilitator, Thabo Mbeki – are quite taxing, rough and, sometimes, explosive.

The first meeting after the signing of the MOU on 21 July 2008 is a classic example. This is the initial direct discussion among the four of us and Tsvangirai and Mugabe are directly engaging for the first time.

Robert Mugabe just goes ballistic and shouts at Morgan Tsvangirai: 'You useless and stupid ignoramus. What do you even know? Why are you undermining national security and stability by taking instructions from Whites and foreign governments?'

We are all shell-shocked. Tsvangirai gathers is composure and calmly responds: 'Well if that is the case, why are you negotiating with an ignoramus? What does that say about you?'

It is a bad start to the negotiations. Thabo Mbeki deftly and adeptly tries to cool down the tempers. He organises for Mugabe and Tsvangirai to have an informal and casual meeting alone. He and I then stay together and discuss the broader issues of the African continent, regional integration, the ICT revolution and globalisation.

The Mugabe-Tsvangirai social meeting goes well, and they end up having lunch together. They are served a range sumptuous dishes and drinks. Tsvangirai is worried about being poisoned by the wily old fox. The observant Mugabe senses Morgan's dilemma.

Crafty as ever, with a very wicked sense of humour, he defuses the tension by saying: "Just watch the dish I eat and the drink I take, and consume the same, then you will be fine."

They both giggle nervously as they are engulfed and consumed by the awkward moment. Eventually, they relax and dine freely. I have my lunch with Thabo Mbeki, who is always smoking his pipe.

A calamitous and disastrous start to the mediation process has been averted, but still, there are rocky days ahead as we get into substantive discussions.

Source - Byo24News