Reports that Zanu PF ministers chose to boycott Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s special Council of Ministers meeting on Tuesday were as surprising as they were disturbing. And reasons that the Zanu PF ministers gave, apparently through Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, sounded both silly and childish.
On Monday, Tsvangirai made clear the need and urgency of the meeting, culminating in him scheduling it for Tuesday. The purpose of the “special meeting” was to deliberate on the controversial economic indigenisation drive with a view to ending the discord in the inclusive government over a policy viewed as a campaign strategy by Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai chairs the Council of Ministers, a constitutionally-recognised forum under the Global Political Agreement (GPA), whose role is to assess the implementation of government policy. It also enables the Prime Minister to supervise ministers and curb scenarios such as currently obtaining where Kasukuwere appears to ride roughshod over activities of other ministries as he goes about the black empowerment exercise.
It is only logical that while he must go to all ministries to effect the government’s indigenisation policy, Kasukuwere needs to consult with the custodians of those ministries. Before he takes on mines to demand compliance with his ministry’s demands, Kasukuwere needs to get Mines minister Obert Mpofu to be aware of his activities and to also have his input.
If that does not happen, there will be chaos. This is what was reportedly happening and the Prime Minister needed to deal with this. But clearly, as many ministers from Zanu PF have been at pains to do, they still want to show Tsvangirai that they can disobey him and, because the leader of their party is President Robert Mugabe, nothing will happen to them.
So, on Tuesday, the ministers led, according to impeccable sources, by a minister who runs a portfolio that co-ordinates government activities, connived to throw egg at the Prime Minister and came up with a most ludicrous excuse — that
Tsvangirai was out to steal Mugabe’s Cabinet.
Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu has made clear to journalists that matters discussed in Cabinet are so private journalists who report on proceedings in that chamber risk arrest.
But Kasukuwere and all the Zanu PF ministers sought to have Zimbabweans believe Tsvangirai would publicly announce the business that Cabinet was going to deliberate on this week before hijacking the chairmanship of that forum.
Zanu PF ministers, according to Kasukuwere and those that thought it unwise to attend the meeting, believed Tsvangirai wanted to trick them into a meeting and afterwards stand up to claim a major coup – telling everyone the meeting was, in fact, a Cabinet meeting and he had chaired a Cabinet meeting!
We expect government officials to be less childish and stupid.
But we won’t hold our breath!