Zimbabwe Review

Reflections on Zimbabwe

Makoni to be Tsvangirai’s finance minister?

Posted by CM on April 2, 2008

With the parliamentary election having been such a close contest, the handful of seats won by the Mutambara faction of the MDC will obviously be important in the power tug of war between ZANU-PF and the main MDC faction.
It is hard to imagine that the Mutambara MPs would agree to align with ZANU-PF to possibly form a coalition with the slimmest of majorities over the MDC, but nothing is impossible. And Mugabe is a master at buying people with inducements of one type or another, although he is such a weakened “brand” at the moment that any politican would have to think about the serious long-term (and perhaps short term as well) consequences of getting onto a sinking ship, regardless of the carrots dangled.
Simba Makoni’s people (if he had any!) did not win any seats, although if he had won the presidential contest many of those who won parliamentary seats on a ZANU-PF ticket would have claimed to have been his silent supporters.But Makoni may have some bargaining power in the uncertainty of the present impasse. A Tsvangirai presidency must worry about not having liberation war-era credibility in a political environment in which that still means a lot, and in which a strong ZANU-PF minority could exploit that to say, “see what Tsvangirai is doing with his recovery policies, he’s giving the country back to the British colonizers.” This would be especially true if Tsvangirai attempts any wholesale reversal of the seizures of previously white-owned farms.

So it is very much in Tsvangirai’s interests to find a way of neutralising this threat. Roping in Makoni into his cabinet may be one way of doing so. This would help to get many secret ZANU-PF supporters of Makoni’s onto the Tsvangirai bandwagon, and to begin to lure them from the spell of whatever Mugabe may try to offer to avoid mass defections from a disempowered, disoriented ZANU-PF.

An completely unverifiable rumour beginning to do the rounds is that Simba Makoni has been offered his one time post of minister of finance in Tsvangirai’s cabinet. This would be a smart move on Tsvangirai’s part, and for Makoni, would be a way for him to avoid slinking off into political oblivion. There are also stories doing the rounds of ZANU-PF officials seriously wooing Makoni to support Mugabe instead. The closeness of the race may well make Makoni a king maker.

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