- Southern Africa
Tsvangirai opts for golf against a travel document and a jet ride ?
Morgan Tsvangirai was denied travel document by the Robert Mugabe regime so he “ boycotted” the Swaziland regional summit, scheduled for Monday, on Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal.
The refusal to grant travel documents is the clearest sign yet that hardliners in Mugabe’s government were determined to wreck the pact.
The MDC leader later refused an offer from Swaziland’s King Mswati to fly him to the meeting which had to be postponed because it would have been futile without the opposition leader’s participation.
Instead, Tsvangirai opted to spend the day playing golf in Harare. The summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s security Troika is now scheduled to take place in Harare on October 27.
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political analyst John Makumbe said the refusal to issue a new passport to Tsvangirai - designated prime minister in the unity government - was the clearest sign yet that either Mugabe himself or hardliners in his administration did not want the fragile power-sharing pact to work. "Mugabe is using dirty tricks against the opposition . . . the talks are in real danger of collapsing because of Mugabe," said Makumbe.
Tsvangirai has not been granted a normal passport for months, and requires emergency travel documents every time he leaves the country, in what the opposition leader says is an attempt to curtail his efforts to mobilise international pressure against the government.
But government deputy spokesman Bright Matonga rejected the charges that the administration was denying Tsvangirai a passport or that it had delayed issuing him with travel documents. "As far as the government is concerned Tsvangirai was given an emergency travelling document to go to Swaziland," said Matonga, who is deputy information minister.
According to Matonga, Tsvangirai has in the past used emergency travel documents and there was no reason for him not to go to Swaziland.
But the passport saga took a twist last night as Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede denied that Tsvangirai was refused a passport. He says on Sunday he was informed by the Office of the President of the urgent need to issue Tsvangirai with a travel document, to enable him to travel to Swaziland.
Tsvangirai was in Masvingo nearly 300km away from Harare so Elton Mangomas represented him. Mudede says he recalled his issuance officers, namely Ms Mudyiwa and Mrs Mugwabi, to assist with issuance. Around 3pm, Mangoma collected Tsvangirai’s travel document No. 000 00960.
It is said that Mangoma did not have the required cash to pay for the processing of the travel document and the Registrar-General allowed him to issue a personal cheque, number 000036.
The question most Zimbabweans are asking themselves is "who is fooling who" ?