Tsvangirai blocked from leaving South Africa

There was drama in Johannesburg on Wednesday night when South African authorities blocked MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai from leaving that country, after he had signaled that talks between his party and ZANU PF were now dead.

A highly placed source in the MDC told us Tsvangirai was scheduled to
leave Johannesburg for Morocco on Wednesday night but was astonished
when immigration officials at the airport denied him the right to exit
the country. The MDC leader was headed for Morocco to receive an award
for his fight for democracy. Several heads of state and other
luminaries are expected to be at the ceremony.

The MDC leadership is believed to have been shocked by this decision
from the South African authorities and was still trying to understand
why they blocked Tsvangirai from leaving. He frequently uses
Johannesburg as a springboard for flights to regional, continental and
other world destinations, because there are no direct flights to most
of these areas from Harare. 

The party leadership in Johannesburg is of the view that authorities
there had wanted to confine him to that country in an attempt to force
him to sign the power-sharing deal.

There is no other explanation. It raises suspicions that the moment he
signaled that talks had collapsed, the authorities try to block him
from leaving,' said an MDC insider.

It has emerged however that Tsvangirai is no longer in South Africa, after he quietly sneaked out and is on his way to Morocco.

Tsvangirai has indicated that talks have stalled and the MDC want Mbeki
removed as the mediator, following a spat of acrimonious correspondence
between the two men.

The latest round of talks collapsed before they even started on
Tuesday, when Mbeki was pushing the MDC to agree to the power share
deal, even though it contained changes that were fraudulently by ZANU
PF, without consultation with the MDC. Changes that clearly help
maintain power in Mugabe's hands.

When the MDC raised this issue with Mbeki last month, he promised them
he would take the necessary steps to ensure that Constitutional
Amendment no 19 included the provisions contained in the agreement
signed privately, on 11 September. But on Tuesday, Mbeki was singing a
different tune, in an apparent bid to let the ZANU PF altered text

The MDC has been irked by Mbeki's refusal to accept responsibility, as
the mediator, for failing to ensure there was no alteration to the

MDC's chief negotiator at the talks, Tendai Biti, believes Mbeki
doesn't treat the issue of the fraudulent alteration of the document

Our source said the MDC will not sign the altered document and the
situation has been exacerbated by Mbeki's refusal to change the
document to reflect what was signed on 11th September.

Whilst the mediator is not serious on this issue, the MDC will not
move an inch because it goes to the heart of whether there is sincerity
on the part of ZANU PF and whether Mbeki himself can be trusted as a
mediator,' our source said.

He added; For us this shows that ZANU PF can't be trusted and are not
sincere, and as for Mbeki, he is clearly biased towards ZANU PF and his
father Mugabe, that is why we are saying he must recuse himself, we
have endured a lot of abuse and disrespect from him.'

The MDC is also furious with Mbeki after he insulted Tsvangirai and
Biti in the letter that has sparked the latest controversy. Biti took
special exception to the insults that Mbeki threw at Tsvangirai,
insults that are the same as what ZANU PF says of the MDC leader and
his party.

Mbeki calls our President an idiot, unAfrican and a puppet and we
can't take that lightly, and this angered Biti.' our source added.

By Tichaona Sibanda

Post published in: News

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