It is not clear whether this was an April Fools’ Day prank or not but President Robert Mugabe sent emissaries to Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai on 1 April 2008 saying he was prepared to concede defeat.
MDC even called off its 12 noon press conference saying this was for positive reasons.
But everything had changed the following day.
Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that he had reached a tentative deal with Mugabe’s emissaries the previous day.
Mugabe had agreed to concede defeat.
He wanted an additional six months in office which the MDC had rejected.
He also wanted a government of national unity. Tsvangirai said the MDC was not opposed in principle to this.
The MDC had requested a list of 10 names to consider for government positions. The parties agreed that Mugabe and Tsvangirai would meet in the morning before a concession speech by Mugabe and a later victory speech by Tsvangirai.
ZANU-PF negotiators did not turn up as promised on the morning of 2 April. Tsvangirai heard later that Mugabe had rejected the agreement.
ZANU-PF was returning to Plan A–a runoff.
This is one of the details contained in a 10 600 word article on why Robert Mugabe, who went on to become President with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, might outlast current United States President Barack Obama.
Other stories of how Mugabe outmanoeuvred the West and the MDC are on this blog.