|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
August 19, 2005
Posted to the web August 19, 2005
What does Zimbabwe need to do to recover from its economic crisis?
The same things I tried to do when I was in government. You need a stable macroeconomic environment with stability in policies you implement. You need to support the productive sector, and you need to relate normally to the rest of the world.
Is any of that possible without a change in the political environment?
No. Economics and politics are two sides of the same coin.
Is Zanu-PF doing enough to deal with the economic situation?
There is a government that was elected, and which is legitimate in its own mind and the minds of many Zimbabweans, and it is governing as such. That government has offered a turnaround programme that, if implemented fully, effectively, and timeously, is enough.
In your view, is that happening?
There is a basis for making the country work normally, but a basis is not the same as action. We are not doing everything that needs to be done, or not doing it simultaneously. Action on interest rates, the currency and support for the productive sector is being taken piecemeal. What you need is a comprehensive programme for all three to be enacted simultaneously.
Some suggest you could lead Zimbabwe in its recovery process. Are you interested in the job?
I know I am a leader in Zimbabwe, and I am involved right now -- in the party [Zanu-PF], in national business leadership, and in structures that bring business and politics together. I don't seek specific roles, but I will remain engaged.
What is the current state of health of Zanu-PF? We hear increasing reports of deep internal division.
It is well enough to be the governing party. Zanu-PF has been around in one form or another since 1959, and it isn't going to disappear ... Zanu-PF's future depends on how relevant it remains to the needs of Zimbabweans.
When the proposed new constitution was rejected in 2000, Zanu-PF suffered its first real setback, and I personally believe the rejection was unfortunate. People campaigned against that constitution on the basis of two or three problematic clauses but Zimbabwe would have been better off now if that constitution had been adopted. We would have had time to focus on the offending clauses in a more inclusive way than is possible now. I think the party and the government will continue to amend and make better the constitution, but there is not going to be a constitutional commission held by this government in the next two, three or five years.
In that case, how can the political process be advanced?
There is a need for change in Zimbabwe that secures the broad endorsement and acceptance of the majority of people. Talks between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change are not the only modality for securing that. It is feasible for Zanu-PF to help usher in that change. And it will if we capture the inputs of all stakeholders, including the MDC. There are many ways to get from point A to point B, and people who want to help Zimbabwe should focus on getting from A to B rather than specifying the means. I believe the MDC has a role to play in the process, but that role must be defined by Zimbabweans.
Do you think there is the will in Zanu-PF to begin political reform?
There is, but only if it is defined within very narrow parameters. There is will if we are not compelled to deal with an entity that we do not perceive as national, there is will if people agree that we are the aggrieved party. We need to move out of that box, but the will to do that is not very strong.
What is your assessment of South Africa's role, and in particular, the loan offer that is being negotiated?
South Africa is right to be searching for a way to help us, and to be doing it in consultation. There are well-intended things that we have done the wrong way, and people need to take time to understand the drivers of that. Glib condemnation doesn't help. As much as we need Mugabe to understand why the world takes the view it does of Zimbabwe, we need the world to understand why we are doing what we are doing.