By Peta Thornycroft
10 February 2009
Zimbabwe's remaining few hundred white farmers are under intense pressure to abandon their land, crops, homes and workers on the eve of a unity government. Most white farmers were evicted from their land by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government earlier this decade.
Peter Bowen, 42, a white farmer from Zimbabwe, points to his potato cultivations (File)
Zimbabwe's remaining white commercial farmers are being threatened with violent eviction or charges of trespass. Several top vegetable producers have already been evicted from their small holdings on the northern edge of Harare.
Chris Jarett of the group Justice for Agriculture tells VOA some of the farmers being targeted are among the 78 who late last year, won a case before a Southern African Development Community tribunal that declared their evictions illegal and ordered the Zimbabwe government to re-compensate them.
Southern African Federation of Agricultural Unions vice president Doug Taylor-Freeme says vindictive hardliners of the Zanu-PF party are behind attempts to drive remaining commercial farmers off their land because they are trying to grab what they can before the unity government is effectively up and running.
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai is to be sworn in as prime minister Wednesday in the power-sharing government with President Robert Mugabe.
Taylor-Freeme says it is distressing that members of Zimbabwe's Department of Justice had allowed themselves to be part of planning this concerted action against farmers, which began about three weeks ago.
He says the campaign and court initiatives to immediately evict most of the remaining white farmers would be a national disaster for this season, and to rebuilding Zimbabwe's food production in future.
One of those who has been summoned to court is prominent food producer Charles Lock. He was acquitted of trespass last year for being on his own farm. Now a summons has been delivered to his workers for him to appear in court Wednesday, the day the new unity government is sworn in to power. He is away from his farm on business at present, but his lawyers say they are concerned that his acquittal could be reversed.
The Mugabe government began a compulsory program to redistribute land to blacks in 2000. Charges that the program is designed to reward loyal Mugabe deputies have persisted since then.
Economists say Zimbabwe's land program is a large factor in the country's failing economy.
Jarret says the loss of production on seized farms spreads to businesses such as millers, soap makers, and oil producers - many of which have not opened their doors since Christmas. In addition to their own families, the farmers each employ between 10 and 150 workers and each of the worker's families average about six individuals - all of whom lose their homes and livelihood when evicted.
Taylor-Freeme also tells VOA that commercial farms are among the few rural areas where cholera has not taken hold as workers have access to clean water and safe sewage systems. The World Health Organization says nearly 100,000 people have been infected and about 3,500 have died in the cholera epidemic.
The WHO also says more than seven million Zimbabweans, more than half the population, need emergency feeding in a country that was a net exporter of food before land reform.
Zimbabwe's Parliament on Tuesday approved a security law as a crucial component of a unity accord, giving joint control over the nation's security forces to the rival parties in a new government.
Both chambers approved the National Security Council bill, which will be headed by President Robert Mugabe but will also include opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is set to be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had insisted on the law before agreeing to join the unity government, saying the new council was needed to prevent abuses by security forces.
"For so many years our country has been traumatised by the pain of state institutions," said Tendai Biti, a top MDC official set to become finance minister in the new government.
"The violence that took place last year in unfortunate. Those things that took place last year must not happen again," Biti said in parliament.
The MDC accuses Mugabe's Zanu-PF party of co-ordinating political attacks against its supporters after disputed elections last March. Amnesty International says more than 180 people died during the violence last year, mainly MDC supporters.
The rivals have agreed to a power-sharing deal that observers hope will end the tensions and help pull Zimbabwe from an economic collapse that has impoverished the once-vibrant nation.
Feb 10, 2009, 14:48 GMT
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is due to become prime minister on Wednesday, acknowledged the high levels of concern about his decision to share power with President Robert Mugabe.
'The road ahead is long but we believe we must and can succeed while learning from our sad past which has devastated our people,' he said.
'The best we can do is that democracy, peace and prosperity is achieved in our life time,' the former trade union leader said a day before his swearing-in in Harare.
The MDC leader was speaking to reporters after announcing his choices to fill his party's share of 13 seats in a 31-ministry cabinet. Apart from finance and health, which went to the MDC, Zanu-PF has retained most of the important portfolios.
Tsvangirai named MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, a lawyer by training, as finance minister.
Biti had initially opposed joining a government that is heavily skewed in Zanu-PF's favour. In the end, the party fell in behind Tsvangirai's decision to give the flawed arrangement a go, citing the need to begin rebuilding the country.
The International Federation of Red Cross Societies said Tuesday that Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak was past the 'worst-case scenario' as the number of infection cases inched towards the 70,000 mark.
At least 3,391 people have died of cholera as of February 7. More than 7 million Zimbabweans are also in need of food aid.
While rights activists are sceptical about Mugabe's commitment to real change, aid agencies are hoping the new government will attract increased funding.
British-based anti-poverty agency Oxfam urged donors that were adopting a wait-and-see approach to the new government to find 'innovative ways to channel emergency resources to people who urgently need help.'
Posted on Tuesday 10 February 2009 - 12:13
Kent Mensah, AfricaNews editor
An opposition stalwart has been appointed as the new finance minister of Zimbabwe. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appointed Tendai Biti, the secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change, in a unity government with President Robert Mugabe.
Biti - a diehard critic of President Mugabe - has an uphill task of salvaging an ailing economy with a skyrocketing inflation. Tsvangirai said he is also tasked with attracting foreign investment into the country. ďThis [finance] ministry's mandate is to create a stable economic environment for all Zimbabweans... and to establish Zimbabwe as a strong investment centre,Ē Tsvangirai said at a news conference, according to Reuters news agency.
According to John Mokwetsi, Group Online Editor of the Zimind Publishers, Biti has what it takes to push for rapid changes that would resuscitate the economy. ďIt was a good decision because Morgan needed a strong character who can clip the wings of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono,Ē he said.
Mokwetsi added: ďYou will recall that Biti once said of Gono: ĎGono is the number one enemy of this country, not inflation. He has been stoking the fires of inflation through quasi-fiscal activities. In other countries if a central bank governor admits to printing money he will face the firing squad. Gono is the number one economic saboteur, terrorist and Al Qaeda.íĒ
He noted that it is too early to assess the feelings of Zimbabweans towards the news but ďI suppose Zimbabweans do not like Gono who has funded the police, the CIO and soldiers to beat up people. They want Biti to deal with him once and for all.Ē
Last week a Zimbabwean judge dropped treason charges against Biti over an alleged coup plot, citing lack of progress in the case against him, according to the BBC. Just after the court case Biti renewed his commitment to "finish this job that we started of removing the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe.Ē
The joint cabinet in the new coalition government will be sworn in on Friday.
Biti was born in Dzivarasekwa, Harare. From 1980 to 1985 he attended Goromonzi High School where he was appointed deputy head boy in 1985 later joining the University of Zimbabwe law school as a freshman in 1986. In 1988 and 1989 as Secretary General of the Student Union Biti led student protests against government censorship in academia. After school he joined the Law firm Honey and Blackenberg where he became the youngest partner by the age of 26.
In 1999 he helped found the MDC. He was elected Member of Parliament for the Harare East constituency in 2000. During the Fifth Parliament he served as a member of the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement and that on Defence and Home Affairs. In March 2005 he retained the constituency. He serves in the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and is currently the MDC's Secretary General. In his legal career Biti has handled labour and human rights litigation representing large trade unions such as the Post and Telecommunications Trade Union.
He was arrested in 2007 with many others, including MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, after a prayer rally in the Harare township of Highfield.
On June 16, 2007 Biti and Welshman Ncube met with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labor Minister Nicholas Goche, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed by the Southern African Development Community, presided over the negotiations which sought to end economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Biti was re-elected to the House of Assembly from Harare East in the March 2008 parliamentary election. According to official results, he received 8,377 votes against 2,587 for the ZANU-PF candidate. In the period following the election, he stayed outside of Zimbabwe (mainly in South Africa), along with Tsvangirai, amidst a post-electoral situation that the MDC alleges is marked by serious violence against MDC supporters.
10 February 2009
About 94 percent of Zimbabwe's rural schools - where most children are educated - failed to open this year, the UN Children's Fund said on 10 February 2009.
The education system, once viewed as the finest in sub-Saharan Africa, has become a casualty of the country's economic collapse and political infighting.
Tsitsi Singizi, UNICEF's spokesman in Zimbabwe, told IRIN the priority of the new unity government should be to salvage the education system. "The infrastructure for education is still there, but it needs to be brought back from the brink," she urged.
The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, is expected to be inaugurated as prime minister on 11 February and the a unity government, agreed by ZANU-PF and the MDC on 15 September 2008, is expected to begin its work of reconstructing Zimbabwe.
"Children in rural areas already live on the margins, many are orphaned, a huge number depend on food aid, they struggle on numerous fronts," UNICEF's Representative in Zimbabwe, Roeland Monasch, said in a statement. "Now these children are being denied the only basic right that can better their prospects. It is unacceptable."
Children in rural areas already live on the margins, many are orphaned, a huge number depend on food aid, they struggle on numerous fronts
Widespread disruption of schools began in the aftermath of the March 2008 elections and continued beyond a presidential run-off poll in June, which was not recognized internationally because of the state-sponsored political violence.
After the elections, many teachers failed to return to their posts as a consequence of salaries made worthless by hyperinflation and a fear of continued political violence.
In 2008, school attendance rates dropped from 80 percent to 20 percent, UNICEF said, and the few schools that opened in 2009 are charging fees in foreign currency, making them unaffordable to most citizens.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
By Ntungamili Nkomo & Peta Thornycroft
09 February 2009
Zimbabwe's parliament was set to take up legislation on Tuesday to create a national security council as a complement to a unity government, while the ruling ZANU-PF party said it would submit a motion calling for the lifting of sanctions imposed by Western countries on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle - though observers doubted it would pass.
Though ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change agreed in principle in their Sept. 15 power-sharing accord that Western sanctions should be lifted, it was far from evident that the MDC majority in the lower house of parliament would back the measure, especially as ZANU-PF has yet to meet a number of MDC power-sharing conditions.
Parliament last week unanimously passed an amendment to the constitution enabling the formation of a long-delayed national unity government, and was expected to endorse the national security council legislation. That would set the stage for the swearing-in of MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister with deputies Arthur Mutambara, head of the rival MDC formation, and Thokozani Khupe, Tsvangirai's second in his formation.
The MDC demanded the national security council as a check on the power and activities of the security apparatus which has played a major role in political repression and violence, especially in the wake of national elections last March when abductions and murders were rife.
The power-sharing parties were said to be working overtime vetting names of those to be named ministers amid feverish speculation as to the composition of the government.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the cabinet will not be named until Friday, but that Tsvangirai will lay out a plan for national revival when he is sworn in Wednesday.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said he was skeptical the MDC will support the motion from ZANU-PF calling for sanctions to be lifted.
Meanwhile, human rights groups in Zimbabwe said opposition activists detained on charges they plotted to overthrow are failing in health having been denied adequate medical treatment, VOA correspondent Peta Thornycroft reported from Harare.
2009 02 10
The international Red Cross on Tuesday warned it would soon suspend its aid to tackle Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak unless donors come up with more emergency funding, as the death toll reached 3,400.
"Our operations will cease in four weeks if we don't get funds," said John Roche, head of operations in Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
"All the efforts we have made today are in vain unless we receive serious funding and support," he told journalists.
Some 3,400 people have died in the cholera outbreak since August 2008 and a total of 69,593 have been infected by the disease, the latest World Health Organisation figures dated February 8 showed.
Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak has continued to progress because of "many small outbreaks in rural areas which are much more difficult to reach," said Dominique Legros, a WHO official.
Another big problem in rural areas is access to clean water, he added.
The Federation has received 45 percent of the nine million dollars it needs from donors to finance attempts to control and contain the outbreak with clean water supplies, Roche said.
The emergency appeal was launched on December 23 to cover assistance for seven months.
The Red Cross was having a hard time in finding funds from donors even though the financial needs were relatively low, according to Roche.
The United Nations has already complained that international donors are slow in coming up with funding for relief operations in Zimbabwe.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday urged the international community to help rebuild Zimbabwe and end the humanitarian crisis, once a unity government is installed in Harare this week.
More than half the population needs food aid to survive, while only six percent of the workforce has jobs, according to the United Nations.
But major donors like Britain and the United States have said they will wait to see if the new government can function before giving the new administration major new aid.
Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:54am EST Email
World leaders must not let the global financial crisis distract them from fighting HIV/AIDS, the United Nations' top AIDS official said on Tuesday.
Following are some key details about AIDS in Africa, the region most affected by the pandemic:
* SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA:
-- Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for more than two thirds of all people living with HIV globally.
-- Of the global total of 2.1 million adult and child deaths due to AIDS in 2007, 1.6 million occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.
-- An estimated 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007, declining from 2.2 million new infections in 2001. There are currently an estimated 22.5 million people living with HIV in the region.
* SOUTH AFRICA:
-- South Africa, with some 5.7 million people infected with HIV, represents the world's largest AIDS epidemic.
-- HIV prevalence in adults aged 15 to 49 is 18 percent.
-- An estimated 500,000 people are infected each year and around 1,000 die every day from AIDS-related illnesses.
-- Reflecting similar trends from other countries in the region, young women in South Africa face greater risks of becoming infected than men: among 15 to 24-year-olds, they account for around 90 percent of new HIV infections.
* IN THE REGION:
-- National adult HIV prevalence exceeded 15 percent in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2005.
-- In Swaziland, approximately one in four adults are infected with HIV.
-- In Mozambique, the epidemic continues to grow; in some provinces in the central and southern zones of the country, adult HIV prevalence has reached or exceeded 20 percent, while infections continue to increase among young people aged 15-21.
-- Most of the smaller HIV epidemics in West Africa are stable or are declining, as is the case for Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Nigeria. Continued...
-- HIV in the smaller epidemics in East Africa has either stabilized or is receding. After dropping dramatically in the 1990s, Uganda's adult HIV prevalence appears to have stabilized at 5.4 percent.
* THE GLOBAL PICTURE:
-- Some 33 million people were living with immunodeficiency virus infections in 2007, according to the United Nations report on the AIDS epidemic. As many as 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2007. Global deaths from AIDS reached an estimated 2.1 million in 2007.
-- In Asia, an estimated 4.9 million people were living with HIV in 2007. There were 1.6 million people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2007, 1.6 million in Latin America, and 2.1 million in North America, Western and Central Europe put together.
(Writing by David Cutler, Additional writing by Jijo Jacob; London Editorial Reference Unit;)
Published: 2/10/2009 16:30:53
Zimbabwe opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai, who is set to join a unity government as prime minister, on Tuesday named 15 top party officials to a cabinet he said would rebuild the country.
ďThey are men and women chosen for their vision of healing our nation and bringing not only the spirit of hope to the people of Zimbabwe but also their significant technical skills in the challenging task of restoring our political freedoms,Ē Tsvangirai told reporters.
ďThis team will be tasked with beginning the process of rebuilding our country during the transition period,Ē he said.
Tendai Biti, the lead negotiator for Tsvangiraiís Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in talks on the unity accord, was named to the crucial post of finance minister.
He will face the monumental task of reviving an economy shattered by hyperinflation, last estimated in July at 231 million percent.
After months of feuding over the home affairs ministry, Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe agreed to share control of the post by appointing co-ministers from each party.
Tsvangirai named top MDC lawmaker Giles Mutseyekwa to the powerful ministry, which oversees the police. Mugabe has yet to appoint a co-minister from his ZANU-PF party.
Mutseyekwa was once a top air force official, but three years ago was arrested in a discredited plot to assassinate Mugabe.
Tsvangirai said the home affairs ministry required ďa strong individual to ensure that this ministry enhances the freedoms of Zimbabweans and proper administration of the citizenís charter.Ē
Tsvangirai also named party spokesman Nelson Chamisa as minister for information science and technology.
Tsvangirai and Mugabe signed a power-sharing deal on September 15, but the pact quickly stalled over disputes about who would control key ministries.
They only agreed to a deal under intense regional pressure and after lengthy talks mediated by South Africa.
Tsvangirai is set to be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday, with the cabinet taking office on Friday.
The unity government is meant to end months of political turmoil after disputed elections last March, which has left the country mired in political violence and a deepening humanitarian crisis marked by food shortages a raging cholera epidemic.
The Voice (Francistown)
10 February 2009
Since the outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe, Botswana has so far recorded 10 cases.
A 41-year-old man recently died at Tsolamosese Clinic in Mogoditshane after showing cholera symptoms.
According to the Director of Public Health, Ms Shenaaz El Halabi, investigations are ongoing to determine if the actual cause of death was cholera.
Ms Halabi said all the victims in the recorded cases are from Zimbabwe and because they were reported in different places, chances are that the disease could be all over the country.
She advised people to follow strict hygienic measures to prevent the disease at all costs.
They should only drink safe treated water and if they are not certain, they should boil water before using it.
She urged people to wash their hands using clean water and soap before preparing food or handling food especially when feeding children to prevent diarrhea.
The symptoms of cholera include profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, thirst and cramps in the stomach as well as arms and legs.
Ms Halabi encouraged anyone who may be experiencing these symptoms to rush to the nearest clinic or hospital.
Ms Halabi added that people should adopt extra care especially during the rainy season.
By Clare Byrne Feb 10, 2009, 13:12 GMT
After ten years in the pro-democracy trenches Zimbabwe's longtime opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to cement his pact with his arch-nemesis, Robert Mugabe on Wednesday and be sworn in as prime minister of a unity government.
Supporters of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are expected to throng Glamis football stadium in the capital Harare for the ceremony, which marks a milestone in the career of the man derided by Mugabe as a Western lackey and a 'teaboy.'
'This will be a historic occasion for the country. It marks the beginning of a new era; the final miles of a journey to a new Zimbabwe,' the MDC said in an upbeat statement Monday.
Wednesday's ceremony will be followed two days later by the swearing-in of a 31-ministry cabinet drawn from both the MDC and Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
On Tuesday, Tsvangirai announced the line-up of ministers from his side - most of them unknown outside Zimbabwe, except for MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, who has been given the unenviable task of finance minister.
Finance is the most prominent of the 13 ministries awarded to the MDC in a September power-sharing deal, which sees Mugabe and Tsvangirai share executive power in a French-style 'cohabitation' arrangement.
Most of the other ministries controlled by the MDC have convoluted names, like 'economic planning and investment promotion' and 'constitutional and parliamentary affairs' that reflect their lesser importance compared to portfolios retained by Zanu-PF.
Mugabe's party retains foreign affairs, defence, justice and agriculture, among others.
This week's events mark a significant climbdown by the MDC, which held out for five months for a more greater share of power on the basis that it won the last parliamentary elections.
But the pressure from Mugabe's allies, particularly South Africa, to get into government now - and leave the so-called sticking points to be resolved later - proved overwhelming.
Last week, an increasingly marginalized MDC voted in favour of Tsvangirai's proposal to continue the struggle to democratize Zimbabwe - from inside government.
'Do we have any other choice?' Biti asked after the vote. 'Zimbabweans are suffering, dying or fleeing the country in their thousands. Let us give this experiment a chance.'
The MDC's participation is seen as crucial to securing more donor funding to tackle the country's inflation, cholera and food crises. Over 3,300 people have died of cholera since August, mostly for lack of clean drinking water, and half the population of around 11 million cannot adequately feed itself.
Some recalcitrant MDC members also cited their desire to avoid another split in the party. In 2006, the party came apart following a dispute about whether to contest Senate elections.
'Morgan is a bigger brand than the MDC,' one reluctant MDC official, who would not be named said. 'If we want the brand MDC to survive we must not publicly fight the president (of the party).'
'We must look at the environment he has created and see how we can create space to achieve the democratization of Zimbabwe,' the official said.
Many Zimbabwean activists disagree with the strategy.
'When Morgen is sworn in tomorrow we will have a one-party government, a one-party parliament,' Lovemore Madhuku, a lawyer and leader of the National Constitutional Assembly said.
'We must fight dictatorship from the outside and only get into government when there's a democratic government,' Madhuku urged.
Casting a pall over Wednesday's proceedings will be the continued imprisonment of around 30 MDC members and opposition activistsr, most of whom were arrested on dubious charges of conspiring to topple Mugabe.
Mugabe has so far defied calls by Tsvangirai for their release.
In a further ominous sign for the new government, the Zanu-PF ministers rumoured to retain their posts on Friday include many of from Mugabe's last cabinet, which he himself described as 'the worst in history.'
BuaNews (Tshwane) - ďThe Voice of the ANCĒ
10 February 2009
The South African government has joined African Union (AU) calls to the international community for economic sanctions against Zimbabwe to be lifted.
"An important element at the AU Summit was the expectation and call to the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe to allow all leaders to give the formation of a unity government a chance to succeed.
"People in Zimbabwe will also more likely support the peace process if they can see a number of positive spin-offs happening," Foreign Affairs Director General Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba told media, Tuesday.
The DG highlighted that South Africa was calling for the sanctions to be lifted as it would facilitate, in particular, the inflow of much needed humanitarian aid into Zimbabwe in a crucial political time for that country.
With regard to recent media reports about Zimbabwe taking over the Rand as its currency, the DG said these reports should be considered as a possibility as the debate on this issue has been ongoing for some time.
"If this becomes the case, I'm sure all sorts of precautionary agreements will be entered in to.
"If it were to move towards that, the South African authorities would obviously have to enter into serious dialogue with Zimbabwe authorities," Dr Ntsaluba said.
The DG confirmed that Zimbabwe's political parties are sticking to the framework for the formation of a unity government, as set out by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the swearing in of the prime minister and deputy prime minister will be taking place on Wednesday.
President Kgalema Motlanthe, addressing National Assembly on Tuesday said: "we are heartened at the recognition from this house that there is progress in Zimbabwe. Shortly, Morgan Tsvangirai will be sworn in as the Prime Minister in Zimbabwe along with two deputy prime ministers.
"To this end, SADC and the AU have called on the international community to end sanctions against Zimbabwe and to assist the people," the president announced.
The DG said Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is likely to travel to Zimbabwe to represent South Africa at the swearing in ceremony on Wednesday, while President Motlanthe will travel to Zimbabwe on Friday for the swearing in of Zimbabwe's minister and deputy ministers.
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday announced his long-awaited Cabinet of 13 Ministers. At the top of the list was the contentious Ministry of Home Affairs allocated to former soldier Giles Mutseyekwa.
The Finance Ministry went to Tendai Biti while young Nelson Chamisa was given the Ministry of Information and Technology.
Advocate Eric Matinenga was given the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Paurina Mpariwa (Labour and Social Welfare), Henri Dzinotyiwei (Science and Technology), Elias Mudzuri (Energy and Power Development), Eddie Cross (State Enterprises and Parastatals) while Dr Henry Madzorera got the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
The Ministry of Public Works went to Theresa Makone, Water Resources and Management to Abednico Bhebhe of the MDC Mutambara, Fidelis Mhashu received the National Housing and Social Amenities portfolio while Elton Mangoma will head the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development.
Tsvangirai said while a decision had not been arrived at yet of the deputy ministers or and allocation of governors, he had complied a list of four out of the six nominees for deputy ministers.
Dr Mudzingwa (Defence), Roy Bennett (Agriculture), Jessie Majome (Justice, Legal and Parliamenatry Affairs), and Clr Zwidzai, the former mayor of Gweru (Local Government).
"I will have to induct each of them on their mandates," said Tsvangirai, who was flanked by Chamisa and deputy prime minister designate Thokozani Khupe.
He promised to erase all repressive media laws and put the country back on track.
On the issues of political prisoners, Tsvangirai said efforts were underway to make sure they were released by yesterday (Wednesday).
"We are not joining Mugabe. This is part of a transitional authority. Mugabe has executive authority, I have executive authority. No-one is joining the other here. We want to manage this process...those skeptics must give us a chance and history will judge us," he added.
By Brian Latham
Feb. 10 (Bloomberg)
Zimbabweís President Robert Mugabe agreed to make concessions to allow the formation of a coalition government in return for support from a regional group that would extend his 28 years in power, said two members of the ruling partyís decision-making body.
Mugabe plans to accept conditions set by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is due to be sworn in as prime minister tomorrow, the officials, who declined to be identified because they arenít allowed to speak to the press, said in interviews today. Mugabe plans to allow the MDC to appoint governors to provinces they won in elections in March last year and will let security legislation put forward by the party be enacted.
The 15-nation Southern African Development Community is pushing for a joint government between Mugabeís Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the MDC to be formed to try and end an economic crisis that has led to a quarter of Zimbabweís population leaving the country and a cholera outbreak spreading to neighboring states. Mugabe has refused to agree to the conditions since talks began after the MDC boycotted a second-round presidential election in June last year.
The country has the worldís highest inflation rate, estimated at 231 million percent in July, and has suffered a decade of recession.
Mugabe was told by some leaders of the Southern African Development Community, a 15-nation grouping that includes South Africa, that if he made concessions they would support keeping him in the position of president against western pressure for him to step down, the officials from the politburo of Mugabeís party said.
An agreement to form a government was announced on Jan. 27 after a SADC-brokered summit in Pretoria, South Africa.
Zimbabweís parliament, where two factions of the MDC have a majority, will today debate a new National Security Bill, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said yesterday. The bill will legalize a council proposed by the MDC to oversee the police, military and intelligence agencies, the Harare-based newspaper said, citing Nicholas Goche, a Zanu-PF official, as saying it will ďsail through.Ē
The same paper said today that governor positions will be negotiated and the head of a joint council between the parties said restrictive media laws, put in place by the government, may be eased in three months.
The MDC want oversight of the police and military because they say attacks on their supporters ahead of and after their victory in March parliamentary polls were partly led by members of the police and army. Since the elections at least 100 MDC supporters have been killed and 200,000 people displaced, according to Amnesty International.
The MDC won majorities in provinces covering Harare and Bulawayo, the nationís two-biggest cities, as well as provinces in the south and east.
Patrick Chinamasa, the chief negotiator, for Zanu-PF in talks with the MDC didnít answer calls to his mobile phone or office today. Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the MDC, said he ďcouldnít comment on Zanu-PF matters.Ē
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham via Johannesburg at email@example.com.
Last Updated: February 10, 2009 09:23 EST
Broadcast: 06 February 2009
Violet Gonda of SW Radio Africa hosts an in-depth and heated teleconference on the 'inclusive government' with Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai-led MDC, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga of the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC and political commentator, Brian Kagoro.
click on link for the full version:- http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/hotseat100209.htm
[ See full text below ]
SW Radio Africa Transcript
HOT SEAT: Violet Gonda hosts an in-depth teleconference on the GNU with Nelson Chamisa, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Brian Kagoro.
Broadcast: 06 February 2009
Violet Gonda: There has been a lot of debate about whether the MDC should have entered this inclusive government with Robert Mugabe. There are still questions about whether it will work. Today we have three different perspectives from inside and outside Zimbabwe . We have an independent commentator, Brian Kagoro who is based in Kenya; we have Nelson Chamisa who is an MP and spokesperson for the Tsvangirai led MDC and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is one of the negotiators and a member of the newly formed Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, or JOMIC, and sheís representing the Mutambara led MDC . Welcome on the programme Hot Seat.
Various: Thank you, Violet. Thank you, weíre here.
Violet: Let me start with Brian. Last week Brian, you were highly sceptical of this inclusive government. Could you articulate in point form the crucial areas that give rise to your scepticism?
Brian Kagoro: I had four clear points: the first one was that the fundamentals upon which the democratic struggle, which by the way, pre-dates NCA, pre-dates ZCTU, the democratic struggle through which Zimbabweans have fought to try and arrive at - would not be achieved through this process. Number two I thought that there were too many grey areas around actual operational questions because mind you, itís not just about individuals, itís about the operational staff and I drew on the experience in Kenya and some historical experience just demonstrating that these grey areas actually then become elephants in a china shop if you like. Number three I looked at whether it would deliver for me in terms of the human rights agenda and I felt that that question, you know, I wasnít comfortable that it does in any particular way, it didnít deal with the question of accountability effectively, it didnít deal with the question of enforceability. So I looked at the ministerial portfolio distribution, I looked at the areas of grievance around the characters who have been, who presided over the machinations of terror and the last one, is that I actually asked the simple question, itís OK to be sceptical about operational issue, about content issues. Human beings are known to be capable of great good and great evil. Given the trajectory in the negotiations and the back and forth on what happened, whether or not the positions taken by both MDC and Zanu gave me confidence that this deal would result into a workable government. I still conclude as I did then, that I am not persuaded.
VIOLET: Priscilla, can you respond to Brian?
PRISCILLA: Yes Violet. I can understand, I donít have a problem with people being a bit uncomfortable because this is a new thing and in fact weíve not even finished, weíre still going through the processes and procedures. So I think it is only fair to allow people to be a bit sceptical. But I think what I find problematic about Zimbabweans generally is the fact that in fact we are now basing our arguments sometimes on things that are not true. Not that Iím saying people are lying but that sometimes when you want to build your argument it is important to actually base it on reality.
And Iíll go back to what happened to before I was cut off. The whole concept about SADC issuing a decree, I think itís problematic to actually say those kind of things when we know thatís not what happened. At least in this particular summit we had the three Principals sitting in that particular room with the Heads of State, they went through every other issue that was there that was a contentious issue. And all the issues that Brian is raising around allocation of ministries were indeed raised within that meeting but some consensus was then built not only within the Heads of State themselves but with the Principals that were there. Which is why you will see that within the final resolution that was put out this time around, they then said, you know what, we had agreed in an earlier meeting, in an earlier summit, it may not make sense for us to go back on the earlier agreement that we had.
So instead of saying that we are going to do a review of just the Ministry of Finance which was the earlier resolution - you remember for the 9 th of November had indicated - we will do a review of the entire process. And I think basically it was a way of saying OK go ahead and do a trial run on this thing. We understand none of you can be confident because it is a new relationship and rightly so as Brian says itís a difficult relationship because we are coming from a polarised community, a polarised society where things were not what they were supposed to be but you are trying to build. So in trying to build you want to give opportunities to create some space in which hopefully people can begin to learn to live together.
And all Iím trying to say Violet is that I think we are all angry, no-one can argue the fact that these last years have been traumatic. We have been living under a regime that none of us would want to live under, we do not want a repeat of this particular issue, but I think we need to be careful that our emotional anger may make us become so un-strategic sometime and we may begin to say certain things that are not necessarily true in terms of what happened. And I just thought I needed to raise that because I think it raises a fundamental point - letís differ on factual issues, letís say this is what happened but I think it should have gone this way but letís not give out information out there on things that did not happen in the way that we are now saying did happen.
VIOLET: And Chamisa, your reaction, and if I might also add what Kagoro said last week, he said SADC is playing lotto with our lives and he actually described the deal as ďa polygamous marriage of convenienceĒ. What can you say about this?
Nelson: Well Iím not going to be tempted to respond to Mr Kagoroís assertion but what I just need to do is to try and put fact on what we believe to be the way forward. First, I just want to say that we must all appreciate that this is a compromise and there is no perfect compromise. It is a compromise, meaning to say that it doesnít reflect faithfully and truthfully what we would have wanted to see. So basically as we try to deal with the issues that are affecting Zimbabweans, you must remember that in a position of leadership, it is incumbent upon ourselves as the leadership to make sure that we design and sculpture ways of extricating the people of Zimbabwe from the jaws of poverty, from the jaws of this dictatorship. And the way we believe to be the best way out of it is basically making sure that we have a negotiation.
You must also remember that we had a congress in 2006 and at that congress we had resolutions and we had a clear road map we adopted and that road map had three clear signposts. The first one was a negotiation. The second one after negotiation, we wanted to have a transitional authority so that we could then have a new constitution, a new electoral dispensation, then the third one was a free and fair election, of course that would give birth to a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe. As far as we are concerned, we are still quite loyal to our congress resolution. We have managed to go to the negotiation; we have managed to then attain what we believe to be the transitional authority and that is the phase in which we are.
And we believe that phase is going to give us four critical things Violet. The first one is going to be the democratisation platform. We believe that the writing of a new constitution within a period of 18 months - and I must thank the negotiators who did sterling work. Very difficult circumstances, very difficult context but they managed to emerge with a document, which document is going to be a creature or product of massive consultation, momentum building activities within the country in 18 months. So democratisation is going to be possible because the people of Zimbabwe are going to define who they want to be and what they are in terms of that constitution.
The second issue is the platform for a humanitarian intervention. We believe that during this transitional inclusive government period we are able to reach out to the people who are suffering. I donít believe that it is possible for revolutions to be fought by dead people. I donít believe that it is possible for a struggle to be fought from the graveyard so we need to save lives. In as much we would want to see the ideal of democracy, we need to make sure that the people are feeding. We need to make sure we are responding to the bread and butter issues. So that is the second issue.
The third issue has to be an opportunity of making sure that there is national healing, there is national understanding of who we are and where we are going and we believe that once we start to control certain arteries of the State that gives us the opportunity to be able to respond to the deficit of national healing, to the wound that has been inflicted on the people of Zimbabwe.
And lastly which is in our view a critical component of what is going to be achieved by this transitional inclusive government is for us to make sure that we inject professionalism and non-partisanship in the conduct and attitude of our State institutions - our various pillars of the State, the securocrats the bureaucrats. And we believe as MDC , that the decision we taken is the best decision informed by our circumstances, informed by the leadership code and informed by our democratisation agenda. So contrary to this assertion that oh we have abandoned the struggle, oh we have committed a political suicide, we have actually changed the frontiers of our struggle. The democratisation agenda has now been shifted to another gear. Any struggle has to have gears and this is now a new dispensation, itís a new level and we hope that our colleagues will appreciate that what we are doing, seeks to amplify their efforts, not undermine them. And that is where we are at the moment.
VIOLET: But Chamisa, how do you respond to people who say that your President, Mr Tsvangirai actually made a u-turn because he had been stalling for months and had said that he would only agree to participate in this inclusive government if all the demands are met. And so, what has persuaded him to finally agree before all his demands have been met?
NELSON: You have your say but you donít necessarily have your way, Violet. We were dealing with the Heads of State who spent almost 14 to 15 hours trying to help us. I donít agree with those who condemn SADC to say they have not done anything. They have tried their best. This is a Zimbabwean problem, we as Zimbabweans have a duty to do and to go the extra mile in solving. Of course we need the support of the region, we need the support of the continent and of course the whole world. We believe that what was done at the last SADC meeting is actually quite a significant shift in terms of addressing some of the issues we had said were outstanding.
So itís not as if Mr Tsvangirai made a u-turn, there was a particular justification that was given by the Heads of State as to why we were supposed to then move. The first issue was the issue of Amendment No 19 Violet. We wanted Number 19 to be passed into law before us going into government. Itís clear that Zanu-PF wanted the swearing in first before the Amendment had been passed. We got our way and we succeeded on issue number one.
Issue number two was the issue of making sure that weíve the National Security Council Bill. That Bill was actually endorsed by SADC, in fact just yesterday, our negotiators agreed on this Bill, in fact it has actually been perfected by some ideas from our colleagues in the other MDC and also from Zanu-PF. Now what we have is a National Security Council Bill, so outstanding issue number two was resolved.
Outstanding issue number three was the issue of making sure that we deal with the issue of governors. I must gladly say that that issue again there has been movement. Zanu-PF has agreed that we need to have an arrangement, a formula. I hear that there is a formula 5-4-1 which formula I think is quite modest and quite acceptable. It has been accepted by political parties. We have to then finalise the modalities at Principals levels, again thatís number three - movement we feel addresses our outstanding issues.
Issue number four was the issue of making sure that those who have been abducted are released. That is an issue that is still work in progress and I know that JOMIC and my sister Priscilla can actually give you further details. Itís working flat out to make sure that those people are released as gestures of goodwill, as signals of good direction, as a symbolic movement in the right direction and I believe that those are issues that are still being resolved. The issue of the ministry which was the last issue is not yet resolved and SADC had to say look, we had a resolution on the 9 th of November and we canít just say that resolution has to be revisited because we have not implemented and we have not detected the defects of this resolution, so go and implement it, if there are any problems in six months we should be able to revisit it. So we have said, that seems logical, we need to follow the logic of our region, the collective wisdom of our elders in the region and that is what we have done.
So there is no u-turn. Again this is propaganda, this is imagination, that is not a u-turn. It is a significant movement consistent with the objective assessment of the issues that are on the table. We feel that we have scored.
VIOLET: But Nelson, it was only a couple of days ago that you issued a statement saying that Zanu-PF is spoiling to scuttle the inclusive government, so what has changed since that time?
And also Morgan Tsvangirai has said that the political prisoners must be released before he is sworn in on the 11 th. What happens if they are not released?
NELSON: Well I must say that we are not under any illusion that we are dealing with an honest partner. Zanu-PF is known, their history, their legacy is chequered and we are aware that they are likely to try and continue to play such tricks, hide and seek, ducking and diving. But that does not necessarily mean that we should not give it a try. We are also conscious of ourselves, of course in as much we donít have trust in Zanu-PF, we have trust and confidence in ourselves in terms of our faithfulness to the values and vision of the national working peoplesí convention, the founding values of our democratic struggle and we have not departed from those founding values.
In fact, as I indicated in my earlier assertion, we have actually shifted the gear of our struggle and that should be understood in that context so we are not under any illusion that we are dealing with an honest player. Of course you must know Violet that each time you decide to shake the hand of a thief you must also count your fingers. Each time you decide to kiss a thief you must also check your teeth. We are aware of what we are doing. We know the consequences of dealing with Zanu-PF but we are also equally aware of the consequences of making leadership for the people of Zimbabwe . So on that issue we are very clear.
On the issue of Zanu-PF backtracking, thatís not something new, theyíve always continued to dilly-dally but we are making sure that we insist on what Iíve said is demonstration of the presence of sincerity. What we would want to see in terms of prisoners being released so that it signals a dawn of a new era, that is what we are working on and we are hoping to continue to push, particularly through the JOMIC platform. And we are hoping to get answers. It doesnít necessarily mean that if we donít get answers we should stop knocking. We have to continue knocking, the door will open.
VIOLET: But what are some of the specific points or lack of deliveries by Zanu-PF that will break this deal on your part?
NELSON: Well look, I must emphasise that the deal is now almost reaching final stages of consummation. We would not want to be negative, we are very positive, we are exercising leadership in whatever we are doing. We are not responding to what Zanu-PF is doing. If anything we are driving the agenda, we would want to respond to the humanitarian challenges in the country, we would want to respond to the rupture in our society, the acrimony in our society politically, we would want to respond to the economic bleeding and haemorrhage so that people begin to see a new phase of life. People will not simply have hope and we need to inject that hope in their lives.
I must say that in terms of what you are saying, what is going to break things, we have said that before the swearing in, we want to see movement on the aspect of the abductees. We have said that before the swearing in we would want to make sure that the issue of governance is clearly finalised so that we are clean and clear as to the direction we are taking. So we are also watching events over the weekend and also the early part of the next week. We will be making the necessary positions that are going to ensure that we donít short change those who have been abducted, those who have had their lives violated and their security threatened.
VIOLET: Priscilla, let me come to you as a member of this implementation committee, can you tell us what JOMIC is doing about the charges against the political detainees?
PRISCILLA: Well, what JOMIC is, itís not a negotiating forum, so basically, whilst we have people that are coming from the three political parties, itís supposed to be a forum in which you try and solve the problems as amicably as possible. We also realise that part of why we were having the false starts that we were having is this continuous - and I am glad to speak to Nelson, clearly we are not speaking around issues of conditionality, we are not saying that unless something has been done then this will not happen. Because that was something that was underlined and emphasised at the last SADC summit by the SADC Heads of State because it usually does not take us anywhere because this person says I wonít do this unless this is done the other person does the same.
So basically, JOMIC is trying to be a forum in which, whilst people are coming from the different political parties, but you are basically using that forum to begin to speak as partners, as people who are working towards a one particular goal. Because some of the problems that we experience really are more to do sometimes with lack of communication, sometimes, not knowing who to speak to at any given time. So JOMIC really is a space in which - and Iíll go back to the issues you were talking about, the issues around the abductees, to the issue that we are no longer speaking about them as; Ďyou did this against meí. But basically saying we want to build a different society, we want to build a different Zimbabwe , how do we begin to deal with the past and some of the problems that we faced before.
Acknowledging the point that when we did that political agreement, part of what we then said was that weíre not going to give a blanket amnesty. Anybody who is involved or has been involved or alleged to have been involved in anything will have to go through the processes - the legal processes. But also acknowledging that even those legal processes maybe problematic because of the history where weíre coming from in the context.
We are actually beginning to look at how do we deal with that situation without necessarily ourselves, and I think I am speaking for a lot of people that have been in the democratic movement, part of what we have been saying is that the cornerstone and the fundamentals - that Brian was talking about - are the issues to do with rule of law. And we should never have a situation where, for any reason, we are saying anybody who has done anything should go for free, should be left to just go without facing the rule of law, but within a particular context.
So we are discussing a whole range of all those things. What is there right now in terms of the abductees, there are some that we can actually say we know where they are, so you can identify, you know they are in particular place. There are some who are not known so we need to begin to discuss about those who are not known. We have families who are saying this person was taken we donít know where they are. But really it is something we are trying to do within that small setting and we are trying to be very sensitive about it so I canít go into details in terms of how we are going to be dealing with some of the issues because it may actually create problems in terms of some of the things that we may be able to do and some of the people that we think we may speak to in terms of using them to influence some of the things that we are talking about.
But I think what I want to emphasise is that unlike the negotiation group where we literally were putting positions as MDC and Zanu-PF, in this JOMIC, we literally are saying we are the people that are responsible for making sure that this agreement works, how can we be pro-active. So itís not a place in which you just bring complaints, itís also a place in which you begin to say to yourself, what can we do to make things better?
For example, the issues around the hate speech. By tomorrow, we are calling all the media houses and we are going to have a conversation with them about how we as politicians sometimes are responsible for perpetuating the kind of language that does not take us to a new Zimbabwe, to a new future, how do we do it differently, but how do we bring the media also, people like yourself Violet, to begin to create spaces and forums in which there is a certain positive way of looking at where we want to go, instead of the kind of language that we have been used to in terms of the last 20 to 25 years or so. So that is what I say around JOMIC.
VIOLET: You know Priscilla, some people would say you sound very optimistic about this deal working, but still, is there something you know that most people donít actually know about, because if we are to go with the events on the ground, it seems nothing has really changed. It seems Zanu-PF does not seem to be behaving as partners. Only today the treason trial of the MDC Secretary General and the MDC ís chief negotiator Tendai Biti has been set for May and this is happening despite the fact that there will be a unity government. Now given that the treason charges emanate from this dispute, what ought to be the approach, or JOMICís approach?
PRISCILLA: Exactly and this is why I emphasised the point, you have things that are technically legal huh?
And I am sure that Brian would assist in this particular process - the moment you have started certain legal processes, it may not be as easy as waking up in the morning and saying itís no longer there. Thatís not to say that you are able to use other processes and negotiations, to make sure that there are conversations that take place within a particular context. But I think it would be problematic because if you were to use that then you might as well use that same rule to then say all those people that killed, that shot people, that burnt peopleís homes should just go scot-free. And I donít think we want that that.
We had this conversation as negotiators around whether we should look at a blanket amnesty and say because we are coming from a political history perhaps we should just look at issues to do with a blanket amnesty and we all agreed and said it may not be fair - perhaps the people of Zimbabwe need to have this conversation as a society, as a nation to say where do we go and what do we do?
But Iím saying, in acknowledging that particular point that you want to deal with the fundamentals of the rule of law, you also want to say, even within that context of the rule of law, there are problematic issues. For example, there are questions around the judiciary; you cannot run away from it. So you canít deal with these issues in isolation. You have to deal with them within a particular context, they have to be holistic but the underlining factor should be - is there a commitment from those that are party to this agreement.
That in fact what we want to achieve is to transform ourselves from where we have been to what it is that we want. And it takes all of us.
And I agree and I also agree with Nelson, for a regime that killed 20 000 people in Matabeleland , I would be stupid to believe that I am going into this thing because I trust Zanu and because I think they are good people. We literally are at the table precisely because we donít trust these people but we are trying to create an environment that would allow us to begin to build a new society and it takes time Violet. Itís not like switching on the light and saying because the police were beating people yesterday, the very next day they are not going to be beating people.
There are processes and if you look at the GPA there are things that we agreed we would have to do, a retraining, a re-conscientisation - a complete transformation of certain institutions, of certain behaviours, because we have lived for years under a society in which all these things did not matter anymore. It is unfair for anybody to say from September 15 where you signed this, everything should just wake up tomorrow morning and it will be different. And it is precisely for that reason that some of us believe people have to get into this inclusive government, if only to give ourselves space, give ourselves breathing space, give ourselves time and some of us to begin to do transformational work.
VIOLET: Brian, your thoughts?
BRIAN: I have listened to my colleagues carefully, thinking that perhaps I may have been wrong before, but having listened to the two of them, Iím more persuaded than I was last week that my views were correct. Let me start with Nelsonís theory of leadership that there is such great misery, the only option is to go in, sit with the primary cause of the misery and craft a path to heaven. If you recall Abel Muzorewaís justification in 1978 was based on the misery that the war had caused, and you only need to read history, if you Google search and you go back to the 1978 internal settlement, the justifications were: the war had gone on for too long, ordinary people were being killed, were dying, the violence was destabilising neighbouring states, economic development was hampered.
Number two, ZAPUís logic in 1987 for going into the unity government - mind you - ZAPU unlike the MDCs was in a slightly better position. They even had a military, this was the ZIPRA formation. They went in, they did much better, they got the Vice Presidency even the chairpersonship off of Zanu-PF, they got some key posts including this Home Affairs that canít be given to anyone else and ironically Violet, Mugabe did not get to say sorry to the 20 000 people or their families that Priscilla referred to earlier on, that died in Matabeleland. The argument of ZAPU was that if they went in then this would bring development into Matabeleland which had been ravished by civil war and had remained underdeveloped.
Sadly the people in that region of the country are still yearning to see that reality, 1987 was a long time away. We can either say those from ZAPU who went into the unity government in 1987 lacked vision or leadership. Or we can say that this serves us - as Priscilla and Chamisa rightly say - a relationship is first and fundamentally about trust and secondly about enforceability of your ambitions, even when trust is at its minimum. The currency must be drawn from how do you enforce or can you enforce.
Iíve heard my colleagues admit that because the coercive arms of state are safely in the hands of Zanu-PF, that we are not going to see transformation of political culture and conduct of the armed forces anytime soon. Iíve heard them talk about the judiciary; Priscilla says it is a problem - civil society activists would have stronger words on how law has become a dirty word in Zimbabwe . If you are seen to be non-compliant to differ as I am happily doing now, you most probably are likely to be vilified.
Take the Tendai Biti case for example. It is clear that the charge of treason itself is in any other part of the world, laughable and the State is at liberty to withdraw a case before trial, there hasnít been a trial yet, and as a gesture of goodwill, they could have withdrawn; it was a trumped up charge by a regime which had lost an election in March and feared. And what was the Tendai Biti statement?
That the MDC had won the March election and that therefore the MDC would declare itself a winner. And if that qualifies as treason I donít know what doesnít.
And then you go to the Jestina Mukoko and others. Unless there is evidence thatís been presented, cogent evidence, if the charges are based on all the stuff that we have read and seen and heard, then it is clear that the state, presently the Zanu led state, knows it has no basis to detain some of the people who are in detention and that it doesnít need magic to withdraw those charges - even after the attorney-general who has publicly declared that heís a Zanu-PF activist, could simply say listen, these charges are unsustainable and they know that they are unsustainable.
So we move beyond the rule of law question, letís go to the money issue, the Gono factor. OK, Iíve nothing personal against the good governor and his lottery economy theories but one of the fundamentals why people are in the misery they are in is because of bad policy decisions, terrible policy decisionsÖ
PRISCILLA: Can I butt in?
Can I butt in, sorry Brian but I think Ö
BRIAN: Can I finish please?
PRISCILLA: I just wanted to say this Ö
BRIAN: Can I finish the idea?
BRIAN: If you are waiting for transition the parties have agreed, I was baffled that we proceeded, because this deal was going to take just a few days before its finalisation, we proceeded to issue a new monetary statement number one, we proceed to issue a new budget OK?
And thereís absolutely no logic, why that new budget could not have waited for the substantive new Minister of Finance and for the inclusive government to make those decisions. The fundamental decisions were made under the new budget that altered the direction again, and one can look at enforceability, can look at whether it is progressive or not.
Essentially these are golden handcuffs because in the spirit of cooperation people are going to say, to use a Chamisa term, to show leadership by not concentrating on how some of these monetary statement pronouncement or the budget may be a major restraint to reconstruction - so irrespective of whether or not you are taking out the governor or leaving the governor there.
So for me, the issue was never, and I have been consistent in this Violet, and that is why I disagree with my brother Chamisa. I was never fixated by who becomes governor. Iím very conscious and familiar of the functions of governors. I donít see how the functions of governors necessarily deal with the humanitarian crisis in the country. The reason why aid agencies, the reason why humanitarian support was not getting to the people is that the government consciously stopped that aid getting to the people. How do you resolve it?
The government can simply make a decision - the inclusive government - that aid can now come to the people.
Number two, the economic crisis: I donít think you resolve it by making sure that this 5-4-1 principle that Chamisa (talked about), these matters are matters of relevance to the political party as a political party and around political power.
Government is run by functionaries and bureaucrats. The discussion of what happens to the bureaucrats, the actual technical staff under the ministerial direction hasnít even been on the table as far as we know it.
And just to answer Chamisa, Iím surprised the MDC issued an official statement circulated on the internet ahead of the SADC summit, saying there was a document that had been leaked, indicating that SADC would not alter its position, that SADC would try and whip the MDC into line. I did not issue that document; it was issued by the MDC circulated ahead of the SADC summit. I am aware, I was somewhere near Pretoria , of the fact that people went in, had discussions one by one, but fundamentally SADC stuck to its decision. Right?
BRIAN: Zanu stuck to its decision.
CHAMISA: But that is not correct.
BRIAN: Frankly as a lawyer, the question of whether or not you had Amendment number 19 enacted first or after the inauguration is an argument in futility.
BRIAN: In fact if there was an agreement Amendment number 19 would regulate operations of the Prime Ministerís office or the executive authority, it really makes no real difference whether you pass it the day after or the day before the inauguration.
VIOLET: Brian, let me go to Priscilla first, and then to Chamisa to respond to your statement.
PRISCILLA: Yes I was just going to say very, very quickly, and to some extent, Iím finding this very frustrating. The issue of how bad Zanu-PF is, is no longer the issue. We would not be in the situation that we are in right now if we did not have the kind of regime like Zanu-PF. So that is understood, we know the regime we are talking about, which is why Iím saying, Iím not saying we shouldnít worry about the things that have happened, right now the people who are being abducted, the people who have been beaten up. But Iím saying for me, what happened in í85, í86, í87 showed everybody - itís unfortunate that the world at that time did not think it was important - that you would have people who would cut open womenís tummies if they were pregnant and killed 20 000 people.
For me it is a clear sign that we are dealing with a regime that is bad, that will not care about what happens to the people of Zimbabwe , but precisely because of that, this is where we are here. So the question for me is not about how bad Zanu-PF is, we can sit here and talk about what they have done, the question, the fundamental question and that is what I would like Brian to tell me is what exactly he thinks should have happened, other than the negotiation process, what else should have happened?
Because for me what I saw were Zimbabweans getting out in droves from Zimbabwe , to Botswana , to Kenya , to wherever. What I saw is an inability to even begin - and Brian will know the number of times that we tried to mobilise people to get into the streets because we thought it probably an alternative to get this system out. So it is not out of a lack of not having tried any other process. People were then forced to begin to say perhaps this is the other alternative to achieve the things that we have always wanted. To begin to come up with a new constitution like Chamisa says. To begin to create transformational institutions that will make sure that we will never again be subjected to a person like Robert Mugabe or to a regime like Zanu-PF.
So if he can tell me that there is something that was an alternative, was a plan ĎBí, that would ensure that we would wake up in the morning and we would not have Zanu-PF or Robert Mugabe I want to know that because I personally, as Priscilla, would jump to that point. I donít want to be sitting across from people I know I canít trust. People that I know are waiting to go and get somebody and throw them into prison. I donít like that. Can we be clear about what else could have been done differently because we want that other alternative?
VIOLET: OK weíll come to that, Iíll ask Brian that question but let me go first to Chamisa for his reaction.
NELSON: Well I just wanted to remind my brother Brian that yes, itís good to give Muzorewa and ZAPUís as examples, but just to remind him we are not Muzorewa, we are not ZAPU. Yes my brother, it is good to be pessimistic, to be cautious, but you must remember that for the benefit of the people, at times pessimism is erosive and corrosive. It gets you shackled and manacled, that you then failed to even realise that which you are able to do. It undermines your capacity and your ability to unleash your very potential.
And I just want to say as far as we are concerned we are conscious of the accident of history, the ones you have given, but the issue of the humanitarian challenge that you say we wonít be able to respond to, we are going to be firmly in charge of the ministry that is going to superintend and shepherd the work of all the non-governmental organisations. And we believe that as government we are going to allow for the humanitarian support to flow in the country for the benefit of ordinary people. We are going to eliminate the use of food as a political weapon - which has been the ailment of this regime.
We are going in terms of cost, of the issue of making sure that we have a political party blind strategy of reaching out to people in the rural areas in terms of food. We are going to achieve that and I can assure you if you have any doubts, come in two weeks time when we are in government, then you will see what we are capable of doing.
The second issue, you have said that we did not address the issue of bureaucracy, permanent secretaries and those who work in government. We did but we canít exhaust all these issues. There are other issues that are matters of strategy. They would not want to be put on the marketplace of argumentation and contestation because it doesnít really help. But we have exhausted this matter and I think if you ask my sister Priscilla she will tell you that this matter is a matter that was quite dominant in the discussions, we resolved on this matter and we have a solution to this matter.
But just to conclude what was said by my sister Priscilla, itís good to say that what we have as a strategy on the table, what we have adopted is not good enough, but itís also important when we criticise to have a palpable, credible solution set - what I would call a progress matrix. What we are all going to say indeed, this is the best way forward for our people. You know that we have scars; you know that we have lost friends, relatives, brothers and sisters because of this struggle. We have been in this struggle, we are in this struggle, and we shall be in this struggle until a new Zimbabwe is achieved.
So for those who may believe that possibly what they are seeing is ourselves migrating from the founding objectives of the Movement and the peoplesí struggle I can tell you that that is not correct. We are still on and I am sure that with our collective energy, our collective determination, we are going to overcome and we shall overcome. God is on our side, time is on our side, the people are on our side and of course history though with some variations is on our side
VIOLET: Now Brian we have heard your argument but you havenít provided any solutions, what options did the MDC have prior to the SADC meeting?
BRIAN: I did. No I have never put the SADC meeting as an option platform. In the interview last week I said openly I have never been opposed to negotiations. Chamisa knows that even when the MDC itself was not talking negotiations, I was already talking, that no single party can run the country alone, so negotiations may be part of a road map. If you take the road map that Chamisa talked about, you got elections before negotiations and those elections gave you a majority over Zanu. OK?
Which many in the MDC did not believe; once again Violet you will recall I was on your programme a few days before the March election and I did say I had been in Zimbabwe and my prediction is Mugabe will be shocked by the rural vote and that the MDC would do better than it even thought itself. And I even indicated that the electoral, I said over and over again on this programme, that no single tactical strategy, so it wasnít just the streets alone that would deliver, it wasnít just the elections alone that would deliver and it wasnít just the negotiation alone.
My fundamental objection is this, whichever one of these three that you apply, ZANU got all its fundamentals squarely assured and fixed. Fundamentals around its concern with the security apparatus immediately and not postponed to the future. Fundamentals around land clearly secured.
What were our fundamentals?
And Chamisa is right. I can pull out several of his interviews and Priscillaís - fundamentals on the question of the rule of law, justice and democracy. Ours are contingent upon certain events happening in the future. I think that in terms of saying we have secured a victory there we will be kidding ourselves.
Number two, fundamentals about recreating an economy: I said last week, the ministries responsible for an economic turnaround, that is how our new Zimbabwe will come about, not simply by ensuring that Zimbabweans now have food that they donít have because a regime simply ordered that they shouldnít get food. But fundamentals of how do you reconstruct an economy, how do you reindustrialise, the levers for reindustrialisation, for economic turnaround are not anywhere within the oppositionís control. Right?
VIOLET: But Brian, how do you get control of these things?
The MDC have tried the streets, theyíve tried negotiations, theyíve tried electionsÖ
BRIAN: Thatís why I said they should have negotiated stronger on that because we are being sidetracked on that, weíve got governors, we got this. Iím saying there were clear five principles for the MDC which were the core for the partyís five founding doctrines. And for you to move forward, if you are negotiating saying we have reached a deal that is workable, at least you have to be certain and Iím saying that an economic turnaround and redevelopment thereís no certainty. The economy and the levers of the economic turnaround were negotiated away. When justiceÖ
PRISCILLA: ButViolet, can I just ask Brian this quick question, perhaps Iím just not getting it. Somebody needs to explain to me how Zanu-PF with the kind of people that we know work in Zanu-PF will be able to sit in a cabinet where they are fifteen and there are sixteen combined MDC progressive individuals, how Zanu-PF will still be able to push the kind of policies that theyíve pushed before without being challenged?
BRIAN: Thatís easy.
PRISCILLA: And I sit here and I say thatÖ
BRIAN: Easy. Last week I gave you the example...
PRISCILLA: Can I finish?
And I have actually been jokingly saying part of what I find fascinating is the fact that you find a real male, young, vibrant, intelligent, thinking that it would not be possible to go toe to toe with the kind of the Mutasas, the John Nkomos, the Mudenges who from what weíve known of them have done absolutely nothing when they go to this cabinet. This is a cabinet that now has executive power. This is a cabinet that now has a Prime Minister. So can somebody explain to me why it would not be possible to sit in that room and begin to table and interrogate certain policies?
Letís not go back to what has happened to Gono and to Chinamasa because I can also go back to that particular issue. The reason why we discussed this and we discussed this at JOMIC when we met - the reason why we had to reach a compromise about them tabling this thing is because they came back to us and said we need, by the constitution of Zimbabwe, to have tabled the budget by the 31 st. We then said there should be no debate, as far as we are concerned, you can table it but when the new Minister of Finance comes in to play. That Minister of Finance is able to come back and re-craft a completely new budget.
Yes I agree there are certain policies that could have been put into place like the changes around the dollar etc, etc. But in my opinion the moment you do have an inclusive government and you have proof of the kind of people that Iíve known participate in some of these political parties, I find it completely unbelievable that young people can actually be afraid of going to sit in a room with tired old men that we have seen in Zanu. I can understand them using coercive instruments, the police, whoever, but if we are going to be sitting in a room in a meeting it will be interesting to see how somebody would be able to table the kind of tired policies without those policies being challenged.
I need to be educated unless people know something else that I donít know, because I, as a person who has been a Member of Parliament, the only reason why Zanu-PF would beat us in parliament would be because there would be more of them, they would just basically say handei tino vhota - letís go and vote. And that is how weíd lose it. But in terms of the technical, intellectual discussions they would not be able to challenge even the things that will be putting onto the table. So I need to understand how 16 people against 15 will at least fail to begin to deliver or to interrogate the kind of things that these people will be bringing onto the table. I canít.
BRIAN : Iím hoping that the two MDC twins have reached an era of agreement, where they agree on all things. That 15 against 16 number could become a curse and not a blessing, a sort of bickering, so the first assumption you make is that the MDCs will always agree on all issues - the two MDCs. And the last few months donít necessarily suggest that it will necessarily always be so. OK?
PRISCILLA: It doesnít have to be.
BRIAN : Ya. Number two, this is about power politics by the way. ZAPU was in government when they were arrested with such significant representation and so Chamisa, my reference to Muzorewa and Nkomo was not to suggest you are that but historyís our best schoolmaster, especially with the consistent history dealing with the same characters.
And Priscilla, this is not a deification of the badness of Zanu. You all talked glibly about strategy. In strategy Sun Tzu says Ďyou must know your enemy better than you know yourselfí. OK?
And in this particular matter, I have already demonstrated the key levers by which power flows. What will you do if you are unhappy for example with a decision made by Zanu in the component of the ministry it controls?
Have an argument in cabinet?
Argue ad infinitum?
How will you restrain because there is no power that says when you have this argument what will you do - you take it to Parliament, take it to Senate?
The mechanisms you have in place are tedious so you will be lost in argumentÖ
PRISCILLA : Brian but itís true of every cabinetÖ
BRIAN: Öand in this particular instantÖ
PRISCILLA : What you are saying is true of every cabinetÖ
VIOLET: Brian hold on.
PRISCILLA : You are not seeking to create a choir. I think it will be healthy. If you go back Brian very quickly to the budget that Zanu-PF presented if you didnít see panic in that budget I donít know what else you will be able to see - the amount of policy changes that are in that budget. We may not agree with them but for me it was indicative of a party that realises it could not continue to do business as usual and for me that it the point Iím trying to raise.
There is also a realisation in Zanu that you cannot continue to do the things in the manner that youíve done it before. That is why we have fought with Zanu over the years. All of a sudden they come back - ZINWA (water authority)?
You would have thought that these people were not hearing, but that for me is a clear sign.
And I can tell you that even in terms of talking to some of the Zanu people, part of their biggest challenge right now is that they know that we will have a lot of young, intelligent, progressive individuals that are going to be getting into that cabinet and that you cannot continue to bring the kind of deadwood that theyíve had, but because of the political dynamics in Zanu, they might not be able to have that fundamental shift.
And for me Brian, you guys out there, you guys in civic society, you guys who think you can assist, thatís what we should be talking about. How do we capacitate the guys that are going to go in?
How do we ensure that when you put up certain policies, they are pro-poor, pro- all the things we have spoken about as people who are in this struggle?
That is the question.
And like Chamisa was saying, more of that positive and not negative - we are not saying donít critique them, by all means do because you are warning those people who are going in. But whilst you do that also begin to say we are prepared to be doing this, we are prepared to be giving you the technical support, we are prepared to do the technical backup, we are prepared to begin to say to you how are you going to be able to put your policies in such a way that you can move or you can run with that.
I think thatís what this new government needs. And to some extent itís a plea, to say itís not as if the people went to this negotiating table to give away things. It was not fun to be sitting around with these guys for all these years. It was difficult and it was painful but it was the best that we could bring at this particular point in time. How do you begin to strengthen that - that we are bringing to you guys?
PRISCILLA: But if you beat us up every minute, you tire us out.
VIOLET : Priscilla we have been receiving a lot of emails from listeners and readers about this whole power sharing deal and some people are finding it difficult to understand how this inclusive government actually works and theyíre asking on what basis is a party like yours, which lost in the elections, derive legitimacy to play a sensitive national role. How would you respond to that?
PRISCILLA: Thereís a difference between Priscilla as an individual losing a constituency to a political party losing. These particular negotiations were premised on the fact of the March elections which we all agree are the only legitimate elections that we can talk about. And out of those elections, there were three political parties that came out. Yes, we had the least number of seats, but those seats were also premium to some extent, because we have a hung parliament, so those particular seats are premium seats because they then give you more power to be able to move the two who under normal circumstances probably would not have agreed.
In fact the role that we played in this was because we had the deciding vote so to say. It was possible to go and engage with our colleagues in the MDC , to also engage with Zanu so that they can begin to have a compromise position.
So yes I know it is difficult to be able to understand how those that seemingly are weak beginning to play the same kind of role as those that are seen to be big. But the world over when you have coalitions - infact youíll find smaller parties who in essence have a vote that can swing a hung parliament in the manner that this one came out, become even much more powerful because they do have certain bargaining power. But I think that what is important is to begin to separate a Priscilla in a constituency and a Priscilla who is a leader in a political party and as such can go and sit as a legitimate negotiator.
So we do have the legitimacy to do so, we do have the seats to be able to sit at that table, and I believe we did play a good role. I mean I canít be a judge of whether it was the best role for us to play but we remain faithful to certain principles which is why on one other day youíd find that we would be in total agreement with our colleagues in the MDC Tsvangirai, on the other youíd find that we would have a disagreement with them. And we think it is healthy, it is important as long as you are clear on what principle you are standing and we will remain so.
Which is why I was saying to Brian, you do not need a choir to go into that cabinet. But from what I know in terms of the fundamentals of our policies as the two MDC formations because basically we have not changed our policies whether it is RESTART whether it is all those policies, we still firmly believe in them and if the fight in cabinet is going to be about policies, itís going to be about the pro-poor they are going to be progressive, I donít see us having disagreements at least on matters of principle, values and policies. I can see a difference with ZANUÖ
PRISCILLA: Ö which is why we are not in Zanu-PF. I can see that the two of us working very well which is why at least when Iím talking about cabinet, I do the 16 vs 15.
VIOLET : Chamisa, what are your thoughts on what Priscilla has just said and also on the issue of the Mutambara MDC holding the balance of power in this whole game?
NELSON: Well we believe that Zimbabwe is too great a country with sufficient political space for all of us to play our role and play our part. I believe our colleagues in the Mutambara group have a role to play and I also believe that others who are not in political parties but who are in the civic movement have wisdom, voices of reason that we need to embrace. The reason why we are where we are is because we have become obscurantists as a country and also as a leadership, we donít entertain that variety of ideas, that divergence of opinions. I think for example what you are doing Violet, it has to be acknowledged and we need to thank you because we need to have a discussion of all these different ideas, to have an osmosis of those ideas, let the best idea dominate. And I think that is the best way to go.
So I have no problems because I know people may complain here and there but this thing is a compromise arrangement - where we are saying itís a temporary arrangement. We have had a tyre puncture, we need to make sure that our vehicle called Zimbabwe gets from point A to point B; for it to get there, we need everyone so that we are able to help each other and one another to move to that position.
And I must say that we are not under any illusion Violet that the climb is going to be steep, that the journeyís going to be tough and the swim is going to be rough. We know that it is a very difficult challenge but we have to deploy our might and name to make sure that we do something for our country, we do something for prosperity. We are possibly going to be victims of what we have done, because people may feel that we have made the wrong decision, but I can tell you, that what we are going to create and what we are going to give birth to is a democratic Zimbabwe, anchored on institutions of justice, of prosperity, of democracy and we are not in any way going to regret the decision we have made because we have made this decision selflessly in the interests of our country.
In fact what you must also realise it that as the MDC by going into this inclusive government, we do not think this inclusive government is a one-way street. We have an exit capacity or exit strategy. We have the reverse gear in abundance. If we are not comfortable or happy with it we have other options that we are going to pursue - but ours is a conviction that we are fighting a democratic struggle and that democratic struggle is what model we are calling incremental democratisation.
If you look at our struggle since 1999 we have managed to gain certain zones of autonomy we need to guard them, we need to maintain them and I think we have managed to do that and we need to continue to make sure that we achieve what we want. And I must say that where we are, I think we are in the right direction, we are going to stay the course and I can assure you, come two weeks time the situation in this country is going to be very different. Weíll try to change like I told you, we are not joining to be the same we are joining to make a difference.
VIOLET : Now you know Nelson, the AU has called for the removal of targeted sanctions, what is your position of sanctions?
NELSON : Well look, it is the wish of the AU, it has to be respected. We have said that the issue of sanctions is an issue between the yester-years regime of Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF and the countries that imposed the sanctions because of a deficit of good governance, because of a deficit of good behaviour -in terms of how inter state relations were undertaken. But as a new inclusive government we are going to make sure that in the standing of nations we are not going to be found wanting. We need to make sure we are a civilised nation, internationally and globally, whatever we do we should not be found to be committing sins of commission or omission in terms of violating the peopleís rights, undermining the security of persons or even threatening the fundamental and basic freedoms of the people. So those are the issues we need to make sure that we put in place.
As regards to the yester year wrongs it is up to Zanu-PF, we are trying to help them remedy their mistakes, we hope their mistakes are going to be resolved and they are going to be willing partners in us trying to clean up their mess. You know that, my brother Brian was saying look you canít work with the problem but at times when the problem is part of the solution you will have to make sure that you emphasise more the solution part of the problem than the problem part of the problem and that is where we are.
VIOLET : But Nelson on the issue of sanctions, what spurred them on were also issues to do with human rights violations and correct me if Iím wrong, the GPA ties you and even the Mutambara MDC to this. According to the GPA it is asking for you to campaign for the removal of this, will you campaign for the removal of sanctions?
NELSON : We donít need to carry a campaign in words or to issue resolutions or communiquťs or government position on the lifting of sanctions. What is going to lift sanctions and what is going to remedy our relations that are ruptured with the international community is our conduct, our behaviour as a government and that government has to make sure that we meet certain minimum basic standards that are acceptable internationally, so itís not a question of trying to shout about the need to lift sanctions, that will not improve our relations. What will improve our relations is our conduct, our behaviour, the way we respect our citizens. You know that in any democracy the most important office is the office of the citizen. We need to respect those citizens and that way we earn our admiration and respect and honour in the family of nations.
VIOLET : And Priscilla briefly, what is your position on sanctions?
PRISCILLA: Well the position is like Chamisa has articulated, but I should just emphasise the point that I think no-one is joining a Zanu-PF government, I think we need to emphasise that. We are forming an inclusive government. Itís a rebirth, itís something new and whenever you give something new, you set certain principles, certain values of how you are going to engage with the international community and we hope it is on that basis of the new values, the new principles that we set up that the international community will begin to engage with us. So I donít think it is necessary to go back to what Zanu-PF did because they did it as an entity, as Zanu-PF. What we are now going to have is a new Zimbabwe, a new government, an inclusive government because I keep getting people saying these things about oh you are going into a government of national unity, you are joining as if, there are two people that are coming to join Zanu because Zanu is already sitting.
WE are setting a new thing and I think what we emphasise as we engage with the international community is that please acknowledge that this is a new thing, these are our principles, these are our values, so when you judge us, judge us on this particular partnership and the new principles and values that we have set up. And I think if we look at it in that light, then it becomes a different discussion a different context altogether.
VIOLET : Before I get a final word from Brian, let me go back to Nelson. What are your plans as a party around staking a claim to the Ministry of Information, given its enormous strategic value and historic failure under the Mugabe regime?
NELSON : Well unfortunately, or I donít know whether I should say fortunately, the Ministry of Information is going to be under Zanu-PF, but this is not going to mean a lot. Iím sure my dear colleague - Honourable Misihairabwi indicated the decisions are going to be made by the cabinet. The cabinet has executive authority and I believe that whatever policy is going to be taken by this inclusive government, possibly Iíll not be part of that government because Iíve not been appointed, Iím not clairvoyant, I donít know if Iím going to be - but those who are going to be in this government have a duty and obligation to make sure that we restore fundamental freedoms, media freedom being one of the most critical,, bench marks, going to be used to yardstick or mark the progress that has been made by this inclusive government.
So it is our view that the policy of government is going to try and help the liberalisation of the airwaves making sure that Zimbabwe is a safe stadium for journalists to play the way they want. And Iím sure Violet, that once this government starts to take shape and form you are going to be a happy guest to this government. And I believe that we will to entertain you in this country. Thank you.
VIOLET : Well thatís hard to believe! Iím sorry to be a sceptic here, or cynical here Chamisa because when you told us that Zanu-PF is going to remain with this ministry, it just sent alarm bells. I donít know what our listeners and our readers will think about that. Before I go to Brian, Priscilla, are you going to have any position in government?
PRISCILLA : Ah well, itís not up to me, I may, I may not. You know this is the prerogative of the various Principals, they make the appointments, it also depends on who is in, who is out, so I really donít know. But what Iím very sure about is that at least on our part as a political party, we will certainly have good, committed, principled people coming into that government.
VIOLET : Brian, a final word.
BRIAN : We all love Zimbabwe dearly. We have all at various points struggled for and continue to struggle for the ideal of a new Zimbabwe . And the problem in Zimbabwe has no Zanu individuals as in chi- Zanu - the political culture of intolerance, the political culture that has allowed pillage of national resources, a corruption.
One of my major worries is not just the continuity of the same - the old politics of vilification, of stone age mentality that depends on who has a larger stick or a bigger stone to throw, but it is the possibility that as we talk glibly about newness and because of the shakiness of the foundations, questions of corruption of the new by the old, questions of cooperation will become evident.
Priscilla asked would we lend technical support?
Oh certainly if thereís consultation on how to make pro-poor policies, consultation on critical issues, weíd happily do, they are still our friends. Does this alter my scepticism on this marriage of inconvenience?
I think that Iím hopeful in the spirit of Zimbabweans that have kept them struggling since the inception of the colonial state. Iím hopeful in the spirit of Zimbabweans that has kept Zimbabweans alive even in the harshest of conditions. We have some of the finest expertise across this globe and on this continent and Iím sure that expertise, if you have a system that respects it, it will lend itself to rebuild the country.
Iím not confident even at the end of this interview that if the Information Ministry is still safely in the hands of the old - which has the ability to tell truth or lies. And nobodyís talking about un-banning SW Radio Africa and VOP. These things are not to be done privately on our behalf. I think these things ought to be an open conversation that these radio stations need to be un-banned. They are Zimbabwean radio stations serving interests of the people who now say they are going into government and Zimbabweans generally.
Number two, we need to think carefully, between the sceptics and the optimists, Chamisa says the MDC has an exit strategy, well we donít know what that exit strategy is. The truth of the matter is that an exit strategy is like a divorce, it is messy, it is disruptive and the clearer the exit strategy is to the people of Zimbabwe , the better prepared they are.
And I think that itís not sufficient to say people are not blind. It behoves any leadership to actually say, if the following are not fulfilled so that the following is not an issue left to the whims of political leadership, but that the following becomes a position of national consensus and consent. Whether it is MDC Mutambara, MDC Tsvangirai or Zanu, people are able to say yes, these fundamentals that would have triggered the exit have not been met.
They say it is an interim arrangement. How interim is interim given the parlous situation in Zimbabwe ?
Very soon we will be going into election campaigns. The politics of positioning or posturing, and self interest are going to kick in again.
Iím persuaded that Zimbabwe will survive in spite of and despite of poor deals or bad deals, partly because the spirit and optimism of the people is not anchored on this and Iím not going to anchor my optimism on bad foundations. My optimism is in the people of Zimbabwe . My optimism is in the beauty of our country and its expertise - the depth of the quality of its people. My colleagues differ with me and I accept that this is part of the new culture we are creating. We would rather differ here. But only time will tell, only time will tell. Iíll be happy to apologise Violet should time prove me wrong. I hope thereíll be the same courage on the part of our colleagues should time prove me right.
VIOLET : OK. Iím afraid I have to end here. Thank you very much Brian Kagoro, Nelson Chamisa and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
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HARARE, 10 February 2009 (IRIN) - Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), says he has managed to win key concessions from President Robert Mugabe ahead of being sworn into office as Prime Minister on 11 February.
Speaking in the capital, Harare, after he announced his ministerial nominees to a government of national unity, Tsvangirai said most of the issues that had stalled a power-sharing administration were being finalised.
MDC demands ahead of the formation of a new government included the following:
- Fair distribution of provincial governors
- Release of journalists and human rights activists detained on allegations of banditry
- Equitable distribution of key ministries
- Enactment of the National Security Council Law to replace the military-dominated Joint Operations Command
- Effect Constitutional Amendment 19, legalising Tsvangirai's appointment
- Review the appointments of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor and the attorney general.
Tsvangirai said out of the 10 provincial governors, his party would be awarded five, based on the provinces where MDC registered a majority in the March 2008 elections.
"We are going to get five governors out of all the 10 and the issue is just being finalised. On the issue of detained activists, we are working very hard to ensure that they are released before the swearing into office," Tsvangirai said.
Parliament has already passed Constitutional Amendment 19, which awaits the signature of Mugabe, while the National Security Council Bill is before parliament. Tsvangirai will become a member of the council, which will oversee the operations of security forces that over the years have been accused of terrorising opposition supporters.
However, Mugabe has refused to yield on his control of the key ministries of defence, justice, foreign affairs, information and local government. He said outstanding issues like the appointments of the RBZ governor and attorney general would be discussed when the MDC is in government.
Among Tsvangirai's cabinet nominees is MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti as finance minister. Giles Mutsekwa, a former pre-independence Rhodesian soldier, has controversially been named to co-lead the ministry of home affairs. One MDC official described it as "waiving a red flag at ZANU" and unnecessarily provocative.
Tension is also simmering after Tsvangirai failed to name any MDC MPs from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, for cabinet positions. They won Bulawayo for Tsvangirai, beating off the challenge of the breakaway MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara, who is to be appointed deputy prime minister under the terms of the power-sharing agreement.
From: woza solidarity
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 1:42 AM
Subject: WOZA march for valentine's day - 10 arrested
Approximately 600 members of WOZA and MOZA demonstrated for several blocks to Parliament in Harare today. The peaceful group sang as they marched from the Karigamombe Centre up Kwame Nkrumah Ave, past the offices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Parliament. Riot police stationed outside parliament allowed the demonstrators to leave their placards and flyers at the entrance and disperse peacefully.† However it has subsequently emerged that eight WOZA women and 2 lawyers have been arrested.†
A WOZA press statement today says:-
ĎTheir arrest and arbitrary detention one day before the swearing in of a new unity government in Zimbabwe clearly shows that ZANU PF has no intention of changing its repressive way of operating.,
During todayís march WOZA gave out candles and matches as part of their campaign urging Zimbabweans not to just complain but to light the darkness by continuing to be active in demanding social justice.
WOZASolidarity will be reflecting WOZAís message on Saturday 14th Feb outside Zimbabwe House, 429 the Strand, London.† We urge all Zimbabweans and sympathisers to† join us and turn up the volume for social justice in Zimbabwe.