|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
"We believe that the only way to resolve the current crisis and salvage what remains of the nation is through a process of serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF."
"The MDC will not accept any transitional model, which simply seeks to incorporate us, as junior partners, into the structures of illegitimate power dominated by Mugabe and his cronies. We will neither be part to a dubious process that seeks to expand and sanitize ZANU PF's illegitimate rule nor will we accept a secondary role in any transitional arrangement. "
"...... we are willing to give them [Mbeki and Obasanjo] a second chance. For them to regain our confidence, they must renew their credibility. Their impartiality must be beyond question and there must be a practical and tangible demonstration of their even-handedness in their dealings with the parties to the Zimbabwe crisis."
Tsvangirai's address to senior party officials, city councillors and members of
parliament on the way forward
May 30, 2003
It is now quite clear even to Robert Mugabe himself that repressing peaceful legitimate protests is no longer an effective strategy to maintain illegitimate power. The only safe exit for Mugabe and his cronies is through a restoration of the rights of the people, the restoration of the legitimacy of government and the opening up of democratic space.
The MDC is quite clear about how this should be achieved. We have a clear vision of the future of this country and the resolution of the crisis besetting the nation. We believe that the only way to resolve the current crisis and salvage what remains of the nation is through a process of serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF. Such a process can only start in earnest if the Mugabe regime commits itself to the creation of a peaceful environment in the context of which a meaningful political engagement can be undertaken.
As a demonstration of its sincerity, the Mugabe regime must immediately put a stop to all forms of state-sponsored violence, uphold the rule of law and respect human rights. All ZANU PF militias must be disbanded, their training must stop immediately and the war veterans must be disarmed.
The regime must ensure that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) must operate professionally in accordance with their constitutional mandates and cease to participate in politics as organized units on behalf of ZANU PF and against the wishes of the people. Repressive and anti-democratic laws such as POSA and AIPPA must be immediately revoked.
These are the minimum conditions that would create a peaceful political environment that would enable serious dialogue to take place. It is only in the context of such an environment that negotiations towards a transition to legitimacy and a democratic government can take place.
The transitional period should never be used as a weapon to diffuse ZANU PF's responsibility for the national ills confronting the nation. Any transitional arrangements must focus specifically on the implementation of agreed measures necessary to return the country to legitimacy, democracy, peace and stability.
The essential goal of the transitional period therefore must be to put in place irrevocable measures leading to and facilitating the holding of free and fair presidential polls, ushering in a legitimate government expressing the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
The transitional period will have to be unequivocally defined and there must be guarantees for an unimpeded progress towards democratic legitimacy. There must be a deliberate effort to harmonize the state structures with the reality of the people's sovereign wishes and this can only be achieved through the creation of institutions that recognize and guarantee democracy and multi-party electoral politics.
In particular, the conditions for free and fair elections must be tested against the SADC Electoral Norms and Standards to which even the illegitimate Mugabe regime is a willing signatory. Domestic and international election observers must be allowed free and unfettered access to observe the polls. There must be unrestricted local, regional and international media coverage of the elections and all the freedoms of association and assembly must be guaranteed
The sacredness of the people's vote must be recognized and protected. In that regard, an Independent Electoral Authority composed of Zimbabweans of integrity will have to be established and a transparent and accurate voters' roll is indispensable to the expression of people's sovereign will.
The MDC will not accept any transitional model, which simply seeks to incorporate us, as junior partners, into the structures of illegitimate power dominated by Mugabe and his cronies. We will neither be part to a dubious process that seeks to expand and sanitize ZANU PF's illegitimate rule nor will we accept a secondary role in any transitional arrangement.
We understand that Mugabe is only prepared to relinquish his illegitimate power if he is guaranteed what he calls a safe exit. At last he has accepted that he is totally irrelevant to the future of the country and an obstacle to constructive change. In that regard, let me set out clearly the position of the MDC.
First, we in the MDC have never preached or practiced the politics of vengeance and retribution. I have stated several times to local and international audiences that we are determined never to allow the horrors of the past to haunt and influence the future of our country. That position has not changed.
Second, we are more than prepared and ready to consider Mugabe's immediate exit, but that should not be a precondition for engaging in transitional dialogue. Mugabe is now a clear liability to the country, the region and internationally.
Third, the current constitution is quite clear on the process that should be followed after Mugabe's departure. We see no reason why those provisions should be varied or tampered with.
Fourth, we shall never accept the linkage of the dialogue towards a transitional period to Mugabe's succession plans within his own political party ZANU PF. The MDC cannot reasonably be expected to be part to the reorganisation, renewal and or restructuring of the ZANU PF leadership.
Negotiations must be sincere and in good faith. It will be foolhardy for Mugabe or anybody else in ZANU PF to delude themselves and think that the transitional arrangement will present an excellent opportunity for them to dissolve the unity of purpose of the MDC or force us to become secondary players in the whole scenario. We are unshakeable in our conviction that the transitional period must be used to break the mould of tyrannical politics in Zimbabwe and create a new democratic culture with underpinning political institutions in the country.
We are watching developments on the diplomatic scene with a sense of suspicion and anxiety. We understand that General Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Mr. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa are expressing renewed interest in the Zimbabwe crisis. As long as this renewed interest is sincere, we have no problems with that. But, so far, the record of these two presidents is worrying. They recognized the Mugabe regime after a clearly fraudulent election even in the midst of post-electoral violence. They have subverted and scuttled the multilateral effort through the Commonwealth Troika. They have demonstrated in the past their total support for the illegitimate Mugabe regime. They have shielded the regime against international censure, providing it with succour and comfort. In short they have demonstrated beyond doubt that they are not honest brokers.
There is a common denominator among Mugabe, Mbeki and Obasanjo. In their own reckoning, the transitional process revolves around hammering out a Mugabe succession and exit plan. The reforms, which they have in mind, are simply concessions calculated to incorporate the MDC and save ZANU PF from political oblivion. It is a strategy to ensure that Mugabe's illegitimacy remains unchallenged.
Once again I would like to state quite clearly that we shall never be part to such diabolical schemes. Any Obasanjo-Mbeki diplomatic effort premised on this false start is completely futile.
However, we are willing to give them a second chance. For them to regain our confidence, they must renew their credibility. Their impartiality must be beyond question and there must be a practical and tangible demonstration of their even-handedness in their dealings with the parties to the Zimbabwe crisis.
Finally we in the MDC are ready to govern. We have policy packages ready for implementation and are designed to launch a sustained programme of national revival and reconstruction of our economy in the agricultural, mining and tourism sectors etc. Unemployment has risen to dangerous levels we have emergency plans to kick start the economy and generate the much needed jobs. Our education and health sectors have virtually ceased to function. We have in place a national rescue plan specifically targeted at these critical sectors to ensure that the skills base of the nation is revived and the people's health can be protected.
Internationally we have remained in constant touch with our bilateral and multilateral partners. We have indicated to them and they have agreed to stand ready to offer strategic assistance in critical areas. We are determined that on the morrow of an MDC government, the pariah status earned by the Mugabe regime evaporates and Zimbabwe reassumes its position in the community of respected law-abiding nations.