|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Last Sunday a leading South African newspaper printed a disparaging account of what they called "the ability of the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to lead Zimbabwe". In addition to using a stringer who also writes for the State controlled Sunday Mail in Zimbabwe they quoted Moyo, the Minister of Information in the Mugabe regime and another Mugabe sycophant, Ibbo Mandaza who were quoted as dismissing the MDC leadership as being incapable of effective national leadership. There was only one candidate who gained their approval and that was a particularly nasty Zanu PF thug, called Mnangagwa - currently Speaker of the House of Parliament.
What they failed to report was that it was Mnangagwa who had led the effort in the 80's to crush Ndebele opposition to the one Party state with over 20 000 deaths. They also failed to note that he was on the UN list of those accused of pillaging Congo resources during the four years that the Zimbabwe army spent in the DRC protecting Zanu interests. They also failed to note that he could not even win the Kwe Kwe constituency in 2000 against a virtually unknown MDC candidate who was unable to canvass in his constituency for even one day during the run up to the June 2000 elections because of state sponsored violence and attempts to kill him.
But what about the ability of Morgan Tsvangirai to lead Zimbabwe after any transition? On Sunday I sat in the tent at a MDC rally in Bulawayo where Morgan with others spoke to a crowd I estimated at 25 000 people. Again I was struck by his ability to communicate with a crowd of this size - he had them laughing and cheering. He insisted that a member of the leadership close the rally with prayer. It is always refreshing and encouraging to attend such events - if the media bothered to do so they too might learn something about the man. What a contrast to the sour ranting of Mugabe.
My own initial contact with Morgan came in 1997 when I was elected Chairman of the Industrial Associations that made up the Confederation of Industry in Zimbabwe. We employed 300 000 workers in 38 sectoral employers organisations and had to work with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, of which Morgan was the Secretary General at the time. I can clearly remember my first meeting with Morgan - I did not know him from a bar of soap when I attended a "Labour Summit" to consider the general conditions under which wage and working conditions would be negotiated by the Unions that year.
I was very impressed - he came into the meeting, one of the younger men in the room, but was dominant from the start. It was my first contact with the ZCTU as an employer and I was impressed by three things - they were organised and well briefed, they saw our (the employers) point of view and they recognised that we were working under very adverse circumstances. I can recall how surprised I was when Morgan made the statement at the meeting that 'if nothing is done about the macro economic fundamentals, we (the Unions and the Employers) were wasting our time talking about wages in isolation. Everything we might achieve will be swept away by the collapse of the economic fundamentals". There were few employers there who understood this at the time, how right he was.
I worked with Morgan in his capacity as Secretary General of the ZCTU for three years and my respect for him grew each year. I did not know he only had a limited school education, I did not know he had never been to University, it did not matter, he was very bright, well educated and erudite, an excellent negotiator. He was also clearly in charge of the ZCTU - his personal authority was unchallenged and if we struck a deal with him or with his help, it stuck. Not easy in a Union with hundreds of thousands of members and deeply conflicting interests.
No man or woman in this country has made a bigger impact on this country in the past decade than Morgan Tsvangirai. Lets look at his personal achievements: - He left school early because his family could not afford the school fees, is largely self taught, reads widely and has an excellent mind and understanding of national issues.
He joined the Mineworkers Union when he worked in that industry, rising rapidly through the ranks to become Secretary General of the ZCTU, a post he held for 11 years. Under his leadership the union movement was transformed from a small, badly run organisation with barely 3 per cent of the labor force in its membership, to an organization with over 50 Unions and 50 per cent of the workforce in its membership. He also transformed its leadership from one which was essentially a part of government as an extension of the Zanu PF Party to a genuinely independent, democratic labour movement.
He ran a tight ship and in his last year he administered a budget of over US$10 million. Reporting each year audited accounts that were clean and listed no major problems. This is no mean achievement and at the end of his era at the helm of this very large civic organisation he drove a battered B1600 pick up and lived in a tiny home in a middle class suburb in Harare. This speaks volumes for his personal integrity - something scarce and valuable in any society.
He is married to a superb and beautiful woman - Susan and has five children. Is a devoted family man and lives a very private life despite his position. He does not encourage public exposure of his family and spends as much time as he can with them. He clearly has a personal faith - reads his bible on a regular basis and encourages prayer at all MDC meetings. But he is not what you would call a religious man.
He started the movement to debate the need for a new constitution for the country at a time when the majority of the people had no understanding of its importance. "The problem", he would state at meetings "is that the present constitution gives the President (Mugabe) too much power". He started and chaired the National Constitutional Assembly for its first 5 years. Raised the money and ran a national education program that increased national understanding of the issues to the point where a referendum called by Zanu PF in an attempt to entrench the powers of the President was defeated in early 2000.
He led a campaign to force the government of the day to consult with other stakeholders in the formulation of national policy in the economic field. He demanded that the State put its house in order to ensure that living standards were protected and growth in the economy ensured. When the State repudiated these overtures, he led the decision making process to launch a new political Party which would challenge Zanu PF for power. He put together a gathering in 1999, which brought together in a "Working Peoples Convention" over 350 organisations with the view to bringing together a coalition, which could challenge Zanu PF hegemony effectively. This was successful and led to the formation in late 1999 of the Movement for Democratic Change.
In 2000 from a standing start, the MDC defeated the Government in the February 2000 referendum despite rigging of the national vote to the extent of 15 per cent. Four months later the opposition took 52 per cent of the national vote and 48 per cent of the seats in the Parliament again under conditions of widespread rigging and electoral violence. In 2002 Morgan challenged Mugabe for the presidency and was denied an almost certain victory by desperate rigging and electoral violence and intimidation.
In the three years that he has led the MDC, he has welded together a coherent, united organisation that now has offices in all urban centers, a national structure that embraces all districts in the country and a national leadership which has withstood every attempt by Zanu PF and State agencies to subvert its activities. That is no mean achievement. I can tell you he is a tough disciplinarian, has a wicked sense of humor and is the undisputed leader of the MDC.
But back to the rally on Sunday - many who read this note will not appreciate that Morgan is a Shona speaking member of the Karanga clan, the crowd was largely Ndebele speaking. The Ndebele have a long history of animosity towards the Shona people and after the genocide of the 80's, many reasons for not wanting to be governed by the Shona majority. But there is no doubt about his standing here, a 15-year-old Ndebele girl sang a song of praise to Morgan - all around me women had tears in their eyes. When he stood up to speak the crowd went quiet. In minutes they were laughing.
The MDC is a Party of the poor and disadvantaged - the new rich, fear us, the old rich are distrustful of a social democratic movement. At the rally there were about 20 cars, the rest of the crowd walked or came by bicycle. When Morgan had to find millions of dollars for his bail - all we did was to put 200 litre drums outside our offices on the street and in 2 days we raised more than was needed - in dollars and cents. One drum in Harare contained Z$800 000. Morgan inspires loyalty - his secretary Edeth, saved his life when a group of men tried to throw Morgan out of his 10th floor office window at the ZCTU - she is still his secretary and is fiercely protective.
You cannot buy integrity, or humility, or wisdom. Morgan has all these characteristics. He has survived several assassination attempts, has a brutal work schedule and has worked under intense pressure for years - yet he remains a pillar of strength to those who work with and for him. The best farmers are usually accountants - they know that farming is a business and treat it as such and they also know they must rely on technical advice and support. Mugabe has six University degrees, his Cabinet has had the services of 17 men and women with doctorates in various things - they have been an unmitigated disaster as a government. There is not a single measure of human welfare that is not now negative in relation to the conditions that existed under Smith 23 years ago. There is no doubt in my mind - having worked under Smith and Mugabe for 40 odd years, that Morgan has all the attributes to be an effective national leader - charisma, intellectual grasp and sound personal values. He has also gathered around him men and women who constitute the brightest and the best in Zimbabwe - the best economic brains, key academics, and substantial businesspersons. He takes advice and acts on it but is also his own man and is deeply trusted by the people he has led for more than 15 years - the ordinary working men and women in Zimbabwe.
In my book - he gets my vote.
Bulawayo, May 14th 2003.
MDC 'won't play Mugabe games'
27/05/2003 14:58 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party would not take part in a
transitional government if President Robert Mugabe gave up power, said its
leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday.
Any interim arrangement after Mugabe had to follow constitutional
Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change, told Harare-based
diplomats from the G8 industrialised countries that an acting president
would have to be appointed and elections held within three months,
Speculation that the 79-year-old Mugabe might leave office before his term
expires in 2008 was fanned last week when he urged party supporters to
openly debate his succession.
He also hinted in an interview last month that he was "getting to a stage"
where retirement might be possible.
Tsvangirai - whose party has refused to accept the outcome of last year's
presidential polls which kept Mugabe in office - said if the MDC aligned
itself to the governing Zanu-PF government, it would legitimise Mugabe's
Elections must be held - Tsvangirai
"We will neither be part of a dubious process that seeks to expand and
sanitise Zanu-PF's illegitimate rule, nor will we accept a secondary role in
any so-called transitional arrangement," said Tsvangirai.
He said that if a president left office in Zimbabwe, the constitution
provides for an acting president "logically from the ruling party" to take
over and for elections to held within 90 days to choose a substantive
"We have not sought and never will seek to be accomodated by anybody outside
our democratic entitlement, the rule of law and, indeed, the constitution,"
"The issue of constituional amendment to enable the formation of a so-called
transitional government therefore does not arise," he said.
Tsvangirai, who has called for street anti-government protests next week,
repeated in his statement that "serious and sincere dialogue" was the only
way to end Zimbabwe's political and economic crises.
"The only way to resolve the crisis and salvage what remains of the nation
is through a process of serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and
Zanu-PF," he said. >
Will G-8 Move to Heal Scar On Global Conscience?
Business Day (Johannesburg)
May 27, 2003
Posted to the web May 27, 2003
Leaders of world's richest nations face challenge of helping Africa, when
they gather for the summit at Evian
IN A few days' time members of the world's seven richest countries plus
Russia (the Group of Eight) will be having their annual gathering in Evian,
This meeting is crucial. It is the first G-8 meeting after the end of the
Iraqi war, and is at a time when transatlantic relations (between the EU,
the US and Britain) are at their lowest level since the end of the Cold War.
It takes place at a time when the world is more insecure than ever before,
as a result of increasing terrorist activities. It also takes place at a
time when famine and war continue unabated in parts of Africa without making
headlines on CNN, BBC, Sky News and the world's top newspapers.
What is making headlines are the bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca which
signal the re-emergence of the Al-Qaeda threat. Britain, the US and other
mainly western countries have been forced to close their embassies in Saudi
Arabia. They are all in a state of "high alert" at home and abroad.
The colour-coded homeland security terror alert in the US was raised a notch
to orange, the second from the highest ranking. It was last changed on the
eve of the Iraqi war. British intelligence agencies are concerned about the
UK being targeted. Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament have all
been secured with concrete barriers. Heathrow Airport security has been
On the economic front, US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has voiced
concerns about the threat of deflation. The jostling for lucrative contracts
to rebuild Iraq and exploit its massive oil wealth continues between the
world's richest nations. The French and the Russians had to compromise and
vote for United Nations (UN) resolution 1483, which legitimises the
occupation and reconstruction of Iraq by the coalition.
All these are pressing global issues which require global solutions and
should therefore be discussed at the Evian summit.
However, there is a glaring omission which is as vital if the world is to
become a better and safer place for all. That is Africa. Solutions to the
world's woes would be incomplete unless the plight of Africa is taken into
In the build-up to the prior G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada, there was
widespread expectation that the G-8 countries were due to make significant
contributions to help Africa raise the $64bn needed to implement the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). Those hopes were dashed when
only $1bn was announced by the G-8 to help Nepad.
According to Fortune Magazine, the US spent about 10% of its gross domestic
product (GDP) on the Marshall Plan. However, its overall aid contribution
now is less than 0,2%, according to the Economist. Indeed, most G-8
countries contribute less than the UN's target of 0,7% of GDP. A European
cow gets $2 a day as a subsidy from the EU compared with more than
300-million Africans who live on less than $1 a day. The G-8 summit provides
the leaders of the world's richest nations with an historic opportunity to
reinvent their approaches to global problems new solutions to the old
problems of insecurity caused by the spectre of global terror, poverty and
disease are long overdue.
This requires the articulation of inclusive norms and values that unite
rather than divide the world's people.
The increased state of insecurity, especially in the UK, the US and the
Middle East, threatens to create fortress societies and roll back the gains
What must the G-8 leaders do to contribute to peace, stability, security and
prosperity for all? First, they must take steps to open up their markets to
products from the developing world.
The next round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks is due to take place
in Mexico in September. Evian should be used to build consensus on the
removal of subsidies and protectionist policies and practices that limit
market access for African and developing country products.
More than $300bn is spent on subsidies to western farmers, and the
developing countries lose more than 100bn a year as a result of
protectionist policies. Rich countries need to practise what they preach.
Free and fair trade.
More trade and less aid should underpin Africa's future socioeconomic
prosperity. Africa currently accounts for less than 3% of world trade.
Africans are poorer today than they were 30 years ago.
Second, the G-8 countries need to show the political will and commitment to
find global solutions to global and regional security problems. The notion
of African solutions to African problems has a lot of emotional appeal but
results in western countries abdicating their responsibility when it comes
to conflict resolution in Africa.
Global solutions to African problems underpinned by universal norms and
values are what is required. Peace and security are global public goods. The
G-8 and UN must ensure such basic public goods are available to all.
If the war in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) was about "liberating" the
people of Iraq from a tyrant, the people of Zimbabwe also need to be
liberated from their "tyrant". The people of Ituri in northeast Democratic
Republic of Congo need to be liberated from the tribal warfare that
threatens a repeat of genocide on the Rwandan scale. So do the people of
Ethiopia, who are dying from famine.
The G-8 countries and the UN can and must act to solve African problems.
They can and must disarm warlords anywhere in Africa. Some have even argued
for benign regime change in some failed African states. They also can and
must give more to starving Ethiopians than their fat cows.
Third, more tangible support for Nepad needs to be offered by the G-8. When
Nepad was launched it was hailed by the west as Africa's Marshall Plan. For
Nepad to succeed, the G-8 needs to give the same level of financial
assistance given to the Marshall Plan (10% of US GDP). It is easy to find
excuses such as Zimbabwe not to support Nepad as it is to find excuses to
support it Botswana, SA and many others.
Africa's economic prosperity and development are inextricably intertwined
with global peace and security. Democracy costs money. Africa cannot have
enduring democracies so long as it is poor. Most of the world's democracies
are rich. Conversely, most of the undemocratic, corrupt and tyrannical
regimes are poor.
Investing in the growth of Africa through meaningful financial support for
Nepad will ensure enduring de- mocracy, peace, stability, human rights, good
governance and law and order in Africa and the world. It remains to be seen
if the G-8 will rise to the challenge in Evian.
Dlamini is with Templeton College at Oxford University in the UK.
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE PR COMMUNIQUÉ - May 27, 2003