|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
7 September 2004
PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI’S TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE
At the weekend, we shall celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Movement for Democratic Change – a major force that has changed the political landscape of Zimbabwe and ushered in an era of active, multi-party politics in this country.
After 19 years of Independence and a de-facto one party state, the people turned their backs to empty calls for empty nationalism and declared that post-colonial Zimbabwe needed a new dispensation that enhances the ethos of the liberation struggle.
A long battle of wills began; a major clash of visions ensued, leading to a radical shift in the hearts and minds of the majority. Without a new vision, without a hygienic political beginning, without a vibrant and participatory society and without an innovative political leadership, Zimbabwe risks permanent disability.
September 11, 1999 shall remain permanently engraved in our memory as the day that changed Zimbabwe. On this day, the people took a bold and unprecedented decision to position an alternative political formation, an alternative political movement that represents the future. We are the agents of change. Our final victory is around the corner.
That we met momentous obstacles and challenges is beyond doubt. We withered the storm as we continued to march on. Five years down the line, I am happy to note that you remained focused on the objective. As a result, the world has accepted the MDC as an essential cog in the resolution of the political crisis in Zimbabwe. SADC now agrees with the international community that an election without violence and intimidation is a right for every Zimbabwean. SADC agrees that Zimbabwe needs a new beginning.
The myth of invincibility that has come to be associated with the Robert Mugabe’s regime has been shattered. Autocracy and tyranny under the mask of nationalism has been dealt a fatal blow. The principle doctrine of autocracy on which the Zanu PF dictatorship nourished has been smashed. The very foundation of Mugabe’s tyranny has been defeated. It is a milestone, indeed.
This is your moment. You must celebrate your victory. Through your participation, the final chapter in the history of the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe is being written. As we walk the last mile towards our freedom, no force will deny us our rightful place in Zimbabwe.
I know that there are great expectations from the nation. Our membership, our supporters and our sympathizers as well as the public are therefore eagerly awaiting a positive outcome of the final phase in this struggle.
We must congratulate ourselves as well as our civic partners on the occasion of this victory. The victory is ours, born out of the collective sacrifice of the democratic forces. We have been vindicated.
As you are all aware, we have suspended participation in all forms of elections until the Mugabe regime puts in place mechanisms in line with a recent SADC electoral framework agreed to in Mauritius.
The challenge facing SADC rests on the implementation of the latest protocol on elections. SADC must prove that the region has teeth. SADC must push Mugabe to honour his word, and to do so early enough for us to have our elections in March. It is crucial test of sincerity on their part. Mugabe is holding SADC to ransom, soiling perceptions about the region and delaying SADC’s political advancement.
As Paul Berenger, the Prime Minister of Mauritius and the new SADC chairman said, the region expects to engage international, multi-lateral finance institutions and influential regional blocks with a single SADC voice soon after free and fair elections in Zimbabwe in March. The entire region is waiting for the regime in Zimbabwe to start moving in the right direction for the benefit of all, not the tiny nationalistic elite running the country at the moment.
The significance of the Mauritius declaration is that it confirms the illegitimacy of the regime and its partisan national institutions. The crisis in the country pervades all national institutions and can only be resolved through national dialogue.
We had a huge rally in Gweru on Sunday. The message from the people was very clear: Mugabe has three months to put his house in order. He must make use of that window of opportunity to correct the anomalies in our electoral system, identified and set right in Mauritius by SADC. Mugabe was part of that process. He must show us and demonstrate to the region that he is willing to move; to translate that spirit of Mauritius onto the ground.
We are ready to assist in this process, otherwise we shall have a scenario similar to what happened in Seke on Friday where the so-called election ends at the nomination court. SADC and indeed its new chairman does not expect the international community to seriously engage the region if Zimbabwe crisis of legitimacy is going to resolved in a manner that reflects the kind of farce that became of Seke at the weekend.
The onus is on the regime to play ball. They have no choice. They must end violence; they must end intimidation; they must open the space for the MDC on public radio and on television. They must place the running of elections in the hands of an impartial electoral body approved by the whole nation. As things stand, they are wasting time.
The regime must openly acknowledge the existence of a political crisis and allow for a smooth transition. A unilateral decision by Zanu PF will not carry the spirit of the Mauritius declaration. The cosmetic changes they are proposing are designed for the preservation of the pillars of dictatorship. Together we will not allow them the space to play games with the people’s mandate.
Unity and solidarity of the democratic forces at this critical stage will surely derail the regime’s strategy aimed at refocusing attention away from the fundamental issues. I must state that so far the democratic forces in the country must be congratulated for staying focused in-spite of attempts to divide them.
As the nation celebrates the fifth anniversary of the MDC, the challenge facing us is a daunting one. We are ready to start afresh. We need a new beginning. We need a new Zimbabwe. We pledge to work towards full employment. We pledge to create a situation where no one will ever go hungry.
We know that we cannot continue to apply cut-and-paste solutions to eradicate unemployment and poverty or even to overhaul our economy. We need a brand new engine. We need new drivers to lead a new team, drawing its players from all your social stations and sections of our displaced population.
May I sign off by reminding you that we are on a winning track. Together, we are driving the political agenda. Zimbabwe is on the verge of colossal change. Don’t lose out. Be part of that epoch.