Roy Bennett the exiled and outspoken Treasurer General of the Movement for Democractic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai has denied press reports that he resigned from his position within the party. Below is the full statement sent to Nehanda Radio.
Friends, contrary to media reports, I have not officially resigned as Treasurer General of the MDC. What I said was, I will step aside if the MDC joins the government and therefore legitimizes an election farce and provides ZANU-PF a further lifeline.
I cannot and will not betray the principles and values, which gave birth to the MDC. The MDC was formed with the mission of liberating the people from dictatorship and creating a government that would serve our electorate transparently and truthfully. We now need to revisit those founding values.
A free, democratic society which with a clear vision of alleviating poverty, affording transparent access to land, and providing increasing employment opportunities remains impossible with the corrupt and murderous ZANU-PF regime in power.
A constitution truly incorporating one-man, one-vote, and a non-racial, non-tribal, non-ethnic society, buttressed by freedom of speech and association, a free press and media with a credible independent and impartial judiciary, seems far more distant today than ever.
Friends, in short we need a culture that respects the will of the people to elect a government made up of representatives of their choice.
Historically, going back as far as you want in our history, we Zimbabweans have never had the opportunity to enjoy these values. There has been so much sacrifice and suffering by many in our quest for these values. The truth will always set us free, at all times. Truth is the most difficult thing for all to face, but can never be intimidated, beaten, raped, murdered or threatened. It will always remain the truth.
I make no apologies and ask for no favours.
Having just been denied a fair and transparent vote with an election blatantly rigged, can we as a party lay the blame totally at the feet of ZANU-PF? I am not implying that the election was anything but a grand theft.
However, our party could have gone into the election in a much stronger position—in terms of organization, structural integrity and ground level participation. In my humble opinion, being exiled, but still in day-to-day contact with Zimbabwean grass root activists, I am of the view that our party needs some serious introspection.
When most senior MDC leaders were deployed into the Government of so-called ‘inclusive unity’, our party was exposed to a leadership vacuum. When the election came, many leaders tried to make up for lost time, to reconnect with their constituencies. Some tried to influence events by the imposition of candidates who would support their selfish agendas.
Having tasted the comfortable life of government money, and power, how many of our leaders focused on their own government positions and ignored their constituencies?
This behavior is as a result, and follows on from our last divisive congress, where structures were formed by some in senior leadership who advanced their own interests by imposing unpopular representatives with little or no grass roots support thus resulting in division throughout, considerably weakening our structures.
What has happened to the National leadership of our party? How can they be allowed to interfere with the right of the people to elect their own representatives? The MDC I joined and embraced was consultative, and listened to the people and responded accordingly.
I am often accused of being idealistic and speaking my mind. But friends, I was elected into office unanimously and democratically by congress. Whatever I am, I am truthful. It is not about me ! I am the people who elected me.
I watch from exile in the diaspora and pray that all our leaders elected at congress take a good hard look in the mirror. Those who have been involved in self-centered politics, who have discredited the values our party, and who made decisions which have denied people the right of a transparent and free election, should do the honorable thing and tender their resignations. It is time for a united, accountable, cohesive, value based, trusted leadership to finish our noble struggle.
There can be no future in any alignment or cooperation with a murderous and corrupt regime. We need a leadership that remains totally dedicated and is prepared to sacrifice for our founding values.
Roy Bennett is the exiled Treasurer General of the MDC led by founding president Morgan Tsvangirai