via Mugabe explains MDC-T cabinet snub NewZimbabwe by Gilbert Nyambabvu
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said Wednesday he did consider MDC-T officials for cabinet because the opposition party has refused to accept its defeat in the July 31 vote and continues to dismiss as a monumental fraud an election that was endorsed by African observers.
The Zanu PF leader, who won a new five-year term in office in the July 31 elections, named his new cabinet this week, making minor tweaks to a team largely comprising trusted lieutenants who have served in successive governments since independence in 1980.
But there was no place for officials from the MDC-T party with which Zanu PF shared power in a fractious coallition government over the last four years following violent and disputed elections in 2008.
Quizzed by reporters over the exclusion as the new ministers were sworn into office, Mugabe said he could not be expected to work with people who have refused to accept his re-election.
“Are you saying when a party wins, it must necessarily have members of the opposition included in its Cabinet? That is matter that should be discussed between the parties,” he said.
The MDC-T came close to toppling Mugabe in the 2008 ballot after claiming a marginal majority in the lower house of Parliament while party chief Morgan Tsvangirai edged the veteran Zanu PF leader in the first round of the presidential ballot.
But this term the party suffered a stunning reverse as Zanu PF claimed a landslide victory in both the legislative and presidential elections. Tsvangirai has however refused to accept defeat, claiming the vote was a huge farce.
Despite failing with a Constitutional Court challenge against Mugabe’s re-election, the MDC-T insists the vote was rigged and has ruled out working with a Zanu PF government although its MPs will represent their constituents in Parliament.
Mugabe said once the MDC-T said it would not work with Zanu PF in government again, they had pretty much ruled themselves out of any possible return to cabinet.
He said: “You must agree – when we had the results of the elections, the MDC-T started saying it does not recognise the elections; It does not recognise even the election of the President and as far as they are concerned the elections were rigged.
“And once you have the opposition with that attitude what do you do? Tell me what should I have done?”
Last month Tsvangirai claimed that Mugabe had attempted to talk to him after the elections but the Zanu PF leader said he never reached out to his rival.
“I would have expected that the opposition would say aah, we have lost, we accept defeat – fine, but we are prepared to work together. No. They started even making statements – there are indications that the President would want some of us to be in the Cabinet; we do not want it,” he said.
“The President had never made an indication like that. Zvino maiti todiiko? Mushandirapamwe tinouda asi unotauriranwaka. Zvino kana vamwe vachibva vava that negative tovaita sei? Tovasungirira?”
Mugabe also discussed the thinking behind his new cabinet selection which was delayed, he explained, by unavoidable constitutional requirements which included the swearing in of new members of parliament.
He said the ministers had to be committed party cadres, people of sound character and education adding it was also necessary to considers issues such as balance in provincial representation.
“The party which won is Zanu PF. Are you Zanu PF? ‘Vanhu vakavhotera Zanu PF handizvo here? So you must belong to Zanu PF because that is the wish of the people,” he said.
“And if you belong to Zanu PF, how much of Zanu PF are you? Takabva kupi newe tikasvika kupi? How long have you been with us? Yes, in Zanu PF hatidi madofo ainzi namai vangu madofo. This is 33 years after independence, tave mumakore eruzivo, technological periods – years of technology.
“How educated are you; are you just Ordinary level? Ipapa we were able to say just one or two were just O-Level, the rest are degreed. Hameno kuti mungazviwana kupi? Even in Europe, you get all those 24 or 25 degreed people.
“Madzimai, varume the same … ane principles dzakanaka. Hunhu hwake tinenge tichihuda. Was he a winner and also respected by his own community kuConstituency kwake? What is the standing?
“It is not everyone who comes out with the same good standing, but you cannot just punish people because of what is being said. Kuti uyu aah ndozviri kutaurwa ane zvakati, zvakati.
“Tinenge tichida kuona kuti are all our provinces represented as much as possible, at least two ministers. Kungaita madeputies zvako kune mamwe, but I think we managed to get about three in a province.”