|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
TSVANGIRAI’S TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF
In 1980, the world witnessed the birth of what we thought was a secure nation with a strong economy and functioning state institutions. We were a potential powerhouse with an industrial base which compared favourably to what existed in the few well-managed African countries at the time. We anxiously positioned ourselves ready to rebuild the country and to contribute to wealth creation and to explore the abundant opportunities brought about by the promise of freedom.
Unfortunately the 24 years merely registered a period of sustained regress. We have nothing to show for it, except overwhelming poverty, economic decay, a systematic loss of our basic freedoms and a national crisis whose dimensions are mutating and fast becoming more pervasive in every facet of our political, economic and social life.
Millions returned home from exile. Today the ordinary citizen is confused and shocked to live in a country where, once again, the forces of democracy are under siege. They are desperate to get out.
Poverty and insecurity have already forced an estimated 3.5 million -- more than a third of the nation’s adult population -- into exile where they live in near-slavery conditions. There is too much poverty and too little growth. This is unacceptable.
Those in the rural
areas are caught between a rock and a hard place. They are being forced to
contribute their meagre earnings towards the
No opportunity would be available for them to reflect on the 24 years they are supposed to have been free from colonialism.
The people are
stunned at the manner in which the political and economic climate has become
even more embattled, more beleaguered than before April 1980. The march to
tyranny can be traced to the early years of our
In a 24-page
private letter in 1983 on the then emerging trend towards state-sanctioned
brutality, the late Joshua Nkomo told Robert Mugabe:
Six years later on
In March 2001, I wrote a personal letter to Mugabe. I pleaded with him to put the national interest above his personal ambition. I was concerned about the downward slide our nation was facing arising from Mugabe’s selfish approach to the resolution of the crisis. Nothing came out it.
Given the highly negative and comprehensive onslaught on people’s welfare and political freedoms, questions are being raised as to what happened to the ideals of the liberation struggle; what has become of the democratic resiliency of the nation.
The people are watching with trepidation as a small nationalistic class, aided by a parasitic bureaucracy and supported by desperate opportunists wreak havoc on a dwindling national cake. Zanu PF is quick to label dissent as neo-colonialist and racist as a way of whipping up emotions to cover up inefficiency and repression.
Zanu PF has yet to realise that without political freedom and stability, any government policies that seek to address the people’s concerns are seriously weakened.
The people have
taken note of the activities of a determined tyrannical class that has pushed
the country into a state of paralysis and succeeded in cutting off
By contrast, SADC
has made tremendous headway in its efforts to harmonise governance systems and
the political behaviour of its leadership. Kenneth Kaunda of
Those SADC leaders
who have retired (and those who plan to follow suit) left an indelible legacy
whose hallmarks include the institution of an Independent Electoral Commission
to conduct elections and ensure that electoral disputes are kept at the barest
minimum. By so doing, these nations are enhancing the ideals of the liberation
struggle in the region – giving their people an opportunity to enjoy greater
freedom. What is it that makes Zimbabwe a unique case? Why should
We formed the Movement for Democratic Change as an alternative player in post-independence politics. We are a social liberation movement guided by the ideals of the liberation struggle and directed by the people to wrest the people’s power and sovereignty from an elite nationalistic class whose style of governance is at variance with our expectations.
For five years, the MDC has pursued an agenda for change. In the process we hit numerous landmines: outright vote rigging, electoral fraud, the deaths of hundreds of activists, beatings, rape and massive state-induced hunger. The country was plunged into lawlessness, vigilante groups and party militias were born, repressive legislation was enacted to muzzle the voice of the people and basic freedoms were severely curtailed.
Given the conditions on the ground, you may ask: which direction therefore are the forces of democratic change moving? The answer defines our agenda for action. Our national policies and programmes are informed by a need for a post-Mugabe period of national healing, in which the nation could come to terms with 24 years of trauma.
We shall work out effective ways of handling the evils within our past in order to vaccinate against any future reversion into tyranny and darkness. The challenges facing the democratic movement are immense. The freedom we gallantly fought for up until 1980 has been confined to a vastly shrunk political arena.
Parliament, the judiciary and law enforcement agents have been subverted and compromised. The fusion of the executive, the judiciary and the legislature, has led to a total collapse of the regime as a civilian outfit. The military has been deployed everywhere. The military runs elections. The military has taken control of all strategic arms of the state, including the management of our food reserves.
After the stolen
Presidential election in 2002, I stated that
The reality since then is that after winning the liberation struggle together as Zimbabweans 24 years ago, Mugabe ignored the wishes of the people and proceeded to put in place an openly repressive infrastructure to turn himself into an absolute monarch in order to preside over a totalitarian state.
In the face of a
deliberate derailment of the people’s preferred course for meaningful political
change through the ballot box, calls have been made for the MDC to seek
alternatives to redirect the course of politics in
As we approach the Parliamentary election in 2005, we have in place a comprehensive plan to stop the rot and make way for the people to recover their sovereignty, their basic freedoms and their national independence.
Our campaign for a changed set of electoral conditions has been well received. The campaign has gained currency among key stakeholders. It has become a strong talking point nationally and within the region.
We in the MDC have never been as determined and united as we are today on the question of electoral conditions and national elections. Our objective has always been to participate in a legitimate election and to win such an election.
The situation on the ground is so unstable and volatile for anyone to dream of tampering, yet again, with the people’s demands. The tension is so high that Zanu PF does not have the capacity to contain the people’s anger if Zanu PF steals another national election. The people are fed up.
Our fear, from the
feedback we are getting nationwide, is that
People are tired of being denied their rights through unemployment, poverty, legislation and violence. People remember what happened in 2000 and in 2002. They know that any election conducted under the same conditions will cause more problems for the nation already in a crisis.
after Independence, the people realise that they are no longer sovereign.
Through the use of repressive laws, the regime awards and withdraws generic
freedoms according to its own wishes. We are under tremendous pressure to turn
the tables and lead the people to new dispensation that would restore
Together, we believe we are on the right track and through action and sustained pressure we shall overcome our present difficulties. It is now abundantly clear that Zanu PF can never turn around the economy, despite a national shrinkage of nearly 50 percent in five years.
Zimbabweans face a severe humanitarian crisis; with more than half the population having had their livelihoods eroded by the current economic decline and severe food shortages. Essential infrastructure has collapsed and inflation has soared. It is common cause that delivery systems of health, education and other social services have completely collapsed. Zimbabweans have become regular guests at funerals of thousands who are perishing from the HIV/Aids pandemic.
The MDC wishes to thank the people for their refusal to allow the regime to assume some form of legitimacy since the stolen Presidential election in 2002. The people remained resolute and steadfast in their resolve to continue calling for sanity in our country. We made it impossible for the regime to consolidate electoral fraud. That struggle continues to this day.
Our history shows us that it is important to galvanise the people to challenge any form of oppression until final victory. Despite the impressive gains made by the MDC, our quest for freedom, which has become a major national grievance, remains unanswered; the national agenda remains unfulfilled. The Zimbabwe crisis is deepening.
We cannot allow this regime to impose its false supremacy over the people. Only action and political pressure shall bring in the desired results and lead us to resuscitate our failed state and all its institutions.