|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
MORGAN TSVANGIRAIíS TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF
One of the main tasks of the democratic movement, led by the MDC, shall be to break the numerous classifications and to deal with the lexicon designed to divide our nation into restless sorts, often checking out their past in order to fit into a Zanu PF wished-for society.
A new political language is in place, with words and nationalistic slogans carelessly thrown around to describe opponents, dissenting voices and anyone who questions the status quo. †
nation that has been independent for 24 years, it is unfortunate that we have a
regime that still sees more than half the population as unpatriotic puppets of
what was once colonial
We must learn from our experiences in the past five years. No quantity of demonisation of the MDC and its leadership will sway public opinion from the obvious mismanagement in our country today. Whatever the investment and propaganda against the democratic movement, whether it links us to Tony Blair or George W. Bush, such an effort can never offer a plausible replacement or comfort to the suffering and the nuisance being felt daily by the people, including Zanu PF adherents.
Under the new language, which many no longer listen to, the regime has crafted and imposed labels on ordinary people. The regime has put us all into various societal booths: enemies, new farmers, traitors, puppets, war veterans, whites, blacks and saboteurs. The list is endless. The idea is ensure that everybody is on a state leash for easier control and monitoring.
Unfortunately, the national effect of such a divide-and-rule scheme has polarized our society, generated mistrust and seriously backfired. The majority, especially young people, do not want to associate with Zanu PF Ė hence the flight of skills and the lack of respect for government initiatives.
Young Zimbabweans, who constitute 60 percent of our population, believe, and they are right, in the view that international solidarity is an international right and a universal phenomenon.
Our nation has earth-shattering grievances arising from a crisis of governance spanning over two decades. Suffering Zimbabweans have no power to stop anyone making a pronouncement to the effect that that person feels for them, whether that person is regarded as an enemy or friend of Zanu PF.
The only way to avoid a permanent posting on the international radar requires that a regime must deal with the issues at home. International criticism and international censure always flourish in undemocratic and tyrannical environments. Donít blame the MDC or those who publicly express their support for the MDC cause, no matter who they are.
society we seek to build is radically different. In concert with civil society,
we shall search, promote and establish a
differ but our differences should never be allowed to culminate in a wanton
termination of life or to lead to a complete destruction of
for a new, tolerant society is long overdue in
At the time, just as is the case today, there was a national consensus that the Lancaster House Constitution was a flawed deed. We felt political reform could begin with a replacement of that document with a home-grown constitution whose potential for far reaching political reforms was unlimited.
Zimbabweans are ready for principled, meaningful change. They have rejected previous attempts to short-change that ideal through cosmetic adjustments to their political life. They demonstrated this new mood way back in February 2000 when they rejected Mugabeís doctored new constitution.
At the time, they thought they would deal with the regime in the June 2000 Parliamentary election. That was not to be. When they challenged the results in 37 constituencies, they still had the hope and faith in the judicial process, only to be let down again. Nothing came out of it. The bulk of the challenges still have to be heard, eight months before another Parliamentary election. Then came March 2002. You all know what happened. Mugabe vowed that if he did not win, then nobody should.
Institutional safeguards, worked
out by the people and backed by the law, will be firmly in place to put off any
aspiring dictator keen to hatch personal survival plans that drove
As agents for change, the MDC remains focussed, courageous and unstoppable in its quest for such a society where an individualís character drives his or her contribution to national development, not his/her race, ethnicity or political connections. We are determined to harness the creating energies of all our citizens and to produce a political climate that minimises insecurity and curtails the flight of skills from our homeland.
Today, the nation is under siege from a cornered Mugabe as he resists political reforms and searches for political relevance in a sceptical society that doubts his patriotism. The question uppermost in the peopleís minds is how they allowed Mugabe to grant himself an all-powerful presidency. We have learnt a critical lesson and the desire for devolution of power shall remain etched onto our hearts and minds in the new society we seek to develop.
An MDC government will have to pay
special attention to Constitutional and political reform as a matter of urgency
in order to regenerate the faith and confidence in
Our intention is to achieve a better life for all through our economic programme, RESTART, whose implementation is inextricably linked to our comprehensive political renaissance project. At the centre of our effort would be national unity and integration. Once that is achieved, issues like hunger, disease, unemployment, education, HIV/Aids and other recovery impediments would be easier to tackle.
We are concerned about the current slide into subsistence agriculture. The closure of every pillar of the economy has made life difficult for the people in the communal lands who, traditionally, relied on supplementary earnings from the urban areas for basic support.
We are in favour of a workable system of government, supported by a strong and independent Parliament. We need to restore the dignity of our judiciary, respect property rights and return the country to the rule of law.
Our political reform agenda seeks to set up institutions with sufficient teeth to restrain any wayward administration from trampling on the rights of the people. We shall introduce a broad, comprehensive Bill of Rights to protect fundamental rights and freedoms, supervised and administered by non-partisan statutory bodies with defined powers of correction and censure.
The programme will guarantee adequate provisions and safeguards for free and fair elections; for devolution of governmental powers; and for an inclusive political culture that sets the basis of the recognition of our diversity and national unity.
We have argued in the past that no free and fair election is possible when political activity and democratic space are at premium. Our rights to assemble, to move around and to communicate have been severely curtailed.
unofficially published proposals (see The Herald,
A faster way of moving out of the current political impasse requires discussions around our electoral conditions. We are prepared to support an amendment the existing Lancaster Constitution in order to work out conditions for a genuinely free and fair election that will give birth of a legitimate government.
Everything will revolve around the level of confidence we raise in the electoral process. As long as pockets of suspicion continue to linger around the country as to the efficacy of the electoral process, we risk wasting time with this or that experiment. The wounds are too deep.
An Independent Electoral Commission needs no controversial definition. SADC and the United Nations are willing to assist us put together such a body to the satisfaction of all. There can never be any confidence in our elections as long as we are denied a new election management institution mandated, by law and by the people, to attend to all election needs in an impartial and non-partisan manner.
The electoral process must be open and transparent. Unless someone has something to hide, genuine elections are open to observation and endorsement by all interested persons and parties regardless of their country of origin. Players must never choose their own referees.
A transparent election management system operating in an open environment in which the public media plays a critical role in exposing various alternatives to the people is an absolute necessity in our democracy. Our concerns are a basic right.
A free and fair election will open
up opportunities for
Together, we shall win.