Tsvangirai to Zanu-PF – Fix Things Or Else
By Morgan Tsvangirai
“Mugabe en Zanu-PF wil ’n valse verkiesing hê en indien ons deel is daarvan, word ons ’n gevaar vir onsself.”
THE situation in Zimbabwe today requires a great deal of courage and maturity, endurance and our usual resilience. We are stretched to the limit. Daily, we are fighting despondency, hopelessness and state-sanctioned despair. I hope and pray that this is the last time our nation has to be exposed to these trying times.
Our families have gone through the worst Christmas season ever imagined: without food, without our own cash. As we enter the New Year, the year of our Lord 2008, from such a severely untenable position, I need to call on all my compatriots to make 2008 the last post.
With schools opening in the next two weeks, the worst is still with us — making the current cash shortages a serious humanitarian emergency and a matter of national concern.
Our democratic struggle has cost us so much blood, directly and through hidden human and material losses in what has become known as the social costs of the dictatorship. Our salvation rests in a free and fair election in 2008 under a new Constitution. We shall vote in 2008 under a set of conditions acceptable to all Zimbabweans.
Thousands have succumbed to an AIDS pandemic the state is unwilling to tone down; thousands are dying of hunger and starvation; and thousands now have a humiliatingly shorter live span, forced to depart from our soil for reasons the (President) Robert Mugabe regime cares less about.
The national payment system and the banking and finance sectors shall continue to over-heat as long as our economy drifts further and further into an artificial, haphazard and informal status. The little that workers managed to scoop from the dwindling job market is now locked up in banks and building societies. The workers have had to endure an array of state regulations to claim what is rightfully theirs: long queues, withdrawal limits and incessant threats from the regime.
The entire nation has been criminalised. Chief executives of reputable companies, community leaders, senior academics and members of the clergy, together with ordinary people, have to wade through all kinds of state-sponsored mischief and regulations to subsist. Prices of basic goods, whenever these goods become available, are beyond reach. Corruption has become a culture in all facets of our lives — and nobody in authority either seems to care or have the power to do anything about it.
(President) Mugabe and ZANU-PF are moving Zimbabwe into a Zairean situation with the backing of a brutal and a parasitic bureaucracy as his main pillars of support, until such time those pillars begin to give in to pressure. By then the nation would be so weak and so confused that no one could be held accountable for the loss of the soul of the nation.
We must stop the rot. We must deal with this situation as a matter of urgency. We must save Zimbabwe. Into the New Year, I call upon all Zimbabweans to mobilise for a lasting solution to the national crisis. I urge Zimbabweans to focus on tomorrow. Mobutu kept the Zairean people guessing about the future through constant cosmetic political changes.
What unfolded after that was chaos rather than order, peace and tranquillity. That is why Zimbabweans must simply sit it out and refuse to budge. We want real change. (President) Mugabe and ZANU-PF want a false election and if we become part of it, we become a danger to ourselves, a false hope.
We are ready to underwrite a smooth transition to end the national crisis. That is why we support the SADC (Southern African Development Community)-brokered negotiations on Zimbabwe’s future. But an unhelpful development has begun to creep in and we are deadlocked on key issues that should enable us to cross the bridge into a new era.
In spite of the mess we are forced to live with today, ZANU-PF has begun to backtrack on some of these agreed points and is going it alone. The main sticking points are a transitional Constitution and an election date. We settled on the transitional Constitution following assurances that the agreement would be implemented before the next election. But ZANU-PF is now against the spirit and content of that agreement, insisting instead that the transitional Constitution can only be implemented after the election. This is unacceptable.
The pace at which the transitional Constitution was to be implemented determines the election date. If we are serious about Zimbabwe’s future and an election whose process and result are endorsed by all political players and the people of Zimbabwe, then we have to follow right protocols and procedures.
The transitional Constitution already agreed to is essential in that it helps us to set up the requisite infrastructure for a sound electoral management system, codes for good governance and a human rights regimen between now and the election date – key factors necessary to spur confidence, redirect the people towards a national solution, regenerate hope and to rally the nation to unite in handling our sensitive national crisis.
As things stand today, (President) Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF are merely stringing us along, when on the ground they are already moving ahead with their plan: selectively picking up points of agreement and shoving them onto Zimbabwe in a piece-meal manner to present a picture of reform, at home and in SADC.
The intention is to mislead SADC into believing that a lasting political solution was on the cards. They want to force an election in March with cosmetic reforms and still rig the outcome through a flawed process. That will not happen.
A lot of work is still pending to repair our voters’ roll and the historically disputed electoral management system before any legitimate election, with a legitimate result can take place. We maintain that an election is impossible in the next 100 days, in March 2008.
We agreed on the need for an independent electoral commission whose task is to register voters, delimit constituencies, bar the military and the police from direct involvement in elections and to run the entire election. But what is happening on the ground today defies logic. ZANU-PF has deployed the military, Tobaiwa Mudede (the Registrar General) and the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) to mark constituency boundaries and register voters, contrary to the letter and spirit of the Pretoria negotiations.
We reject this form of deceit, the insincerity whose consequences are far reaching for our bleeding nation. We refuse to engage in a ritual to legitimise (President) Mugabe through a flawed election.
To register our displeasure and to place our revulsion on the record, the people are ready to express themselves for an immediate end to the cash crisis. An exhibition of people-power shall see a speedy implementation of the Pretoria agreement, in particular the resolution of sticky points threatening to derail our progress.
Other options on the table, should the deadlock remain entrenched, include a national shutdown and a series of lawful mass action activities to pull the nation out of the deep hole. The year 2008 provides us with abundant opportunities for a permanent solution to the national crisis.
Morgan Tsvangirai is the president of the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change.