What on Earth is going on?
Few decisions by the MDC have caused such an outcry - we are
group said, others said that the opposition has been dealt a fatal
still others said that it is now clear that Zanu PF will win the next
election and receive a clean bill of health from regional leaders.
The reality could not be further from the truth. Firstly, in making the
decision to co-operate with the SADC initiative, the MDC very clearly
understood the risks it was and is taking. Secondly, we know the nature
the beast better than anyone. Thirdly, we are now satisfied that the
States have changed their views on both the MDC and its potential role
any future government and also the nature and true intentions of Zanu
its beleaguered President.
Lets start with the last point, the changes in the SADC region since
2005/06. Up to now the SADC States have argued in private that an MDC
victory in an election in Zimbabwe would not be in the wider interests
the region or their individual countries. They have used their
capacity to lobby this point of view in Africa and beyond and have even
supported actions to reinforce Zanu PF’s position inside Zimbabwe and
hold on power. The reasons are many and I will not bother you with them
this juncture, but this perspective and assumption has exerted
influence on the ability of the MDC both to press its point of view
to make itself heard.
Inside Zimbabwe, observers now know that the SADC States and South
particular, have been pursuing, not a regime change agenda in Zimbabwe,
a reform agenda with the present regime remaining substantively in
The truth of the matter, is that had Mr. Mugabe cooperated with his
colleagues as they sought change, Zanu PF might have actually survived
storm and been able to maintain its grip and ride into the sunrise with
least some dignity.
But he has not done so and stubbornly hangs on to power at any cost.
said once 'He that will lose his life for my sake, shall find it!'
Mugabe is about to discover that 'he who hangs onto power too long
it.' For many reasons - again too many to be described here, the
now decided that regime change through democratic means might be the
way to restore some sort of dignity to Zimbabwe and to stop the
that the entire region is experiencing. In doing so they have lost
with Mr. Mugabe and are demanding fundamental changes to the way in
elections are managed and relations with the opposition structured.
Those who have been engaged in this process from the beginning have
this first hand and have no criticism of how South Africa has managed
role as the facilitator in this process. Even a superficial
the process shows that the region is bringing major pressure to bear on
Zimbabwe regime to change its ways or else!
When I explain to people the process that is underway in South Africa,
look at me in disbelief and astonishment. They simply cannot believe
Zanu PF is engaged in serious dialogue with the MDC and is granting
concessions - major concessions in the process. I agree, it is
but it is happening and the reason is that at last, regional leaders,
least of all, Mr. Mbeki, have been using their leverage and power to
new conditions for the next elections.
The second major point I think needs to be made is that this process is
only game in town. There is simply no other way we can solve the crisis
Zimbabwe except by this route. The recent ZCTU stay away just
that point, it was a near total failure. Despite all the recent
about the situation in Zimbabwe and the pressure being brought to bear
the UK government by the clerics - Mr. Brown simply has no solution
can offer. All he can do is what he has already done, say that the
here is intolerable and that the friends of Zimbabwe must keep that
burning in the window and be prepared to help us out of the hole we are
once we have made the required changes to the way our country is
Mr. Brown’s decision not to attend the EU/ACP summit is not very
my own personal view, he should go to the summit and allow Mr. Mugabe
attend, but only on one condition - that the Zimbabwe crisis and its
resolution be placed on the agenda and debated in open forum by the
present. As it is, all that will happen is that Mr. Mugabe will attend
strut onto the world stage - completely undermining the main reasons
summit itself and further eroding the credibility of African
Brown’s empty chair will simply say to the less informed in Africa
perhaps elsewhere that Mugabe continues to be a slayer of colonial
But back to the present situation; against the backdrop of the changes
have taken place in the region, the MDC has been negotiating since mid
a detailed and comprehensive review of the conditions under which
are managed and held in Zimbabwe. These negotiations still have some
go and have not been easy or without pain - on both sides. We are not
getting all we wanted but in our view (and I hope of all those who are
briefed into the process) we are on the right side of change and what
being forged on this anvil, is a workable solution to the crisis in
On Tuesday we permitted an interim piece of legislation to go through
Parliament unopposed because it contained the required clauses that
allow the new Independent Electoral Commission to start work on voter
registration, the voters roll and the subsequent delimitation of
districts. This will take time and we felt that by allowing these
of the agreements being thrashed out in the talks to go through the
Parliamentary steps, we might save time - after all if we stick to
2008, we only have 6 months to go - not a lot of time to get everyone
voters roll, including all those who are at present, disenfranchised.
When the talks are finally concluded - perhaps in 6 to 8 weeks time,
comprehensive agreement will emerge that will deal with all aspects of
electoral process and will bring Zimbabwe into line with the SADC
for democratic activity. Our main concern at present is that Zanu PF is
behaving as if it is business as usual. The onslaught on the MDC and
structures continue unabated. A simple application to hold our 8th
anniversary celebrations in Masvingo have been denied by the Police and
mass exodus of MDC supporters and activists continues driven by fear,
siege of the urban areas where there is now little work, food and water
every day is a struggle to survive.
These were the strategies evolved by the Zanu PF regime after March
when they were forced by regional pressure to bring the election back
March 2008 and to accept electoral reforms. Clearly if we are to have
and fair elections and slow down the exodus of people to neighboring
countries, this has to stop. At our Friday Executive meeting we
request that the regional leadership take this matter up with the
here and demand that they start behaving as if they were real
they have claimed all this time.
Bulawayo, 23rd September 2007