The Struggle Continues
If you live in Zimbabwe and only have access to the local media or even
you live abroad or in South Africa, I would expect that you are very
confused about the MDC and the state of play in the country at large!
the only thing that is straight forward is the fact that we are in a
mess and the economy is in meltdown.
The reason for the confusion is quite clear - we (the MDC) are being
subjected to a total onslaught in the media driven by a variety of
interests who are all committed to ensuring that the MDC does not win
next election. It's a long and convoluted story but I will try to
and map out the essential elements to try and help you understand what
going on and why.
The domestic agenda is the most easily understood. When Zanu PF
that they faced an election in March 2008 and that this could not be
postponed as they had wanted to 2010 and on top of that they would be
required by regional leaders to put on a show for the world community
they were able to organise a 'free and fair' election, they went
As with most major developments in Zimbabwe, the planning and the final
decisions were taken by the Joint Operations Command (the JOC) and
senior Zanu PF functionaries. The strategy was quite simple - smash
left of the MDC and support minority elements in the opposition and
intensify Zanu PF/JOC political control of the rest of the country.
involved tightening their grip on the rural areas and reducing the
population of the urban centers.
Since then we have seen a wholesale physical attack on the MDC
all levels, the systematic dismantling of MDC structures especially in
rural areas and an intensified media blitz. This past week the MDC has
headlines every day - all negative stories designed to show that the
divided, its leadership weak and indecisive and that we are incapable
really effecting change.
While this has been going on, we have seen the renewed offensive on the
commercial farming industry and a new, dramatic and comprehensive
the private sector in all other sectors of the economy. Through price
control and 'indigenisation' initiatives what remains of the
and the economy is being brought under Zanu control or liquidated. This
being supported by the deliberate sabotage of urban essential services
especially water. As a result they have started a tidal wave of
into neighboring countries - especially South Africa and this is
the urban population.
In this struggle inflation is accepted as one of the tools they have
available to them and they are determinedly driving the rate of
new record highs - it is a real possibility now that we will see
high as those predicted by the IMF some months ago of 100 000 percent
Christmas. To demonstrate that, the Reserve Bank is understood to be
foreign exchange on the parallel market and selling it to Zanu PF and
linked individuals and companies at the official price.
We have not been able to buy seed maize for resale at all this winter.
understand that Zanu PF is distributing 5 kg packs in the rural areas
demanding that recipients hold Zanu PF cards. Maize meal is being
distributed in the same way - I heard on Friday of a Zanu PF office
Borrowdale distributing maize meal to local people - I assume on the
When it comes to the media and the State funded campaign against the
you have got to understand that this is directed only at the
which I belong and is led by Morgan Tsvangirai. As far as the media and
CIO are concerned this is the enemy - there is no other. And they are
The latest polls indicate that there is only one real opposition
capable of taking on Zanu PF and winning and only one individual who
defeat Robert Mugabe and that is the MDC led by Tsvangirai. They know
and have been working on that assumption since March.
So when we have an internal problem - such as the collapse of
the leadership of the Women's Assembly of the MDC and the need to
leadership, you can expect that we would be subjected to an intensified
campaign. We duly dissolved the Women's Assembly leadership and held
special Congress to elect new leadership. The Congress was eventually
after two last minute changes in venue following intelligence that the
meeting was to be disrupted and the delegates (from all Districts and
Provincial Leaderships) duly elected new leadership - pretty much
Under normal democratic conditions this would have gone by without much
controversy - but not in Zimbabwe. The headlines bellowed 'Split
the MDC' and worse. We of course get no media time in Zimbabwe. The
newspapers are all to a lesser or greater extent hostile to us and the
controlled media are just a propaganda arm of the State and Zanu PF.
hired busses to carry women and young people from all over the country
try and gatecrash the Congress?
It is clear that the South African leadership have been hostile to the
from day one. The reasons were the perceived threat that we posed
vicariously to the ANC alliance through Cosatu. Now that that falsehood
been laid to rest, we are still viewed with some hostility in South
and I have no doubt that some elements there would like to see a
Zanu PF' solution.
At the same time we have our domestic detractors who argue that the MDC
not have the capacity to govern or that Morgan Tsvangirai does not have
education or the characteristics required for national leadership. You
know that I think this is twaddle and that Morgan has a sound track
of achievement and management at national level. That aside - he is
person in whom the Nation as a whole has invested its trust and he is
only individual who can defeat Mugabe in an election today.
So we struggle on - preparing for an election campaign, continuing
negotiations for free and fair conditions - and believe me when I say
the negotiations are often one against the rest, trying to contain the
effects of the Zanu PF and media campaign against us, coping with
resources as domestic business is terrified of being associated with us
any way and major political donors who are committed to the democratic
struggle prevaricate. Trying to keep our people spirits up and
that the end is now in sight. Trying the force regional power brokers
when Zanu PF flagrantly violates the principles being negotiated and
at the South African talks.
The talks in South Africa are almost concluded - 5 months later than
originally intended, the date for the elections is yet to be decided
is a lot of disinformation about the talks in local and international
and then we get into the issue of the transition and the management of
election itself. Believe me, this is going to be a fight to the finish
the outcome will depend on you and me.
Bulawayo, 5th November 2007