Why stay the course?
It is now five weeks since we went into the transitional government and I
think the most frequently asked question that I hear is 'Why are you still
That is not an easy question to answer but let me have a go at it here. Our
objectives, as set out in 1999 when we launched the MDC in Harare were quite
simple. We set ourselves the goal of bringing in a new democratic
dispensation, which would transform the country into a caring, productive
and prosperous nation. We agreed that this goal would be secured by
democratic, peaceful and lawful means.
In 2006 when it became clear that normal democratic action would not secure
these goals, we decided to change the road map slightly. We agreed that we
would strive to achieve change through a five-stage process: democratic
resistance; negotiations; transitional regime; new constitution and then
democratic elections. In our view we have completed phases one and two and
are now engaged in phase three with the pathway to the completion of phase
four about to start.
We had no illusions about setting up a transitional regime with Zanu PF and
the Mutambara group. We knew the former were devious and totally opposed to
the new arrangements - they had been forced to go this route by the March
2008 defeat at the polls and subsequent international and regional pressure.
We also know that Zanu PF was unregenerate, had no ideas other than how to
loot and steal and to use their positions in government to perpetuate their
hold on power. We knew it would be a struggle.
So when we thought we had got the best deal we were going to get, we stopped
arguing and negotiating and simply went into the new partnership. The Zanu
hardliners were stunned and had to fall back onto their reserve position,
which was to form a secret Cabal to replace the JOC and to continue the
fight even while they participated in the new government. So they sought to
control key centers of power - the security ministries, the Reserve Bank,
the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney Generals Office and the Public
Service Commission. Outside of these immediate structures they set up
control and communication systems in the Police, the Judiciary, the Army and
in many other key areas of civic life.
They carefully manipulated the whole system to ensure that all the
Parastatals and State Controlled enterprises were controlled by Zanu PF
elements - this was to ensure flows of resources and the use of patronage to
maintain political controls. Once the new administration was in place they
set about trying to limit its effectiveness and control and its degree of
influence. The spat between Webster Shamu and Nelson Chamisa over the
control of Tel One and Net One - both substantial cash cows, was and is
about this. The continuing battle to maintain their total control over the
governors, permanent secretaries and key posts is all about this secret war.
The abductions, arbitrary arrests and the unsubstantiated allegations of
treason, guerilla activities including recruitment and training in Botswana,
are all about this. The farm invasions and the theft of private property and
the flaunting of the rule of law as a political weapon of control, is all
about this. Zanu PF has no interest whatsoever in 'fixing' the problems of
Zimbabwe. They know that, come what may, the international community (mainly
the USA and Europe) will feed the people and thus prevent the humanitarian
crisis from spilling over into instability and violence.
They feel confident they can subsist on what is left of the economy and
maintain their lavish lifestyles. They also feel confident that they can
control the process leading up to any future elections and in the process
regain control of government. In all of this, President, Mugabe, is an
essential stage prop - and will be disposed of as soon as the power base of
Zanu PF is secured and alternative leadership established.
The past five weeks say it all. Where the MDC has control - health,
education and finance, substantial, even dramatic progress has been made.
Where Zanu PF has control there has either been little progress or we have
regressed - the media, the Judiciary and the rule of law, agriculture and
land reform. Only the Reserve Bank has been neutralized as a center of
power - the Ministry of Finance has cut off its funding and restricted its
activities and influence. This is hurting the flow of resources to the
clandestine Cabal of criminals in Zanu PF but they are developing
alternative sources of funds and using their accumulated resources to
support their activities.
Whoever imagined that this was going to be anything but a struggle, was
deceiving themselves. We knew that from day one. But this process is the
only one in town if you reject, as we have, any thought of an armed struggle
to eliminate and defeat this tyranny. Tyrants do not give up power without a
fight and we are no different except that we chose not to use armed conflict
to change the situation in Zimbabwe. This is the toughest route. It is the
best for the country and is the only principled way to achieve change by
peaceful, democratic and legal means.
So we see ourselves doing the best that we can in the circumstances. We are
pursuing three goals for this phase: stabilise the situation and try to
restore some semblance of decency to the way people live; write a new
national constitution which reflects the popular will and will lay the
foundations for a new society; and prepare for the next elections by
rebuilding the MDC as a political party; and keeping the people informed of
what is happening and why there is little progress in some sectors.
I think we can do all of these three things while we fight to make the
transitional government work. If we can hold onto the beachhead where we
landed in this invasion, we will be halfway there. If we can actually make
progress during the drive inland, then we can do what we have to do to
ensure V Day in 2011. Perhaps then and only then will we be able to create
the Zimbabwe we all want. Abandoning the beachhead is just what the criminal
Cabal wants, we are not going to give it to them. We are their worst
nightmare, we will not quit, and we will not give up the fight until we have
secured our goal of a free, democratic and just State.
I am reminded of what Habakkuk wrote 2600 years ago in the Middle East. He
'Woe to him who piles up stolen goods, Woe to him who makes himself wealthy
by extortion. Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain, who have
plotted to ruin many lives. Woe to him who builds a city by bloodshed.'
To these Habakkuk promises, 'Your debtors will suddenly arise and make you
tremble, then you will become their victim.'
As for us Habakkuk states, 'Though it linger, wait for it, it will certainly
come and will not delay. I heard and my heart pounded, decay crept into my
bones, yet I will wait for the day of calamity to come upon the nation
invading us. The Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a
deer and enables me to go on the heights.'
Bulawayo, 29th March 2009