Tsvangirai addresses foreign diplomats
Below is the full text of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's brief to foreign diplomats in Harare. Also contained in this article is the response by Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesman who was said to have been suspended by Tsvangirai's faction at the weekend
YOUR Excellencies, once again I have invited you here on account of two important issues.
* First, to brief you on our reading of the direction of events in the country.
* Second, to clarify issues, ally certain fears and apprehensions about the state of affairs within the MDC.
Let me begin with the just-ended senate elections.
The ZANU PF sponsored senate elections have come and gone. It was quite clear to all impartial observers that the people of Zimbabwe heeded the MDC call to ignore the entire exercise.
Our own preliminary figures indicate that less than 20% of all eligible voters turned up at the polls. It was indeed a victory for the people of Zimbabwe under the leadership of the MDC. The people refused to legitimise a process that was meant to give a semblance of stability to the very cause of their suffering.
The outcome of the senate elections is a clear demonstration of the general awareness and political maturity of the people of Zimbabwe.
Much more significantly, the results demonstrated that there were, and are no conflicting political messages and strategies from the MDC. There is only one message and one strategy:
* The message is
to refuse to compromise with the dictatorship on the fundamental issues
of the constitution, democracy, human rights, the rule of law;
The people of Zimbabwe have refused to be divided and weakened and they have remained loyal to the founding principles and political values of the MDC.
The few candidates who secured senate seats under false MDC credentials are not an issue at present. They will have absolutely no corrosive impact on the fate of the dictatorship and will not enhance the prospects for democracy and freedom, which are our primary focus. As far as the MDC is concerned, they have compromised with the dictatorship and they only represent themselves and their narrow interests in Mugabe's senate.
However, should they at some stage wish return to the MDC fold, they know what steps to take or procedures to follow in order to rehabilitate themselves. They have to subject themselves to the necessary party processes that deal with such circumstances. In this regard, I want to state quite clearly, that as a democratic party, the MDC is not a closed shop or organization, which subjects members to eternal banishment.
However, what is
beyond dispute is that the senate electoral exercise added neither political
value to the political process in the country nor did it contribute
to the still elusive search for a package of policies to resolve the
crisis in the country. Instead, the whole exercise was simply a reckless
and extravagant process to enable Mugabe to reduce the dangerous level
of alienation and bitterness among some of his key cronies who felt
marginalized or excluded from the regime's patronage networks.
The openings in the state apparatus created by the senate elections are supposed to sooth the dangerous anxieties of such elements. This will enable Mugabe to create the appearance of unity and stability within ZANU PF, with the false belief that the expected semblance of calm and common purpose would guarantee a smooth transmission and inheritance of his autocratic regime by a handpicked successor. There was therefore nothing in the entire electoral exercise for the people and the country.
Your Excellencies let me now turn more specifically to developments within the MDC.
With regard to the MDC leadership differences, it is quite clear that the dismal senate election results that confronted those who sought to compromise with the regime on fundamental issues, plus the failed adventurous and ill-advised court action against the mainstream MDC, have combined to put an end to what some had chosen to refer to as an internal crisis in the party. To us it was never an internal crisis. It was simply a minority in leadership positions, tired of the democratic struggle and ready to strike a diabolical deal with ZANU PF against the clear and better judgment of the people. It was the people versus. a few mercenaries peddling their own selfish interests.
Right from the start, we did not believe that what appeared to be political strategy differences that emerged on the senate issue should become the subject of litigation. Reluctantly we were dragged to the courts against our will, and the result, as they say is history.
With the benefit of hindsight, it is now clear to all unbiased observers that the incident, though sinister, never presented any serious internal threat to the political viability and organizational integrity of the MDC. The support base remained solid if not strengthened and confidence in the party remained unshaken. This was quite evident during my comprehensive nationwide campaign and it is even clearer now.
However, for our erstwhile colleagues, their decision to opt for the court process rather than return to the political process and possible political dialogue turned out to be a simplifying catastrophe. They are deliberately abandoning the democratic struggle.
committee of the party has since met to hear the cases of Welshman Ncube,
Gift Chimanikire, Fletcher Dulini Ncube and Trudy Stevenson. As a result
of those hearings, all of them were found in breach of the party code
and were suspended from holding office in the party for various lengths
of time. In the case of Gibson Sibanda, the disciplinary committee found
him guilty as charged and suspended him from carrying out the duties
of Vice President but afforded him the opportunity to present his case
to the National Congress if he so wishes. However, should they continue
with their activities to undermine the party, then of course the disciplinary
committee will have to reconvene in light of those new circumstances.
It is now quite clear to all that what had seemed to us as a genuine difference in political strategy over the senate issue turned out to be much more sinister development than originally appeared to be the case. The strategy was to weaken the party, destroy the leadership, give themselves new credentials as the so-called reasonable elements within the MDC and thereby enhance their political understanding with ZANU PF. This was supposed to result in the demise of the MDC as the democratic fighting force that it is today.
Your Excellencies, we have irrefutable evidence that our erstwhile colleagues had entered into a secret political pact with ZANU PF for a co-habitation political project in an expected post-MDC political dispensation.
As an initial demonstration of their good faith, sincerity and reliability as the new partners to ZANU PF, they had to take part in the senate elections. Subsequent strategies included the removal of those in the leadership considered by ZANU PF to be stumbling blocks, alter the central focus and policies of the MDC, compromise its values to resonate with those of ZANU PF and pave the way for a second Unity Accord.
We are fully briefed and painfully aware of the extent to which ZANU PF is the dynamic force behind the destabilization of the MDC. Our erstwhile colleagues are not reading from an independent script. They are not free agents or autonomous operators. Instead, they are ZANU PF's fifth column inside the MDC. We are aware of the level of logistical support and the quantities of material assistance that ZANU PF is providing to our erstwhile colleagues.
In the past few days it has been brought to our attention by reliable and impeccable sources that the turbulence within our party over the past eight or so weeks was also designed to create a convenient opportunity and circumstances in which some in the leadership, including the MDC President are to be harmed and even physically eliminated, and the heinous crime blamed on intra-MDC conflict. This project is still very much alive and active.
Your Excellencies will recall that only a few days ago, on December 12, 2005, the Quarter Master General of the Zimbabwe National Army, a certain Major-General Chedondo, when addressing crack troops in Gweru, was captured on Zimbabwe TV referring to me as National Enemy No.1. It is well known that in military practice there is only one way to deal with those identified as enemies of state ----that is physical elimination. We take that announcement as an open intention to do grievous harm.
I have chosen to inform you about these ominous developments so that the international community are forewarned that the responsibility for any subsequent bloodshed within the MDC should be placed firmly and squarely at the door of ZANU PF and the Mugabe regime.
From our point of view, there is every reason for ZANU PF to opt to pursue this diabolical and desperate course of action. Having failed to destroy the MDC through fomenting internal strife and dissension the strategy is now to snipe from outside.
I have to remind you Your Excellencies, that ZANU PF have every reason to opt for this despicable course of action. It is the only way through which a successor to Mugabe can be expected to inherit his dictatorship. There is a general realization within ZANU PF that any succession plans cannot escape the reality of a democratic contest conducted under electoral circumstance that are vastly different from the fraudulent ones that have maintained this dictatorship for so long.
A handpicked successor stands very little chance of maintaining the present infrastructure of political repression and electoral rigging to ensure success. In addition, such a successor will be unlikely to effectively ward off international pressure for a post-Mugabe election under conditions that demonstrate a semblance of freeness and fairness and cannot win such an election. That is Mugabe's perennial nightmare. That is the soft underbelly of the present dictatorship.
The cutting edge of the overall ZANU PF's current strategy is, therefore, to utilize everything in their power to disrupt the MDC, render it an extremely weakened political force incapable of successfully fighting an election even in the context of changed electoral circumstances and under international observation.
In the absence of a strong viable opposition force that the MDC is today, the mandatory subjection of Mugabe's successor to a popular plebiscite expressing the people's will become simply a ritualistic formality. As preferred by ZANU PF, Mugabe's succession will then become a meaningless ritualistic formality similar to any dynastic succession model. The leadership squabbles within the MDC must therefore seen in the context of the succession dilemma within ZANU PF. Tragically some of our former colleagues have chosen to be foot soldiers in this strategy. In this regard, both the party and its leadership face grave danger in the months ahead.
THE WAY FORWARD.
It is quite evident that the major task facing the MDC is to continue to survive as democratic fighting force mobilizing the people in an incessant struggle against the dictatorship. We are under no illusions about the task before us. It is going to be a long and arduous journey with supreme sacrifices if need be, but one which must be traveled and overcome.
The staring point of our new strategy would have to be the renewal and revitalization of the MDC to ensure that it remains a vibrant fighting political force. In that regard, the preparations for our National Congress have reached an advanced stage and are progressing smoothly. Branch elections and ward and district congresses have been concluded, while provincial congresses are under way and will be completed by the end of December 2005. Early in the New Year the party will be ready for the National Congress.
However, we realize that one of our major weaknesses in the past was for the broad democratic forces to engage in determined but isolated struggles. Without going into unnecessary details in this forum, I want to say that it has now become vital to forge a single democratic force with a common agenda and a common purpose. The current operational parameters and composition of the Broad Alliance will have to be reviewed and solidified and a yearlong common strategy mapped out and implemented.
many of you have witnessed similar struggles between the forces of democracy
and dictatorships throughout the world. It is easy to criticize but
difficult to even begin to imagine what those of us in the eye of the
storm, in the front line, are facing. Such struggles are not a one-day
wonder or quick fix episodes. They are long, hard and dangerous, taxing
the resoluteness of even the most committed democrats. We face exactly
the similar circumstances as those who struggled before us in many places
throughout the world. We urge you to continue tirelessly doing everything
possible to assist in the resolution of this crisis of governance.
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