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and MDC's explosive exchange
Amendment No 19
Given the fact
that the SADC resolution
is a nullity and has not been rescinded, it is then difficult for
any of the parties to move in any direction for fear of legitimising
the SADC Summit "ruling". It means then that the negotiators
cannot meet and work on the draft of Constitutional Amendment No
There is a total
meltdown in Zimbabwe and indeed a complete collapse of the state.
Put simply, the state has lost any capacity to provide the basic
amenities to the people in the form of food, education, health,
transport. This situation, if left unresolved, will explode or implode
and indeed such explosion or implosion will have a contagious multiplier
effect in the region.
to the meltdown, there are vicious attacks on the members of the
MDC contrary to the dictates and spirit of the MOU
and the GPA.
There is a renewed wave of violence, abductions and assaults against
the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe in the obvious direction of replicating
the post 29 March barbaric violence, in particular the arrest and
continued detention at unknown centres of MDC Mashonaland West senior
leadership such as Concilia Chinanvanana and 11 others. Furthermore,
the Zanu PF regime is crafting an assassination plot, code-named
Operation Ngatipedzenavo (Let Us Finish Them) intended to eliminate
the MDC leadership and decimate the party through frivolous allegations.
There are flimsy
attempts to frame the MDC as a terrorist organisation that is training
people for the purposes of banditry and insurgence. There are people
that are being used to frame confessions and militias are being
trained by Zanu PF to act as MDC bandits in an attempt to delegitimise
We look forward
to hearing from you on the way forward.
General (Mbeki's response was addressed to "Mr Morgan Tsvangirai")
Today I received
the letter dated 19 November 2008, which was correctly communicated
through the South African Embassy in Harare, written to me by your
secretary general, the Hon Tendai Biti, MP, concerning Constitutional
Amendment No 19.
I must confess
that the contents of this letter came to me as a complete surprise,
causing me grave concern.
As you know,
Mr Biti's letter describes the decisions on Zimbabwe, taken by the
November 9 SADC Extraordinary Summit Meeting held in South Africa,
as "a nullity".
The letter goes
further to say that "it is then difficult for any of the parties
to move in any direction for fear of legitimising the SADC Summit
The first point
I would like to make with regard to the foregoing is that, as you
know, we were appointed as facilitator of the Zimbabwe Dialogue
by the SADC.
was later endorsed by both the African Union (AU) and the United
Nations (UN), both of which expressly rely on SADC to facilitate
the Zimbabwe Dialogue, and thus contribute to the resolution of
the Zimbabwe problem.
You will, therefore,
understand that it is absolutely impossible for us as the SADC-appointed
facilitator to contemptuously to dismiss solemn decisions of an
SADC Summit Meeting as "a nullity".
necessarily, all such decisions serve as a binding mandate on the
The second point
I would like to make is that contrary to what the Hon Tendai Biti
says in his letter, the three Zimbabwe negotiating parties, including
yours, and with the support of the facilitation, have agreed that
they should meet with the facilitation to consider the Draft Constitutional
Amendment No 19.
had proposed that this meeting should take place in South Africa
on November 19 and 20, with the intention to finalise this draft
during this interaction.
Both Zanu PF
and the MDC (M) agreed to this proposal. However the meeting did
not take place, essentially because of the reportedly unavoidable
unavailability of your secretary general, the Hon Tendai Biti, who
is one of your negotiators.
your negotiators suggested that the meeting should be rescheduled
to take place in South Africa on November 25.
canvassed this proposal with the other Zimbabwe negotiating parties
and secured their agreement.
as of now, we expect that the meeting to consider the Draft Constitutional
Amendment No 19 will be held on November 25, as your negotiators
As you know,
on November 17, the facilitation received from the Hon Patrick Chinamasa
the First Draft of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 19
distributed this draft to all three Zimbabwe negotiating parties,
preparatory to the meeting then scheduled to be held on November
the facilitation was informed that the MDC (T) had prepared its
own Draft Constitutional Amendment No 19.
welcomed this initiative by the MDC (T), which was consistent with
the manner in which the SADC-mandated Zimbabwe Dialogue has been
conducted during a period of over 18 months.
this has allowed that each and any of the Zimbabwe Negotiating Parties
should be absolutely free to present their views during the dialogue
process, without let or hindrance, which has happened.
I would therefore
like to assure you that consistent with previous practice, the facilitation
is ready to facilitate consideration of all Drafts of Constitutional
Amendment No 19 in an even-handed manner, guided by what is contained
in the signed Global Political Agreement.
(As has been
agreed, we will take all necessary steps to ensure that Amendment
No 19 includes the provisions contained in the agreement signed
privately on September 11, which, for whatever reason, are absent
from the agreement signed in public on September 15.)
Zimbabwe negotiating parties had agreed, without any SADC intervention,
that some of their decisions, as reflected in the Global Political
Agreement, would have to be legalised through constitutional amendments.
We are completely
at a loss as to what the Hon Tendai Biti means when he writes that
with regard to Constitutional Amendment No 19, "it is then
difficult for any of the parties to move in any direction for fear
of legitimising the SADC Summit 'ruling'".
When the SADC
Summit Meeting called for the approval of Constitutional Amendment
No 19, it did nothing more than to endorse a logical decision which
the Zimbabwe negotiating parties had already concluded.
MDC (T), nor the other two Zimbabwe negotiating parties had expressed
this (Biti) view to the facilitator, as we prepared for the November
19-20 and November 25 meetings, that the SADC approval of an existing
decision of the Zimbabwe negotiating parties created a new problem.
neither Zanu PF nor the MDC (M) has, to date, expressed any such
view. To the best of our knowledge, they remain ready to participate
in the November 25 meeting.
you will also remember that, in your presence, at the November 9
SADC Summit Meeting, both President Mugabe and Professor Mutambara
informed the meeting that they accepted the SADC decisions, and
committed their organisations to their full implementation.
The deputy treasurer
general of the MDC (T), and one of your negotiators, the Hon Elton
Mangoma, kindly conveyed to the facilitation the resolutions adopted
by the 7th MDC National Council of 2008, which met in Harare on
November 14, 2008.
In this regard,
the facilitation took particular note of the resolution which stated
the lack of sincerity and lack of paradigm shift on the part of
Zanu PF, the MDC shall participate in a new government once Constitutional
Amendment No 19 has been passed and effected into law."
In this regard,
the facilitation also took note of the November 14 report carried
on the Kubatana Internet website, which said:
Vice President Thokozani) Khupe said: 'Given the lack of sincerity
and lack of paradigm shift on the part of Zanu PF, the MDC shall
participate in a new government once Constitutional Amendment No
19 has been passed and effected into law."
All this suggested
to the Facilitation that the Zimbabwe Negotiating Parties should
indeed proceed as speedily as possible to agree on Constitutional
Amendment No 19.
foregoing is part of the reason why we find it immensely puzzling
that even after the announced decisions of the 7th MDC National
Council of 2008, your secretary general has now informed us that
it is in fact impossible and impermissible to draft and enact Constitutional
Amendment No 19 into law.
This is not
the appropriate platform to discuss the intricacies of the Zimbabwe
negotiations, in which you and ourselves have been involved for
know the circumstances which led the SADC Troika of the Organ on
Politics and the SADC chairperson, and subsequently the November
9 SADC Extraordinary Summit Meeting, to focus on the matter of the
Ministry of Home Affairs.
As the SADC
executive secretary reported to the November 9 SADC Summit Meeting,
when the SADC Troika of the Organ on Politics and the SADC chairperson
met in Harare on October 27-28, they engaged the Zimbabwe negotiating
parties, including yourself, in intense negotiations, deliberately
without the participation of the facilitator.
The clear message
communicated to the SADC Troika of the Organ on Politics and the
SADC chairperson during these interactions was that the only obstacle
to the formation of the Zimbabwe Inclusive Government, as agreed
in the Global Political Agreement (GPA), was the finalisation of
the dispute about the political leadership of the Ministry of Home
Affairs, and the subsequent legalisation of the GPA through the
enactment of Constitutional Amendment No 19.
You will remember
your own insistence that in the context of the agreement that there
should be two ministers of home affairs, these should serve in rotation,
with the MDC (T) appointee taking the first slot.
that if this were to be agreed, it would mark the conclusion of
the negotiations about the distribution of the ministerial portfolios,
and therefore enable the establishment of the Zimbabwe Inclusive
Government, with your endorsement and support.
Because of this,
basing themselves on what they learnt from the negotiations they
conducted directly with the Zimbabwe negotiating parties, without
the involvement of the Facilitation, the Troika of the SADC Organ
on Politics and the SADC chairperson concluded that the most urgent
and outstanding task relating to the formation of the Zimbabwe Inclusive
Government was the resolution of matters relating to the Ministry
of Home Affairs.
During the SADC
meetings, the Troika of the Organ on Politics and the SADC chairperson
emphasised that they recognise the fact that there are some outstanding
matters that still need to be negotiated, and therefore asked that
the facilitator should help ensure that this happens.
As we said earlier,
for us as the facilitator, this constitutes a binding mandate which
we must honour.
It is therefore
factually incorrect that SADC has ignored various outstanding matters
which you might have raised or which have served and serve on the
agreed dialogue agenda.
In this regard,
I would like to make one or two observations about the matter of
"equity" with regard to the distribution of ministerial
portfolios, which is mentioned in the resolutions of the 7th MDC
National Council of 2008.
At your request,
which was supported by the other two Zimbabwe negotiating parties,
we prepared and submitted a document to you as the Zimbabwe principals,
naturally including you, entitled "Reflections and Proposals
of the Facilitation: Towards the Achievement of the Objectives of
Equity and Power-sharing in the Constitution of the Inclusive Government:
Harare, October 17 2008."
All three Zimbabwe
negotiating parties responded to this document in writing. Of the
three, only the MDC (T) fundamentally disagreed with the observations
of the facilitator.
As you know,
the facilitator's document did not constitute a "ruling",
as it could not. It was a response to a suggestion you yourself
had made, and should have been subjected to a discussion among the
Zimbabwe principals and the facilitator.
was your right, you responded to the facilitator in two documents.
This happened shortly before the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics
and the SADC chairperson were to meet in Swaziland.
In the light
of this decision, the facilitation thought it proper that it should
submit to the Swaziland meeting copies of these five documents -
the facilitator's "Reflections ." and the four responses,
two from the MDC (T), - both to the SADC Troika of the Organ on
Politics and the SADC chairperson, as well as the SADC Extraordinary
Summit Meeting, which was done.
has no reason to assume that these documents were not considered
by the SADC structures.
We are, therefore,
not aware of the basis of the statement made by the 7th MDC National
Council of 2008 that SADC ignored the issue that MDC (T) had raised,
relating to "equity" in the distribution of ministerial
to other outstanding matters, in your presence the SADC executive
secretary reported that the SADC Troika of the Organ on Politics
and the SADC chairperson agreed that these should not be forgotten
or ignored, but should not hold up the formation of the Inclusive
that the facilitator should continue to focus on these matters,
within the context that it set, which coincided with the approach
of the facilitation.
It is perfectly
clear to us as the facilitation that SADC is firmly of the view
that the sooner the agreed Zimbabwe Inclusive Government is established,
Our region considers
this to be the most critical and urgent strategic task to implement,
to move decisively towards the resolution of the challenges facing
As you know,
the facilitation agrees with this view.
In this regard,
you as the Zimbabwe principals agreed with the facilitator that
senior officials of the Zimbabwe and South African governments should
engage one another to address the issue of the provision of agricultural
inputs that would help to ensure that during the current summer
agricultural season, the people of Zimbabwe do everything possible
to produce the food they need.
As you will
recall, this decision was taken on the basis of an urgent request
presented to the facilitator by the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers'
agreed with the CFU that the intervention to produce food should
not be held back because of delays in the conclusion of an agreement
among the politicians about the composition of the Zimbabwe Inclusive
On the basis
of this mandate, the relevant Zimbabwe and South African senior
officials have indeed interacted with one another.
I have the assurance
of the president of South Africa, HE Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, that
the Government of South Africa is ready to honour its obligations
in this regard, precisely because of its abiding concern about the
welfare of the sister people of Zimbabwe.
I mention this
particular issue, concerning the agricultural season that is upon
us, to emphasise the point that all of you, the principal Zimbabwe
Leaders, have consistently communicated to me your unqualified understanding
of the reality that it was of strategic and urgent importance that
the Zimbabwe Inclusive Government should be established without
further delay, as the SADC Extraordinary Summit concurred.
In his November
19 2008 letter, the Hon Tendai Biti, secretary general of MDC (T),
raised various matters of grave concern to the MDC (T).
- a complete
collapse of the Zimbabwe state;
- the absolute
inability of the state to "provide the basic amenities to
- the threat
of an "explosion" or "implosion" in Zimbabwe,
which would "have a contagious multiplier effect in the region";
- "a renewed
wave of violence, abductions and assaults against the MDC and
the people of Zimbabwe";
- the "crafting
(by Zanu PF) of 'an assassination plot, code-named Operation Ngatipedzenavo
(Let us Finish Them) intended to eliminate the MDC leadership
and decimate the party through frivolous allegations;
attempts to frame the MDC as a terrorist organisation that is
training people for the purposes of banditry and insurgence";
being used to frame confessions, and militias being trained by
Zanu PF to act as MDC bandits in an attempt to delegitimise the
Again, as you
know, the letter from the Hon Tendai Biti ends with the appeal to
the facilitator - "We look forward to hearing from you on the
The above observations
and allegations made by the Hon Tendai Biti are indeed extremely
grave and demand immediate action.
The very firm
and unequivocal view of the facilitation in this regard, which the
Hon Biti requests, is that we must move with the greatest speed
to establish the Inclusive Government, as provided for in the Global
We must, as
a matter of extreme urgency, establish the new Zimbabwe government,
which will include the three parties represented in the democratically
elected Zimbabwe parliament.
must operate according to the principles and procedures detailed
in the Global Political Agreement, which both determines that RG
Mugabe will be president, and that Morgan Tsvangirai will be prime
minister, and specifies the roles of these leaders in the Inclusive
The MDC (T),
like the other Zimbabwe parties, must, within an Inclusive Government,
take responsibility for the future of Zimbabwe, rather than see
its mission as being a militant critic of President Mugabe and Zanu
of the Global Political Agreement has provided the possibility for
the leaders of the people of Zimbabwe to govern Zimbabwe together,
and together to solve the national problems, including the ones
raised by the Hon Tendai Biti in his letter to me.
All that is
now required is that these leaders must remain true to their word.
They must implement the agreement they have signed.
In this regard,
they have absolutely no need to refer to their external supporters
for approval, however powerful they might seem, including any and
all South African formations.
All that is
required is that you, the leaders of the people of Zimbabwe, should
do what you have committed yourselves to do, and that is all!
In the context
of the observations made by the Hon Tendai Biti in his November
19 letter to the facilitator, Zimbabwe urgently needs precisely
the agreed Inclusive Government, to:
- rebuild the
state machinery of Zimbabwe;
- enable it
to meet the needs of the people;
the current socio- economic crisis;
- end the threat
of the explosion or implosion of Zimbabwe;
- end all manifestations
of repression, intimidation and violence; and
the democratic and human rights of all Zimbabweans, including
their political and other formations.
The Hon Tendai
Biti should not transfer the achievement of these tasks to the facilitator,
SADC and the AU.
belongs squarely to the people of Zimbabwe and their leaders.
signing of the Global Political Agreement in Harare on September
15 opened the way for you as Zimbabwe's leaders, and the formations
you represent, to act together not as political opponents, but as
partners in pursuit of a shared and defined objective of the reconstruction
and development of Zimbabwe, the reconciliation and unification
of its people, and the entrenchment of democracy.
As you have
agreed, in the first instance this must be expressed in the formation
of the Zimbabwe Inclusive Government, which must work together as
a cohesive formation, together as one, to address the priorities
identified in the Global Political Agreement, in the manner prescribed
in this agreement.
You and I know
that objectively, Zimbabwe desperately needs the establishment of
this Inclusive Government, and that this is the most urgent demand
of the masses, the people who elected the three parties, including
yours, which are represented in the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
Without in any
way reflecting on their merits, which would require protracted investigations,
the only and most rational way to address the challenges raised
by the Hon Tendai Biti is to form the Zimbabwe Inclusive Government
and table the matters at issue even at the very first meeting of
the cabinet of the Inclusive Government.
humbly, that given the fact of the Global Political Agreement, the
MDC (T), and indeed the MDC (M), should no longer treat themselves
as opposition parties or protest movements, and neither should Zanu
PF consider and relate to them as such.
that has been reached and signed provides that Zimbabwe will and
must have a ruling coalition of three co-operating parties.
within the agreed framework, these will and must constitute the
new "ruling party" of Zimbabwe, which must govern Zimbabwe
as this "one" entity.
all this, the Hon Tendai Biti asks that we should support the delay
in the formation of the Zimbabwe Inclusive Government and help to
sustain an untenable situation according to which, despite the agreed
and signed Global Political Agreement, the signatories should continue
to treat one another as opposed political formations engaged in
a deadly fight, one against the other.
and problems continue to persist among the Zimbabwe political parties
and the supporters of these, surely the framework has now been established
for these to engage one another to address these conflicts and problems!
I am certain
that the longer we postpone using this framework, relying on the
luxury of a facilitator and other informal advisers, the longer
we will perpetuate the terrible misery that afflicts the people
a neighbour and an African, I am immensely proud of the extraordinary
work you have done to develop the comprehensive consensus that now
exists among yourselves as the leaders of the people of Zimbabwe,
which provides the roadmap which defines what must be done to pull
Zimbabwe out of the abyss.
What the people
of Zimbabwe, our region and Africa now need is the sense of patriotism
among yourselves as leaders of the people of Zimbabwe and as African
patriots, which will inspire you, despite and beyond personal and
partisan interests, to implement the agreements you have concluded.
In this regard,
it may be that together, openly, and sooner rather than later, we
must give an account to the masses of the people of Zimbabwe of
what has been agreed during 18 months of negotiations, and what
it is that holds up the united, national advance towards the alleviation
of the problems of Zimbabwe, and therefore the speedy improvement
of the quality of the lives of the people.
You know this,
too, that the rest of Southern Africa, your neighbouring countries,
has also had the unavoidable obligation to carry much of the weight
of the burden of the Zimbabwe crisis, in many ways.
You know that,
among other things, various countries of our region host large numbers
of economic migrants from Zimbabwe, who impose particular burdens
on our countries.
Loyal to the
concept and practice of African solidarity, none of our countries
and governments has spoken publicly of this burden, fearful that
we might incite the xenophobia to which all of us are opposed.
the leaders of the people of Zimbabwe, including you, dear brother,
need to bear in mind that the pain your country bears is a pain
that is transferred to the masses of our people, who face their
own challenges of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment.
burden is not carried by the countries of Western Europe and North
America, which have benefited especially from the migration of skilled
and professional Zimbabweans to the north.
In the end,
when all is said and done, Zimbabwe will have to exist in peace
and productive collaboration with its neighbours in Southern Africa
and the rest of Africa.
Zimbabwe will never share the same neighbourhood with the countries
of Western Europe and North America, and therefore secure its success
on the basis of friendship with these, and contempt for the decisions
of its immediate African neighbours.
I say this humbly
to advise that it does not help Zimbabwe, nor will it help you as
prime minister of Zimbabwe, that the MDC (T) contemptuously repudiates
very serious decisions of our region, and therefore our continent,
describing them as "a nullity".
It may be that,
for whatever reason, you consider our region and continent as being
of little consequence to the future of Zimbabwe, believing that
others further away, in Western Europe and North America, are of
In this context
I have been told that because leaders in our region did not agree
with you on some matters that served on the agenda of the SADC Extraordinary
Summit Meeting, you have denounced them publicly as "cowards".
of proceeding might earn you prominent media headlines. However,
I assure you that it will do nothing to solve the problems of Zimbabwe.
As you secure
applause because of the insult against us that we are "cowards",
you will have to consider the reality that our peoples have accepted
into their countries very large numbers of Zimbabwean brothers and
sisters in a spirit of human solidarity, prepared to sustain the
resultant obligations. None of our countries displayed characteristics
of cowardice when they did this.
All of us will
find it strange and insulting that because we do not agree with
you on a small matter, you choose to describe us in a manner that
is most offensive in terms of African culture, and therefore offend
our sense of dignity as Africans, across our borders.
I am more than convinced that we should hold the November 25 meeting
as proposed by your negotiators, to agree on the text of Constitutional
Amendment No 19, and the procedures for its approval.
therefore confirms the arrangements that have been made for this
critically important meeting.
the principle agreed from the very beginning of the SADC-mandated
negotiations, that no party to the negotiations has veto powers,
the facilitation will engage any party that arrives to attend the
November 25 meeting which your negotiators proposed, and which we
convinced the other parties to accept.
As a matter
of courtesy, as well as for their information and action, I would
like to inform you that I will make available the November 19 letter
of the Hon Tendai Biti to me, and this response to you, to:
- the other
Zimbabwe negotiating parties;
- the chairperson
and acting chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics etc;
- the chairperson
- the chairperson
of the AU;
- the chairperson
of the AU Commission;
- the secretary
general of the United Nations; and,
- the executive
secretary of SADC.
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