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of 'Hot Seat' on the GNU with Nelson Chamisa, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga
and Brian Kagoro
Gonda, SW Radio Africa
Gonda: There has been a lot of debate about whether the
MDC should have entered this inclusive government with Robert Mugabe.
There are still questions about whether it will work. Today we have
three different perspectives from inside and outside Zimbabwe. We
have an independent commentator, Brian Kagoro who is based in Kenya;
we have Nelson Chamisa who is an MP and spokesperson for the Tsvangirai
led MDC and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is one of the negotiators
and a member of the newly formed Joint Monitoring and Implementation
Committee, or JOMIC, and she's representing the Mutambara
led MDC. Welcome on the programme Hot Seat.
Thank you, Violet. Thank you, we're here.
Let me start with Brian. Last week Brian, you were highly sceptical
of this inclusive government. Could you articulate in point form
the crucial areas that give rise to your scepticism?
Kagoro: I had four clear points: the first one was that
the fundamentals upon which the democratic struggle, which by the
way, pre-dates NCA,
the democratic struggle through which Zimbabweans have fought to
try and arrive at - would not be achieved through this process.
Number two I thought that there were too many grey areas around
actual operational questions because mind you, it's not just
about individuals, it's about the operational staff and I
drew on the experience
in Kenya and some historical experience just demonstrating that
these grey areas actually then become elephants in a china shop
if you like. Number three I looked at whether it would deliver for
me in terms of the human rights agenda and I felt that that question,
you know, I wasn't comfortable that it does in any particular
way, it didn't deal with the question of accountability effectively,
it didn't deal with the question of enforceability. So I looked
at the ministerial portfolio distribution, I looked at the areas
of grievance around the characters who have been, who presided over
the machinations of terror and the last one, is that I actually
asked the simple question, it's OK to be sceptical about operational
issue, about content issues. Human beings are known to be capable
of great good and great evil. Given the trajectory in the negotiations
and the back and forth on what happened, whether or not the positions
taken by both MDC and Zanu gave me confidence that this deal would
result into a workable government. I still conclude as I did then,
that I am not persuaded.
Priscilla, can you respond to Brian?
Yes Violet. I can understand, I don't have a problem with
people being a bit uncomfortable because this is a new thing and
in fact we've not even finished, we're still going through
the processes and procedures. So I think it is only fair to allow
people to be a bit sceptical. But I think what I find problematic
about Zimbabweans generally is the fact that in fact we are now
basing our arguments sometimes on things that are not true. Not
that I'm saying people are lying but that sometimes when you
want to build your argument it is important to actually base it
go back to what happened to before I was cut off. The whole concept
about SADC issuing a decree,
I think it's problematic to actually say those kind of things
when we know that's not what happened. At least in this particular
summit we had the three Principals sitting in that particular room
with the Heads of State, they went through every other issue that
was there that was a contentious issue. And all the issues that
Brian is raising around allocation of ministries were indeed raised
within that meeting but some consensus was then built not only within
the Heads of State themselves but with the Principals that were
there. Which is why you will see that within the final resolution
that was put out this time around, they then said, you know what,
we had agreed in an earlier meeting, in an earlier summit, it may
not make sense for us to go back on the earlier agreement that we
So instead of
saying that we are going to do a review of just the Ministry of
Finance which was the earlier resolution - you remember for the
9th of November had indicated - we will do a review of the entire
process. And I think basically it was a way of saying OK go ahead
and do a trial run on this thing. We understand none of you can
be confident because it is a new relationship and rightly so as
Brian says it's a difficult relationship because we are coming
from a polarised community, a polarised society where things were
not what they were supposed to be but you are trying to build. So
in trying to build you want to give opportunities to create some
space in which hopefully people can begin to learn to live together.
And all I'm
trying to say Violet is that I think we are all angry, no-one can
argue the fact that these last years have been traumatic. We have
been living under a regime that none of us would want to live under,
we do not want a repeat of this particular issue, but I think we
need to be careful that our emotional anger may make us become so
un-strategic sometime and we may begin to say certain things that
are not necessarily true in terms of what happened. And I just thought
I needed to raise that because I think it raises a fundamental point
- let's differ on factual issues, let's say this
is what happened but I think it should have gone this way but let's
not give out information out there on things that did not happen
in the way that we are now saying did happen.
And Chamisa, your reaction, and if I might also add what
Kagoro said last week, he said SADC is playing lotto with our lives
and he actually described the deal as "a polygamous marriage
of convenience". What can you say about this?
Well I'm not going to be tempted to respond to Mr
Kagoro's assertion but what I just need to do is to try and
put fact on what we believe to be the way forward. First, I just
want to say that we must all appreciate that this is a compromise
and there is no perfect compromise. It is a compromise, meaning
to say that it doesn't reflect faithfully and truthfully what
we would have wanted to see. So basically as we try to deal with
the issues that are affecting Zimbabweans, you must remember that
in a position of leadership, it is incumbent upon ourselves as the
leadership to make sure that we design and sculpture ways of extricating
the people of Zimbabwe from the jaws of poverty, from the jaws of
this dictatorship. And the way we believe to be the best way out
of it is basically making sure that we have a negotiation.
You must also
remember that we had a congress in 2006 and at that congress we
had resolutions and we had a clear road map we adopted and that
road map had three clear signposts. The first one was a negotiation.
The second one after negotiation, we wanted to have a transitional
authority so that we could then have a new constitution, a new electoral
dispensation, then the third one was a free and fair election, of
course that would give birth to a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe.
As far as we are concerned, we are still quite loyal to our congress
resolution. We have managed to go to the negotiation; we have managed
to then attain what we believe to be the transitional authority
and that is the phase in which we are.
And we believe
that phase is going to give us four critical things Violet. The
first one is going to be the democratisation platform. We believe
that the writing of a new constitution within a period of 18 months
- and I must thank the negotiators who did sterling work.
Very difficult circumstances, very difficult context but they managed
to emerge with a document, which document is going to be a creature
or product of massive consultation, momentum building activities
within the country in 18 months. So democratisation is going to
be possible because the people of Zimbabwe are going to define who
they want to be and what they are in terms of that constitution.
The second issue
is the platform for a humanitarian intervention. We believe that
during this transitional inclusive government period we are able
to reach out to the people who are suffering. I don't believe
that it is possible for revolutions to be fought by dead people.
I don't believe that it is possible for a struggle to be fought
from the graveyard so we need to save lives. In as much we would
want to see the ideal of democracy, we need to make sure that the
people are feeding. We need to make sure we are responding to the
bread and butter issues. So that is the second issue.
The third issue
has to be an opportunity of making sure that there is national healing,
there is national understanding of who we are and where we are going
and we believe that once we start to control certain arteries of
the State that gives us the opportunity to be able to respond to
the deficit of national healing, to the wound that has been inflicted
on the people of Zimbabwe.
And lastly which
is in our view a critical component of what is going to be achieved
by this transitional inclusive government is for us to make sure
that we inject professionalism and non-partisanship in the conduct
and attitude of our State institutions - our various pillars of
the State, the securocrats the bureaucrats. And we believe as MDC
, that the decision we taken is the best decision informed by our
circumstances, informed by the leadership code and informed by our
democratisation agenda. So contrary to this assertion that oh we
have abandoned the struggle, oh we have committed a political suicide,
we have actually changed the frontiers of our struggle. The democratisation
agenda has now been shifted to another gear. Any struggle has to
have gears and this is now a new dispensation, it's a new
level and we hope that our colleagues will appreciate that what
we are doing, seeks to amplify their efforts, not undermine them.
And that is where we are at the moment.
But Chamisa, how do you respond to people who say that your President,
Mr Tsvangirai actually made a u-turn because he had been stalling
for months and had said that he would only agree to participate
in this inclusive government if all the demands are met. And so,
what has persuaded him to finally agree before all his demands have
You have your say but you don't necessarily have
your way, Violet. We were dealing with the Heads of State who spent
almost 14 to 15 hours trying to help us. I don't agree with
those who condemn SADC to say they have not done anything. They
have tried their best. This is a Zimbabwean problem, we as Zimbabweans
have a duty to do and to go the extra mile in solving. Of course
we need the support of the region, we need the support of the continent
and of course the whole world. We believe that what was done at
the last SADC meeting is actually quite a significant shift in terms
of addressing some of the issues we had said were outstanding.
not as if Mr Tsvangirai made a u-turn, there was a particular justification
that was given by the Heads of State as to why we were supposed
to then move. The first issue was the issue of Amendment
No 19 Violet. We wanted Number 19 to be passed into law before
us going into government. It's clear that Zanu-PF wanted the
swearing in first before the Amendment had been passed. We got our
way and we succeeded on issue number one.
two was the issue of making sure that we've the National Security
Council Bill. That Bill was actually endorsed by SADC, in fact just
yesterday, our negotiators agreed on this Bill, in fact it has actually
been perfected by some ideas from our colleagues in the other MDC
and also from Zanu-PF. Now what we have is a National Security Council
Bill, so outstanding issue number two was resolved.
issue number three was the issue of making sure that we deal with
the issue of governors. I must gladly say that that issue again
there has been movement. Zanu-PF has agreed that we need to have
an arrangement, a formula. I hear that there is a formula 5-4-1
which formula I think is quite modest and quite acceptable. It has
been accepted by political parties. We have to then finalise the
modalities at Principals levels, again that's number three
- movement we feel addresses our outstanding issues.
four was the issue of making sure that those who have been abducted
are released. That is an issue that is still work in progress and
I know that JOMIC and my sister Priscilla can actually give you
further details. It's working flat out to make sure that those
people are released as gestures of goodwill, as signals of good
direction, as a symbolic movement in the right direction and I believe
that those are issues that are still being resolved. The issue of
the ministry which was the last issue is not yet resolved and SADC
had to say look, we had a resolution on the 9 th of November and
we can't just say that resolution has to be revisited because
we have not implemented and we have not detected the defects of
this resolution, so go and implement it, if there are any problems
in six months we should be able to revisit it. So we have said,
that seems logical, we need to follow the logic of our region, the
collective wisdom of our elders in the region and that is what we
So there is
no u-turn. Again this is propaganda, this is imagination, that is
not a u-turn. It is a significant movement consistent with the objective
assessment of the issues that are on the table. We feel that we
But Nelson, it was only a couple of days ago that you issued a statement
saying that Zanu-PF is spoiling to scuttle the inclusive government,
so what has changed since that time? And also Morgan Tsvangirai
has said that the political prisoners must be released before he
is sworn in on the 11 th. What happens if they are not released?
Well I must say that we are not under any illusion that we are dealing
with an honest partner. Zanu-PF is known, their history, their legacy
is chequered and we are aware that they are likely to try and continue
to play such tricks, hide and seek, ducking and diving. But that
does not necessarily mean that we should not give it a try. We are
also conscious of ourselves, of course in as much we don't
have trust in Zanu-PF, we have trust and confidence in ourselves
in terms of our faithfulness to the values and vision of the national
working peoples' convention, the founding values of our democratic
struggle and we have not departed from those founding values.
In fact, as
I indicated in my earlier assertion, we have actually shifted the
gear of our struggle and that should be understood in that context
so we are not under any illusion that we are dealing with an honest
player. Of course you must know Violet that each time you decide
to shake the hand of a thief you must also count your fingers. Each
time you decide to kiss a thief you must also check your teeth.
We are aware of what we are doing. We know the consequences of dealing
with Zanu-PF but we are also equally aware of the consequences of
making leadership for the people of Zimbabwe . So on that issue
we are very clear.
On the issue
of Zanu-PF backtracking, that's not something new, they've
always continued to dilly-dally but we are making sure that we insist
on what I've said is demonstration of the presence of sincerity.
What we would want to see in terms of prisoners being released so
that it signals a dawn of a new era, that is what we are working
on and we are hoping to continue to push, particularly through the
JOMIC platform. And we are hoping to get answers. It doesn't
necessarily mean that if we don't get answers we should stop
knocking. We have to continue knocking, the door will open.
But what are some of the specific points or lack of deliveries by
Zanu-PF that will break this deal on your part?
Well look, I must emphasise that the deal is now almost reaching
final stages of consummation. We would not want to be negative,
we are very positive, we are exercising leadership in whatever we
are doing. We are not responding to what Zanu-PF is doing. If anything
we are driving the agenda, we would want to respond to the humanitarian
challenges in the country, we would want to respond to the rupture
in our society, the acrimony in our society politically, we would
want to respond to the economic bleeding and haemorrhage so that
people begin to see a new phase of life. People will not simply
have hope and we need to inject that hope in their lives.
I must say that
in terms of what you are saying, what is going to break things,
we have said that before the swearing in, we want to see movement
on the aspect of the abductees. We have said that before the swearing
in we would want to make sure that the issue of governance is clearly
finalised so that we are clean and clear as to the direction we
are taking. So we are also watching events over the weekend and
also the early part of the next week. We will be making the necessary
positions that are going to ensure that we don't short change
those who have been abducted, those who have had their lives violated
and their security threatened.
Priscilla, let me come to you as a member of this implementation
committee, can you tell us what JOMIC is doing about the charges
against the political detainees?
Well, what JOMIC is, it's not a negotiating forum, so basically,
whilst we have people that are coming from the three political parties,
it's supposed to be a forum in which you try and solve the
problems as amicably as possible. We also realise that part of why
we were having the false starts that we were having is this continuous
- and I am glad to speak to Nelson, clearly we are not speaking
around issues of conditionality, we are not saying that unless something
has been done then this will not happen. Because that was something
that was underlined and emphasised at the last SADC summit by the
SADC Heads of State because it usually does not take us anywhere
because this person says I won't do this unless this is done
the other person does the same.
JOMIC is trying to be a forum in which, whilst people are coming
from the different political parties, but you are basically using
that forum to begin to speak as partners, as people who are working
towards a one particular goal. Because some of the problems that
we experience really are more to do sometimes with lack of communication,
sometimes, not knowing who to speak to at any given time. So JOMIC
really is a space in which - and I'll go back to the issues
you were talking about, the issues around the abductees, to the
issue that we are no longer speaking about them as; 'you did
this against me'. But basically saying we want to build a
different society, we want to build a different Zimbabwe , how do
we begin to deal with the past and some of the problems that we
the point that when we did that political agreement, part of what
we then said was that we're not going to give a blanket amnesty.
Anybody who is involved or has been involved or alleged to have
been involved in anything will have to go through the processes
- the legal processes. But also acknowledging that even those legal
processes maybe problematic because of the history where we're
coming from in the context.
We are actually
beginning to look at how do we deal with that situation without
necessarily ourselves, and I think I am speaking for a lot of people
that have been in the democratic movement, part of what we have
been saying is that the cornerstone and the fundamentals - that
Brian was talking about - are the issues to do with rule of law.
And we should never have a situation where, for any reason, we are
saying anybody who has done anything should go for free, should
be left to just go without facing the rule of law, but within a
So we are discussing
a whole range of all those things. What is there right now in terms
of the abductees, there are some that we can actually say we know
where they are, so you can identify, you know they are in particular
place. There are some who are not known so we need to begin to discuss
about those who are not known. We have families who are saying this
person was taken we don't know where they are. But really
it is something we are trying to do within that small setting and
we are trying to be very sensitive about it so I can't go
into details in terms of how we are going to be dealing with some
of the issues because it may actually create problems in terms of
some of the things that we may be able to do and some of the people
that we think we may speak to in terms of using them to influence
some of the things that we are talking about.
But I think
what I want to emphasise is that unlike the negotiation group where
we literally were putting positions as MDC and Zanu-PF, in this
JOMIC, we literally are saying we are the people that are responsible
for making sure that this agreement works, how can we be pro-active.
So it's not a place in which you just bring complaints, it's
also a place in which you begin to say to yourself, what can we
do to make things better?
the issues around the hate speech. By tomorrow, we are calling all
the media houses and we are going to have a conversation with them
about how we as politicians sometimes are responsible for perpetuating
the kind of language that does not take us to a new Zimbabwe, to
a new future, how do we do it differently, but how do we bring the
media also, people like yourself Violet, to begin to create spaces
and forums in which there is a certain positive way of looking at
where we want to go, instead of the kind of language that we have
been used to in terms of the last 20 to 25 years or so. So that
is what I say around JOMIC.
You know Priscilla, some people would say you sound very optimistic
about this deal working, but still, is there something you know
that most people don't actually know about, because if we
are to go with the events on the ground, it seems nothing has really
changed. It seems Zanu-PF does not seem to be behaving as partners.
Only today the treason trial of the MDC Secretary General and the
MDC 's chief negotiator Tendai Biti has been set for May and
this is happening despite the fact that there will be a unity government.
Now given that the treason charges emanate from this dispute, what
ought to be the approach, or JOMIC's approach?
Exactly and this is why I emphasised the point, you have things
that are technically legal huh? And I am sure that Brian would assist
in this particular process - the moment you have started certain
legal processes, it may not be as easy as waking up in the morning
and saying it's no longer there. That's not to say that
you are able to use other processes and negotiations, to make sure
that there are conversations that take place within a particular
context. But I think it would be problematic because if you were
to use that then you might as well use that same rule to then say
all those people that killed, that shot people, that burnt people's
homes should just go scot-free. And I don't think we want
We had this
conversation as negotiators around whether we should look at a blanket
amnesty and say because we are coming from a political history perhaps
we should just look at issues to do with a blanket amnesty and we
all agreed and said it may not be fair - perhaps the people of Zimbabwe
need to have this conversation as a society, as a nation to say
where do we go and what do we do?
saying, in acknowledging that particular point that you want to
deal with the fundamentals of the rule of law, you also want to
say, even within that context of the rule of law, there are problematic
issues. For example, there are questions around the judiciary; you
cannot run away from it. So you can't deal with these issues
in isolation. You have to deal with them within a particular context,
they have to be holistic but the underlining factor should be -
is there a commitment from those that are party to this agreement.
That in fact
what we want to achieve is to transform ourselves from where we
have been to what it is that we want. And it takes all of us.
And I agree
and I also agree with Nelson, for a regime that killed 20 000 people
in Matabeleland , I would be stupid to believe that I am going into
this thing because I trust Zanu and because I think they are good
people. We literally are at the table precisely because we don't
trust these people but we are trying to create an environment that
would allow us to begin to build a new society and it takes time
Violet. It's not like switching on the light and saying because
the police were beating people yesterday, the very next day they
are not going to be beating people.
There are processes
and if you look at the GPA
there are things that we agreed we would have to do, a retraining,
a re-conscientisation - a complete transformation of certain institutions,
of certain behaviours, because we have lived for years under a society
in which all these things did not matter anymore. It is unfair for
anybody to say from September 15 where you signed this, everything
should just wake up tomorrow morning and it will be different. And
it is precisely for that reason that some of us believe people have
to get into this inclusive government, if only to give ourselves
space, give ourselves breathing space, give ourselves time and some
of us to begin to do transformational work.
Brian, your thoughts?
I have listened to my colleagues carefully, thinking that
perhaps I may have been wrong before, but having listened to the
two of them, I'm more persuaded than I was last week that
my views were correct. Let me start with Nelson's theory of
leadership that there is such great misery, the only option is to
go in, sit with the primary cause of the misery and craft a path
to heaven. If you recall Abel Muzorewa's justification in
1978 was based on the misery that the war had caused, and you only
need to read history, if you Google search and you go back to the
1978 internal settlement, the justifications were: the war had gone
on for too long, ordinary people were being killed, were dying,
the violence was destabilising neighbouring states, economic development
ZAPU's logic in 1987 for going into the unity government -
mind you - ZAPU unlike the MDCs was in a slightly better position.
They even had a military, this was the ZIPRA formation. They went
in, they did much better, they got the Vice Presidency even the
chairpersonship off of Zanu-PF, they got some key posts including
this Home Affairs that can't be given to anyone else and ironically
Violet, Mugabe did not get to say sorry to the 20 000 people or
their families that Priscilla referred to earlier on, that died
in Matabeleland. The argument of ZAPU was that if they went in then
this would bring development into Matabeleland which had been ravished
by civil war and had remained underdeveloped.
Sadly the people
in that region of the country are still yearning to see that reality,
1987 was a long time away. We can either say those from ZAPU who
went into the unity government in 1987 lacked vision or leadership.
Or we can say that this serves us - as Priscilla and Chamisa rightly
say - a relationship is first and fundamentally about trust and
secondly about enforceability of your ambitions, even when trust
is at its minimum. The currency must be drawn from how do you enforce
or can you enforce.
my colleagues admit that because the coercive arms of state are
safely in the hands of Zanu-PF, that we are not going to see transformation
of political culture and conduct of the armed forces anytime soon.
I've heard them talk about the judiciary; Priscilla says it
is a problem - civil society activists would have stronger words
on how law has become a dirty word in Zimbabwe . If you are seen
to be non-compliant to differ as I am happily doing now, you most
probably are likely to be vilified.
Take the Tendai
Biti case for example. It is clear that the charge of treason itself
is in any other part of the world, laughable and the State is at
liberty to withdraw a case before trial, there hasn't been
a trial yet, and as a gesture of goodwill, they could have withdrawn;
it was a trumped up charge by a regime which had lost an election
in March and feared. And what was the Tendai Biti statement? That
the MDC had won the March election and that therefore the MDC would
declare itself a winner. And if that qualifies as treason I don't
know what doesn't.
And then you
go to the Jestina Mukoko and others. Unless there is evidence that's
been presented, cogent evidence, if the charges are based on all
the stuff that we have read and seen and heard, then it is clear
that the state, presently the Zanu led state, knows it has no basis
to detain some of the people who are in detention and that it doesn't
need magic to withdraw those charges - even after the attorney-general
who has publicly declared that he's a Zanu-PF activist, could
simply say listen, these charges are unsustainable and they know
that they are unsustainable.
So we move beyond
the rule of law question, let's go to the money issue, the
Gono factor. OK, I've nothing personal against the good governor
and his lottery economy theories but one of the fundamentals why
people are in the misery they are in is because of bad policy decisions,
terrible policy decisions . . .
Can I butt in? Can I butt in, sorry Brian but I think . . .
Can I finish please?
I just wanted to say this . . .
Can I finish the idea?
If you are waiting for transition the parties have agreed, I was
baffled that we proceeded, because this deal was going to take just
a few days before its finalisation, we proceeded to issue a new
monetary statement number one, we proceed to issue a new budget
OK? And there's absolutely no logic, why that new budget could
not have waited for the substantive new Minister of Finance and
for the inclusive government to make those decisions. The fundamental
decisions were made under the new budget that altered the direction
again, and one can look at enforceability, can look at whether it
is progressive or not.
these are golden handcuffs because in the spirit of cooperation
people are going to say, to use a Chamisa term, to show leadership
by not concentrating on how some of these monetary statement pronouncement
or the budget may be a major restraint to reconstruction - so irrespective
of whether or not you are taking out the governor or leaving the
So for me, the
issue was never, and I have been consistent in this Violet, and
that is why I disagree with my brother Chamisa. I was never fixated
by who becomes governor. I'm very conscious and familiar of
the functions of governors. I don't see how the functions
of governors necessarily deal with the humanitarian crisis in the
country. The reason why aid agencies, the reason why humanitarian
support was not getting to the people is that the government consciously
stopped that aid getting to the people. How do you resolve it? The
government can simply make a decision - the inclusive government
- that aid can now come to the people.
the economic crisis: I don't think you resolve it by making
sure that this 5-4-1 principle that Chamisa (talked about), these
matters are matters of relevance to the political party as a political
party and around political power.
run by functionaries and bureaucrats. The discussion of what happens
to the bureaucrats, the actual technical staff under the ministerial
direction hasn't even been on the table as far as we know
And just to
answer Chamisa, I'm surprised the MDC issued an official statement
circulated on the internet ahead of the SADC summit, saying there
was a document that had been leaked, indicating that SADC would
not alter its position, that SADC would try and whip the MDC into
line. I did not issue that document; it was issued by the MDC circulated
ahead of the SADC summit. I am aware, I was somewhere near Pretoria,
of the fact that people went in, had discussions one by one, but
fundamentally SADC stuck to its decision. Right?
Zanu stuck to its decision.
But that is not correct.
Frankly as a lawyer, the question of whether or not you
had Amendment number 19 enacted first or after the inauguration
is an argument in futility.
In fact if there was an agreement Amendment number 19 would regulate
operations of the Prime Minister's office or the executive
authority, it really makes no real difference whether you pass it
the day after or the day before the inauguration.
Brian, let me go to Priscilla first, and then to Chamisa
to respond to your statement.
Yes I was just going to say very, very quickly, and to
some extent, I'm finding this very frustrating. The issue
of how bad Zanu-PF is, is no longer the issue. We would not be in
the situation that we are in right now if we did not have the kind
of regime like Zanu-PF. So that is understood, we know the regime
we are talking about, which is why I'm saying, I'm not
saying we shouldn't worry about the things that have happened,
right now the people who are being abducted, the people who have
been beaten up. But I'm saying for me, what happened in '85,
'86, '87 showed everybody - it's unfortunate that
the world at that time did not think it was important - that you
would have people who would cut open women's tummies if they
were pregnant and killed 20 000 people.
For me it is
a clear sign that we are dealing with a regime that is bad, that
will not care about what happens to the people of Zimbabwe , but
precisely because of that, this is where we are here. So the question
for me is not about how bad Zanu-PF is, we can sit here and talk
about what they have done, the question, the fundamental question
and that is what I would like Brian to tell me is what exactly he
thinks should have happened, other than the negotiation process,
what else should have happened?
me what I saw were Zimbabweans getting out in droves from Zimbabwe,
to Botswana, to Kenya, to wherever. What I saw is an inability to
even begin - and Brian will know the number of times that
we tried to mobilise people to get into the streets because we thought
it probably an alternative to get this system out. So it is not
out of a lack of not having tried any other process. People were
then forced to begin to say perhaps this is the other alternative
to achieve the things that we have always wanted. To begin to come
up with a new constitution like Chamisa says. To begin to create
transformational institutions that will make sure that we will never
again be subjected to a person like Robert Mugabe or to a regime
So if he can
tell me that there is something that was an alternative, was a plan
'B', that would ensure that we would wake up in the
morning and we would not have Zanu-PF or Robert Mugabe I want to
know that because I personally, as Priscilla, would jump to that
point. I don't want to be sitting across from people I know
I can't trust. People that I know are waiting to go and get
somebody and throw them into prison. I don't like that. Can
we be clear about what else could have been done differently because
we want that other alternative?
OK we'll come to that, I'll ask Brian that
question but let me go first to Chamisa for his reaction.
Well I just wanted to remind my brother Brian that yes, it's
good to give Muzorewa and ZAPU's as examples, but just to
remind him we are not Muzorewa, we are not ZAPU. Yes my brother,
it is good to be pessimistic, to be cautious, but you must remember
that for the benefit of the people, at times pessimism is erosive
and corrosive. It gets you shackled and manacled, that you then
failed to even realise that which you are able to do. It undermines
your capacity and your ability to unleash your very potential.
And I just want
to say as far as we are concerned we are conscious of the accident
of history, the ones you have given, but the issue of the humanitarian
challenge that you say we won't be able to respond to, we
are going to be firmly in charge of the ministry that is going to
superintend and shepherd the work of all the non-governmental organisations.
And we believe that as government we are going to allow for the
humanitarian support to flow in the country for the benefit of ordinary
people. We are going to eliminate the use of food as a political
weapon - which has been the ailment of this regime.
We are going
in terms of cost, of the issue of making sure that we have a political
party blind strategy of reaching out to people in the rural areas
in terms of food. We are going to achieve that and I can assure
you if you have any doubts, come in two weeks time when we are in
government, then you will see what we are capable of doing.
The second issue,
you have said that we did not address the issue of bureaucracy,
permanent secretaries and those who work in government. We did but
we can't exhaust all these issues. There are other issues
that are matters of strategy. They would not want to be put on the
marketplace of argumentation and contestation because it doesn't
really help. But we have exhausted this matter and I think if you
ask my sister Priscilla she will tell you that this matter is a
matter that was quite dominant in the discussions, we resolved on
this matter and we have a solution to this matter.
But just to
conclude what was said by my sister Priscilla, it's good to
say that what we have as a strategy on the table, what we have adopted
is not good enough, but it's also important when we criticise
to have a palpable, credible solution set - what I would call a
progress matrix. What we are all going to say indeed, this is the
best way forward for our people. You know that we have scars; you
know that we have lost friends, relatives, brothers and sisters
because of this struggle. We have been in this struggle, we are
in this struggle, and we shall be in this struggle until a new Zimbabwe
So for those
who may believe that possibly what they are seeing is ourselves
migrating from the founding objectives of the Movement and the peoples'
struggle I can tell you that that is not correct. We are still on
and I am sure that with our collective energy, our collective determination,
we are going to overcome and we shall overcome. God is on our side,
time is on our side, the people are on our side and of course history
though with some variations is on our side
Now Brian we have heard your argument but you haven't provided
any solutions, what options did the MDC have prior to the SADC meeting?
I did. No I have never put the SADC meeting as an option platform.
In the interview last week I said openly I have never been opposed
to negotiations. Chamisa knows that even when the MDC itself was
not talking negotiations, I was already talking, that no single
party can run the country alone, so negotiations may be part of
a road map. If you take the road map that Chamisa talked about,
you got elections before negotiations and those elections gave you
a majority over Zanu. OK? Which many in the MDC did not believe;
once again Violet you will recall I was on your programme a few
days before the March election and I did say I had been in Zimbabwe
and my prediction is Mugabe will be shocked by the rural vote and
that the MDC would do better than it even thought itself. And I
even indicated that the electoral, I said over and over again on
this programme, that no single tactical strategy, so it wasn't
just the streets alone that would deliver, it wasn't just
the elections alone that would deliver and it wasn't just
the negotiation alone.
objection is this, whichever one of these three that you apply,
ZANU got all its fundamentals squarely assured and fixed. Fundamentals
around its concern with the security apparatus immediately and not
postponed to the future. Fundamentals around land clearly secured.
What were our
fundamentals? And Chamisa is right. I can pull out several of his
interviews and Priscilla's - fundamentals on the question
of the rule of law, justice and democracy. Ours are contingent upon
certain events happening in the future. I think that in terms of
saying we have secured a victory there we will be kidding ourselves.
fundamentals about recreating an economy: I said last week, the
ministries responsible for an economic turnaround, that is how our
new Zimbabwe will come about, not simply by ensuring that Zimbabweans
now have food that they don't have because a regime simply
ordered that they shouldn't get food. But fundamentals of
how do you reconstruct an economy, how do you reindustrialise, the
levers for reindustrialisation, for economic turnaround are not
anywhere within the opposition's control. Right?
But Brian, how do you get control of these things? The
MDC have tried the streets, they've tried negotiations, they've
tried elections . . .
That's why I said they should have negotiated stronger on
that because we are being sidetracked on that, we've got governors,
we got this. I'm saying there were clear five principles for
the MDC which were the core for the party's five founding
doctrines. And for you to move forward, if you are negotiating saying
we have reached a deal that is workable, at least you have to be
certain and I'm saying that an economic turnaround and redevelopment
there's no certainty. The economy and the levers of the economic
turnaround were negotiated away. When justice . . .
But Violet, can I just ask Brian this quick question, perhaps
I'm just not getting it. Somebody needs to explain to me how
Zanu-PF with the kind of people that we know work in Zanu-PF will
be able to sit in a cabinet where they are fifteen and there are
sixteen combined MDC progressive individuals, how Zanu-PF will still
be able to push the kind of policies that they've pushed before
without being challenged?
And I sit here and I say that . . .
Easy. Last week I gave you the example...
Can I finish? And I have actually been jokingly saying
part of what I find fascinating is the fact that you find a real
male, young, vibrant, intelligent, thinking that it would not be
possible to go toe to toe with the kind of the Mutasas, the John
Nkomos, the Mudenges who from what we've known of them have
done absolutely nothing when they go to this cabinet. This is a
cabinet that now has executive power. This is a cabinet that now
has a Prime Minister. So can somebody explain to me why it would
not be possible to sit in that room and begin to table and interrogate
not go back to what has happened to Gono and to Chinamasa because
I can also go back to that particular issue. The reason why we discussed
this and we discussed this at JOMIC when we met - the reason why
we had to reach a compromise about them tabling this thing is because
they came back to us and said we need, by the constitution of Zimbabwe,
to have tabled the budget by the 31 st. We then said there should
be no debate, as far as we are concerned, you can table it but when
the new Minister of Finance comes in to play. That Minister of Finance
is able to come back and re-craft a completely new budget.
Yes I agree
there are certain policies that could have been put into place like
the changes around the dollar etc, etc. But in my opinion the moment
you do have an inclusive government and you have proof of the kind
of people that I've known participate in some of these political
parties, I find it completely unbelievable that young people can
actually be afraid of going to sit in a room with tired old men
that we have seen in Zanu. I can understand them using coercive
instruments, the police, whoever, but if we are going to be sitting
in a room in a meeting it will be interesting to see how somebody
would be able to table the kind of tired policies without those
policies being challenged.
I need to be
educated unless people know something else that I don't know,
because I, as a person who has been a Member of Parliament, the
only reason why Zanu-PF would beat us in parliament would be because
there would be more of them, they would just basically say handei
tino vhota - let's go and vote. And that is how we'd
lose it. But in terms of the technical, intellectual discussions
they would not be able to challenge even the things that will be
putting onto the table. So I need to understand how 16 people against
15 will at least fail to begin to deliver or to interrogate the
kind of things that these people will be bringing onto the table.
I'm hoping that the two MDC twins have reached an era of agreement,
where they agree on all things. That 15 against 16 number could
become a curse and not a blessing, a sort of bickering, so the first
assumption you make is that the MDCs will always agree on all issues
- the two MDCs. And the last few months don't necessarily
suggest that it will necessarily always be so. OK?
It doesn't have to be.
Ya. Number two, this is about power politics by the way. ZAPU was
in government when they were arrested with such significant representation
and so Chamisa, my reference to Muzorewa and Nkomo was not to suggest
you are that but history's our best schoolmaster, especially
with the consistent history dealing with the same characters.
this is not a deification of the badness of Zanu. You all talked
glibly about strategy. In strategy Sun Tzu says 'you must
know your enemy better than you know yourself'. OK?
And in this
particular matter, I have already demonstrated the key levers by
which power flows. What will you do if you are unhappy for example
with a decision made by Zanu in the component of the ministry it
controls? Have an argument in cabinet? Argue ad infinitum? How will
you restrain because there is no power that says when you have this
argument what will you do - you take it to Parliament, take
it to Senate?
you have in place are tedious so you will be lost in argument . . .
Brian but it's true of every cabinet . . .
. . . and in this particular instant . . .
What you are saying is true of every cabinet . . .
No . . .
Brian hold on.
You are not seeking to create a choir. I think it will be healthy.
If you go back Brian very quickly to the budget that Zanu-PF presented
if you didn't see panic in that budget I don't know
what else you will be able to see - the amount of policy changes
that are in that budget. We may not agree with them but for me it
was indicative of a party that realises it could not continue to
do business as usual and for me that it the point I'm trying
There is also
a realisation in Zanu that you cannot continue to do the things
in the manner that you've done it before. That is why we have
fought with Zanu over the years. All of a sudden they come back
- ZINWA (water authority)? You would have thought that these
people were not hearing, but that for me is a clear sign.
And I can tell
you that even in terms of talking to some of the Zanu people, part
of their biggest challenge right now is that they know that we will
have a lot of young, intelligent, progressive individuals that are
going to be getting into that cabinet and that you cannot continue
to bring the kind of deadwood that they've had, but because
of the political dynamics in Zanu, they might not be able to have
that fundamental shift.
And for me Brian,
you guys out there, you guys in civic society, you guys who think
you can assist, that's what we should be talking about. How
do we capacitate the guys that are going to go in? How do we ensure
that when you put up certain policies, they are pro-poor, pro- all
the things we have spoken about as people who are in this struggle?
That is the question.
And like Chamisa
was saying, more of that positive and not negative - we are not
saying don't critique them, by all means do because you are
warning those people who are going in. But whilst you do that also
begin to say we are prepared to be doing this, we are prepared to
be giving you the technical support, we are prepared to do the technical
backup, we are prepared to begin to say to you how are you going
to be able to put your policies in such a way that you can move
or you can run with that.
I think that's
what this new government needs. And to some extent it's a
plea, to say it's not as if the people went to this negotiating
table to give away things. It was not fun to be sitting around with
these guys for all these years. It was difficult and it was painful
but it was the best that we could bring at this particular point
in time. How do you begin to strengthen that - that we are bringing
to you guys?
Priscilla . . .
But if you beat us up every minute, you tire us out.
Priscilla we have been receiving a lot of emails from listeners
and readers about this whole power sharing deal and some people
are finding it difficult to understand how this inclusive government
actually works and they're asking on what basis is a party
like yours, which lost in the elections, derive legitimacy to play
a sensitive national role. How would you respond to that?
There's a difference between Priscilla as an individual
losing a constituency to a political party losing. These particular
negotiations were premised on the fact of the March elections which
we all agree are the only legitimate elections that we can talk
about. And out of those elections, there were three political parties
that came out. Yes, we had the least number of seats, but those
seats were also premium to some extent, because we have a hung parliament,
so those particular seats are premium seats because they then give
you more power to be able to move the two who under normal circumstances
probably would not have agreed.
In fact the
role that we played in this was because we had the deciding vote
so to say. It was possible to go and engage with our colleagues
in the MDC, to also engage with Zanu so that they can begin to have
a compromise position.
So yes I know
it is difficult to be able to understand how those that seemingly
are weak beginning to play the same kind of role as those that are
seen to be big. But the world over when you have coalitions - infact
you'll find smaller parties who in essence have a vote that
can swing a hung parliament in the manner that this one came out,
become even much more powerful because they do have certain bargaining
power. But I think that what is important is to begin to separate
a Priscilla in a constituency and a Priscilla who is a leader in
a political party and as such can go and sit as a legitimate negotiator.
So we do have
the legitimacy to do so, we do have the seats to be able to sit
at that table, and I believe we did play a good role. I mean I can't
be a judge of whether it was the best role for us to play but we
remain faithful to certain principles which is why on one other
day you'd find that we would be in total agreement with our
colleagues in the MDC Tsvangirai, on the other you'd find
that we would have a disagreement with them. And we think it is
healthy, it is important as long as you are clear on what principle
you are standing and we will remain so.
Which is why
I was saying to Brian, you do not need a choir to go into that cabinet.
But from what I know in terms of the fundamentals of our policies
as the two MDC formations because basically we have not changed
our policies whether it is RESTART whether it is all those policies,
we still firmly believe in them and if the fight in cabinet is going
to be about policies, it's going to be about the pro-poor
they are going to be progressive, I don't see us having disagreements
at least on matters of principle, values and policies. I can see
a difference with ZANU . . .
. . . which is why we are not in Zanu-PF. I can see that the two
of us working very well which is why at least when I'm talking
about cabinet, I do the 16 vs 15.
Chamisa, what are your thoughts on what Priscilla has just said
and also on the issue of the Mutambara MDC holding the balance of
power in this whole game?
Well we believe that Zimbabwe is too great a country with sufficient
political space for all of us to play our role and play our part.
I believe our colleagues in the Mutambara group have a role to play
and I also believe that others who are not in political parties
but who are in the civic movement have wisdom, voices of reason
that we need to embrace. The reason why we are where we are is because
we have become obscurantists as a country and also as a leadership,
we don't entertain that variety of ideas, that divergence
of opinions. I think for example what you are doing Violet, it has
to be acknowledged and we need to thank you because we need to have
a discussion of all these different ideas, to have an osmosis of
those ideas, let the best idea dominate. And I think that is the
best way to go.
So I have no
problems because I know people may complain here and there but this
thing is a compromise arrangement - where we are saying it's
a temporary arrangement. We have had a tyre puncture, we need to
make sure that our vehicle called Zimbabwe gets from point A to
point B; for it to get there, we need everyone so that we are able
to help each other and one another to move to that position.
And I must say
that we are not under any illusion Violet that the climb is going
to be steep, that the journey's going to be tough and the
swim is going to be rough. We know that it is a very difficult challenge
but we have to deploy our might and name to make sure that we do
something for our country, we do something for prosperity. We are
possibly going to be victims of what we have done, because people
may feel that we have made the wrong decision, but I can tell you,
that what we are going to create and what we are going to give birth
to is a democratic Zimbabwe, anchored on institutions of justice,
of prosperity, of democracy and we are not in any way going to regret
the decision we have made because we have made this decision selflessly
in the interests of our country.
In fact what
you must also realise it that as the MDC by going into this inclusive
government, we do not think this inclusive government is a one-way
street. We have an exit capacity or exit strategy. We have the reverse
gear in abundance. If we are not comfortable or happy with it we
have other options that we are going to pursue - but ours is a conviction
that we are fighting a democratic struggle and that democratic struggle
is what model we are calling incremental democratisation.
If you look
at our struggle since 1999 we have managed to gain certain zones
of autonomy we need to guard them, we need to maintain them and
I think we have managed to do that and we need to continue to make
sure that we achieve what we want. And I must say that where we
are, I think we are in the right direction, we are going to stay
the course and I can assure you, come two weeks time the situation
in this country is going to be very different. We'll try to
change like I told you, we are not joining to be the same we are
joining to make a difference.
Now you know Nelson, the AU has called for the removal of targeted
sanctions, what is your position of sanctions?
Well look, it is the wish of the AU, it has to be respected. We
have said that the issue of sanctions is an issue between the yester-years
regime of Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF and the countries that imposed the
sanctions because of a deficit of good governance, because of a
deficit of good behaviour -in terms of how inter state relations
were undertaken. But as a new inclusive government we are going
to make sure that in the standing of nations we are not going to
be found wanting. We need to make sure we are a civilised nation,
internationally and globally, whatever we do we should not be found
to be committing sins of commission or omission in terms of violating
the people's rights, undermining the security of persons or
even threatening the fundamental and basic freedoms of the people.
So those are the issues we need to make sure that we put in place.
As regards to
the yester year wrongs it is up to Zanu-PF, we are trying to help
them remedy their mistakes, we hope their mistakes are going to
be resolved and they are going to be willing partners in us trying
to clean up their mess. You know that, my brother Brian was saying
look you can't work with the problem but at times when the
problem is part of the solution you will have to make sure that
you emphasise more the solution part of the problem than the problem
part of the problem and that is where we are.
But Nelson on the issue of sanctions, what spurred them on were
also issues to do with human rights violations and correct me if
I'm wrong, the GPA ties you and even the Mutambara MDC to
this. According to the GPA it is asking for you to campaign for
the removal of this, will you campaign for the removal of sanctions?
We don't need to carry a campaign in words or to issue resolutions
or communiqués or government position on the lifting of sanctions.
What is going to lift sanctions and what is going to remedy our
relations that are ruptured with the international community is
our conduct, our behaviour as a government and that government has
to make sure that we meet certain minimum basic standards that are
acceptable internationally, so it's not a question of trying
to shout about the need to lift sanctions, that will not improve
our relations. What will improve our relations is our conduct, our
behaviour, the way we respect our citizens. You know that in any
democracy the most important office is the office of the citizen.
We need to respect those citizens and that way we earn our admiration
and respect and honour in the family of nations.
And Priscilla briefly, what is your position on sanctions?
Well the position is like Chamisa has articulated, but I should
just emphasise the point that I think no-one is joining a Zanu-PF
government, I think we need to emphasise that. We are forming an
inclusive government. It's a rebirth, it's something
new and whenever you give something new, you set certain principles,
certain values of how you are going to engage with the international
community and we hope it is on that basis of the new values, the
new principles that we set up that the international community will
begin to engage with us. So I don't think it is necessary
to go back to what Zanu-PF did because they did it as an entity,
as Zanu-PF. What we are now going to have is a new Zimbabwe, a new
government, an inclusive government because I keep getting people
saying these things about oh you are going into a government of
national unity, you are joining as if, there are two people that
are coming to join Zanu because Zanu is already sitting.
WE are setting
a new thing and I think what we emphasise as we engage with the
international community is that please acknowledge that this is
a new thing, these are our principles, these are our values, so
when you judge us, judge us on this particular partnership and the
new principles and values that we have set up. And I think if we
look at it in that light, then it becomes a different discussion
a different context altogether.
Before I get a final word from Brian, let me go back to Nelson.
What are your plans as a party around staking a claim to the Ministry
of Information, given its enormous strategic value and historic
failure under the Mugabe regime?
Well unfortunately, or I don't know whether I should say fortunately,
the Ministry of Information is going to be under Zanu-PF, but this
is not going to mean a lot. I'm sure my dear colleague - Honourable
Misihairabwi indicated the decisions are going to be made by the
cabinet. The cabinet has executive authority and I believe that
whatever policy is going to be taken by this inclusive government,
possibly I'll not be part of that government because I've
not been appointed, I'm not clairvoyant, I don't know
if I'm going to be - but those who are going to be in this
government have a duty and obligation to make sure that we restore
fundamental freedoms, media freedom being one of the most critical,,
bench marks, going to be used to yardstick or mark the progress
that has been made by this inclusive government.
So it is our
view that the policy of government is going to try and help the
liberalisation of the airwaves making sure that Zimbabwe is a safe
stadium for journalists to play the way they want. And I'm
sure Violet, that once this government starts to take shape and
form you are going to be a happy guest to this government. And I
believe that we will to entertain you in this country. Thank you.
Well that's hard to believe! I'm sorry to be a sceptic
here, or cynical here Chamisa because when you told us that Zanu-PF
is going to remain with this ministry, it just sent alarm bells.
I don't know what our listeners and our readers will think
about that. Before I go to Brian, Priscilla, are you going to have
any position in government?
Ah well, it's not up to me, I may, I may not. You know this
is the prerogative of the various Principals, they make the appointments,
it also depends on who is in, who is out, so I really don't
know. But what I'm very sure about is that at least on our
part as a political party, we will certainly have good, committed,
principled people coming into that government.
Brian, a final word.
We all love Zimbabwe dearly. We have all at various points struggled
for and continue to struggle for the ideal of a new Zimbabwe . And
the problem in Zimbabwe has no Zanu individuals as in chi- Zanu
- the political culture of intolerance, the political culture that
has allowed pillage of national resources, a corruption.
One of my major
worries is not just the continuity of the same - the old politics
of vilification, of stone age mentality that depends on who has
a larger stick or a bigger stone to throw, but it is the possibility
that as we talk glibly about newness and because of the shakiness
of the foundations, questions of corruption of the new by the old,
questions of cooperation will become evident.
would we lend technical support? Oh certainly if there's consultation
on how to make pro-poor policies, consultation on critical issues,
we'd happily do, they are still our friends. Does this alter
my scepticism on this marriage of inconvenience? No.
I think that
I'm hopeful in the spirit of Zimbabweans that have kept them
struggling since the inception of the colonial state. I'm
hopeful in the spirit of Zimbabweans that has kept Zimbabweans alive
even in the harshest of conditions. We have some of the finest expertise
across this globe and on this continent and I'm sure that
expertise, if you have a system that respects it, it will lend itself
to rebuild the country.
confident even at the end of this interview that if the Information
Ministry is still safely in the hands of the old - which has the
ability to tell truth or lies. And nobody's talking about
un-banning SW Radio Africa and VOP. These things are not to be done
privately on our behalf. I think these things ought to be an open
conversation that these radio stations need to be un-banned. They
are Zimbabwean radio stations serving interests of the people who
now say they are going into government and Zimbabweans generally.
we need to think carefully, between the sceptics and the optimists,
Chamisa says the MDC has an exit strategy, well we don't know
what that exit strategy is. The truth of the matter is that an exit
strategy is like a divorce, it is messy, it is disruptive and the
clearer the exit strategy is to the people of Zimbabwe, the better
prepared they are.
And I think
that it's not sufficient to say people are not blind. It behoves
any leadership to actually say, if the following are not fulfilled
so that the following is not an issue left to the whims of political
leadership, but that the following becomes a position of national
consensus and consent. Whether it is MDC Mutambara, MDC Tsvangirai
or Zanu, people are able to say yes, these fundamentals that would
have triggered the exit have not been met.
They say it
is an interim arrangement. How interim is interim given the parlous
situation in Zimbabwe? Very soon we will be going into election
campaigns. The politics of positioning or posturing, and self interest
are going to kick in again.
that Zimbabwe will survive in spite of and despite of poor deals
or bad deals, partly because the spirit and optimism of the people
is not anchored on this and I'm not going to anchor my optimism
on bad foundations. My optimism is in the people of Zimbabwe. My
optimism is in the beauty of our country and its expertise - the
depth of the quality of its people. My colleagues differ with me
and I accept that this is part of the new culture we are creating.
We would rather differ here. But only time will tell, only time
will tell. I'll be happy to apologise Violet should time prove
me wrong. I hope there'll be the same courage on the part
of our colleagues should time prove me right.
OK. I'm afraid I have to end here. Thank you very much Brian
Kagoro, Nelson Chamisa and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
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