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  • Tsvangirai 'not a victim' - Hot Seat interview with Paul Themba Nyathi and Lovemore Madhuku
    Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa
    April 16, 2010

    http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/hotseat200410.htm

    Journalist Violet Gonda presents Hot Seat where she speaks to Paul Themba Nyathi and Dr Lovemore Madhuku, who give their analysis of the current political situation. Madhuku believes the 'endless negotiations' between the political partners in government are a 'fraud,' and that there really is 'no deadlock' but mere 'political grandstanding and posturing by the parties.' While Nyathi argues that the media has wrongfully portrayed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a 'victim,' when there are no major differences between him and Robert Mugabe.

    Violet Gonda: The Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, Dr Lovemore Madhuku and Paul Themba Nyathi, a member of the Mutambara led MDC , are my guests on the programme Hot Seat, with an analysis of the political situation in Zimbabwe. Let me start with Mr Nyathi, when you were the spokesperson of the original MDC, that is, before the split, you talked a lot about the brutality that was being inflicted on the MDC members. So now that there's an inclusive government do you think that the sacrifices that were made during those days have borne fruit?

    Paul Themba Nyathi: Well Violet it's very difficult to characterise the current situation as having borne fruit. You must remember that the struggle over the past 29 years has been about the democracy and the achievement of human rights in their fullest description possible, if you therefore say has that struggle borne fruit, I'd say not totally. But I can also say there have been some major changes in the manner our country conducts itself, in comparison to what it was say a year or two ago.

    Gonda: Right and Dr Madhuku, in your view has there been significant achievements towards a democratic Zimbabwe ?

    Lovemore Madhuku: I wouldn't say that they have been significant achievement but there have been achievements, some good achievements towards a democratic Zimbabwe, I would agree with what Paul Themba Nyathi said. To a large extent we think that we can celebrate as Zimbabweans so I think that the mere fact that somewhat we have less violence now, we have recognition that Zimbabweans must continue to exist side by side regardless of political differences, even with the difficulties that we see some people in ZANU failing to appreciate that all of us are Zimbabweans, but there have been some achievements.

    Gonda: What about the negotiations between the political parties in the inclusive government? What are your views on the deadlock?

    Madhuku: I don't understand what you mean by a deadlock and also that you still want to refer to what you refer to as negotiations. These discussions that have been purportedly taking place among the three political parties in government I think that they have been a conspiracy by the politicians just to keep everyone in the country in suspense. I must be very clear those negotiations are really a fraud actually, politically. As soon as the political parties entered into government on 11 February 2009 I think it was really misleading the nation to say that these political parties still have fundamental differences that require them to get into those lengthy and again secretive talks requiring SADC to intervene and so on. We have gone through now almost close to one and a half years now from the time that this government was established in February last year. The big issues were clearly, are you going to work together, are you going to be in one government, Mugabe President, Tsvangirai Prime Minister, that was resolved and agreed. Then after that, to then start saying that there are so many outstanding issues, we will talk and so on and at some point the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai threatened to walk out of the government, for a few weeks, then they were back in and so forth, that has always been silly. So no-one should focus on the so-called outstanding issues, no-one should focus on the so-called talks, what we have in the country now is an inclusive government.

    But what I know is that both ZANU PF and MDC led by Tsvangirai, they still have constituencies that are quite problematic for them. For the MDC , some of their supporters still don't want to accept the fact that Tsvangirai finally accepted to work under the leadership of President Mugabe and so for Tsvangirai it is still very useful for him to still say; 'we are arguing, we are in talks with Mugabe blah, blah, blah, we want certain things'.

    Also for President Mugabe it's about his notion of Tsvangirai being a puppet of the west and MDC and ZANU PF trying to mix, whether it's water and something else and so on and so he would still want to be seen to be fighting the MDC by denying them certain things. And so this is a trick between the two parties to keep their constituencies in check.

    Gonda: But Dr Madhuku, what about what the MDC keeps saying that there's a deadlock over the issue of the Attorney General, the Reserve Bank governor, Roy Bennett, the Provincial Governors, are you saying that there's no deadlock over these issues?

    Madhuku: Who says there's a deadlock? I think the word deadlock is a word of the English language. This is mainly the journalists and politicians who tell you there's a deadlock. You can't call it a deadlock when daily Gideon Gono is the governor of the Reserve Bank. He reports to the government with Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Biti. (Finance Minister) Tendai Biti and Gideon Gono have so many meetings together, they are working in the same government. Tomana sits in the same Cabinet with those guys from the MDC and so forth and these things are happening every week. The MDC itself does accept from time to time decisions made by the Attorney General and so on and that is not a deadlock. If you were to put it that way, I think you should use another word.

    On the other hand, Roy Bennett for example, yes he was appointed as, designated by his party as the Deputy Minister but I understand that according to the rules that were agreed that any minister must be sworn in by the President, and I'm sure that allows the President somewhat to refuse which is what Mugabe has done, that is this arrangement that they have. I'm very much opposed to this thing of deadlock, deadlock, these guys are working together, they are a government running the affairs of our country. They must have all the consequence, whether they succeed or they fail they must know that they are together and people must not be cheated into believing that there's anything called a deadlock.

    Gonda: Before I go to Mr Nyathi what do you mean by MDC supporters are unwilling to accept that Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister is working under the leadership of Mugabe?


    Madhuku: That is how I see it. We all wanted Mugabe to leave power and that's what those elections were all about in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, that is what the struggle, at least led by the MDC, has always been about. There are other struggles in the country which would want to make this country more open but the struggle led by the MDC was nothing but a struggle to take power from Mugabe and every MDC supporter is all about that. Now to turn around and then say well Mugabe is now the President of the country and he can sit side by side with Tsvangirai and Tsvangirai accepting that there is President Mugabe and that is how things must go for the next four, five years is not something that will be quickly accepted by those who in the past ten years thought that the purpose of Tsvangirai is to replace Mugabe. I don't see Tsvangirai having any other role in the eyes of many people other than that of replacing Mugabe. A Tsvangirai working with Mugabe is not the Tsvangirai that was supported by the people in the past ten years.

    Gonda: Mr Nyathi what's your reaction to this? Dr Madhuku says the struggle was to take power from Mugabe and it just appears that Morgan Tsvangirai is just working under the leadership of Mugabe and he also says the negotiations that are currently underway are just a fraud. What are your thoughts on this?

    Nyathi: Look I wouldn't characterise the ongoing negotiations as a fraud. I do agree with Lovemore, for instance, that the outcome of the struggle that led to the GPA or the inauguration, or the installation of the all inclusive government was not what the MDC and its supporters had struggled for. They had struggled obviously for total victory and for power in its totality. That did not happen. We ended up with this kind of inclusive arrangement where on a daily basis, the three principals as they are called, are engaged in negotiations on a day-to-day basis and unfortunately those negotiations do not always yield in the eyes of ordinary Zimbabweans or in the expectations of ordinary Zimbabweans what they had struggled for. Obviously they had not struggled for a GPA, they had not struggled for a unity government. What has eventuated leads to the kind of negotiations that go on endlessly and that is the reality. The reality is that you have Mugabe in a position that a lot of Zimbabweans do not accept; you have Tsvangirai in a position that his supporters do not accept; you have Mutambara in a position that his own supporters do not accept either. Unfortunately that is the reality, that is what exists in Zimbabwe , we have to continue the struggle in other forms within the framework of the current political dispensation, that to me is the only choice open to the people of Zimbabwe .

    Gonda: But what position is Mutambara in that his supporters don't accept because many people believe that this is a perfect position for your party, a party that had failed to get the necessary votes during the elections. So can you explain to the critics who say that?


    Nyathi: Violet that is a very simplistic conclusion. In fact it is a derisive conclusion that people make, you know Mutambara went in through the back door and so forth and so on, that's a temporary arrangement. Every leader of a political party seeks to conquer power. The fact that he got 400 votes and got ten members of parliament does not actually mean that he doesn't want to be in power. He still wants to be in power therefore to say; 'oh well he must be very grateful that now he is Deputy Prime Minister and so forth and so on' is missing the point. The issue is he is a leader of a political party, it doesn't matter what you think about it, it seeks to be in power and to be where he has that kind of limited power is not what a political party desires. Every political party, regardless of its size, seeks to have complete and total power. That's what is important.

    Gonda: So are we going to see Professor Mutambara participating in the Presidential elections since he didn't participate in the last election?

    Nyathi: Professor Mutambara is a leader of a political party. If his party fields him as a candidate for the Presidency, he has no choice but to stand.

    Gonda: Dr Madhuku?

    Madhuku: I think it is wrong to say that Mutambara went in through the back door, it's actually not a scientific or political position. What happened in terms of these arrangements, the Global Political Agreement is an agreement of three political parties. No-one actually outside those three political parties understands the basis upon which they decided that they alone as the three parties would talk to each other. And I think that it's wrong to say once three political parties, I mean they were elected to parliament to say anyone who has representation in parliament must be part of the talks. They recognised there was ZANU PF, there was the Tsvangirai led group and there was the Mutambara led group, they decided on their own, there was not a discussion in the country as to who should participate in the Global Political arrangement. The understanding was that those who are in parliament should participate and Mutambara then in terms of the Agreement of those three was legitimately part of those discussions. I think that that view that he went in through the back door is a very insulting way of dealing with him, it's mainly promoted by the MDC party led by Tsvangirai. I think they cannot have their cake and eat it. Once they decide there's a political arrangement which does not take into account the ultimate decision of the majority of the people then they must live with that. I think that Mugabe would be more the person who went in through the back door than Arthur Mutambara.

    Nyathi: You have had in this country 30 years of ZANU PF rule. You have had this one party rule that has also developed right across the land structures that are aligned and favour ZANU PF. You have also had created in the country over the past 30 years an ideology if you may call it that, a political ideology that favours ZANU PF. It therefore stands to reason that if you are going to have an inconclusive political result those structures on the ground will continue to reflect the will and the power and the ideology of ZANU PF and that is the reality on the ground. But I can also tell you that some within ZANU PF who are very unhappy with the dilution of what used to be complete and total power, they are now forced to accept that they cannot do as they please. If you look at the Commissions for instance that have been put in place, at the electoral proposals that are on the table, you begin to realise that ZANU PF is itself very unhappy because there are things that are happening that do not conform to the culture of ZANU PF. It's not everything that some of us have struggled for, it's not everything that a country like Zimbabwe deserves but this is the sort of outcome that you are likely to get unless you have achieved victory either through the ballot box or through the bullet. Neither has happened and we have this arrangement which unfortunately we have to try and make the best of.

    Gonda: So do you think that people are being overly anxious to want change like yesterday because some say the unity government has been in place for over a year now and the political parties in government are squabbling over issues that can easily be resolved overnight. What are your thoughts on this?

    Nyathi: Violet, who told you that the political parties are squabbling?

    Gonda: Why are they having these negotiations and as you say, these endless negotiations if they are not squabbling?

    Nyathi: Look if you didn't have things that have been termed outstanding issues around Tomana, around Gono, around governors, around the swearing in of Roy Bennett, you'd still have lots and lots of issues that come up for discussion. That is why, when the parties left Maputo for instance, instead of seven outstanding issues they ended up with 22 outstanding issues. I bet you, if they went again to start afresh some negotiations, should some other major crisis occur like one of the parties pulling out for instance, you'll end up with 45 other issues for negotiation and all this has to do with attempts to normalise a totally abnormal country; normalise a situation that could easily have been normalised had the elections been conclusive, had the elections not been stolen or had the elections not been as violent as they ended up being.

    As long as you have this kind of arrangement you'll always have negotiations and as far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't really characterise them as squabbling. Day in, day out, Morgan Tsvangirai tells the public, he and Robert Mugabe and his other partner are getting on fine. Mugabe says the same thing, Arthur Mutambara says the same thing so as far as I'm concerned, as long as those three find a way of working together and getting Zimbabwe to move forward, albeit slowly, particularly for a population that has spent so many anxious years hoping that our country can be brought back to be a normal country like any other of course the pace is a lot slower. But a year as far as I'm concerned to undo years of damage, excessive damage for that matter, it's not a very, very long time.

    Gonda: But if they are getting on well together, why is it they continue to issue conflicting statements like for example with what we've seen with the Indigenisation Regulations where the Prime Minister's Office is saying one thing that the Regulations have been suspended and Mugabe and the Minister in charge of these Indigenisation Regulations are saying something different, that they have not been suspended. And you also have the MDC issuing statements that violence is continuing in areas like Bindura, Masvingo, so if they are working well, why are these things still continuing?

    Nyathi: I'll tell you Violet, you are going to have pockets of violence in this country for a long time to come and of course those acts of violence, undesirable as they might be, are a reflection of 30 years of the kind of rule that this country has been subjected to. With respect to conflicting statements that will come out, that should be expected. Mind you, each of the parties in this arrangement has a constituency that it plays to. Unfortunately that kind of posturing damages the image of our country with respect to investment and so forth and so on.

    Violet, mark my words, that Indigenisation Bill will never be implemented in this country, it will not be implemented but there's going to be lots of posturing, there's going to be lots of grandstanding, there's going to be lots and lots of anxiety around it because for ZANU PF giving in means surrendering, for MDC not to talk about it being scrapped also means not servicing the aspirations of its constituency. It's going to go on and on and on but behind the scenes, very wise counsel is going to prevail. I have no doubt about that in my mind. We are all Zimbabweans, we know what is bad for our country, and even people within ZANU PF will tell you that kind of Bill doesn't serve our country in any way. It doesn't do us any favours particularly with respect to the current challenges that the international investment world is facing. There is a lot of pressure that's been exerted on Zimbabwe , on ZANU PF. You know that Indigenisation Bill is not just injurious to the investment climate of Zimbabwe, it is also harmful to the whole region and you can bet your last dollar that it is not just the opposition that is concerned, it's the whole of SADC, it's the AU, it's everybody else and you can rest assured there is a lot of discussions behind the scenes.

    Unfortunately, my experience of ZANU PF is that it is one party that enjoys being notorious. The more people blame it, the more people chastise it, the more people condemn it, the more they enjoy it. They love that. That is ZANU PF, that's what makes ZANU PF thrive but I can tell you behind the scenes a lot of people are saying 'this is not acceptable, you can't do this to your country, you can't do this to the region' and wise counsel will eventually succeed.

    Gonda: Let me bring in Dr Madhuku here; first of all is it unrealistic to want immediate change and what are your thoughts on the conflicting statements over the Indigenisation Regulations?


    Madhuku: Well I think, I've been listening to what Mr Paul Themba Nyathi has been saying, most of the points that he is making I think they make a lot of sense. One point I need to comment on is that journalists exaggerate the extent to which these people in government are disagreeing. And I think when I said initially, I used the word fraud, I actually meant exactly what Paul Themba Nyathi is referring to there that there's no need for the politicians to want to portray the image of squabbling or disagreeing when we know that the very fact of them being in one government means that they have some substantial agreement.

    But if I may move on to the issue of wanting change, one must separate two things, there is the change of wanting Mugabe to go and be replaced by Tsvangirai and there is the change to wanting things to improve to the better for people in the country. I think the latter, the last one where people want things to be better in the country and for society to move forward is the more dominant position and that's has not changed. Many people still want, a better life for themselves.

    What is beginning to evaporate is this thought of Mugabe going and Tsvangirai being the person replacing him, and that is what this inclusive government would do in terms of simply making less and less people aspire for that kind of change. It's not a change, worth wanting to die for. There might be a change that Mugabe must go and be replaced by a better leader but I doubt that many people here still think that we must go back to that. So that's what I wanted to say. So when you talk about change, know what you are talking about, I think many Zimbabweans want a better life for them and there would soon be removing that better life from the personalities that characterise the government now.

    And then in terms of what you are calling the conflicting statements coming from the people in government, it's very true that on the one hand, ZANU PF wants to create the impression that its fighting is different from the MDC by putting in emphasis on land acquisition, now this new thing about indigenisation, just about a slogan which is meant to portray to some of their supporters what they are made up of, we are a party for the people. On the other hand, MDC is also anxious to want to be seen differently and so forth and so it's all political posturing. At the end of the day I doubt that there are any major differences - there's really nothing happening about indigenisation on the ground.

    So we shouldn't read too much into the statements that politicians make about their differences. We must be more interested in what they do together. We see them together, just as we are talking, I think if you watch our television here in the country and our media here, you'd see the Vice President John Nkomo, you'd see the Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe touring and a number of other ministers from the various parties touring the Chiadzwa diamond fields and all coming out of it and saying 'ah there's good progress there, Zimbabwe now deserves to sell its diamonds and so on' speaking one language. That's what they are doing. It will be quite another thing if you start reading what they claim to have said in private meetings with their supporters, they'll say different things. So we must be learning a lot from the inclusive government if you want to know the character of our politicians and if you also want to determine what we want to do to move forward. I think we should be guided less by the utterances of the personalities who make our policies here and be guided more by our grievances as a people and organise ourselves differently. We must not think about organising ourselves either as ZANU PF or MDC , I think we must think more in terms of organising ourselves as interested people in a variety of issues.

    Gonda: Can you really blame the media here when it's the political parties that seem to be playing games?

    Madhuku: But you should not take the making of statements by politicians as a squabble or as a disagreement. If one person makes a statement and another one makes another statement that doesn't necessarily lead to disagreement, until you study the actions of those politicians. But if I was told that Tsvangirai was not going to Cabinet because he really feels that there's no reason why he should still sit in the same meeting as Mugabe and then if I hear that Mugabe has not had his meeting with Tsvangirai or has not recognised Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, then those are disagreements, those are squabbles. But what the media regards as disagreements it is not what in politics is disagreement. When Mugabe issued statements for example that the 51% law will stay, that there will be no change to the Indigenisation Law and so on, what you must then go on and check is whether in fact there's been any attempt to change it. As far as we know on the ground, there are no attempts, the statements which are really attributed to the MDC are actually not made by Morgan Tsvangirai. You talk more about the statements made by Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti and so on. If you were to be very critical just study the kind of statements which are made by Tsvangirai and the kind of statements which are made by Mugabe, you'll see very little differences there, if you look at those two. But I think the media love the headlines, so if something is done, they go to Chamisa. Chamisa will say anything and that's what we know, but Tsvangirai has never really seriously disagreed with Mugabe.

    Nyathi: Violet, let me put it this way, I understand exactly what Lovemore is saying. The tendency that you get from the media and other sections that seek to comment on the Zimbabwean situation is to portray in this whole arrangement Morgan Tsvangirai as the victim and I keep saying to myself, the man is not a victim! He is part of an arrangement, he has gone into that arrangement with his eyes open, he knows what he's doing in that arrangement, he knows what he gets in that arrangement but the media loves to portray him as a victim and I don't understand why the media seeks to do that.

    Morgan Tsvangirai is in that arrangement with a whole lot of political advice and support around him so it should be what he says that guides us. If he tells all of us that he is happy with what is happening in the government now, though he would wish things would moved faster, we should understand that he is part of what is going on in Zimbabwe, instead of portraying an image that is totally different from the image that he himself portrays.

    I think this is what I have found extremely difficult with respect to the media. You have Mugabe on one hand, Tsvangirai on the other and Mutambara on the other, these three as Lovemore put it are in the business of making our country move forward albeit slowly in some of our own assessment and wish. On a daily basis they meet and talk about things that in their view help Zimbabwe move forward. If they tell us that is what they are doing what we should then be saying to all three of them, speed it up you three. This is no time for you to mess around, speed it up but the tendency is to say 'oh well, it's Mugabe who's slowing up everything', there is three of them, we must make them take collective responsibility for office, because this is what they have said they are doing. They have told us that they are taking collective responsibility. Who are we then to separate them and say 'oh well, if it were not for Mugabe, Tsvangirai would have moved faster'. Tsvangirai says he is in that arrangement, he has found some working arrangement with Mugabe so let us judge him on the basis of what he says and not on the basis that we don't actually like Mugabe, and there's a reason why most of us don't like Mugabe but that shouldn't translate into turning Tsvangirai into a victim.

    Gonda: Mr Nyathi, you know many people believe that for the country to move forward and to develop there has to be a stable political climate and they don't see this. There're no major reforms in place so what can you tell Zimbabweans who hear day in and day out that there's no movement as far as the implementation of the GPA is concerned and they continue to hear that SADC has been called in to intervene?

    Nyathi: What I would say to Zimbabweans is, let me tell you Violet, last week I was in Harare ; I met my old friend, Professor Reg Austin who has come back to Zimbabwe to head the Human Rights Commission. I am also told a very able lawyer, Simpson Mutambanengwe has come back to Zimbabwe to head the Electoral Commission and I know that my old friend Godfrey Majonga is now heading the Media Commission and so forth and so on. Those are the people that we need to be targeting in the next few weeks. I'm going to be saying to these people, you have a job of work to do, get on with it. If they say to me, well we can't get on with this job because Mugabe doesn't allow us to get on with the job, I will say, get out of there, if that is what is happening, get out of there. So what I'll say to Zimbabweans is, look it's not just the Gideon Gono issue, it's not just Tomana that is the issue, it's not just the failure to swear in Roy Bennett, it's not just the issue of the governors, it's a whole lot of things, including saying to JOMIC - why is there still violence in some pockets of Zimbabwe? Get on with the work!

    Gonda: Do you agree with that Dr Madhuku that it's time that other groups, organisations, commissions that have been appointed, that should now start working and stopping these things. You have been fighting the regime for the last ten years, is it really possible what Mr Nyathi is saying right now?

    Madhuku: I know why he is saying that, I think from his stand point as a practising politician and so forth, he would say those things. I think people on the ground are more interested in the day-to-day life, what would Zimbabweans now feel, they would want to pay school fees for their children, they can't afford it. Zimbabweans are still trying to get employment, they can't get it. They don't think that it is about the talks, I think they should not be advised to focus on the talks, the advice is to confront the government that is there, it is an inclusive government and it must deliver these things. They are a government; they put themselves forward to run the country. They have said as three of us who want to run the affairs of the country. The focus of all of us in the country must be to say, what is the government doing, what are we doing, how far are they really doing the right things that a government must do? They must create the framework that will make our country move forward. That's what we must focus on.

    And you as the media, you will help this country better if you take the people away from what Themba Nyathi is calling, 'making Tsvangirai a victim'. Make Tsvangirai part of the government and make him deliver. This idea of reading every day in the newspapers about Mugabe doing this to Tsvangirai, doing these wrong things to Tsvangirai and yet Tsvangirai is not doing anything. He goes to his office, gets his press conference about complaining about nothing. What has he done when he went in there as Prime Minister? How far has he handled some of the things that he could do? Even with the limited powers that Tsvangirai has, he could have done a lot of things with that small power that he has and he's not doing that and no-one is subjecting him to scrutiny there.

    So the way forward for our country is to treat the MDC led by Tsvangirai, the MDC led by Mutambara, Robert Mugabe leading ZANU PF and also being President, let's treat them as a government and let's subject them to accountability and that accountability must be based on bread and butter issues here and so on. I will tell you that if I go to my students now at the University and talk to them, they are very, very concerned about the fact that they can't afford university tuition and they know that Tsvangirai has never uttered a single statement in support of them getting access to do what they are supposed to be doing. And why should this government escape this kind of criticism?

    Gonda: I'm afraid I'm running out of time but I hope I'll be able to get both of you back at a later stage but before we go, briefly Mr Nyathi, can you give us your thoughts on the sanctions issue and the constitutional process?

    Nyathi: If you took Mugabe out of the equation and said this is Zimbabwe, this is not Mugabe's country, it's your country, it's my country, would you want those measures on our country? If you tell me the purpose that they serve at this juncture then I'll say OK it makes sense to retain them. But if they don't serve any useful purpose, my feeling is that they should simply go. Forget about the fact that it is Mugabe that is talking about them. Say you are a Zimbabwean, you need to be able to access credit, you need to put your schools back into functionality, you need to put your hospitals back into working order, if sanctions make it impossible for that to happen, do you really need them? If we start saying, well it's Mugabe that talks about sanctions and then we cloud our analysis and assessment of the effect of those sanctions because Mugabe has spoken about them, I think we are missing the point. This is our country, this is not Mugabe's country, it's all our country, do we as Zimbabweans need those sanctions? If we need them what purpose do they serve? If somebody says to me they serve this particular purpose, then maybe I will understand. I have yet to come across a Zimbabwean who has a very coherent explanation why, after the three political parties have agreed, we still continue to have these measures. Nobody has been able to tell me.

    Gonda: And on the constitution?

    Nyathi: Well the constitution, the truth of the matter is that it has had a number of false starts, I made a joke with my friend, Dr Madhuku, I said to him I had looked forward to seeing him, in fact I regret that Madhuku is not part of this process but I respect his views for not being part of it. It's going to be very difficult for us to achieve all the objectives that Zimbabwe requires with respect to the constitution. I just hope we are moving to some place that even Dr Madhuku would be proud of with respect to this constitution making process.

    Gonda: Dr Madhuku do you agree with this and also can you give us your thoughts on the sanctions issue?

    Madhuku: On the issue that they regret me not being part of, I understand that issue. I'm sure as he has already indicated we have differences over the process and I believe that this process will not yield the kind of constitution that we have always wanted, but we have also of course said well let's see how it progresses, we will not be party, but we will see if they are genuine and want to come up with a democratic constitution, we will see the draft that they will produce and we will subject it to an analysis. Obviously if the draft is as we suspect something that would show that they are not interested in getting a new constitution for the country but just a compromise document, we will oppose it. If they surprise us and come up with a good constitution we will congratulate them. So I think that the way forward now is not about debating who is doing what, I think we must now respect the various positions on this matter. And coming to the issue of the . . . (interrupted)

    Nyathi: Violet I want to interrupt Lovemore on that score. Some of us don't consider his remarks as a threat; I think it is an incentive. If he says you guys come up with something that we ourselves will find acceptable we will not oppose it but if it is not acceptable we will oppose it. I think that is a fair statement, I think it's an incentive, I think he is absolutely correct, none of us would want to be part of an outcome that does not do justice to the aspirations of the people in this country.

    Gonda: And before Dr Madhuku talks about the issue of sanctions can you Mr Nyathi explain to our listeners what role you are playing in this current process, the constitution making process?

    Nyathi: Well I am one of the 210 individuals who have been trained as rapporteurs and what was emphasised during this training is that all we do is stand somewhere, not be seen by the crowd and take down what people say. We have no views of our own, we have no ideas of our own, we simply put what the people say what they want included in the constitution.

    Gonda: And when are you going to start the outreach programme?

    Nyathi: That's the problem, that's the big question. The leadership of this process say in three weeks time but I'm not sure, it's had false starts already. That is why in my view, if we had people with the experience of Dr Madhuku as part of the process, maybe some of the administrative hiccups would have been avoided.

    Gonda: Dr Madhuku?

    Madhuku: (laughs) Look I think that you know these people are, we have different views on what they say they want to make a constitution. But I think that the difficulty that we are facing is that the leaders are really politicians, that get pre-occupied with other political issues and they don't think the constitution making one is a priority. So it is going to be very difficult for the outreach process to start. I think it will start, perhaps in three or four weeks but it won't go far, after three weeks they will have a break and then we'll have another six months of squabbles and so on and all that. That is a disgrace to the country if we get a constitution making process that keeps going up and down, but as I have said already, let's see what they do.

    Gonda: And on the sanctions?

    Madhuku: On the sanctions issue the position is very clear, the sanctions issue in Zimbabwe is a politically partisan issue and that all the debate on sanctions have missed the fact that it's about party positions. An ordinary person who is not attached or aligned to any party would not obviously support sanctions in a country. Let's say you were not a ZANU PF or MDC supporter, you were just an ordinary Zimbabwean that wants the country to move forward, you wouldn't think in terms of sanctions. So sanctions have become a politically partisan issue. ZANU PF for very clear reasons will not support them because they are the ones that are targeted especially in terms of the travel bans and also feel that the sanctions have also compromised their political fortunes. On the other hand a number of MDC supporters believe that sanctions can be used as a weapon to undermine ZANU PF and take ZANU PF out of power.

    But the bottom-line is that as Zimbabweans, we shouldn't allow this issue of sanctions to divide us. I think Zimbabweans must concentrate on ensuring that we get a democratic country. We don't need sanctions to support our cause. I think I speak for myself that I will be able to fight for the rights I have without sanctions and so on. So those who put sanctions and say that they are helping me and others, I think they are really insulting us.

    Gonda: Dr Lovemore Madhuku and Mr Paul Themba Nyathi thank you very much for talking to us on the programme Hot Seat.

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