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'not a victim' - Hot Seat interview with Paul
Themba Nyathi and Lovemore Madhuku
Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa
April 16, 2010
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.
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?
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
Right and Dr Madhuku, in your view has there been significant
achievements towards a democratic Zimbabwe ?
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
What about the negotiations between the political parties in the
inclusive government? What are your views on the deadlock?
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
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
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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
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
Gonda: Dr Madhuku
do you agree with this and also can you give us your thoughts on
the sanctions issue?
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)
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?
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?
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.
(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
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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