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Seat: Debate Zanu PF’s Cairo Mhandu and MDC-T’s Luke
Gonda, SW Radio Africa
First of all Mr Tamborinyoka can you tell us how the campaigning
For the MDC it is going on very well; for our president Morgan Tsvangirai
it is going on very well. It is very clear that the people are going
to restate their position of 2008 which is to make sure that Morgan
Tsvangirai becomes president of this country. There’s a national
mood for change, it’s very encouraging.
Mhandu – how’s the Zanu-PF campaign going?
Zanu-PF’s campaign is going on very, very well. In a peaceful,
free and fair environment, no scenes of chaos. We are campaigning
to the extent that people are accepting us as they know our background.
Right and Mr Tamborinyoka your party, the MDC-T, has alleged
that Zanu-PF is using an Israeli company called Nikuv to manipulate
the voters’ roll. Can you elaborate on this?
It is now in the public domain that what Zanu-PF wants and is angling
for is a peaceful
but rigged election. What we are seeing are shenanigans with
the controversial ZEC Secretariat which took five weeks to announce
the results of the 2008 appearing to be at the centre of the shenanigans.
What is very clear Violet is that there was undeserved chaos during
the voting of about 69000 security officers. The question that comes
to mind is since ZEC cannot hold an election for 69000 people yet
they now want to put an extension of a third day or more so a mere
69000, are these people ready for an election of 6.2 million registered
voters? That is the question. And what started the shenanigans is
when a lot of people, especially in urban areas were disenfranchised
and were not allowed to register to vote.
But what about on this specific issue of this Israeli company Nikuv,
what evidence do you have?
What you must know is that the MDC has supporters across the spectrum.
We have supporters across the spectrum and people who are involved
in these shenanigans actually telling us that there are plans to
tamper with the voters roll.
Mhandu what can you say about this? Luke Tamborinyoka says Zanu-PF
is angling for a peaceful election but that you are going to rig
the elections. What can you say about this?
are false allegations and if he has any evidence to that effect
I think he should prove to the Zimbabweans. We have never rigged
elections and we will never rig elections. You can see by the attendance
of our supporters in all the rallies that his excellency president
comrade Robert Mugabe addressed, the attendance has been to full
capacity. People have been attending on their own without any force,
without any inducement but attending willingly.
But what about allegations from the MDC-T and also from organizations
such as the Research
and Advocacy Unit who say that the voters roll seems to have
with ghost voters and that in some constituencies you have more
registered voters than people who actually live in those constituencies.
What can you say about this Major Mhandu?
registration and the constituencies, all our constituencies, the
210 national constituencies, they are not the same in terms of population,
they differ. The other constituencies have got more people the other
constituencies have got less people but we cannot say all constituencies
should have equal number of registered voters, it is very impossible
and we, if anyone – those non governmental organizations,
or constituents or even the MDC-T, if they have got any evidence,
if they have got any evidence to prove that Zanu-PF intends to rig
elections, please then come out and say this to the Zimbabweans
how they have heard of such unethical way, we have never done that,
we will never to do that because we are a peoples’ party.
Gonda: Mr Tamborinyoka
what can you say about this? Where is the evidence and why haven’t
you submitted your evidence to the ZEC for example?
We have referred to ZEC. I cannot go into the specifics but what
I can tell you is some of these issues are issues that were brought
to the attention of ZEC, we have written many letters to ZEC and
these were some of the issues that we undertake. But also to say
I think it is in the public domain that even in the primary elections
of Zanu-PF, the other guys, you could see that some of the disagreements
in Zanu-PF are arising out of allegations of vote rigging. This
is a party Violet which rigs its own elections. This is a party
that has rigged its own elections. We have seen some of the Zanu-PF
candidates disputing some of the figures being peddled by those
who are saying that they have won. Figures of 25000 versus figures
of 13000 and we have heard Zanu-PF candidates themselves making
allegations of vote rigging against other candidates who are said
to have won these elections. So I’m just saying that allegations
of vote rigging are not mere allegations, these are things that
are being said by other members of Zanu-PF itself. And of course
comrade Mhandu is saying that president Mugabe has a lot of supporters,
he is addressing crowds – everyone in Zimbabwe knows that
president Mugabe addresses bussed crowds. These are fake crowds.
He can hold two rallies a day which he is not able to do now because
of his age, he’s now merely holding one provincial rally.
He can hold three rallies but he will be addressing the same people
– bussed, shops closed, schools closed. Zanu-PF has no capacity
to address a genuine crowd which genuine crowds are being addressed
by Morgan Tsvangirai, the man who won the 2008 election and who
is going on to win this particular election as well.
Mhandu can you respond? You are addressing fake crowds and some
of them are bussed?
Mhandu: If we
see Zimbabweans attending his excellency’s rallies, our rallies
and we actually see the people and someone says they are fake then
I don’t understand.
Gonda: I think
Mr Tamborinyoka is saying that you are bussing in people to these
rallies, that these are not genuine Zanu-PF supporters but people
from schools that are being forced to go to these rallies.
Mhandu: I can
give a specific example of a certain party that I have seen bussing
people, for example the MDC in Mvurwi, when they came to Mvurwi
I was actually there. There was a convoy of vehicles that do not
stay in that particular area. It was almost the whole country was
there. All the vehicles used by former MPs of the MDC, they came
to Mvurwi so I think that’s the fact that he’s talking
about. We normally organize our local provincial membership, provincial
executive, provincial membership that includes the district, the
cells and the branches to attend in that particular province, to
attend his excellency’s rallies. We don’t bus people
from another province to another province.
Gonda: Mr Mhandu
what is your party offering Zimbabweans that is different from what
the MDC-T for example is offering?
Mhandu: We have
actually released our manifesto with all the offers that we are
going to extend or continue to give to the Zimbabweans – to
empower them as we have been doing before. It is not a new programme
– to empower the youth, to empower the women, to empower the
farmers, to empower the indigenous people of Zimbabwe.
Gonda: Yes how
are you going to do that that’s different from what, from
the promises that you’ve made in the past?
Mhandu: We will
do it using our own resources. Zimbabwe’s rich of resources
so we’ll use our own resources to empower our own people.
Gonda: How exactly,
how exactly are you going to do this?
Mhandu: We are
going to use government departments or government ministries, once
we are in power next week on the 1st of August, then we use our
own ministries to reach to the people.
Gonda: Yes Major
Mhandu this is just sounding like it’s rhetorical. We have
heard these promises in the past but what tangible evidence can
you give Zimbabweans right now that Zanu-PF is going to deliver
on its promises?
number one we have community ownership trust that has been established,
we have the land reform programme – our people are now enjoying
farming although there was this inclusive government the support
for the farmers has been locked up by the minister of Finance and
we have empowered the youth projects by giving them funds through
selected banks to start their own projects – there are a lot
Mr Tamborinyoka what is your party promising Zimbabweans?
Tamborinyoka: Our party Violet last year launched
which was our jobs plan and this year we have launched our policy
document and also we have launched our manifesto.
Basically there are several key canons that we are speaking to:
we are speaking to a change of the governance culture in the country,
we are talking about a plan to create jobs, we are talking about
infrastructure rehabilitation, we are talking about rejoining the
family of nations once again, we are talking about social services
for the people of Zimbabwe. These are some of the key canons that
we are speaking to in this particular election that we are promising
Gonda: How do
you plan to create jobs in a country that is bankrupt?
We are saying to ourselves that merely by creating a new governance
culture, a new governance culture in the country we are also going
to be attracting investments and also going to make sure that we
revive all those industries that have folded as a result of the
so-called indigenization plan by Zanu-PF. We are also talking about
infrastructure rehabilitation. Merely reviving our infrastructure,
creating our roads, creating our railways system, we will create
a lot of jobs in the country.
Gonda: How different
are your policies from Zanu-PF especially to do with the land and
What we are simply saying Violet is that we must grow the cake rather
than share the small cake – we must grow the economy. It is
not about sharing what is there in the country, it is not about
indigenizing existing companies, it is about enlarging the cake,
making sure that we grow this particular economy. Our differences
with Zanu-PF is Zanu-PF say let us share what is there. Our difference
with Zanu-PF is that Zanu-PF does not focus on productivity. For
Zanu-PF it is a matter of people just entering into farms –
now we have a situation where we are having to import food from
Zambia, of all countries. A few years ago we were actually exporting,
we were the bread basket in the region, now we are having to import
maize from Zambia but at the same time we have people who took over
these farms – the production story, the productivity story
is a story that has trashed the people of Zanu-PF who have occupied
you had four years, four, five years in the unity government, how
come you were not able to implement your policies during this period?
The MDC in the last four and a half years was in government Violet
but it was not the government. One of the main reasons why the MDC
entered this government was to give time out to the people of Zimbabwe,
to give reprieve to people of Zimbabwe and I can tell you that our
record in government in the past four and a half years speaks for
itself. If you ask any Zimbabwean they will tell you the story of
four years ago – that everyone was a poor zillionaire, they
will tell you that the shops were empty, they will tell you that
hospitals were closed, they will tell you that schools were closed
and they will tell you that as a result of the MDC’s participation
in this inclusive government, we gave Zimbabweans time out. And
that is why you will find the people of Zimbabwe singing the song
(inaudible) It was as a result of the MDC’s participation
in this inclusive government that we gave them all over Zimbabwe
reprieve and time out and I can tell you that the people of Zimbabwe
including president Robert Mugabe and most of our cousins in Zanu-PF
enjoy that after Morgan Tsvangirai joined the inclusive government
Mhandu do you agree
Mhandu: No I
do not agree with that. The first person to introduce multi currency,
the dollar, US dollar is minister Patrick Chinamasa who was then
the minister of Finance. He was the first person to introduce the
multi currency, through Zanu-PF, through minister Chinamasa. So
we cannot say it is the MDC who brought the dollar for two, it was
Mr Chinamasa who was then minister of Finance.
Gonda: Mr Tamborinyoka
what can you say about that?
You will recall Violet that in 2009 it was Zanu-PF which gave us
this culture of zillions and gave us this culture of trillions and
you will recall that even when minister Chinamasa is said to have
introduced the US currency, the people of Zimbabwe themselves had
moved away from the Zim dollar because it was no longer practical
to continue to trade with the Zim dollar. The market had already
shifted from the Zim dollar.
Mhandu a lot of people are saying that president Mugabe is 89 years
old, he’s old, he’s frequently seen in meetings sleeping
and that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a leader any
more. What can you say about this?
Mhandu: I will
disagree with those who are of that opinion. Experience comes with
age. I wouldn’t agree with anyone who says at 89 if you see
or hear what his excellency has been saying, even before the liberation
struggle in 1980, he has been persistent and consistent even up
to now. To say because of age he no longer is capable is incapable
of leading the nation that is fools. Experience comes with age,
I think you agree with me Violet.
Gonda: So what
new ideas can he bring this time around that we haven’t seen
in the last 33 years?
Mhandu: We will
continue with our programme that we have put together in our manifesto,
it is a matter with continuing with our programme.
Gonda: And what
programme is that?
not empowerment, education, infrastructural development, all those
things. Indigenization, we will continue with our programme, it’s
not like we are starting from nowhere, we are different from those
who are starting to get into politics or who intend to get into
the government which they will never do.
Gonda: Mr Tamborinyoka
what can you say about this? Major Mhandu is saying age is nothing
but a number.
Major Mhandu is saying that for example, he has just said there
are people who want to get into government but we have never been
in government, we are talking about people who have been in government
for the past four and a half years but I also want to say Violet
that president Mugabe’s age is an election issue, president
Mugabe’s age is a real election issue. The is the brave 21st
century and there is no way a sane electorate could elect a ninety
year old for a five year term – there is no way a ninety year
old can understand the brave 21st century. President Mugabe is out
of his time and Major Mhandu was just talking about, I’ve
heard him talking about, who collapsed all this infrastructure.
It is Zanu-PF. There is no way you can expect the same party which
destroyed Zimbabwe, which destroyed the economy to be able to rebuild
it again. It is like expecting a mosquito to cure malaria.
Mhandu what can you say about this? You are accused of, your party’s
accused of destroying the Zimbabwean economy and that people like
Luke Tamborinyoka has said that you have no new ideas to resuscitate
the economy. What can you say about this?
Mhandu: I do
not agree with Mr Tamborinyoka. What I can say is from our experience
since 1980 when we took over from Ian Smith things have been going
on very well. When these people started to create this thing called
MDC – that is where sabotage came in and that’s the
thing that came in to sabotage our economy against Zanu-PF policies
by going the other direction instead of building, giving constructive
criticism to the governing authorities they were actually conniving
with the enemy to make sure the downfall of the Zimbabwean economy
so that when the people feel the pinch on the economy then they
can take over the government but they failed, they failed and they
continue to do that. That is why I said that age comes with experience.
But Violet, Violet…
The danger is to think that age always come accompanied by other
things is very misplaced. Most of the time, and especially in president
Mugabe’s case, age has come alone without wisdom, and without
experience. We are continuing to hear, he is like an old record
stuck in the same groove, we are continuing to hear what we heard
in 1980, what we heard in 1985, what we heard in 1990, what we heard
in 19-whatever, the Zanu-PF song is the same and they continue to
see enemies, imaginary enemies elsewhere and not within Zanu-PF
and to think that the MDC is an enemy of the people like what Major
Mhandu was just saying it is the most ridiculous thing I have ever
heard. They lose the last election, we are talking about a party
here which won an election, a party which the majority of Zimbabweans
believe is going to give them hope and progress. So which people
is Major Mhandu talking about when he is saying have been betrayed
by the MDC are the same people who voted Morgan Tsvangirai overwhelmingly
into office in 2009.
Gonda: Mr Tamborinyoka,
what about that specific allegation that he made that the MDC has
been sabotaging efforts by Zanu-PF and that you are just trying
to de-campaign them, so what can you say about that? Or discredit
It is ridiculous to say they, sabotaging what? That is the usual
Zanu-PF mantra – the same words – de-campaigning, enemy
of the people with no iota of evidence. What is it that Zanu-PF
wanted to do which was sabotaged by the MDC? What is it, just one
example of what Zanu-PF wanted to do in the interests of the people
and which the MDC sabotaged? It is just useless words, words just
thrown in with no apparent meaning, this is your Zanu-PF language
and Major Mhandu is just proving that he’s a typical Zanu-PF
person – just making blanket allegations in the name of the
people which people have since Zanu-PF and are now supporting the
Mhandu do you have any evidence or any examples that you can give
to show that it is the MDC that sabotaged.
you Violet for giving me that chance. You remember when the British
failed to pay, when the British failed to compensate farmers and
they took it upon themselves to embark on the land reform programme,
most of the former white farmers supported MDC. You even saw it
on the television, supporting MDC-T, thinking that they will eventually
get into government and reverse the whole programme – that
was part of sabotage but they failed. They now embrace it because
they have seen that the people of Zimbabwe have embraced it. That
is why, I’m not attacking MDC, but I’m saying conniving
with the enemy.
Gonda: Mr Tamborinyoka,
you connived with the enemies, and in this case, white commercial
I have never seen such a primitive and racist remark. The way Major
Mhandu says is as if there are no white Zimbabweans, it’s
as if there are no white Zimbabweans. In fact talk about the issue
of farms, it is no longer about compensation which he wants to take
us to but to say that the whites were conniving with the MDC as
if these whites are not Zimbabweans and there was no connivance
whatsoever, no conspiracy whatsoever, the real story of the farms
is the story of productivity. The real story of the farms is what
have these so-called farmers, some of them now multiple farm owners
done productive in these lands? This has nothing to do about race,
this has nothing to do about race whatsoever and I can tell you
there are many white people who are also Zimbabwean and to continue
to talk about race in this day and age is primitive to say the least.
is your party going to do with the personal attacks on your leader
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai by president Mugabe and others?
We have heard that story before; it is not going to distract people
of Zimbabwe from having faith in the man who gave them reprieve
and who gave them time out in 2008. We’re not going to sink
to the gutter Violet, we’re not going to talk, to sink in
sewerage as these people are always doing. Let’s talk issues
– this election is about issues, it’s about policies
– it is not about Morgan Tsvangirai or any of these allegations
that they want to concoct against him. So we shall not be distracted
from the key issues that confront the people of Zimbabwe in this
Gonda: But do
you think the electorate would appreciate an apology from Mr Tsvangirai
in terms of how he has conducted his personal life since his wife
What are you talking about Violet?
as we have said, as I said earlier on that president Mugabe and
his wife for example have in recent days been mocking prime minister
Morgan Tsvangirai about his personal life, so then I’m asking
you that do you think that the prime minister should apologise to
the public for example…
I think Violet you are just trying to rewind an old story. The prime
minister last year, early last year issued a public statement about
his love life, he issued a public statement saying that he had found
the one he loved and he issued a public statement saying that if
ever there was anyone who was hurt as he tried to search for a wife
for himself then he did express his apologies to any Zimbabwean
who felt aggrieved as he searched for his wife. He has already done
that last year but you see the problem Violet, the problem Violet
is there are other people who have no yardstick whatsoever to make
any accusations against prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai who has
since said that if there was anyone who was aggrieved by whatever
he did as he tried to search for a new wife then he sends his apologies
but we have cases Violet, we have a case, not cases, of a president
who fell in love with his secretary and had a child with her while
his wife was dying of a kidney ailment.
Mhandu what can you say about this?
Mhandu: In the
first place I would like to say I was not trying to be racial when
I said former white commercial farmers because these were the people
who had farms, no blacks had farms, otherwise they had what they
called African Purchase Areas and about productivity from these
new resettled farmers – how do you expect a new farmer or
a resettled farmer to produce when the person who is holding the
national purse who is the minister of Finance does not at all support
terms of finance or funding the production or the productivity in
those farms? How do you expect a poor farmer…
Can I answer that one Violet?
you give me time? I gave you time. How do you expect a person who
is holding the national purse who is not supporting a farmer and
you expect that farmer to produce and feed the nation. Just wait
until after next week when Zanu-PF gets into government you’ll
see how farmers are going to produce to feed the nation and actually
to export. Zimbabweans are hard working people, they can produce
provided their government supports them and this is where Zanu-PF
comes in. Then…
you go to the question that I asked you, let’s bring in Mr
Tamborinyoka to respond to the specific issue that you have raised.
Violet Major Mhandu is talking about one Tendai Biti who does not
have anything in his national purse and in any case Biti only became
minister of finance in 2009, nine years after these so-called farmers,
cell phone farmers of Zanu-PF occupied these farms and for nine
years Zanu-PF had the minister of finance, did he expect Biti to,
who was broke anyway and still remained broke in actual fact there’s
no money for elections, they want us to prioritise commercial farmers
who have been on the farms for nine years with Zanu-PF holding the
finance ministry. In the ninth year they still expected to be, so
it’s not like these people occupied these farms in 2009 when
Biti became finance minister. They occupied these farms in 2000,
nine years later they still expected money to be doled out by a
government just like that and these are supposed to be commercial
farmers who are supposed to farm. Can someone just give us a break.
Mhandu let me come back to my earlier question – is it fair
that president Mugabe is using the prime minister’s personal
life as an election gimmick or a campaign gimmick?
Mhandu: If I
can go back to my fellow Mr Tamborinyoka – between 2000 and
2008 when there was a Zanu-PF government, our farmers were producing.
Things became worse from 2009 when the inclusive government was
inaugurated that is when the farmers started to fail to produce.
However, through hard work and other means from the new farmers
they have been able to produce for example tobacco, to export tobacco
to a certain reasonable levels without the support of the minister
of finance, without the support of the inclusive government. Then
on the personal life of the leadership I have no comment.
These people are supposed to be commercial farmers. Surely can somebody
explain to me how a commercial farmer, somebody who farms at a commercial
scale expect government to continue to dole out resources to them
nine years after they have gotten into a farm. Major Mhandu was
just saying that they were receiving handouts from government and
in 2009 those handouts stopped – surely how does the commercial
farmer expect government to spend ten years doling out money to
him when they are farming commercially. Surely if you are farming
commercially you should get assistance initially, you are supposed
to look after yourself. How do you expect in the tenth year to have
government to continue to dole out resources to you?
Gonda: I just
have one final question to ask you both and I will start with the
Zanu-PF side – will you accept an MDC victory? Major Mhandu
will your party accept an MDC-T victory?
Mhandu: I will
accept a Zanu-PF victory.
Gonda: Yes but
I’m asking you specifically if what will happen if prime minister
Morgan Tsvangirai was to win and his party was to win, would Zanu-PF
Mhandu: I can’t
even imagine that.
Gonda: But can
you answer my question? What happens…
answering you Violet.
Gonda: Yes but
what will happen if what happened in 2008.
want me to answer the way you want? I’m saying, I’m
saying I don’t foresee MDC-T winning any election. You can
even ask Tamborinyoka…
MDC won the election of 2008, it’s not even hypothetical.
We have done it before and we are going do it again. We won an election
in 2008 and president Mugabe is president because of an arrangement
by SADC not by popular vote.
Tamborinyoka make the gesture please phone me and congratulate.
Gonda: Mr Tamborinyoka
what about your party – will you accept a Zanu-PF victory?
It’s a hypothetical question – it’s highly unlikely
but you see, in the name of a civilized party whoever wins in a
free and fair environment must be congratulated and I can tell you
we won an election last year and the mood in Zimbabwe is a mood
for change and transformation. We are going to resoundingly beat
the old man and beat Zanu -PF come next Wednesday and Major Mhandu
must call me and congratulate me.
is now more realistic.
Gonda: So are
we heading for a second GNU because it would appear that the main
parties will not accept if they lose so do you think we are heading
for a second GNU, another coalition government?
no second GNU, there’s nothing like that, definitely. Violet
I can promise you, I’m promising you next Thursday my young
brother will definitely phone me to congratulate.
Gonda: Mr Tamborinyoka?
We are tired of a donkey and a horse relationship and you know the
horse I’m talking about, young and energetic and you know
the donkey I’m talking about Violet. We appeal to the guarantors
of the inclusive government, we appeal to SADC and African Union
to respect the people’s view and to please not allow one who
would have been treated in an election as happened in 2008 to come
back through the back door as president.
you very much Mr Luke Tamborinyoka and Major Cairo Mhandu for talking
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