MDC leadership meets civil society

PRESS STATEMENT – The MDC leadership today met with civic society representatives to brief them on the party’s decision to disengage with Zanu PF at the party’s headquarters, Harvest House in Harare.

Last week President Morgan Tsvangirai announced the party’s decision to disengage with Zanu PF as an attempt to ensure the irreversibility and consolidation of the gains achieved by the inclusive government.

Addressing the meeting, MDC Secretary-General, Hon. Tendai Biti, said the decision to disengage had been made after the MDC had realised that the transitional government had been arrested and there was no movement in resolving outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

“We are disengaging from forums that we interact with Zanu PF at the executive arm of government, which is the Cabinet and Council of Ministers,” said Hon. Biti.

He added that the MDC felt insulted by the way the party’s Treasurer-General and deputy Agriculture minister designate, Senator Roy Bennett had been treated by the State following his arrest on trumped-up charges, the none appointment of MDC provincial governors, the unilateral appointments by President Robert Mugabe of the Attorney General, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, the alteration of Ministerial mandates and the resurgence of violence in most areas across the country, among other issues.

He said other toxic issues included the continued persecution of MDC MPs and other party functionaries, the disregard of the rule of law, the slow pace of Constitutional, media and the security sector reforms.
“The National Security Council only met once and it was just introductions, they have not properly met as is mandated by the GPA,” said Hon Biti.

Hon Biti also said hate speech in the public media, farm invasions, the militarisation of the country side and the lack of respect for the MDC as an equal partner had poisoned the political relationship with Zanu PF.
However, Hon. Biti said the party was still carrying out consultations with the people of Zimbabwe which will end on 31 October 2009.

MDC Acting President, Hon Thokozani Khupe also attended the meeting and appealed to the civic society to continue playing a critical role in publicizing the shortcomings of the GPA and proffering possible solutions.

“We appeal to you as our partners to continue with the international and regional advocacy on the plight of the people of Zimbabwe and explain to them about our move to disengage with Zanu PF” said Hon Khupe.
The meeting was also attended by the MDC deputy secretary-general, Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada and MDC spokesperson, Hon. Nelson Chamisa.

Meanwhile, President Morgan Tsvangirai, who is on a diplomatic offensive in the region, has since met with Mozambique President and chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Armando Guebuza, South African President, Jacob Zuma and the Democratic Republic of Congo President and SADC chairperson Joseph Kabila.

The SADC Troika meeting is expected to meet on 29 of October 2009 to discuss Zimbabwe’s crisis.
Some of the highlights and talking points of the party’s justification of a political master-stroke decision by the national executive are as follows:

Why we formed the inclusive government

1. To deliver real change by providing hope, freedom, dignity, security and prosperity to the people of Zimbabwe, through-

I. Initiating and achieving democratic reforms

II. Achieving economic stability and reconstruction

III. Constitution reform process and legislative reform to prepare for free and fair elections in two years

IV.  Improving social service delivery and causing positive difference n matters of governance

V.   National healing and reconciliation

We are disengaging from forums that we interact with Zanu PF at the executive arm of government, that is,

1. Cabinet,

2. Council of Ministers

Reasons for disengaging

Outstanding issues in the GPA

i. Provincial Governors

ii. Attorney General and Reserve Bank Governor

iii. Altering of Ministerial mandates and swearing-in of Deputy Minister of    Agriculture

iv. Resurgence of violence, e.g. in Chiweshe, Makoni South, Bindura

v.  Persecution through prosecution of MDC MPs and other party functionaries

vi. Breakdown of Rule of law

vii. Inertia in Constitutional reform

viii. Inertia in media reforms

ix.  Security sector reform, e.g. National Security Council which has only met once for introductions

Defining executive authority

i. Issues of Chairing Cabinet

ii. Senior appointments

Toxic Issues-

i. Hate speech in the public media

ii. Farm invasions

iii. The militarization of the countryside

iv. Lack of respect for the MDC as an equal partner

v.  Lack of paradigm metamorphosis on the part of Zanu PF to acknowledge that the game in town has changed-i.e. Zanu PF grab-all and take-all mentality

vi.  Politically engineered specification of companies

Why disengagement as an option?

1.  We are the government by virtue of the peoples’ mandate placed on the party on the 29th of March. In fact, we cannot pull out of ourselves as government. we can not leave government to a second best political party- Zanu PF

2.  We have an on-going process of consultation therefore it will be premature to make a fundamental decision outside the confines and dictates of the ongoing people’s forums

3.  We have SADC and the AU as guarantors to the GPA. Out of courtesy, the guarantors need to be informed of the current government gridlock before making any earth-shaking decision.

4.  The present government is an inclusive government. There is a government paralysis in the absence of any one of the signatories to the GPA.