The ABC’s Africa Correspondent Andrew Geoghegan was in Zimbabwe recently and he was granted a rare interview with one of Robert Mugabe’s closet allies.
Didymus Mutasa was head of the country’s feared security services and is now the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.
He makes it clear that Prime Minister Tsvangirai should be doing as President Mugabe says.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: How would you describe the relationship between Zanu-PF and MDC? Is it working?
DIDYMUS MUTASA: We are doing our best. We are working as well as can be expected. Tsvangirai takes his orders from the president and I always feel that members of the opposition, Tsvangirai’s party should have seen this much earlier on and started to work with us as Africans, and not take their orders as they had done from Europe, Britain and the United States. ( Tsvangirai does not take orders from the President. He is part of the executive who apply laws promulgated in parliament (Ed))
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: They say political intimidation is continuing and there’s no respect for the rule of law, and that human rights are being violated. What do you say to those claims?
DIDYMUS MUTASA: Well I say that’s nonsense. There has never been non-observation of human rights in this country. In fact, it is our party, Zanu-PF, which has been fighting for human rights ever since – there were no rights in this country at all during the colonial period. The lot of us used to have dogs set up on us and we had to decide to take up arms in order to
achieve both democracy and human rights. (For Human Rights read Zanu-PF Rights (Ed))
We find it absolutely nonsensical that anybody could say that we do not observe human rights, when in fact it took us 15 years to fight for them.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: But how then do you explain the political violence that has occurred in the past few years, particularly when we look at the MDC. Obviously Morgan Tsvangirai himself was targeted.
DIDYMUS MUTASA: There was no political violence all along until the MDC came into the picture. Now who do you accuse for being violent? It was Tsvangirai himself and that’s why he was beaten up by none other than the police, because he was ignoring their orders.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Why is it though, that independent human rights groups, the UN and others, says that there has been political violence perpetrated in Zimbabwe by the security forces?
DIDYMUS MUTASA: In their presence, no. They are talking like, everyone of you journalists are talking, repeating things that you have heard from other journalists, things that you have not yourselves experienced. And this is what, in fact, has been what the – our president is complaining about, what he refers to as information imperialism. (We should call DM an Ostrich…Where has he been for the past 2 years. !! (Ed))
And when they were reporting about us before, they were talking a lot of rubbish. Lies, and naturally that offended us.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Can I ask you: what do you believe has been the cause of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse?
DIDYMUS MUTASA: Well, one chief cause has been the sanctions that were imposed against us by your country, Australia, most of the white Commonwealth countries. And I can’t understand why.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: But those sanctions are targeted at individuals.
DIDYMUS MUTASA: Illegally.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: But how would targeted sanctions at individuals in a government affect all Zimbabwe?
DIDYMUS MUTASA: Why should they ever done? What right have other countries to do, what right have they got with the affairs that are going on in Zimbabwe?
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: But I don’t understand how those targeted sanctions would cause economic collapse.
DIDYMUS MUTASA: My dear, they are not targeted. It targets the relationships between their companies and our companies, and those companies are not individuals. I am one of the targeted people in sanctions, that doesn’t
affect me at all. I mean the fact that people stopped me from going to Australia or going to Britain, doesn’t affect me at all.
But the fact that those sanctions have on the ordinary people in this country is what really annoys all of us.
The Zanu-Pf Leadership Code(Download here) prohibits any senior Zanu-Pf government official from owning a Business or Land.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Are you confident that free and fair elections will occur next year? And if that is the case, who do you think will win.
DIDYMUS MUTASA: My dear, free and fair elections have been taking place all through in Zimbabwe since 1980. We have never cheated as a party and as a government. Free and fair election will continue to take place in Zimbabwe and in this case Zanu-PF will win. Zanu-PF will win because it is now beyond any doubt that you Europeans, you Australians and all you white Commonwealth – the so-called international community, if you behave yourselves and do not come and interfere in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe, no doubt Zanu-PF will win. (This is the crux of the interview…DM is blaming the loss of the election on outside interference. If he truly believes this statement…he will lose again.(Ed))
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Your leader, president Robert Mugabe is 85 years old. I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit he’s not going to live forever. Are there succession plans in place?
DIDYMUS MUTASA: We are working on them. This is still premature to discuss them. He’s not the only person who’s head of state who is that old. The Queen of England is much older than our President and nobody had ever referred to her as an old lady. You all respect her very much. You people are racists aren’t you. (The Queen of England is Head of State…Not the Executive..She carries out the British Parliaments wishes. (Ed))
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: But that is a monarchy. That is a separate system.
DIDYMUS MUTASA: Absolutely, but in terms of being head of state, he sees the head of state the same way that our president is head of state.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: So he has no plans to retire.
DIDYMUS MUTASA: Well, he has no decision of his own in our democracy. What he does is what his people are asking him to do. And if his people, or when his people ask him to retire, he will do so immediately. He is the one man in this world who is so misunderstood and we know that it is deliberately so because there is not any African leader in this world who has lead his people as well as that. (WE did that and he refused to listen. Elections 2008 said he must go…(Ed))
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Do you ever see a day when Zanu-PF will not be in government?
DIDYMUS MUTASA: Never. I don’t. ( Oh My….If I were DM I would be planning an exit strategy soon.(Ed))
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Didymus Mutasa, Zimbabwe’s Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, speaking there to our African correspondent Andrew Geoghegan in Harare.