MDC STATEMENT ON THE STATE OF THE SADC MEDIATION TALKS

Fellow Zimbabweans, members of the media fraternity, the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the SADC Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation Troika concluded in the early hours of the 28th of October 2008.\r\n

In the communiqué released by the Troika, pursuant to this summit, the Troika has decided to refer the Zimbabwe issue to a full summit of SADC which should be held as soon as possible.

On our part, we thank the Troika for yet again sacrificing their time, patience and experience on the issue of Zimbabwe, more particularly, President Monthlante of South Africa and President Guebuzza of Mozambique and every other leader who attended the summit. Zimbabwe is privileged that it can count as friends, countries in the region and distinguished African statesmen such as President Guebuzza and President Monthlante.

It is regrettable that the Troika could not narrow the gaps between the Zimbabwe parties. In our view, an urgent summit towards the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis is paramount. Zimbabweans are suffering and dying. The State has dismally failed to provide the least basic social amenities and our people have been reduced to a primitive mode of production in depths that have not been known even in many warring situations.

At the core of our differences, in our view, is the lack of sincerity and good faith on the part of Zanu PF. The fact that contrary to the Global Political Agenda (GPA), Zanu PF is still interfering with the distribution of humanitarian assistance, and the fact that it is still emasculating basic freedoms is equally unacceptable.

We condemn in the strongest language the recent assaults of the members of the Zimbabwe Students Union (ZINASU) and the continued incarceration of the members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).
Even yesterday as the dialogue process was in progress, Zanu PF had the audacity of insulting and assaulting civic society and MDC activists who were merely expressing their freedom of expression. That lack of sincerity is demonstrated in the total disrespect of the MDC and its leader Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai and the attempt to reduce the same to disinterested bystanders in the cooperative government despite the fact that it is the MDC that has the legitimate peoples’ mandate following its victory on the 29th of March 2008.

It is our hope that the SADC Summit will be convened with utmost urgency to deliberate on the outstanding issues;

1. The first critical outstanding issue is the allocation of portfolio ministries as enshrined in Article 20.1.6 (5) of the GPA. On this issue, the firm position of the MDC is that there are fundamental principles that are key, not just to the MDC, but to the people of Zimbabwe.
1.1. There cannot be responsibility without authority and,
1.2. There has to be equitable distribution of portfolio ministries.
In this regard the MDC has suggested a methodology in respect of which the key ministries are paired in the orders of importance and relative equality.
We identified 10 (ten) key ministries which we believe are supposed to be shared equitably. For instance, we have paired Home Affairs to Defence, Justice and Legal Affairs to Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Mines and Minerals Development to Environment and Youth to Women. In our view equity and responsibility with authority can be achieved if the ministries are therefore allocated on the basis of the above methodology.

However, there is an attempt to ignore or overlook these fundamental principles and hence the claim in some circles that only the Portfolio Ministry of Home Affairs is outstanding. Nothing can be further from the truth.

2. The second outstanding issue is the appointment of the ten Provincial Governors in line with the outcome of the 29th of March elections.

3. The third outstanding issue is the question of the composition, functions and constitution of the National Security Council. This is a critical issue in view of the dangerous and partisan role that has been displayed by the intelligence services in this country.

4. The fourth outstanding issue pertains to the appointment of Permanent Secretaries and Ambassadors.

5. The fifth outstanding issue is the question of Constitutional Amendment No. 19 which is the legal document that is necessary and conditional in bringing the GPA into life.

6. The last point is the morally irreprehensible fact that the fraudulent alteration of the agreement of the 11th of September 2008 and the one that was signed on the 15th of September 2008. It is our understanding that the Troika in fact made a resolution that it is the agreement of the 11th of September 2008 that should be binding and we are indeed surprised that it was not captured in the communiqué.

From the above, it is clear that there is so much that still has to be done and a lot of goodwill, patience and wisdom, which so far has not been evident or has not been exercised.

On our part, we are fully alive to the historical obligations on our shoulders and the expectations of Zimbabweans. However, the one instruction that those suffering and abused people have been telling us at our massive rallies at Zimbabwe Grounds, Mkoba Stadium, Mutungagore Primary School, White City Stadium , Mamutse Stadium and all over Zimbabwe is a bold but simple one, A BAD DEAL IS NO DEAL AT ALL.

TENDAI BITI, MP
MDC SECRETARY GENERAL