'Zanu-PF doesn't have the divine right to rule' – PM

HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF naïvely believes it has the "divine right" to rule Zimbabwe.

Launching the Pan-African Policy Dialogue Forum in Harare, Tsvangirai said this week that Zanu-PF’s entrenched positions made it impossible to attain a national vision that transcended party politics.

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Despite its commitments within the Global Political Agreement, the Southern African Development Community-brokered power-sharing pact, Zanu-PF had made it blatantly obvious in the past two years – and in the previous decades – that it believed it had the sole mandate to govern, even in the absence of a mandate from the people, he said.

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“That party portrays any attack on its unjustified, unsustainable and violent grip on power as an attack on the state of Zimbabwe. Such a destructive mentality spells disaster for our nation and its people,” Tsvangirai said. “That is why I am determined to fight to change the culture of governance in this country. To bring about an environment where incumbents stand down gracefully if they lose an election and where the people’s right to determine their own future, as well as who governs them, is so deeply entrenched in our society that it becomes as normal and natural as breathing,” he said.

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The MDC-T leader outpolled Mugabe in the bloody 2008 presidential elections, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), then headed by a former soldier George Chiweshe, ruled Tsvangirai had not garnered more than 50% of the votes cast to be declared the president.

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The ZEC then ordered a presidential run-off which was boycotted by Tsvangirai, who cited state-sponsored violence which he said claimed the lives of more than 300 of his supporters.

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Mugabe went on to win the one-man race, which was declared a sham by SADC, the African Union and the international community, leading to the appointment of the shaky government of national unity.

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Tsvangirai said he would stand up against propagandists that continued to blame others outside Zimbabwe for the ills Zimbabweans “face inside”.

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“I will continue to stand against looters who plunder our national riches and subsequently starve our civil service, our health and education facilities.

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“I, and the party I represent, believe in broad-based empowerment of the ordinary person – and that is why we have a different interpretation of what the so-called indigenisation regulations are all about.”

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Broad-based empowerment was what the MDC-T believed in, and not the looting, expropriation or nationalisation by the elite , he said. “So we will take a strong position against expropriation in the national interest, beyond the narrow party politics of rhetoric and patronage of our coalition partners.

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“And I will continue to speak out against those within our government who hide behind badly worded and illegally implemented legislation to take investments and assets that do not belong to them.”

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There has been a stampede by the Zanu-PF elite to seize foreign-owned firms, especially mines, as Mugabe pushes ahead with his black economic empowerment campaign which critics view as a campaign gimmick for fresh elections he wants held this year.

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Tsvangirai said only when his party had eradicated “these selfish and nationally self-destructive tendencies” could Zimbabwe begin to rise above party politics and develop and implement a vision.

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“But I want to remain positive that the people’s aspirations for the political leadership to go beyond party politics will be achieved within our lifetime.

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“The unity by MPs from the two MDC formations and our friends in Zanu-PF to defend the people’s will by acting in common purpose to re-elect Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly shows it is possible to work towards a common purpose,” he said. – TimesLive