Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) president Simba Makoni said his party has never been an appendage of Zanu PF and the decision to leave Zanu PF was informed by the realisation the revolutionary party had turned against the people.
NewsDay Senior Parliamentary Reporter Veneranda Langa (ND) recently held an exclusive interview with Makoni (SM) on this and a myriad issues related to MKD and the political climate in Zimbabwe.
Below are excerpts:
ND: Your movement, MKD won 9% of the votes during the 2008 Presidential elections, but was excluded from the government of national unity (GNU). What is your feeling and comment about that?
SM: I stood as an independent candidate in 2008 and MKD was launched as a political party on July 1 2009, about four months after the formation of the GNU. Under those circumstances there was no prospect for the MKD being involved in the GNU.
The reasons why we did not participate were because the three political parties in the GNU were in Parliament. Before 2008 these parties had been involved in national dialogue facilitated by South African former President, Thabo Mbeki since March 2007.
In the negotiations they did not create space for other parties outside Parliament to get included in the GNU. My feeling was that these three political parties had left all other citizen groups out of efforts to stabilise the country and restore life to normalcy. They think they are the only ones entitled to lead our country out of the crisis.
ND: Would you say the GNU is working for the country — especially considering the political environment and economically?
SM: First, we do not have a GNU. They do not even call themselves a GNU. Formally they are called inclusive, but they are not inclusive. Secondly, they are not working for the country and we know that social services, health and education systems have not improved since the installation of the inclusive government.
They have not put up any policies to improve the quality of life for Zimbabweans. Many in the inclusive government, particularly President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, want to claim responsibility for stability and the low inflationary rate, but if you ask which policies are responsible for those, you will not find any.
The economy stabilised because we threw away the Zimbabwe dollar, but it had been thrown away by the people long before the government did, through Acting minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa who formalised it.
The education and health systems have improved through donor support and not through any policy of the inclusive government.
ND: Is your party going to contest the next elections? Do you have faith your membership can deliver your victory?
SM: Yes, we have prepared ourselves to participate in the next elections whenever they are called. We have confidence people of Zimbabwe — whether they are members of our political party or not — support us to win the next elections. In most countries members of society who participate in elections are not necessarily members of political parties.
A large number of voters will make up their minds on the basis of programmes and policies of political parties. We are confident when we present our ideas towards elections people of Zimbabwe will be convinced we have the best solution for their problems.
ND: If you were to win the presidential elections, what changes would you bring to the country?
SM: The first would be to remove the fear of political violence which has traumatised citizens of this country since 2002, 2005 and 2008 elections which were marred by violence — the worst being the short-sleeve and the long-sleeve torture methods, the Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina. We need political tolerance and we will introduce policies and legislation to make Zimbabwe peaceful.
Secondly, our party MKD has a slogan “Let Us Get Zimbabwe Working Again” and we will need to revive our economy by implementing policies and programmes that enable agents in all sectors like tourism, industry, agriculture, communication, commerce and others to participate. We want all sectors of the economy to work efficiently — and again that will entail having policies that support people’s initiatives and ingenuity.
We also want to eliminate corruption, which is now a dominant force in the civil service and everywhere. Even if you go to churches you now encounter the ugly hand of corruption.
Social services are a tragedy – there are no ambulances or medicines, even painkillers or tools for surgeons to operate on patients, and we would want to put sanity on those.
ND: What reforms would you like to see in the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary?
SM: We want to affirm the limit of terms of the President not to be more than two terms of five years. But we would also like to limit the age of a citizen to aspire to be a president to be not more than 70 years.
We would like our electoral system to be on a proportional representation basis because it shows how each political party stands amongst the electorate. For example, if this method was used we would have had 9% of the seats in Parliament.
ND: Do you think Zimbabwe is ready for elections?
SM: It’s a yes-and-no answer. Yes, because the country needs elections in order to solve the political impasse that was brought about by the inconclusive 2008 elections. We also need them so that we remove the paralysis of the inclusive government.
However, with the conditions prevailing, for free and fair elections, the answer is no. We can be ready if people who claim to be leaders perform those duties required for free and fair elections. We need an (electoral) commission independent of political influence.
We do not know yet whether the current Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is independent of political influence, but we know the permanent staff is still peopled by those who were in the (President) Mugabe Election Commission of 2008. We also do not know if we can resource our next elections, but the answer is doubtful.