Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last Friday gave regional leaders a blow-by-blow account of how President Robert Mugabe has disregarded their power-
sharing agreement in his desperate push for fresh elections without reforms.
Sources said the account by Tsvangirai at the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Organ on Defence, Politics and Security meeting in Angola persuaded the regional leaders to put brakes on Mugabe’s election plans.
The organ — made up of South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania — asked Zimbabwe to hold elections in the next 12 months after reforms to avoid another bloodlbath.
According to a speech delivered by Tsvangirai that was made available to NewsDay yesterday, the MDC-T leader also exposed Zanu PF ministers who were blocking the necessary reforms.
He tore through Mugabe’s plans to rush the polls and warned the efforts Sadc had put in addressing the Zimbabwe imbroglio would go to waste if the 88-year-old leader was allowed to have his way.
“It is very irresponsible to call for elections before the completion of the new constitution and other reforms given the time and resources invested into the process and the support given by Sadc,” he said.
“There is a deliberate effort to unilaterally collapse the GPA (Global Political Agreement) and resort to an election under the old constitution.
“Zanu PF is keen to collapse the inclusive government even it if it means going it alone. This will be a betrayal of the painstaking efforts by the AU (African Union), Sadc and the facilitator to bring a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.”
Mugabe did not read from a prepared speech and his task was made difficult by Zambian President Michael Sata who reportedly kept making “childish”statements in support of his ally.
MDC leader Welshman Ncube also reportedly took Mugabe head-on and angered the veteran ruler in the process.
Tsvangirai singled out Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu, Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa and service chiefs as the major stumbling blocks to reforms.
He said it was time the regional leaders helped end the Zimbabwe crisis that had gone unresolved for too long.
“It is a crisis that is affecting the economic capacity of the region as Zimbabweans seek economic and political refuge in neighbouring countries. It is time to put an end to this crisis,” the PM said.
“In this regard, any call for elections that is oblivious to the roadmap and to Sadc resolutions respecting the same roadmap is not only a breach of agreements, but is dangerous and lays the basis for further instability in Zimbabwe.” He said Mugabe was to blame for the lack of progress in the inclusive government‘s reform agenda.
“Regrettably, Your Excellencies, I have to say that much of the non-implementation has arisen out of deliberate inaction by Mugabe and his ministers,” Tsvangirai added.
“A good example is the continuous refusal by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity to implement agreed media reforms.”
He said Mugabe made several unilateral actions such as the re-appointment of service chiefs in violation of the GPA.
Tsvangirai also expressed concern at statements by the service chiefs who have vowed not to recognise anyone who beats Mugabe in elections. He made reference to statements by Police Commissioner-
General Augustine Chihuri and army generals Constantine Chiwenga, Douglas Nyikayaramba and Martin Chedondo.
He also told the meeting of statements by Chinamasa supporting the army’s involvement in politics.
“Clearly the issue of military interference in politics is a cancer that the region cannot and should not tolerate,” he said.
He called for the amendment of the Public Order and Security Act, demilitarisation and professionalisation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and
security sector reforms.