African Union, Sadc snub Tsvangirai

tsvangiraiLloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The African Union and sadc have snubbed the opposition MDC-T in its quest to smuggle Zimbabwe back into their agenda by claiming that the country was on the verge of collapse.

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday revealed that his formation had written to the two bodies, but did not receive responses, prompting them to try local remedies.

Ironically, former sadc facilitator to the Zimbabwean negotiations, South African President Jacob Zuma, last year said the successful holding of the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections took the country off the bloc’s agenda.

After the elections, the Zanu-PF Government led by President Mugabe came up with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, an economic blueprint that is expected to spur the country out of the economic hardships caused by the illegal sanctions imposed on Harare by the West at the behest of MDC.

Mr Tsvangirai told the media in Harare yesterday that stopping Zanu-PF must be a global cause.

“We have written to sadc Heads of State warning them of a possible implosion in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“sadc and the AU must appreciate that the declining economic situation and the implosion in zanu-PF as the party in government has far-reaching consequences for stability, democratisation and development in the region.”

Responding to questions on whether the two bodies had responded to them, Mr Tsvangirai said: “We have not yet received a response from AU and sadc. The issue is that perhaps people are pre-occupied with their own national crises and that perhaps Zimbabwe is not a priority.

“But that does not mean that Zimbabweans must not take their crisis as a priority. It means the challenge is for us to find a Zimbabwean solution to the Zimbabwean problem. That is why it is important for us to mobilise around this.”

But Government spokesperson who is also Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, said Government was working well with the AU and sadc in taking Zimbabwe forward, dealing Mr Tsvangirai a heavy blow.

“It is notable that while the MDC formations are competing to undermine Zim-Asset and derail economic reforms, sadc, the AU and the international community have together with the local business community joined hands with the Government to make Zim-Asset work,” said Prof Moyo.

“The discourse on and in Zimbabwe has moved away from the “crisis” that is all over Tsvangirai’s Press statement to “development”, which is the new rallying point that speaks to Zim-Asset whose implementation is set for major acceleration in 2015.

“Zimbabweans and their counterparts in sadc and the AU along with the international community, do not believe that Tsvangirai, who dismally lost the 2013 election, can ever lead the nation and keep it united when he has hopelessly failed to unite and lead his own party which is falling apart.”

The MDC-T leader said his party wanted a national convergence conference where various political parties, the civil society and the Church would come up with solutions to the problems bedevilling the country.

He said funding for the conference that they wanted to be held not more than two months from now was available.

He claimed that Government had failed to deliver to improve Zimbabweans’ livelihoods.

“There is a very loud ring of desperation about Tsvangirai’s Press statement,” said Prof Moyo. “While it purports to be about Zanu-PF policies and Government programmes, it is all too apparent to everyone that in fact, Tsvangirai’s panicky statement has been prompted by two interrelated media reports this week which confirm that Tsvangirai’s MDC has become a spent force.

“In the first case, the media has been awash throughout the week with reports that the UMDC, fronted by Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, is gaining momentum and is threatening to put paid to Tsvangirai’s MDC when it holds its inaugural congress in July.

“The fact that the Constitutional Court is expected to make a final determination of who has what MPs between the UMDC and the MDC-T is leaving Tsvangirai with sleepless nights.”

He said, secondly, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute released a study which received widespread media coverage this week which concluded that Mr Tsvangirai’s MDC was facing oblivion at a time when Zanu-PF had made huge hegemonic strides.

Added Prof Moyo: “Tsvangirai’s Press statement today is a desperate response to these two developments, which are both internal to MDC politics and are a direct result of Tsvangirai’s failure to hold his MDC together after dividing it twice, in 2005 and 2014.

“Meanwhile, it is common cause that Government is working very closely with international and local development partners — including the private sector — to accelerate the implementation of Zim-Asset to turn around the economy to improve the livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans.”

Mr Tsvangirai also attacked newly appointed Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, saying they pretended to be reformists.

“Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko were added into the cockpit of both party and Government. It is simply a cosmetic change without any substantial impact on the direction of the country.

“Attempts have been made by Mnangagwa, the Acting President, and some of his acolytes, to brand themselves as reformists when, in fact, they are unrepentant hardliners.

“There are those who are so naïve as to believe that token changes in the cockpit can lead to realignment of our politics and that those token changes can spearhead a reform agenda,” he said.

“These latest Mugabe appointees are desperate to brand themselves as different and yet we know they have little room to manoeuvre outside the dictates of the appointing authority.

“In the case of the Acting President, he has a tainted record that Zimbabweans will never forget both in terms of his role in Gukurahundi, repression in the presidential runoff of 2008 as Minister of Defence and the electoral theft of 2013,” said Mr Tsvangirai.

He also attacked First Lady Grace Mugabe over her philanthropic work expansion in Mazowe.

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