MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s message to the people of Zimbabwe-(22-02-07)

'Mugabe is now heavily dependant on a rogue militia and partisan paramilitary forces in his war against the people'
'A criminal state, run by a gang of criminals and a military oligarchy, cannot negotiate itself out of chaos'
'We wish to build a nation based on unity, fairness, compassion and

‘The idea is to push Zimbabwe to a civil war and to avoid accountability in a post-Mugabe era’
I wish to thank the thousands of peace-loving Zimbabweans for their resilience, determination and resolve to take on the regime and express themselves. There is a growing political mood of defiance evident in the past week as our struggle for change takes a new turn.
On Sunday, the people of Harare showed a deep sense of maturity as they confronted hired gangs of thugs who defied a High Court order barring the police from interfering with our rally.
I acknowledge the powerlessness of senior members of our professional police force who failed to execute their Constitutional mandate to respect the rule of law and to observe a legitimate High Court order.
Sunday’s events in Highfield exposed the existence of a dangerous political oligarchy, which has since usurped the ship of state and taken charge of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) are at their weakest level; they have lost confidence in our professional police officers and other traditional state structures. Mugabe is now heavily dependant on a rogue militia and partisan paramilitary forces in his war against the people.
Zimbabweans are a peace-loving people. That they have painfully avoided anarchy, chaos or arms of war to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis demonstrates their faith in an orderly political transition and a sovereign right to change. We shall see democratic change through peaceful public expression. All indications show that the hour for action has come.
Fellow Zimbabweans, our nation is firmly agreed that unless we unite against this dictatorship, we are headed for an abyss. Across the political divide, we are all convinced that the status quo is untenable; our destiny as a people could be in tatters; and unless we get out of this deep hole, we risk our values and our common humanity.
I am pleased to note that those who previously vilified us are now on our side, having experienced what it means to live in a criminal state. There is nothing left in the feudal Zanu (PF) plate to maintain a patronage system; the propaganda war against the people has run its course; it is now clear to all that we must act to save Zimbabwe from collapse.
A criminal state, run by a gang of criminals and a military oligarchy, cannot negotiate itself out of chaos. A criminal state cannot enter into social contracts with the people. A criminal state cannot run credible and legitimate elections.
A criminal state cannot be expected to respect the rule of law, adhere to the principles of good governance and craft coherent policies for Zimbabwe. It is a state without a nation. For 27 years, Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) have abandoned the nation. Our country has long disintegrated into a loose coalition of clans and tribes, all desperate for a single national identity.
Mugabe has marginalized millions of people in the southern and western half of the country; all our urban areas, our mining settlements and any other centres of valid economic activity.
It is true that Zimbabweans – across the political, ethnic and racial divide – feel a sense of exclusion from the national and natural benefits of their birthright. We wish to deal with this fragmentation and build a nation based on unity, fairness, compassion, solidarity and inclusiveness.
For 27 years, our quest for national integration remains an elusive dream. And, over the past seven years, the regime has sought to divide the people further, pretending to empower a new class of citizens from within ranks. That experiment has failed as evidenced by the chronic food shortages, record unemployment, a collapsed economy, policy distortions and rampant corruption.
For the past seven years, Zanu (PF) and Mugabe have abandoned the social agenda and masterminded the collapse of national institutions – all in the name of preserving political power through criminal means. The period saw the imposition of a totalitarian state, using an ageing squad of serving and former senior military officers. The period saw the political injection of senior military officers into civilian administration and other state institutions. By so doing, Mugabe formed a reckless military oligarchy whose main task is to run bogus elections and to suppress the people of Zimbabwe. The idea is to push Zimbabwe to a civil war and to avoid accountability in a post-Mugabe era.
Fellow Zimbabweans, the replacement of the civilian state with partisan Mugabe loyalists from the military oligarchy has far-reaching implications for our nation. The military oligarchy has created a militia whose task is to deal with civil society and the opposition. This military oligarchy destroyed commercial agriculture; the military oligarchy has taken charge of fuel supply and distribution, wildlife management, trade and commerce, transport, agriculture inputs, food distribution and other strategic locations – all designed to prop up Mugabe and manage election outcomes.
The regime has had to print money to meet the unending demands of this new administration, which shuns free markets, and standard norms of commerce for distributing goods and services. All public works have been shelved. All social services have succumbed to political opportunistic infections from the military oligarchy. The rule of law has long been abandoned. The people are forgotten.
As was clear in Chiredzi in the just-ended election campaign, Zanu (PF) and Mugabe desperately need the services of the military oligarchy to remain in power. Examples abound where reliance on a military junta for civilian administration and governance matters always ended with unkind results to democracy.
Added to our existing political morass is Gideon Gono – the governor of the central bank. Gono’s latest political statement capped it all: failure is now certain. Gono literally threw in the towel. The crisis in Zimbabwe is political. No amount of tinkering with phony cash and excessive controls shall address the root cause of the crisis of governance.
Our message to Gono is simple. By pushing through a dispensary of painkillers, you are wasting our time and delaying the resolution of the national crisis. Give way to political alternatives. Our message to Mugabe is equally simple. Allow the people to exercise their sovereign right to introduce viable political alternatives.
A social contract is impossible when workers and their leaders are denied opportunities to express themselves. The social contract is already dead, as long as workers are brutally attacked whenever they wish to assemble and talk to each other. The social contract is history when journalists and newspapers are banned from public service and ordinary people are refused access to a free market of ideas.
Co-operation among political players and other stakeholders for whatever national programme is only possible in a healthy climate in which tolerance, respect for differences and a non-partisan approach to national affairs are part of the game. With millions of Zimbabweans languishing in the Diaspora, denied a basic right to vote and determine the fate of their country, Zanu (PF) and Mugabe can forget about any meaningful social contract.
Instead of wasting time talking about social contracts in a totalitarian state, let us focus our attention on a new Constitution. The rest immediately falls into place. The national crisis is now beyond Zanu (PF)’s ability to attend to alone. The solution lies in our proposals, enunciated through our roadmap whose signposts for progress require sincere and open dialogue, a nationally accepted transitional arrangement, a new Constitution, a confidence-building window and a free and fair election.
We are going into a Presidential election in 2008 convinced that the election shall give us a superb opportunity to reverse the chaos before us and embark on a massive reconstruction, rehabilitation and healing process. We are determined to get into the Presidential election under a new Constitution in order to restore confidence in the electoral process. We are against elections under conditions, which produce contested outcomes. Our call for elections in 2008 is out of the realization that the national crisis cannot be extended by another day. We have had enough. We say thus far, and no further.
Our priority shall reside in the resuscitation of fundamental institutions of governance, the restoration of the rule of law and the introduction of an accountable and caring government. The actions by workers, activists and all professionals on the ground are commendable and more is on the way.
We believe the time to act is now. We make no apologies for organizing and harnessing the power of the people. We must express ourselves out of the crisis through action.

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