First 100 Days: Zimbabwe PM Morgan Tsvangirai

Country's tale of two leaders has its special challenges, but is already making progress

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Times held before he
attended the inauguration of a fellow people's leader, Jacob Zuma,
yesterday Tsvangirai said that regular Monday meetings with his
former enemy, President Robert Mugabe, had produced a positive

But there were also continuing battles some of which had turned
certain government services and the economy back from disaster.


He said he had to draw daily on the memory of those who had
sacrificed and died for a democratic Zimbabwe, in order to fully
focus on the job, having suffered the loss of both his wife and
grandson in those first 100 days.

I t has been quite an experience, from the formation of an inclusive
government to the trepidation about what's going to happen, and the
personal loss, said Tsvangirai.

It is only 100 days so far, but this government has consolidated. We
have our problems who doesn't? (and) some people are not happy with
everything that's happening, but sceptics are now the minority. The
majority believe we are on the right track and I believe so myself.


This week, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said that the price of a
monthly basket of food for the average family in Zimbabwe had gone down
from US120 in March to 111 in April.

Tsvangirai said: Schools and hospitals have reopened; people are being
attended to, and the cholera epidemic has been contained, but we still
have a long way to go to ensure that there is a proper health delivery

We have managed to put food on the shelves. We managed to contain
hyper-inflation, which is almost down to minus 3%, from 500 billion
percent! That's an extraordinary performance.

However, the Sunday Times understands that Tsvangirai is set to lambast
his own government on the issue of law and order in his 100-day review
in parliament on Tuesday.

He is expected to detail the ongoing torture and beatings of political detainees and continuing looting and farm invasions.

Zimbabwe's parliament is also expected to hear one statement certain to
mortify Mugabe's followers: a Zimbabwean head of government officially
thanking the British government, in this case for their assistance in
paying retention allowances to doctors and nurses so that state
hospitals could be reopened.

Tsvangirai said he had arrived in government to find almost total
decay in literally every department; no offices or even desks
available for some cabinet ministers, and a fantasy budget
apportioning twice the amount that the government could possibly have

This week the executive board of the International Monetary Fund gave
Tsvangirai's revision of the budget its endorsement : The government's
short-term emergency recovery programme and the revised 2009 budget
contain a number of important macro-economic and structural policy
commitments which, if fully implemented and supported by donor
assistance, could lay the foundation for a private sector-led economic
recovery in a low-inflation environment.


Technically, Tsvangirai could choose to pull out of the government when
the deadline for the Global Political Agreement with Mugabe expires
tomorrow, since Zanu(PF) has failed to abide by a number of agreements.

But Tsvangirai waved the threat away: I have been disappointed at the
slow pace on the (agreement) , but that deadline is set by my party
we have worked through all that. We have viewed (Mugabe's) approach as
a delaying tactic.

Tsvangirai said one of his most satisfying achievements was securing a
firm agreement on delivery targets with all cabinet ministers for the
next 100 days.


He said he had spoken with Zuma since the ANC election victory, and that they had a good personal relationship.

We have different responsibilities but similar values, for which we
will not apologise. We have something in common we are people
(leaders). We like to touch people. We are not aloof to people; we are
on the ground.

In His Own Words

Excerpts from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's remarks to Wits Business School on Friday night.

It is now almost 100 days since my inauguration as prime minister of
Zimbabwe and I am pleased to report that we have been able to make
progress in a range of areas.

The past 100 days have seen all basic necessities return to the shelves
and, with the rationalisation of our currency base, prices are
gradually returning to more competitive levels.

While progress has been made in these areas , there remains a key area in which progress has been frustratingly slow.

That is the area of the restoration of the rule of law.

What continues to plague Zimbabwe can be best described as a reluctance
to accept the reality of the changes taking place within the country.

This residual resistance from a small faction of those who had
authority in the former regime represents an unwillingness to accept
the fact that the new political dispensation is not only irreversible,
but also offers the country the only viable way forward.

This faction, who, for the past decade treated government ministries as
their private businesses and our national assets as their family
treasures, continue to exhibit a culture of entitlement and impunity
that presents a real and tangible obstacle to progress.

It is this attitude that reduced Zimbabwe to a beggar nation forced to
appeal to the region and the international community for assistance.

It is an attitude that views the new political dispensation as an
annoyance that will pass, and the inclusive government as an irritation
that will soon stop itching.

They are wrong. The inclusive government is here to stay.

In spite of these obstacles, I firmly believe that Zimbabwe's progress
is assured because the political dispensation that has been put in
place is irreversible.

Despite the frustrations I have mentioned, I remain committed to, and hopeful for, the future of our beautiful country.

To hear Tsvangirai's full speech, go to

The Times (SA)

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