Prime Minister’s Press Conference

morgan_tsvangirai_addressZimbabwean Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai (Pictured) gestures during a press conference at Movement for Democratic Change party headquarters in Harare, Friday, October, 16, 2009.
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai anounced on Friday, October 16, tha

The action was triggered in part by Wednesday’s indictment of the party’s nominee for deputy agriculture minister Roy Bennett on terrorism charges. Below is a statement by Tsvangirai expressing that decision:

IT IS exactly 264 days since the extra-ordinary summit of SADC of 26 January 2009 that directed the formation of the transitional government, which government started work on the 13th February 2009.

That same SADC summit directed that the government be formed by the swearing in of the Prime Minister, ministers and deputy ministers on 11 and 13 February 2009 respectively. That same summit directed that the issue of provincial governors, the Reserve Bank governor and the Attorney-General be resolved by the parties forthwith. That same summit directed that the allocation of ministerial positions be reviewed after a period of six months.

264 days later, outstanding, non-compliance and toxic issues continue to impede the transitional government. Despite countless meetings among the Principals, despite countless press conferences, despite numerous correspondence and trips to SADC and SADC leaders and despite a SADC summit, the above issues remain outstanding.

It is regrettable to note that provincial governors have not been appointed to date despite agreement on every item. Equally, it is unacceptable that the issue of the RBZ governor and the AG have not been resolved despite the self-evident illegality in their appointment. More indecently is the fact that even the government itself has not fully been constituted due to the failure to swear in the deputy minister of Agriculture.

Perhaps more embarrassingly is the fact that there has been no review of the GPA nor of the ministerial positions six months after 26 January 2009.

In this period, we have seen a complete lack of paradigm shift on the part of Zanu PF. Instead, we have seen total abuse and disrespect of the GPA and in particular of the MDC. Ministerial mandates have been changed unilaterally, government internal rules have not been changed to recognize the new reality. Over and above this, some government agencies, in particular few components in the National Security forces still behave as if the old order exists. The National Security Council itself has met only once in nine months.

We are also aware of the extensive militarization of the countryside through massive deployment of the military and the setting up of bases of violence that we saw after the 29th of March 2008. Over and above this, we are aware of over 16 000 of Zanu PF youth functionaries who have been imposed on the government payroll.

In addition, we have seen the continuous selective and unequal application of the rule of law. Seven MDC MPs have been persecuted and convicted on shadowy charges whilst several others are on remand.

The public media, in particular The Herald and the ZBC continue to treat the MDC and our leaders in government as if they were a third-rate treasonous and sell-out element instead of a genuine and equal partner in the transitional government.

The slow rate of movement and execution of positions agreed in the GPA is also as worrying as it is unacceptable. Indeed, the lack of real movement on the key issues of democratization of the media, the Constitutional reform process, the land audit and the rule of law issues in the GPA are issues that stick out like a sore thumb.

On our part, we have papered over the cracks and have sought to persuade the whole world in the last eight months that everything is working. We have sought to persuade our constituencies that the transitional government was on course and was the only business in town. In the process, we have put at stake the reputation, credibility and trust of our movement and to ourselves as leaders.

We have done everything in order to make this government work and we have done so purely for one reason, the need to restore hope and dignity to our people; the need to give our people a new start and a new beginning. This overwhelming obligation remains as factual and as fundamental to date.

The present arrest and detention of our party treasurer Roy Bennett has brought home the fiction of the credibility and integrity of the transitional government. It has brought home the reality that as a Movement, we have an unreliable and unrepentant partner in the transitional government. It has brought home the self-evident fact that Zanu PF sees us as a junior, fickle and unserious Movement.

The truth of the matter is that it is our Movement that won the election of 29 March 2008. It is our Movement that has the mandate of the people to govern this country. It is our Movement that has strategically compromised on that mandate by executing the GPA and by entering into the transitional government. It is our Movement upon which the hope and future of millions of Zimbabweans is deposited.

However, it is now time for us to assert and take our position as the dominant party in Zimbabwe. In taking this path, we are guided by the fact that we are the trustees of the peoples mandate and therefore the only one with the mandate to remain in government.

For that reason, this party for now cannot renege on the peoples mandate. However, it is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner. In this regard, whilst being government, we shall forthwith disengage from Zanu PF and in particular from Cabinet and the Council of Ministers until such time as confidence and respect is restored amongst us.

This will include the full resolution of all outstanding issues and the substantial implementation of the GPA. We are aware of the Constitutional implications of our decision, in light of the foundational element of the transitional government that executive power is shared between the President, the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

However, it is a Constitutional crisis which should be resolved if Zanu PF and its leadership know that there is a price to pay for procrastination. Naturally should this Constitutional crisis escalate, then the self-evident solution would be the holding of a free and fair election to be conducted by SADC and the AU and under UN supervision.

We reiterate that this Movement will stand embedded in its social democratic principles and values. It will remain loyal to the cause of our struggle and it will continue with the struggle for real change in Zimbabwe.

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