It relates to the Constitution and Sovereignty of Zimbabwe, and the principles of democracy for which my Party and I stand for. The MDC utterly rejects the notion of one-party or one-man rule. The MDC utterly rejects any suggestion that power is an entitlement through historical legacy, or that power is a God-given right of an individual or individuals.
The MDC firmly believes that political leaders should only serve and act on the basis of a mandate of the people. Lest we forget. The MDC was given that mandate on March 29, 2008, when the people of Zimbabwe clearly rejected the notion of one-Party and one-man rule. That mandate was to govern on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, in September 2008, I signed an agreement, allowing for the formation of a joint transitional government with those Parties which the people had rejected. I did so for several reasons that I outlined at the time. Not least, I did so to try to help end the needless suffering of the people of Zimbabwe which had been inflicted on them by the failed and corrupt policies and abuses of the previous regime.
I signed this agreement when the whole world was sceptical about the wisdom of working with Mr Mugabe. The world questioned his sincerity. They questioned his integrity and his ability to respect an agreement with anyone. They pointed to the abuses of power over a great many years. They pointed to the fact that he had reappointed himself President, in breach of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and in defiance of the will of the Zimbabwean people. I shared their concerns but as a leader and for the sake of this country and the security and welfare of our citizens, I took a leap of faith and I signed the agreement.
I was prepared to work with Mr Mugabe to allow him to address the mistakes of the past, and to help him to rebuild his legacy. This is why, despite the challenges that I have faced in working with him, I have repeatedly said that whilst our relationship was not perfect, it was workable. This was meant to encourage Mr Mugabe to right the wrongs of the past. However, the events of the past few months have left me sorely disappointed in Mr Mugabe, and in his betrayal of the confidence that I and many Zimbabweans have personally invested in him.
Ladies and Gentlemen, when the MDC formed this Government with others, we did so on the basis of clear and public assurances that Mr Mugabe and his Party would now respect and abide by the principles of democracy. That they would now respect the freedoms of the individual. That they now understood that politicians should govern for the people and not for themselves. That they now accepted that the mandate to govern comes from a free expression of democratic will, not from a God-given right or from a campaign of violence and intimidation. I was prepared for the sake of our country to sit alongside my yesteryears enemies and tormentors to rebuild a stable and democratic country.
Ladies and Gentlemen, on Monday I met Mr Mugabe and DPM Mutambara to discuss the implications of the resolutions of the SADC Windhoek summit. The Troikas report to the summit stressed the importance of the freedom to express political views, and of free and fair elections. It stressed that there was no place for violence in any democratic process in any democratic country and least of all state-condoned or state-orchestrated violence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in this respect, ZANU PF has sorely disappointed us all in the conduct of the constitutional outreach meetings. The activities of rogue elements of the security agencies alongside state actors directed by ZANU PF was clearly designed to deny citizens their right to have their views heard. As we have seen so many times, ZANU PF is determined to tell citizens what they should think, and to intimidate, bully and beat up any who disagree. This goes against the fundamental principles of democracy, and is utterly abhorrent to me.
I advised Mr Mugabe of this on Monday. As you are aware, we have also had a dispute over the appointment of Governors, along with a number of other unilateral and illegal appointments which the President has made following the signature of the GPA. The dispute over the former Provincial Governors effectively timed out when their term of office expired in July. The country needed to appoint new governors according to the law and the Constitution. The Constitution clearly says that such appointments must be done in consultation with the Prime Minister.
To my utter surprise, and shall I say disgust, Mr Mugabe advised me on Monday that he had nichodemously reappointed the former governors in the same manner in which he appointed the previous governors on a Sunday when most of us where at church. I say nichodemously because those who are supposed to be served by these governors the citizens of Zimbabwe knew nothing about it.
They were hoping for Governors to be appointed who would serve in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe, not in the interests of the President and his Party, as has been the case until now. The Prime Minister, who has to consent to their appointments, knew nothing about it. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Mugabe publicly stated to African leaders in Windhoek as recently as August this year that he has never and will never violate the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Sadly, he has done so not once, but time and time again.
In March 2010, he appointed the Police Service Commission when the Constitution clearly says that all Service Commissions must be appointed in consultation with the Prime Minister. On 20 May 2010 , he unilaterally swore in five new judges to the Supreme and High Courts without consultation. On 24 July 2010, he unilaterally appointed six Ambassadors without consultation. On 24 September 2009 whilst in New York on CNN, Mr Mugabe stated publicly and unequivocally that he would swear in Deputy Minister Roy Bennett if Roy were acquitted of the absurd charges brought against him. He said categorically: yes, yes, yes, if he’s acquitted, he will be appointed.
Roy was acquitted on 10 May, but again, Mr Mugabe has gone back on his word. He confirmed to me and DPM Mutambara on Monday that he has no intention of ever swearing in Roy. The matter of Roy Bennett has now become a personal vendetta and part of a racist agenda.
And these are simply the most obvious and most high-profile breaches of the Constitution and laws of Zimbabwe. They demonstrate that Mr Mugabe believes that the offices of the Government of Zimbabwe are there to serve him, not the people, which is what the Constitution seeks to ensure. We are all well-aware of the other breaches which occur all too regularly. Every extra-judicial arrest of citizens is a clear breach of the Constitution.
Every act of intimidation or violence by state or ZANU PF actors is a clear breach of the Constitution. In this respect, we urge South Africa to release the Report of the Retired Army Generals who investigated state sponsored violence and its implications on the electoral process and results in 2008. Every act of censoring or curtailing individuals or journalists freedom of speech is a clear breach of the Constitution.
Zimbabweans will know that I have desperately tried to avoid a Constitutional crisis in Zimbabwe. I have worked tirelessly to try to make this transitional Government work, in the interest of all Zimbabweans. I have worked and spoken in support of this Government. But neither I, nor the MDC, can stand back any longer and just allow Mr Mugabe and ZANU PF to defy the law, to flaunt the Constitution and to act as if they own this country.
Mr Mugabe was one of the leaders of the liberation struggle which led to our countrys independence 30 years ago. For those efforts, and for all the sacrifices of those who fell in that struggle, Zimbabweans will forever be grateful. But no actions of the past translate into a right to wield power in the present. That right derives solely from a mandate from the people. And citizens rightly judge their leaders on their record in office.
We are all – citizens, politicians, soldiers, policemen, workers, mothers, fathers and children subject to the Constitution and laws of this country. None of us own that Constitution and none of us own this country. None of us, whatever our history, are above the law. We are all but caretakers for future generations. Ladies and Gentlemen, The MDCs National Executive has today resolved that we must make a stand to protect the Constitution of Zimbabwe and to return it to the custodianship of the citizens of Zimbabwe. As a first step, we will refuse to recognise any of the appointments which the President has made illegally and unconstitutionally over the past 18 months.
the Governor of the Central Bank, appointed unilaterally by Mr Mugabe on 26 November 2008
the Attorney-General, appointed unilaterally by Mr Mugabe on 17 December 2008
the 5 judges, appointed unilaterally by Mr Mugabe on 20 May 2010
the 6 Ambassadors, appointed unilaterally by Mr Mugabe on 24 July 2010
The Police Service Commission
the 10 Governors, appointed unilaterally and furtively by Mr Mugabe last week
As Executive Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I will today be advising the countries to whom these Ambassadors have been posted that these appointments are illegal and therefore null and void. I will be advising the Chief Justice of the improper appointment of the judges concerned, and that they are therefore null and void. I will be advising the President of the Senate of the improper appointment of Governors, and that they should therefore not be considered members of the Senate, which is therefore now unconstitutional. I will be advising the joint Ministers of Home Affairs and the National Security Council of the illegal appointment of the Police Service Commission..
We now similarly call on the people of Zimbabwe, at whose pleasure we serve, not to recognise these individuals as the legitimate holders of the posts to which they have been unconstitutionally and illegally appointed. In doing so you must all remain peaceful. I now call upon Mr Mugabe to return the country to Constitutional rule by correcting the unlawful appointments. I invite SADC to join me in calling on Mr Mugabe to respect the SADC Resolutions, the SADC Charter and Protocols, the AU Charter, and the principles of democracy. I invite SADC to deploy observers before the constitutional referendum to help protect the rights of Zimbabweans to express their views freely and without violence or intimidation. And I invite SADC to urgently intervene to restore Constitutionality in Zimbabwe.
Mr Mugabe has tried to link many of these issues, including the appointment of the Governors of this sovereign country, to the lifting of restrictive measures on him and his political cohorts by other sovereign, independent countries. This is rank madness, and utterly nonsensical. It is tantamount to surrendering the sovereignty of this country. It is an insult to all those who fought, and all those who lost their lives, in the struggle for the independence of Zimbabwe.
All Zimbabweans know that Mr Mugabe and his colleagues brought the restrictive measures on themselves through the flagrant abuses of human rights and the economic disaster which they inflicted on this country. All Zimbabweans know that these restrictive measures are the result, not the cause of that economic disaster. They know that these restrictive measures affect the individuals concerned, not the country as a whole, as the economic turnaround since my Party joined the Government has shown. Nevertheless, I undertook to work with ZANU PF towards the lifting of restrictive measures, and I have abided by that promise. At every turn, I have reminded Mr Mugabe and his colleagues that my commitment to do so is part of my commitment to abide by and to implement the GPA.
Sadly, they have demonstrated so far that they have no similar commitment either to abide by the GPA and to a host of other undertakings which they have made. In these circumstances, it makes my job of arguing for the lifting or even the suspension of the measures extremely difficult. But because I believe in the GPA, and I believe in sticking to my word, I will continue to work for the implementation of the GPA in its totality, including the lifting of restrictive measures.
Mr Mugabe and his colleagues know that the keys to them achieving this are already in their hands. All they need to do is to abide by their promises, to abide by the laws and Constitution of this country, to respect the rights and freedoms of Zimbabweans, and to accept that Zimbabwe belongs not to them but to the people of Zimbabwe and the restrictive measures will go.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not want to understate the nature or extent of the current crisis. It is nothing short of a Constitutional crisis, which is why I have urged SADC to intervene as a matter of urgency. But we cannot allow this crisis to derail our efforts to change Zimbabwe but as I said when I signed the agreement to join this Government two years ago, my Party and I remain committed:
To serve you, so long as that is your will
To ensure that your children can go to school and learn
To ensure that you have access to medical care
To protect and promote your rights to free speech, movement and political assembly
To empower each and every citizen, economically, socially and politically
To end privilege, patronage, abuse and corruption
To turn Zimbabwe into a country ruled by the law, not by decree.
When it comes to pursuing these principles and these goals, no amount of dishonesty, insincerity, intimidation, or abuse will move me.
You can count on me to ensure that you will be able to participate in a free and fair election to choose who should lead your country
You can count on me to ensure that you will write your own, new, pluralistic constitution.
You can count on me to stand up for your rights at each and every turn.
You can count on me to work for the empowerment of each and every citizen and not an elite few.
I will not win every fight in the short-term, but I assure you that I am as committed as you are to winning the war and win we shall. This is a war which we must continue to fight bravely together: a war which pits all Zimbabweans who believe in the principles of freedom and democracy against those who seek to maintain and abuse privilege. I appeal to all Zimbabweans, our loyal civil servants, our loyal police, and our loyal armed forces, to work with us in this new struggle for freedom.
To ensure that Zimbabwe becomes a Zimbabwe for everyone, not just the self-annointed and chosen few who seek to exploit this country as did their colonial predecessors for their wealth and their own ends. I therefore urge my team at every level of government and every level of society to rededicate yourself to serving the people of Zimbabwe. The road ahead is not going to be easy, but our collective future will be better than our present challenge. I will not rest until I fulfil my mandate from the people of Zimbabwe to build a new Zimbabwe to which I, alongside so many of you, have committed our lives.
This is my promise to you for real change.
I thank youPost published in: News