Matinenga calls for unity to oust Mugabe

Eric Matinenga, the Minister of Constitutional Affairs and a prominent MDC-T member, is disillusioned with goings-on in his party and the Government of National Unity. He said the power sharing deal agreed to was not working and urged political parties to form a coalition to dislodge Zanu (PF) from power.

Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Eric Matinenga.
Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Eric Matinenga.

In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean, he said the on-going power struggles between Zanu (PF) and the MDC-T, and within the parties themselves, were the largest impediment to economic and democratic reforms.

“As much as we would have liked to see the GNU moving the country forward in terms of these reforms, the Zanu (PF) side has unfortunately dwelt on power and control,” said Matinenga.

The distribution of power in the unity government is heavily inclined towards Zanu (PF), which still controls the army and the police and national intelligence, he said. Acute disagreements characterise the operations of the various ministries, parastatals and other departments.

“Zanu (PF) are the movers and shakers in the GNU and they have been doing whatever they want,’’ added Matinenga. He is angered by the recent decision by the Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, to halt the prosecution of MPs accused of swindling the Constituency Development Fund, saying it was a move by the AG to protect members of Mugabe’s party.

Matinenga, who is also the Member of Parliament for Buhera West, expressed disappointment with internal fights in the MDC-T and urged the party to put its house in order.

“The MDC calls itself a party of excellence and I wish they could walk the talk. I am not happy at what I have seen and I would like the party to give itself a new beginning,” he said in reference to divisions within the party.

MDC-T has of late been rocked by infighting as members jostle for power. The national leadership had to intervene when violence broke out in Mashonaland East province recently. It was blamed on vote buying by some of its members.

Matinenga will leave politics at the next election and he has already announced that he will go back to his legal profession where he is an advocate. The candid politician acknowledged that party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, wielded little power in the GNU, but expressed optimism that he could make a good leader given the chance to rule.

Even though Tsvangarai wields executive powers in the current administration, he has played second fiddle to President Robert Mugabe, who “won” the one-horse 2008 rerun, which was internationally condemned.

Service chiefs have repeatedly refused to salute Tsvangirai and Mugabe has made numerous key appointments without consulting him, flouting the Global Political Agreement of 2008 that defines the roadmap to democratic transformation.

Asked about what he thought of the persistent criticism of Tsvangirai’s leadership qualities, Matinenga said his boss had not been able to exercise his authority fully.

“It will be unfair for me to judge him (Tsvangirai) because he has not been given the full opportunity to affect decisions in the unity government,’’ said Matinenga, who remains upbeat that his boss is capable of winning a free and fair election.

Tsvangirai has been heavily criticised for making costly decisions and failing to turn around Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes after entering into the coalition with Zanu (PF) and Welshman Ncube’s smaller MDC formation.

On President Robert Mugabe’s continued failure to address the burning succession issue in Zanu (PF), Matinenga said it showed that the veteran ruler did not care about the party – but only about his own selfish gains.

“With respect, if he (Mugabe) was a capable leader or if he cared about the party, he would have put in place measures to ensure a smooth succession debate. But it seems he just wants to die in office and he does not care about what happens thereafter,” said Matinenga.

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