THE much anticipated political talks between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and main opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa are now overdue and remain the only solution to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic crises says MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo.
Hlatshwayo (CH), in an interview with NewsDay (ND) Midlands reporter Brenna Matendere also spoke about last Friday’s anti-corruption protests which were thwarted by law enforcement agents.
Below are excerpts of the interview:
ND: As MDC Alliance, how would you describe the state of the nation?
CH: Zimbabwe is on its knees being led by a mafia kind of people with no national interest at heart. We are in a new era of political engagement. The stakes in the national democratic revolution have scaled upwards altogether. The 2017 coup against (the late former President Robert) Mugabe was clearly the second one in Zimbabwe’s history following the military pre-emptive coup against president Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008. The 2017 coup syncretically signified the transmogrification of Zimbabwe from a police State which defined the Mugabe era to a purely military State under the rancorous stewardship of Emmerson Mnangagwa.
I am talking of exacerbated corruption which is not only the grand theft of mere financial resources, but the corruption of critical State institutions which has defined military State capture. The state of the nation in summation is failed governance, poverty, corruption, extreme suffering, gross human rights abuses and military State capture.
The state of the nation will not be complete without the acknowledgement of the people’s fights which have completely exposed Zanu-PF and thrown the system into sixes and sevens whose outcome are arbitrary arrests, abductions and military presence in politics, business, the church. Parliament, the justice system, the media and the Executive.
ND: What is your assessment of the July 31 demo?
CH: People’s struggles are always characterised by people power. The people of Zimbabwe are fed up with this Zanu-PF regime. They don’t like it anymore. The July 31 demonstration proved to be an era defining stayaway whose historic significance can only be measured using bench-marks defined by the State itself.
The masses of Zimbabwe made people-powered headways in as far as confronting a military dictatorship is concerned. As I am speaking right now. Zimbabwe is still in total blockade whose impacts can only be measured by the heavy military, police, and secret service investments in excess of a million United States dollars. The date July 31 will always be remembered, in Sun Tzu terminology, as the day the day people power won the battle against a well-resourced military junta without “firing a single shot”.
Zanu-PF expected running battles due to its violent orientation. The world saw pictures of the army, police and Zanu-PF terror youth squads doing drills in preparation for violence which never came.
The July 31 event exposed to the world that Zanu-PF are the merchants of terror who survive on abductions, arrests and anarchy targeting journalists, artists, authors, women, Members of Parliament, doctors, trade unionists, activists and opposition supporters. In, short Zanu-PF lost on the political front, people-power legitimacy, international arena, economic spheres, and more significantly in the hearts of the people of Zimbabwe.
ND: But government says the demo was actually a monumental failure, what’s your comment?
CH: Well, according to government the economy is functional due to corruption, they have successfully re-engaged the international community through insulting diplomats, they are open for business through State capture and Emmerson Mnangagwa is a legitimate outcome of rigged elections. They have unfortunately become creators, propagators and willing recipients of their own sordid propaganda.
ND: Your party declared 2020 “The year of action”. Where are you on that trajectory and what are the future plans?
CH: It is visible all over. The five big fights as was announced by the people’s president Advocate Chamisa in the agenda 2020 launched in January. It is the people’s fights, not individuals.
The MDC Alliance under the capable leadership of president Nelson Chamisa is indeed at an advanced stage and Zanu-PF is failing to sustain the onslaught. The fights against corruption which is designated under our fight number three, the fight for a better life, dignity and livelihoods as designated under fight number two, the fight in defence of the Constitution and constitutionalism which is fight number five as led by president Nelson Chamisa, the fight for rights, freedoms, security of persons and rule of law landmarked on number four of the people’s agenda 2020 fights are international headlines right now due to the illegitimacy of the current regime which we are confronting under the banner of the biggest fight number one which is the fight for a people’s government. reforms and return to legitimacy.
Citizens, journalists, artistes, authors, the church, pro-democracy activists, students and the labour movement are championing this fight to the maximum. Zanu-PF is even responding through arrests, abductions, assaults, and propaganda with great inefficiency as the people of Zimbabwe are taking the regime head on in line with these fights. In short, July 31 is evidence of how the year of people’s action is faring.
ND: Has MDC Alliance dropped the illegitimacy issue of Mnangagwa’s rule?
CH: Emmerson Mnangagwa is the definition of illegitimacy. His legitimacy or lack of it there-of can only be debated at Zanu-PF level but at government level his illegitimacy is automatic. He knows it. That’s why they are very angry with the people’s president and party. That’s why they have hired the rebels to work with them to try and destroy the MDC Alliance. The people’s project shall not die. The unfinished 2018 electoral business must be concluded first before any future elections.
ND: What is latest on Chamisa and Mnangagwa talks?
CH: Zimbabwe needs a dialogue. The problem in Zimbabwe is the leadership crisis where we have inconclusive elections the people’s outcome vs the court outcome. There is need for dialogue between president Chamisa and Mr Mnangagwa.
The MDC Alliance has been clear on the way forward concerning the talks, an independent convener and independent facilitator and a neutral venue, not a situation where the player is the convener and facilitator as well as the problem. No! MDC Alliance is committed to a genuine dialogue that will bring out the people of Zimbabwe from this Zanu-PF made national crisis.
ND: Do you share sentiments that MDC has failed to dislodge Zanu-PF from power because it is highly infiltrated by Central Intelligence Organisation operatives?
CH: We have dislodged Zanu-PF in the ballot box, we have dislodged Zanu-PF in the streets, the people dislodged Zanu-PF in their hearts. So we can safely say we have dislodged Zanu-PF from power. Zanu-PF is now just but a shadow of its former self. What we have in power now is the military. We are working on returning the country to normalcy
ND: With the Harvest House and $7 million political parties fund given to Thokozani Khupe will MDC Alliance remain the strongest force against Zanu-PF?
CH: The people’s national democratic revolution is never determined by money or government grants but by service and sacrifice!
ND: What future plans does MDC have to form the next government?
CH: We are already a government in waiting after defeating Zanu-PF in the 2018 presidential elections. We are ready to take over any second as an effective government. We determine the national narrative. Zanu-PF is clueless. They are old and tired. MDCA has the energy and skill to take Zimbabwe to greater heights. Look at our Sustainable and Modernisation Agenda for Real Transformation policy document. We just need very few days in office to turn the fortunes of the people of Zimbabwe. They will enjoy their beloved national resources. The national plan we have. We are ready.
ND: How strong is Chamisa’s grip on the MDC Alliance currently?
CH: The people’s president Advocate Nelson Chamisa is in charge. He is the man. No dispute about that. We must discuss about the strength of his grip in light of the national government. Yes, he is ready to lead the country.
ND: What plans does the MDC Alliance have in harnessing the diaspora vote?
CH: Our diaspora is ready. They have been waiting for quite a long time to exercise t heir democratic right. We have always demand-ed the diaspora vote in line with the tenets of democracy. We have always demanded diaspora vote in line with the Zimbabwean Constitution. We will not get into 2023 elections without the diaspora vote. As the MDC Alliance, we have structures in the diaspora where our membership is huge and ever increasing. Our diaspora provinces reach out to every corner of the world where there are Zimbabweans because we are a people’s party which believes that every citizen has a right to decide on how they want to be governed despite their location.