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Arthur Mutambara: SADC summit 'is a victory for the people of Zimbabwe'; Prof Arthur G. O. Mutambara, (pictured) leader of the other faction of the opposition MDC, called a press conference in Harare on 2 April to react to the decisions of the SADC summit in Tanzania. We publish below his full statement.

The MDC National Executive Committee met on Saturday 31 March 2007, followed by the National Council on 1 April. The National Council considered the current national crisis. This press conference is pursuant to the discussions and resolutions of the National Council--the MDC's supreme decision-making organ in between congresses.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

On the SADC summit in Tanzania: The MDC places a lot of significance in the decisions of the SADC heads of state's emergency summit. The fact that the regional body met specifically to discuss Zimbabwe is in itself an acknowledgement of the Zimbabwean crisis and an acceptance that the despot Robert Mugabe has failed to run the affairs of our nation.

More importantly, the SADC emergency summit clearly recognised that the ongoing economic and political crisis is both unsustainable and a threat to regional stability. This is unprecedented.

The SADC position is further reinforced by the bold decision to appoint President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa as the mediator with a view to facilitating a resolution of the crisis through dialogue between Zanu PF and the democratic forces.

This is a triumph of regional sovereignty. This is a victory for the people of Zimbabwe, and Africans in general. The MDC applauds these resolutions of the SADC emergency summit and condemns the attempt by the dictatorship to underplay SADC efforts by declaring the summit a victory for the disastrous Mugabe policies that have brought suffering to the people.

Hell, no! It was neither a victory nor an excellent meeting for Robert Mugabe. It was a devastating blow to the ugly face of Zanu PF. There has been movement in attitudes and opinions among Africans with respect to Zimbabwe.

Africans no longer accept Mugabe's grandstanding as a liberation hero, freedom fighter, land revolutionary, anti-imperialist and champion of African rights. They now accept him for what he is. A despot who has become a negation of the values and principles of the liberation war, a dictator who brutalises Africans and denies them basic human rights and economic opportunities.

So what is it that the people of Zimbabwe want? It is our submission that at the core of the Zimbabwean crisis are issues of governance and legitimacy. Our country is ruled by a corrupt, incompetent, criminal, and brutal kleptocracy, which has retained power through fraudulent elections.

We do not want any further polls in our country under the current constitutional and electoral framework. We want a new people-driven democratic constitution, electoral law reforms and legislative changes that allow for the holding of free and fair elections.

Furthermore, we want this new democratic and electoral dispensation to take root in our country now, thus creating conditions conducive for free and fair elections. It is our demand that the first plebiscite under these conditions should be internationally supervised. We will respect any government that is produced by these processes.

Beyond resolving the challenge of illegitimacy, the people of Zimbabwe can then deal with issues of economic recovery, stabilisation, transformation and growth.

We want Zimbabwe to be a globally competitive economy in terms of GDP, per capita income, business growth, exports, FDI [foreign direct investment], worker conditions, wages, and entrepreneurship. Our vision is that of Zimbabwe as the leading African democracy, characterised by people-centred social development and economic growth.

How are we going to achieve what we want? In order to establish levelling of the political playing field in Zimbabwe, through the reforms we seek, there is need for a broad alliance of all democratic forces.

Civil society organisations and political parties must work together to restore democracy and freedom in Zimbabwe. Events of the past month have demonstrated the capacity of Zimbabweans to execute unity of action and purpose.

As a party, we resolve to continue with the spirit of cooperation in pursuit of the redemocratisation of Zimbabwe, beginning with the achievement of national consensus on a new constitution followed by agreement on a new electoral dispensation which will ensure that the next elections are palpably free and fair.

We will continue with our defiance campaign to press the Zanu PF government towards an all-inclusive dialogue around the changes we seek. We will continue to defy POSA, AIPPA, and the illegitimate government of Robert Mugabe. [POSA stands for "Public Order and Security Act", and AIPPA "Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act"]. It is critical to maintain and leverage the momentum that has gathered against Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. All democratic forces must close ranks, carry out joint actions of defiance against unjust laws and the illegitimate regime, and also support each other in their independent institutional initiatives and actions.

It is in this context that the MDC unreservedly supports the national stayaway planned by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions on 3-4 April 2007. We fully endorse this revolutionary confrontation with the regime and call upon all Zimbabweans to rally behind the trade union movement to make the stayaway a success.

When the conditions for free and fair elections have been achieved, the MDC believes it is critical for the democratic forces to ensure that every vote counts against Zanu PF. It is essential that opposition parties do not compete against each other in elections.

There is need to galvanise and energise the entire national electorate by presenting a united front against Zanu PF. We believe in a single candidate philosophy and principle in all elections (presidential, parliamentary, senate, council, etc).

Consequently, the MDC resolves to continue dialogue and seek agreement with other opposition parties in order to establish a possible election coalition framework and candidate selection methodology.

It is our submission that national interest should take precedence over narrow and selfish interests. The democratic forces should not allow Zanu PF to reinvent, regenerate, and succeed itself. If this happens, it will mean Zanu PF rule for another 20-30 years. This must be stopped by any means necessary.

The old adage has never been more applicable; united we stand, divided we fall. An all-inclusive and cohesive united front of all democratic forces is essential to give our country a fresh start. Our nation needs the injection of a new value system, a different political culture, and redemptive institutional frameworks. Our economy demands creative technocratic solutions and capacity that these Zanu PF morons are incapable of providing.

We will be masters of our destiny. We will not allow the dictator to determine the future of our country. We will step up to the plate and free ourselves. We will embark on an economic journey.

With our strength in natural resources, physical infrastructure, and human capital, Zimbabwe is destined for greatness. What we need is to stand up to the Zanu PF cowardly dictatorship which has turned our nation into an unashamedly criminal state.

The transformation of the police into a criminal, sadistic, brutal force is worse than anything we ever saw under the [Ian] Smith regime. We will stand united as a people as we confront the regime in the process of reclaiming our sovereignty, freedoms, liberties and dignity.

It is our generational mandate. We will not be found wanting. We will defeat these Zanu PF morons and cowards. We owe it to ourselves, to future generations and to posterity to stand firm.

The struggle continues.
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Title Annotation:ZIMBABWE: Sponsored supplement; Movement for Democratic Change; Southern African Development Community
Author:Mutambara, Arthur G.O.
Publication:New African
Geographic Code:6TANZ
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:1201
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