Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Zimbabweans Outraged Over Opposition Boycott of Regional Meeting in Southern Africa

Outrage over Tsvangirai boycott

Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWEANS yesterday roundly condemned MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s decision to boycott a Sadc Troika meeting on Zimbabwe’s Cabinet talks amid indications by his party that he might not attend next Monday’s rescheduled meeting.

Zanu-PF accused MDC-T of "waffling" and trying to hide behind the issue of a passport in a bid to derail the inter-party talks.

Yesterday, MDC-T said it would not resume the talks until its leader was issued with a passport.

Mr Tsvangirai refused to travel to Swaziland on Monday, claiming that he was denied a travel document, a charge that the Registrar-General’s Office has since dismissed.

The no-show resulted in the meeting of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security — comprised of Swaziland, Angola and Mozambique — called to discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe being postponed to next Monday in Harare.

The Troika subsequently discussed Lesotho and the DRC, which were the other countries on the agenda.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice national programmes officer Ms Anna Kahari said her organisation was disappointed and disillusioned by Mr Tsvangirai’s antics.

"Peace and tranquillity will be compromised by such antics and ZLJ wishes to warn the MDC-T principal that he should not take the people of Zimbabwe for granted.

"MDC-T should not lose this opportunity to promote the interest of nation building. They are sowing seeds of chaos and mayhem and the people of Zimbabwe will hold Tsvangirai liable," she said.

Ms Kahari said should the crisis continue with the current suffering of the people and sanctions, ZLJ calls for President Mugabe not only to form a Government, but to declare a state of emergency.

"Can the whole country suffer because one does not want to travel with an Emergency Travel Document. MDC-T should never be allowed to play with people’s lives," she said.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe said it was true that people were suffering, but it was imperative for them to know the process was a difficult one but would bring the desired results.

"As far as I am concerned, there is nothing to panic as this passport issue is part of the bargaining by the political parties. President Mugabe has his own concerns and Mr Tsvangirai has his own and these have to be taken aboard in the negotiations.

"If President Mugabe could strike a chord with the Rhodesian Front what will stop the two sons of the soil from working together for the good of the people?" he said.

He urged Zimbabweans to remain focused as the solution was just around the corner.

Mr Samson Moyo of Gweru yesterday said Tsvangirai’s behaviour was not called for especially during this period when the nation was waiting for the new Government.

"I feel and think that Tsvangirai’s masters are all behind this and he does not want to let them down. Travelling is travelling, ETD or passport, Tsvangirai should have shown respect for the people and gone (to Swaziland). He thinks his passport is more important than the people of Zimbabwe?

"If he does not attend the meeting next week then President Mugabe should go ahead and form the next Government," he said.

"Tsvangirai should not take us for a ride or for granted. We have suffered enough as a nation and we would want things to be OK in our own country," said Mr Gibson Chidzenga of Glen View.

He said Tsvangirai should have made every effort to go to Swaziland rather than opting to play golf.

"He is not serious and does not have the leadership qualities. Instead of making frantic efforts to join other leaders in Swaziland, we heard that he was playing golf.

"And what is worse is that King Mswati III even offered his private jet to fly him but he turned down the offer. I think something needs to be done before the situation gets out of hand," said Mr Chidzenga.

Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity and Zanu-PF Mhondoro-Ngezi legislator Cde Bright Matonga warned that no one was bigger than the people of Zimbabwe and urged the opposition party to go to the negotiating table on Monday instead "of waffling in the Press".

Cde Matonga said MDC-T wanted to frustrate Sadc’s efforts to find a lasting solution to the current challenges bedevilling the country.

"What is clear is that there is going to be a meeting on Monday. There is no one who is bigger than the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe.

"What we want to make very clear as Zanu-PF and Government is that no one will ever hold this country to ransom, we do not care who they are.

"That is the message we have to anyone who thinks they have a big stake in this country. The issue is not about a passport or travel document. They want to spoil the talks," he said.

AFP yesterday quoted analysts as saying snubbing the regional body, which brokered the power-sharing agreement through former South African president Cde Thabo Mbeki, could come back to haunt the MDC-T.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said Mr Tsvangirai risked being called a spoiler by those trying to assist Zimbabwe.

"It would be a dangerous mistake for him to be labelled a spoiler by both Sadc and the AU (African Union)," said Masunungure.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa yesterday indicated that they would not attend the Harare meeting if their leader was not issued with a passport.

Mr Chamisa went as far as inferring that his boss deserved a diplomatic passport even though Mr Tsvangirai presently holds no position in Government.

He also claimed that Mr Tsvangirai had not boycotted the Swaziland meeting, a remark that was contradictory to statements issued by party secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti who on Monday made it clear the MDC-T leader had snubbed the Troika.

The RG’s Office has been battling to meet the demand for passports by ordinary citizens with some people waiting for years before getting the document.

It has attributed this to the shortage of materials required to process passports.

Presidential spokesperson Cde George Charamba also attributed the non-issuance of a passport to Mr Tsvangirai to a shortage of paper due to the illegal sanctions imposed on the country.

Chairman of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans’ Association Cde Jabulani Sibanda last night urged President Mugabe to appoint Cabinet.

"President Mugabe must recognise the mandate which was given to him by the people on June 27 that he becomes the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and appoints Cabinet in accordance with the demands of the Constitution," he said.

"This country will feel betrayed, war veterans will feel betrayed. We are a free country, Tsvangirai lost the elections and efforts to accommodate him in the inclusive Government should not make it appear as if he is important."

Cde Sibanda warned Mr Tsvangirai that the people would take action as they have suffered because of him.

"He is leaving the people of Zimbabwe with one option: to take action. If he behaves the way he is behaving, this nation will take action to defend itself from him."

He said Mr Tsvangirai was on record as saying he had the keys to unlock sanctions and has locked (up) all the basic necessities like fuel and medicine.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

When you state that Zimbabweans resoundingly condemned the MDC, how was thus resounding condemnation measured?