Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zimbabwe News: ZANU-PF Chair Says 'Let's Empower Our People'

Let’s empower our people.

Morris Mkwate
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

LAST week Zimbabwe’s former Ambassador to South Africa, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, returned home after serving in Pretoria for 10 years. His tour of duty came to an end after he was elected Zanu-PF national chairman at the party’s Congress last December. Our Deputy News Editor MORRIS MKWATE spoke to Cde Khaya Moyo on his diplomatic career and the possibility of national elections being held next year.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

Question: Ambassador, you were in diplomatic service for a decade. May you describe your experience during this period?

Answer: Indeed, I have been in diplomatic service for the past 10 years, accredited to South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius and Madagascar.

It was an assignment which I will forever cherish because, before my posting, I had just completed 10 years as minister in the Government of Zimbabwe.

This was, of course, in various portfolios: Industry and Commerce; Transport and Energy as well as Mines, Environment and Tourism.

I found my assignment most challenging because as this was at the beginning of the 21st century and there were so many challenges facing Zimbabwe, particularly after we had embarked on the land reform programme. The West, that is Europe led by Britain and also the United States, did not take kindly to the measures we had taken to restore land to its rightful owners. There was a barrage of anti-Zimbabwe campaigns including, naturally, where I was posted as ambassador. This was clearly reflected by the media in those countries and the media being owned by the very same people who felt offended by our move to return our land to the Zimbabwean people.

Fortunately, I happened to be out there at a time when South Africa was now led by leaders who had also come out of the dark days of apartheid and with whom we had worked during the liberation struggle and stayed together in various countries particularly the Frontline States then. We, therefore, immediately struck a common chord in terms of tackling these vicious attacks on the leadership of our country. Our diplomatic relations with South Africa remain excellent.

Our people now have easy travel while efforts are being made for people to regularise their stay in that country.

Question: What strategies did you employ to repel these attacks you speak of?

Answer: The strategies were mainly based on our experiences as former liberation movements.

We were aware that it was not only Zimbabwe targeted; it was also the entire region which was also ultimately a target as evidenced by events which had taken place in Zambia when the trade union movement supported by the West took over the reins of power.

We were aware that efforts were also being made in Zimbabwe to ensure the trade union movement also took over the reins of power.

Hence the programme devised by the West called regime change. This was of necessity meant to spread across the Southern African region including Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.

Ultimately, the objective was that all former liberation movements must never rule in this region because of the resources which are found in this part of the world be they minerals; wildlife; agricultural products; manufacturing; horticulture, all types of resources. That was their target; that by having governments that would dance to their tune and programme they would continue to benefit from our vast resources and keep their industries and economies running.

Question: What evidence shows that Sadc countries share Zanu-PF’s line of thought and, if they do, are they holding strong against the West?

Answer: We are holding strong. Not long ago, the liberation movements — Zanu-PF, the ANC of South Africa, Swapo of Namibia, MPLA of Angola, Frelimo of Mozambique and Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania — held a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (Africa Chapter in Dar es Salaam). In due course, there will be a summit of all former liberation movements led by our respective presidents to consolidate this unity of purpose to repel this effort by our former colonisers to recolonise us. We have taken political oath that we shall never be colonies again.

We are now looking at jealously guarding against interference by these external forces in our daily lives and also to defend our respective sovereignties and also the banner of Sadc.

So, we are moving in the right direction. I think our erstwhile colonisers have not succeeded in their efforts to implement their programme of regime change in Zimbabwe in particular. We are determined as a people and as a party, Zanu-PF, to defend our freedom and independence.

Question: Last year, you were elected Zanu-PF national chairman. A general perception emerged then that handling politics at such a high level would be difficult for one with a diplomatic background like yours?

Answer: Well, I have always been in politics right from the 1960s when we still had the National Democratic Party; we had Zapu then we had a split when Zanu came into play and we have continued to work as Zanu-PF.

I am lucky that I was special assistant to the late Dr Joshua Nkomo for many years. I have been in politics for a very long time and even on our return in 1980 after having participated in the liberation struggle for almost 15 years including benefiting from the party’s programme of education by going to some universities and also going through military training in Eastern countries particularly in the then German Democratic Republic.

I continued to be a member of the central committee for all these parties including after the signing of the Unity Accord.

I was also in the Politburo as deputy secretary for administration and when I left for South Africa as ambassador I continued to be a member of the Politburo as deputy secretary for legal affairs. Therefore, there was no conflict in terms of my role as ambassador because to be ambassador you have to be a political animal to understand the dynamics of world diplomacy.

So, there was no conflict at all. I continued and when I was elected national chairman at our last Congress, I obviously could not continue as ambassador because it is a very demanding and more or less full-time role here as national chairman.

Question: There is a possibility that Zimbabwe could hold elections next year. Is Zanu-PF prepared?

Answer: As a revolutionary party, Zanu-PF is ever ready, ever ready for any election at any given time.

We are not new to the scene or newcomers to the field. We are not established from outside — we are home-grown and the people are with us because they know where we came from together, where we are today despite the imposition of illegal economic sanctions and they know our destiny. Our approach is to listen to the people and act as one.

Question: Does the party have adequate resources to mount an effective campaign against the MDC-T, which is viewed as foreign-funded?

Answer: Not viewed. We know that they receive foreign funds! They are a creation of the West and we know that. But our people in general are not purchasable. We have a proud people who fought for their liberation, who are principled and no amount of money will alter what thousands of their children perished for during the liberation war.

We are our own political liberators so shall we be our own economic liberators. The world is not made of the West. Actually they constitute a very small part of the world. The world is Africa; the world is the entire Asia, including China; the world is the entire membership of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and therefore the world is on our side.
Question: The resources?

Answer: We are very ready, very prepared. We have never gone begging like others who only came in yesterday. We know that those who stood by us during the liberation struggle will continue to stand by us during this period of attempts to implement regime change.

Question: In the last election, Zanu-PF mentioned that the Western-imposed economic sanctions on the country gave the MDC-T unfair advantage during election time. There is talk of elections being held next year, yet the sanctions still linger.

Answer: We continue to say sanctions must go. They are illegal. Sadc, Africa, the Non-Aligned Movement say they are illegal they must go. And therefore if three-quarters of the world says so, surely they must go.

You cannot impose sanctions on people just because they have taken what belongs to them. I cannot own land in Britain myself. It’s unheard of. So why should we be an exception and be squatters in our own country when we have all the land we liberated? Some want to call the sanctions “restrictive measures”, a very strange description of what affects our people on a daily basis.

We have no lines of credit as Government, particularly from the West; we have no balance of payments support from the Breton Woods Institutions; our industries have no spare parts because they are aligned to industries in the West.

There has been a massive loss of jobs and to call these developments “restrictive measures” can only be a plural insult to our people.

Question: The Zanu-PF commissariat has been on a countrywide campaign to “rejuvenate” party structures. What does Zanu-PF mean by “rejuvenation” and has this “rejuvenation” been achieved?

Answer: No structure is permanent in terms of office-bearers. Some are getting old, the young are growing up fast and everybody with capacity, capability must be given the chance to propel the revolution guided, of course, by the party’s constitution.

Every structure has to be dynamic; it can’t be static and this is exactly what we are doing. Every structure must breathe. We don’t want any dormant structure. So people must gear themselves for even a tougher struggle than the war of liberation because economic liberation has its own tough challenges. This is why we are embarking on the issue of indigenisation and empowerment.

The land is now there, let people utilise it. Let us empower our people. As the President has often said, we don’t want people to be satisfied that they are CEOs of companies owned by someone out there in Britain. We want you to be the CEO of your own company. Own the resources of your country. They are yours, they are God-given. We must utilise them to the benefit of our entire people.

Question: Zanu-PF and its leadership attributed the party’s dismal performance in the 2008 harmonised elections partly to divisions within the party ranks. If the party is ready for an election anytime soon, does this mean it is more united?

Answer: We have always been really united. We have had to carry out a post-mortem of what exactly took place in 2008.

It is not that the people voted against Zanu-PF. It is because, in some cases, there was imposition of candidates and this must never be allowed to happen.

In some cases, we had even two candidates from the same party Zanu-PF standing in one constituency and that should never happen again.

If someone qualifies to stand in a constituency according to laid-down regulations and wins a primary election, that person must not be hindered from representing people in that particular constituency.

There was also a lot of apathy due to some of these factors. You will notice from the results statistically that in a constituency of 25 000 people, for example, only 10 000 voted and those 10 000 were shared between Zanu-PF, MDC-T and other parties.

Where were the other 15 000? Obviously, they just stayed home. It is more of apathy, which we must avoid from the beginning. People should go for the candidate of their choice as long as they meet the regulations for standing for Parliament. We are as strong as ever.

Question: In previous polls, your party was accused of unleashing violence as part of a strategy to secure a favourable outcome. The same quarters that made the allegations have “raised fears” that Zanu-PF might unleash violence if elections were held next year. What is your comment on these allegations?

Answer: We have security forces in this country. The police to maintain law and order.

A number of Zanu-PF members have been assaulted, beaten and killed. However, these are never mentioned because the media which carries this voice is the same media which supports the MDC-T.

It is mainly media from the West. That’s where the owners are. This includes pirate radio stations, which are still beaming green lies about Zanu-PF.

Just produce one, if somebody has committed a crime, to the police. But they have not done that. The police have a duty to maintain law and order.

If a Zanu-PF member has committed a crime, surely the police have a duty to deal with him or her just like they would with an MDC member or any other person who does not belong to any party.

Police know what to do if this is reported. This is why you get to a situation where you get lies about appointments of ambassadors; no ambassador was appointed recently. There was a reshuffle, yes. The Constitution allows the President to do that. Lies about reappointments of governors: It’s an extension of their function because we have all agreed that governors must move, according to our agreement, concurrently with the removal of sanctions. We are not hearing them talking about the removal of sanctions. So what should we do? The only ambassadors who were appointed were the MDC ambassadors. These ones were in situ and therefore these are the lies we hear everytime.

Question: Zimbabweans endured a protracted electoral period in 2008 when the harmonised elections failed to yield an outright winner in the race for the presidency. Is it not too soon for the country to hold an election next year?

Answer: It can’t be too soon because we agreed; we signed the GPA and the GPA gave us a roadmap that within two years we should be in a position to have a referendum and hold elections.

It’s not too early, I know that, because some people are now scared of it. To me it’s an excuse, hiding by one’s finger and that cannot be acceptable. Let us implement the GPA to its logical conclusion.

Question: What is your opinion on the performance of the inclusive Government?

Answer: A lot has been achieved since the formation of the inclusive Government. A lot also remains undone and the major issue we believe is seriously outstanding is the removal of sanctions.

That is the major issue the inclusive Government was supposed to work on. The Prime Minister went all over the West and came back empty-handed. We were told money would be raised, billions coming — nothing has come. On that score, it has been a futile exercise.

But there are areas in which we see a lot of improvement. Then acting Minister of Finance Cde Patrick Chinamasa introduced the multi-currency system.

People are generally seeing the economy improving albeit slowly.

The shops are full and the problem could be the circulation of currency while the salaries, I know, are still very low, particularly for civil servants.

All these have to be attended to.

They are very depressing salaries. We also notice that some of our colleagues in the inclusive Government have not learnt one thing: if there is a problem in your home you don’t always run out of the gate to the neighbours and say we have a problem here.

That’s not how to run a home and if you cannot run a home, it will be very difficult to run a country.

You don’t write letters to the whole world about matters you are supposed to be discussing in your home. It’s a terrible weakness of leadership.

Question: What major outcome are you expecting from the Zanu-PF annual conference scheduled for December?

Answer: The major effort is the theme of the conference. We have already set a co-ordinating committee which is looking at various issues affecting the party. This committee is chaired by me as national chairman. This year’s theme is “Total Control of Our Resources Through Indigenisation”.

That theme will guide the conference because we are looking back at what we have achieved since the last conference.

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