Thursday, July 24, 2008
By Lambwe Kachali in Lusaka and George Chellah in Harare
Thursday July 24, 2008 [04:00]
THE signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai has shamed the West and its puppets, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said. And opposition MDC leader Tsvangirai assured his supporters of his commitment to the agreement but noted that the signing of the MoU for inter-party talks by the three key political stakeholders in Zimbabwe does not guarantee success.
Commenting on the signing of the agreement by Zimbabwean President Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara, which sets an agenda for negotiations to end the political crisis in that country, Sata likened the positive development in Zimbabwe to his reconciliation with President Levy Mwanawasa.
Sata said it was difficult to minimise tension in any country when political leaders were not talking to each other.
He said Zimbabwe would now experience a new and positive political phase since Tsvangirai had accepted the importance of political dialogue.
Sata condemned Britain and the United States for their continued negative stance on President Mugabe.
"When I said the West should stop demonising Mugabe, the West and its puppets criticised me. They called me all sorts of names. But what I meant was that the only way to solve the political crisis in Zimbabwe is by using a similar political formula as I did with Levy," Sata said. "Just yesterday Monday, I was vindicated when the two political leaders of that country agreed to end political crisis by signing the MoU. Indeed I have been vindicated."
Sata urged the West to leave Africa to resolve its own problems without any interference. He said it was clear that the agreement which Zimbabwean leaders had entered into would yield positive results and end political tension that had rocked the country.
"Even at first I said that imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe is not the solution because it's the ordinary and innocent citizens who will suffer. Now, is the West not ashamed and embarrassed for pushing to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe?
They must be very ashamed. Zimbabwe, like Zambia, is no longer under British colony. Africa is no longer in the hands of imperialists and it is time the West left Africa to adopt African political alternative programmes in resolving their own problems. We don't need Britain or US to dictate us," he said.
Sata also commended South African President Thabo Mbeki for his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe.
He said it was up to Zimbabweans to make use of the agreement and ensure that the country regained its lost glory.
"Britain and its allies condemned President Mbeki, but he stood for Africa. President Mbeki did not want to be controlled by imperialists who want to use their powers to abuse poor countries.
I want to urge Zimbabweans that although there would be some people who will still criticise this agreement, Zimbabweans should stand on their ground and support this development for the sake of the future of their country. I am very happy and hopeful that shortly, the political and economic tension will be minimised in Zimbabwe," said Sata.
In a letter to his supporters, Tsvangirai explained his expectations of the new deal for talks between ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations.
"Yesterday I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara. This document commits our three parties to a framework of negotiations that will take place over the next two weeks," Tsvangirai stated.
"I know that in signing this Memorandum of Understanding, I represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of Zimbabweans to end this crisis as soon as possible. Honest, hardworking Zimbabweans want nothing more than a life that offers peace, security, economic opportunity, democracy and social and personal development."
He stated that the signing of the MoU was a responsibility that the MDC took with utmost seriousness.
"This memorandum offers the most tangible opportunity in the past ten years to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. But, our signatures alone do not guarantee that we will be able to make the most of this opportunity. Our signatures on this document must be accompanied by acknowledging some very basic truths," Tsvangirai stated.
He stated that the MDC only wanted what was best for Zimbabwe.
"Our shared goal is best achieved in a climate of tolerance and stability, not divisiveness and anger.
We believe that wanting a more democratic future or expressing an alternate political opinion should be viewed as a right and not as a declaration of war. We believe that the will of the people is the fundamental basis on which to ground our negotiations," Tsvangirai stated.
"We acknowledge that these negotiations can only proceed and succeed if the rule of law is restored, if people are able to go about their business in safety, if the public media refrain from using hate speech to polarise the community, if the persecution of MDC members of parliament, members and supporters ceases, and if humanitarian organisations are allowed once again to provide aid to the millions of Zimbabweans in need of assistance."
He called on all Zimbabweans who believed in the ideals of democracy as espoused by the MDC, to continue to abide by the rule of law.
"To live in a spirit of tolerance and inclusiveness in the knowledge that if we work together in this spirit, a better future lies ahead and justice will prevail.
Yesterday, we committed ourselves to a process that presents the framework in which we can strive to find a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis. This is just the first step on a journey whose duration and success is dependent on the sincerity and good faith of all parties involved," Tsvangirai stated.
"In the spirit of a shared vision to heal our nation, I call upon my fellow signatories to join me in putting aside our differences and acknowledging that we have a responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe to show true leadership and to find agreement that will bring an end to the violence, polarisation, poverty and fear in which we have all been living for too long.
Our fellow countrymen and women look to us to find common ground that will allow us, as a nation, to chart a democratic path forward."
Tsvangirai stated that the outcome of the negotiations would not be acceptable until it had been endorsed by Zimbabwean civil society, the trade unions and the people themselves.
"We are not here to form an elitist pact, but rather to represent the hopes and aspirations of each citizen and every stakeholder.
This is my commitment to our partners who have struggled with us for a more democratic form of government," stated Tsvangirai.
"To the people of Zimbabwe I say, have courage, be strong, better days lie ahead. The heart of the entire world is broken by what has happened in our country, and your bravery is praised among all peoples everywhere. The world stands ready to join us in rebuilding our nation and restoring what has been lost, once our peace and freedom are re-established."