You’re right, Tsvangirai

THIS is an open letter to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai.


I write this letter to thank you for your vigilance and shrewdness in

handling the issue of the MDC’s non-participation in the senate election. The first point I wish to make is that you are right in urging Zimbabweans to boycott the senate election because it does not in any way provide solutions to the problems bedevilling our country.


I however would like to urge you to go a step further and assemble your team of lieutenants and dependable activists in the MDC so that you mount a robust “no to the senate election” campaign. This may take the form of rallies in all provinces – which I guess you have already started doing – and briefing meetings with embassies, the clergy, civic organisations and the media.


These meetings are meant to expatiate on the reasons why the MDC has taken the non-participation decision and to find out what role each of these stakeholders can play. It is a must that your party produces material in the form of fliers, posters, e-mails and cellphone messages as well as carry out door-to-door campaigns and stage peaceful protests.


You should look out for those who have a legal background among your rank and file who may be opposed to this sort of political activism.


Below is a summary of the 10 major points that you should take to the people for them to understand why it is not prudent that your party participates in the senate:


* this is a Zanu PF project meant to accommodate recycled, old and tired Zanu PF politicians like Edgar Tekere, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Dumiso Dabengwa;


* that MDC politics is not centred on the legilslature alone, the legislative process is heavily tilted in favour of the ruling party and there is no benefit the ordinary Zimbabwean can derive;


* that those advocating participation are the MDC candidates who are power-hungry and are already eyeing the Mitsubishi Pajeros that come with being a senator. Some of these politicians, like Paul Themba Nyathi, lost in the March 2005 parliamentary plebiscite. We wonder what makes them think that they will win this time round;


* that the senate election results are pre-determined because nothing has changed since the last general poll in Zimbabwe which was manipulated by Zanu PF. The Zanu PF machinery and infrastructure, including the youth militia, an intimidatory political atmosphere and a biased and inherently propagandistic electronic media are still in place;


* that the election is not necessary at this point in time when there is mass starvation, no fuel, no jobs, no transport and when the majority of Zimbabweans are getting meagre salaries that can hardly see them through the entire month. In other words, the senatorial elections are a burden to the national fiscus;


* that if the MDC was against Constitutional Amendment No 17 that has brought the senate, it should equally be opposed to participation because to do so would be to legitimise an otherwise illegitimate process;


* that the issue of non-participation in the senate is not an MDC issue but a national issue because of the positions already taken by the National Constitutional Assembly, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Zimbabwe National Students Union, the churches and diplomats. These groups and many individuals have without equivocation expressed disapproval of the senate project;


* that what is important is a new democratic, people-driven constitution by Zimbabweans and not the current mutilated document we are calling a constitution which is in essence a compromise document between the Rhodesians and the Zanu PF leadership;


* that participation is a great betrayal of the generality of Zimbabweans who are yearning for economic and political change; and


* that the Zanu PF government has outlived its relevance to Zimbabwean politics.


Phillip Pasirayi

Lancaster,

England.