MDC urges Sadc to tackle Zim crisis

FACTION leaders of the divided MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, have urged Sadc to tackle the local crisis when it meets in Lesotho next week.

In separate Heroes’ Day messages, the two leaders, currently working on a plan for possible re-unification of th

e party, said Sadc leaders should deal with trouble spots in their backyard to ensure that political and economic integration of the region is not derailed.

“Sadc has been at best fragmented and muffled, and at worst lacking in force and substance,” Tsvangirai said.

“Sadc’s vision of attaining a supra-national union where member states and governments completely subordinate their sovereignty over policies to a supra-national authority, and which may ultimately lead to the alignment of the countries involved into a single community, depends on the speed with which we move to protect our people from incipient backwardness and political retardation, especially in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mutambara said Sadc could not afford to ignore the Zimbabwean crisis.

He said economic problems in one Sadc country meant problems for others and that this should spur regional leaders to confront the local situation head-on.

“It is imperative for Sadc and the African Union to realise Zimbabwe’s failure is their demise too. Under globalisation there is no country that can prosper and stay competitive without effective regional integration,” he said.

Mutambara said Zimbabwe had become an albatross around the neck of the region and that its crisis must be resolved to ensure economic progress.

He said: “As the Sadc summit approaches, and as we remember our liberation heroes, we urge regional leaders to take a vested interest in the Zimbabwean situation to resolve its political and economic crisis.”

The MDC leaders’ remarks are likely to pile pressure on Sadc leaders before their meeting in Maseru, Lesotho, from August 17-19.

Sadc leaders are not expected to discuss the Zimbabwean issue despite its contagion effect. South Africa has borne the brunt of the situation as Zimbabwean economic refugees flow into the country.

Tsvangirai and Mutambara said Mugabe should accept failure and allow Zimbabweans to rebuild their shattered lives.

“Twenty-six years into Independence, the very foundations upon which our liberation struggle rested are under assault. Our vision and aspirations for a free Zimbabwe are now mirages and illusions existing only in the realms of dream and imagination, but not attainable,” Mutambara said.

“Our country is in the middle of an economic meltdown of epic proportions. Starvation, unemployment, deplorable working conditions, unmitigated suffering and unprecedented hopelessness have become endemic.”

Tsvangirai said: “Zanu PF and President Mugabe are stuck in the search for technical solutions. They are tinkering with piece-meal experiments while wishing for a lasting political remedy to the national crisis. They are in a state of denial, refusing to listen to the words beneath the song; Zimbabwe has to undergo a comprehensive transformation.”

Meanwhile, secretary-general of the Tsvangirai-led MDC, Tendai Biti, has attributed failure by the opposition to take advantage of public anger over Operation Murambatsvina in May last year to lack of leadership in the party.
Biti told the London-based SW Radio on Tuesday that his party failed to live up to public expectations.

 “Come Murambatsvina, there was so much anger and we did not respond and provide leadership to that anger,” Biti said.

He was responding to accusations that the MDC had missed many opportunities to mobilise people already angry at Zanu PF’s misrule and wanton human rights violations.

“We failed to provide leadership to the huge fear or frustration that was there and I think that leadership was critical. And, because we failed to provide that leadership, we began to eat into ourselves and the October 12 split was the inevitable result of that.”

Responding to the same charge, secretary-general of the camp led by Mutambara, Welshman Ncube, said there was a simmering rupture in the party at the time which consumed their attention. “You cannot participate in a match when in fact you are hospitalised and you are sick. And, this is what was happening, in my view, to the MDC during the time of Operation Murambatsvina,” Ncube said. — Staff Writer.