Hardliners scuttling reforms – Tsvangirai

Staff writer

ZANU PF mandarins are blocking efforts to introduce sweeping political reforms that involve the ruling party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai sai

d this week.


Tsvangirai said hardliners in Zanu PF were resisting political reforms that were desperately needed to rescue the country from the current political and economic crisis.


“The regime pulled out its last card, but nothing has come of it: whites, land, puppets, price controls, media controls, intolerance, nationalism, anti-corruption, cosmetic electoral reforms, nothing,” Tsvangirai said in his weekly message.


“After five hectic years, we are worse off than we were in 2000. We are, however, clearer on what needs to be done to put Zimbabwe back on the rails.”


Tsvangirai said the hardliners were misleading the Zanu PF leadership into believing that their party could win free and fair elections when it was clear it could not.


“Zimbabweans are amazed at Zanu PF’s pronouncements that it can win a free and fair election in these circumstances,” he said.


“The crisis has defined the national, political and economic priorities and needs, their content and their force in moulding our future choices.”


The MDC boss however said reformers in the ruling party were realistic because they had eventually acknowledged the country was mired in a crisis and that the solution lay in talks between Zanu PF and the MDC. But the problem, he said, was that they were being thwarted from pushing for reforms by the diehards.


“We are not alone in this assessment. Reformers in Zanu PF have, at last, realised that the country is in a cul-de-sac. They see a possibility of a solution emerging from constructive engagement,” he said.


“But their efforts are being thwarted by late-comer opportunists swirling their hard-line views around a restless Zanu PF leadership. The hardliners, mainly political speculators and a parasitic bureaucracy, are exploiting an anxious and aged incumbency for a selfish end.”


Tsvangirai said the reactionaries were blocking reforms to buy time in power and continue to loot the prostrate economy.


“As is always the case in times of instability, the hardliners have no political base. They fleece the country and manipulate the dictator in order to secure sufficient time to launder their ill-gotten benefits and to decontaminate their loot,” he said.


“Unless we push harder for change, their actions may delay our freedom by an extra day. At the moment, these hardliners give the impression that they are in charge of the country – managing the judiciary, ruling by decree, muzzling the media, closing down private schools, holding onto many stolen farms and fiddling with the mind of the dictator.”


Talks between Zanu PF and MDC which started in April 2002 have collapsed largely due to opposition from the hardliners. The informal dialogue which has been going on since last year between the two parties is also under threat from the same negative forces, the MDC leader said.

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