MDC-T Moots Transitional Govt As Plan B

THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC this week said it will press for the establishment of a transitional authority if the power-sharing deal with Zanu PF falls through.

The deal –– which has been in limbo since it was signed on September 15 –– ran into fresh problems this week after the government drafted Constitutional Amendment No19 and sent it to the pact broker, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, without consulting the MDC formations.
Before the furore over the constitutional amendment, the pact signed by President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of the other formation of the MDC had failed to fly over allocation of ministerial portfolios.
Nelson Chamisa, the spokesperson of the MDC-T, told the Zimbabwe Independent on Tuesday that his party has a Plan B if the power-sharing deal collapses.
He said the MDC would mobilise Zimbabweans to demonstrate against Mugabe’s regime and press for a transitional authority.
Chamisa said the party would work with civic society and other democratic organisations to achieve the Plan B.
“If the talks fail, the MDC will work together with other organisations in the civic society and other parties and make sure we create circumstances and conditions that make it possible for the creation of a transitional authority,” Chamisa said.
He said the transitional authority, to be made up of political parties and civic society, would be mandated to address the humanitarian crisis in the country and to depoliticise national institutions.
Chamisa said the authority would also craft a democratic and people-driven constitution.
“The new constitution will pave the way for fresh polls that will be supervised and managed by international bodies, namely Sadc, the African Union and the United Nations,” he added.
Chamisa said the resistance against Mugabe’s regime would work this time around because of the suffering Zimbabweans have endured due to the economic meltdown.
“The fact that they (demonstrations) failed yesterday doesn’t mean they will fail today,” Chamisa said. “It is the people who are telling us as the leadership what direction to take, whatever we are doing is coming from the people.”
The MDC-T’s national council last Friday agreed not to join an inclusive government until Constitutional Amendment No 19 is promulgated and its demands for equitable and fair power-sharing were met.
The council rejected a resolution by Sadc that Tsvangirai and Mugabe should co-manage the Home Affairs ministry and forthwith form a unity government.
“The longer that this crisis remains outstanding, then the obligation (grows) on Sadc, the African Union and the people of Zimbabwe that a transitional authority be instituted pending the enactment of a new people-driven constitution and the holding of elections under African and international supervision,” read one of the resolutions of the council.
It also resolved that in the event of an illegitimate government being unilaterally formed, the MDC-T would not be part of the same and will peacefully, constitutionally and democratically mobilise and campaign against the illegitimate government.
Hopes for a quick formation of a unity government were dashed this week when the MDC-T said it rejected a constitutional amendment drafted by the government and dispatched to Mbeki.
Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said the formation of a new cabinet was a “process not an event” and urged Zimbabweans to be patient.
The MDC-T said it was “frivolous and mischievous” to claim that the draft constitutional amendment had the input of all the three political parties. The party said it was not privy to the contents of the draft.
“We have never seen the draft and we are surprised that such key positions on
the way forward are being communicated through the media,” the party said. “As far as we are concerned, the draft that has been sent to Mbeki is a Zanu PF document with Zanu PF perspectives. Our draft is also ready and will be sent to Mbeki for consideration.”
It said the final amendment to be tabled in parliament should be inclusive of the three main political parties’ views.
Mbeki –– who confirmed receiving the draft amendment –– has since summoned negotiators of the three political parties to South Africa next week to deliberate on the proposed law, but the MDC-T said it would not attend the meeting.
Tendai Biti, the MDC-T secretary-general and chief negotiator, was quoted in a weekly newspaper yesterday saying his party would boycott the meeting until Sadc rescinds its resolution compelling Mugabe and Tsvangirai to core-manage the Home Affairs ministry.
Biti said its other demands, like provincial governors’ posts and appointment of permanent secretaries and ambassadors, should also be met.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T has denied reports that the party was divided with some senior members planning to oust Tsvangirai with the assistance of a South Africa-based Zimbabwe businessman.
Instead, the party said it was Zanu PF that has been rocked by divisions with disgruntled former PF Zapu members pulling out of the Mugabe-led party.
“Just a week ago Zapu members broke away from Zanu PF. Zanu PF is trapped in a series of setbacks and misfortunes which they hope to see replaying themselves in the MDC,” reads a statement from the MDC-T. “Zanu PF suffers from three decades of the same leadership and is trapped in a succession crisis as Robert Mugabe continues to succeed himself.”


By Lucia Makamure/Loughty Dube