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Why Stay the Course?

IT is now five weeks since we the MDC went into the transitional government and I think the most frequently asked question that I hear is “Why are you still in there.”

That is not an easy question to answer but let me have a go at it here. Our objectives, as set out in 1999 when we launched the MDC in Harare were quite simple.

We set ourselves the goal of bringing in a new democratic dispensation, which would transform the country into a caring, productive and prosperous nation. We agreed that this goal would be secured by democratic, peaceful and lawful means.

In 2006 when it became clear that normal democratic action would not secure these goals, we decided to change the road map slightly.

We agreed that we would strive to achieve change through a five-stage process: democratic resistance; negotiations; transitional regime; new constitution and then democratic elections.

In our view we have completed phases one and two and are now engaged in phase three with the pathway to the completion of phase four about to start.

The past five weeks say it all. Where the MDC has control –– health, education and finance — substantial, even dramatic progress has been made.

Whoever imagined that this was going to be anything but a struggle was deceiving themselves. We knew that from day one. But this process is the only one in town if you reject, as we have, any thought of an armed struggle to eliminate and defeat this tyranny.

Tyrants do not give up power without a fight and we are no different except that we chose not to use armed conflict to change the situation in Zimbabwe.

This is the toughest route. It is the best for the country and is the only principled way to achieve change by peaceful, democratic and legal means.

So we see ourselves doing the best that we can in the circumstances. We are pursuing three goals for this phase: stabilise the situation and try to restore some semblance of decency to the way people live; write a new national constitution which reflects the popular will and will lay the foundations for a new society; and prepare for the next elections by rebuilding the MDC as a political party; and keeping the people informed of what is happening and why there is little progress in some sectors.

I think we can do all of these three things while we fight to make the transitional government work. If we can hold onto the beachhead where we landed in this invasion, we will be halfway there. I am reminded of what Habakkuk wrote 2 600 years ago in the Middle East. He said:

“Woe to him who piles up stolen goods, Woe to him who makes himself wealthy by extortion. Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain, who have plotted to ruin many lives. Woe to him who builds a city by bloodshed.”

To these Habakkuk promises: “Your debtors will suddenly arise and make you tremble, then you will become their victim.”

As for us Habakkuk states: “Though it linger, wait for it, it will certainly come and will not delay. I heard and my heart pounded, decay crept into my bones, yet I will wait for the day of calamity to come upon the nation invading us. The Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer and enables me to go on the heights.”

Eddie Cross,
MDC Policy Co-ordinator.

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