Putting National Interest First

New African, August-September 2008 | Go to article overview

Putting National Interest First


The smaller MDC faction led by Prof Arthur G.O. Mutambara (the party which won 10 seats in Parliament and four in the Senate) issued a statement in Harare on 25 July, signed by Prof Mutambara, on the way forward beyond the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). "As we negotiate and discuss amongst ourselves, we must put the national interest first, before self-interest and petty political party ambitions. We must be driven by what is good for the people of Zimbabwe," the party said. We reproduce the statement here in full.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among the key political parties in Zimbabwe on 21 July 2008, presented a unique and historic occasion where national leaders showed political maturity by committing themselves to a dialogue process.

It is important to make a few observations that will enable all of us to put everything into perspective and context. There is always the danger of missing the forest for the trees.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The MoU we signed in Zimbabwe is a very important document as it allowed us to begin negotiations on matters affecting our people. There is a political, economic and humanitarian crisis of immense proportion in our country.

More importantly, there is an unprecedented political stalemate. The process we have started will result in a political settlement to this impasse, thus allowing Zimbabweans to collectively fashion a new beginning. Key activities will include addressing the humanitarian aspects of the crisis, and adopting mechanisms to salvage, recover and stabilise the economy.

These dialogue outcomes we are determined to accomplish within two weeks from 21 July. Let me emphasise that the political agreement and the redemptive socio-economic plan we seek to achieve in these negotiations constitute a short-term measure in pursuit of the resolution of our national challenges. This stop-gap effort is neither the sustainable answer nor the longterm solution to our dire circumstances.

National healing

Beyond the political agreement and adoption of a collective plan of action, we need to execute a programme of national healing and rehabilitation for our people. This cannot be done in two weeks.

What happened in our country in the past four months has traumatised our citizens. Our people have been brutalised and dehumanised. The culture and practice of our country's politics have been taken back 20 years.

There is need for public meetings such as the one we had in Harare on 21 July 2008, throughout the country in every city, and in every village.

The Zimbabwean political leaders we had on that hotel stage, Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, must address rallies together and say jointly to the people of Zimbabwe: "It is okay to belong to different political parties. It is okay to vote for whomsoever you wish, and yes the will of the people shall be supreme, respected, and sovereign."

This has to be the jointly presented message from these political leaders to all citizens. …

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