Go and rest, Mugabe told

HARARE - Zapu leader and presidential candidate, Dumiso Dabengwa said yesterday President Robert Mugabe is too old to continue ruling Zimbabwe and should be retired, and also raised the prospect of an electoral pact with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai before or after the July 31 poll.

In a no-holds barred interview with the Daily News journalists at the leading paper’s Trust Towers headquarters in Harare, Dabengwa — who has sealed a coalition pact with the smaller MDC led by Welshman Ncube — said a grand coalition with Tsvangirai, who poses the biggest challenge to Mugabe since the 89-year-old former guerrilla leader came to power in 1980, was still possible.

He said “nothing is cast in stone”.

“I think everyone in Zimbabwe is agreed that the poor old man is old enough that he should be allowed to retire with honour if it is possible,” Dabengwa said.

Mugabe, at 89 the world’s second oldest head of State, is seeking a fresh term at the helm of the troubled country.

Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy opposition has so far failed to forge a united front that analysts say is necessary for those trying to beat the country’s long-serving president.

Dabengwa had earlier balked at a PM-backed plan that would create room for him in a new government.
But with domestic pressure mounting, Dabengwa said he was willing to negotiate a compromise that would present a united front that ushers in a new governance paradigm.

He says Zapu had backed the idea of a coalition as far back as December, but there were no takers for the proposal.

“Zapu is for a grand coalition,” said Dabengwa, who once boasted of having scuttled Tsvangirai’s outright win in the March 2008 vote when he teamed up with Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) president Simba Makoni, who has since entered into an electoral pact with the PM.

“What happened in 2008 is water under the bridge and it is gone with the sea,” Dabengwa said.

“I said now we must sit down together and must be able to look at what is best for the country. We are going out of the way to form a coalition before the     elections but in most circumstances, they are formed after elections.”

With Makoni already in an election pact with Tsvangirai, Dabengwa says there is need for smaller opposition parties to coalesce and draft programmes that would ensure people participate fully in the governance of their provinces through devolution of power.

He said his party still believes a grand coalition with Tsvangirai was still possible as long as it benefits the people of Zimbabwe.

Asked whether fielding five presidential candidates is in the best interests of the country, Dabengwa said Tsvangirai’s MDC only approached him at the 11th hour on the eve of the sitting of the Nomination Court, making it difficult for him to consider the proposal.

The ex-Home Affairs minister said the goal of the grand coalition must not only be to remove Mugabe from power, but should also tie all loose ends to prevent another agreement similar to the PF Zapu and Zanu PF Unity Accord that was signed in 1987 to end a vicious civil war that claimed an estimated 20 000 civilians mainly from the Midlands and Matabeleland regions.

“We are not saying Mugabe is the only obstacle to the development of Zimbabwe,” Dabengwa said.

“But we think we should put our heads together towards allowing our people to participate in the governance of their country.”

Asked who he would back if Zimbabwe was to go for a run-off vote, the former Zipra intelligence supremo said he would go with Tsvangirai.

“We told Morgan that unfortunately the time factor did not allow us to consider his proposal positively but let us go with elections but when the results come out whoever among us is in the run-off, we are going to come and support him,” Dabengwa said.

“I said the same things to Morgan in 2008.”

Dabengwa said he believed Mugabe was the biggest obstacle to the country’s development and that given his advanced age; he could no longer carry the hopes of a nation that has endured decades of economic stagnation owing to a crisis of governance created by his administration.

Dabengwa, whose Zapu outfit pulled out from the Unity Accord in 2008, revealed that Zapu is leaving nothing to chance as it negotiates a power pact with Tsvangirai since it has firsthand experience of playing second fiddle in a political arrangement.

“The reason why we are being very careful in the negotiations is because of how we were treated in the Unity Accord which condemned Zapu to a second choice position where we could only have a vice president,” Dabengwa said.

“This is why we are making sure we have all the safety valves because once beaten, twice shy.”

Comments (21)

Lets face it, the MDC-T has weak Mthwakazi leadership at the top right now. People can say what they want, but the fact remains that aboThokozani Khuphe are just place-holders, just to make the MDC-T regionally balanced. This is why after the split they first approached Welshman Mabhena for the position, because they knew Thokozani was not up to the task. Look, she is even being overshadowed by little Chamisa and Biti and these guys are several positions below her. Through out her term of office she has been a spectacular failure. Even in these elections, we hardly hear of her, except when she is demanding that she be the first vice President, as if the MDC-T has already won the elections. Personally I would have preferred a coalition after elections when each party's relative strength would have been determined by the electorate and not before. I am all green in my support. As long as we keep getting into coalitions before elections, our strength or lack of it will never be known hence the constant barrage of insults from the MDC-T supporters who have grown too big for their boots. However, after elections when each party has established its strength, those in power will know that they need others to geovern effectively, especially where a two thirds parliamentary majority would be required to pass legislation!!!

Phunyukabemphethe - 23 July 2013

To all the political party's in Zimbabwe, for a better future for all Zimbabweans and our children and to get rid of the devil Zunu PF , we must unite. United we stand divided we fall. This is our opertunity to take our country and make it heaven on earth,unite and we will win please open your eyes and see logic the ball is in our court lets play like a team and win

Zuze - 23 July 2013

Phunyuka, your point is well made but on the face of it, we are dealing with a very uneven playing field here. we cannot afford some of the positions been taken by individual parties and people. It all becomes academic if the election fails to give either side a majority and let's face it, Zanu is assured of it's supporters, as little as they may be. The rest of the people are now being bracketed into either MDC or Zapu or what not other smaller party. That is what we're trying to avoid, splitting the vote that could dislodge Zanu. Agreed, Zapu has to go in knowing they have something tangible to show for it at the end and in this regard I would not mind if MT made concessions to Zapu and MDC that they would be accomodated post-election in a broad coalition govt. It's about trust at the end of the day but look at it this way, who would you rather trust? MDC or Zanu? Come July 31 and Zanu splits our votes we will look back and only sigh.

Omuhle - 23 July 2013

Let's get on with it, DD, and we can quarrel later about positions and things. You will be effective as defence minister, and Welshman as first vice president. But if you guys don't cooperate and we lose this chance to do good for our country, the nation will never forgive all of you, including Tsvangirai, Ncube, Makoni and DD. If Mugabe could work with General Walls, you surely can work with each other. If Mugabe could work with Ken Flower, you surely could work together. After all, all of you never tried to kill each other. What insurmountable differences do you have which cause you all to sacrifice our history for your small differences?

Chenjerai Hove - 23 July 2013

DD. Stop playing 2nd fiddle. Let ZAPU and MDC N rebuild from the scratch. Its work in progress. Go into this with the aim of winning. Be principled. Be man of your word. Its time to provide leadership to the next generation. Tsvangison and Mugabe are the birds of the same feather. Ungasithengisa.

Qiniso - 23 July 2013

@Chenjerai- Many thanks for making a clear case for a united front..why not fight after the spoils rather than fight before the prize? Only a sour taste will remain in the mouth at the end of the day for everyone, innocents included. Come on DD make your move now and go in to the plebiscite with one voice..look to Senegal and even Kenya where erstwhile enemies who were at each other's throats, Kenyatta and Ruto decided to bury the hatchet deep and they walked away with the prize! If you care to listen to the wind carefully, you will hear this message in the willows "Pull together as one, hasten the birth of a new Zimbabwe.."

gutter poet - 23 July 2013

The problem we have with parties in Zimbabwe is tribalism. Starting with original ZAPU (J NKOMO) split in 1963 it was NDEBELES VS SHONAS to form ZANU (NDABANINGI SITHOLE)- manyikas zezuru & karangas. WAR was FOUGHT IN RESPECTIVE TRIBAL AREAS. 1975 ZEZURUS AND KARANGAS AGAINST MANYIKAS WITH THE DEATH OF CHITEPO? Mugabe comes in. 1982/7 GUKURAHUNDI ETHNIC CLEANSING TO THE 1987 ACCORD REBUILDING OF THE ORIGINAL 1963 ZAPU BUT ZEZURUS ON TOP. AFTER INDEP. PARTIES ARE FORMED WITH TRIBAL LINKS FORUM PARTY & ZUM WHICH TRIED TO CHANGE IT BUT TO NO AVAIL. In 1999 MDC UNITED PPLE BUT STILL THE ELEMENT WAS STILL THERE IT IS ONLY TSVANGIRAYI OUTSIDE THE PFs ACCORD WHO COULD GET VOTES ACROSS TRIBAL LINES BUT 2005 SPLIT WAS BASICALLY TRIBAL. THATS WHY Prof MUTAMBARA was hired. IT IS ONLY MDC-T WHICH HAS A SUPPORT BASS WHICH IS SOMEHOW NOT TRIBAL AS OF NOW AND ALSO ZANU PF but strong in Mashonaland E W C. MDC-N & ZAPU are in Matebeleland N&S, MKD Manyikaland. PLSE POLITICIANS STOP THIS THERE IS ONLY ONE ZIMBABWE TO TALK ABOUT NOT A FEDERATION STATES. DAVENGWA & NCUBE ARE TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT ESPECIALLY WITH THIS NEW CONSTITUTION ON REGIONAL GOVTS COMING. PF-ZAPU USED TO WIN ALL SEATS IN MATEBELELAND? SHAME ON YOU. ZIMBABWEANS SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE. THERE IS ONE ZIMBABWE, ONE NATION. LETS VOTE FOR CHANGE AS A NATION NOT AS REGIONS. THANX

CDE SIMUKAI - 24 July 2013

Iam very skeptical about this coalition. MDC T has a huge following and can go it alone. Look the dishamorny which has been caused to the party by taking Simba Makoni aboard. this guys are ZANU PF to the marrow SIMBA, WELSHMAN & DABENGWA . As a member of MDCT with my shallow knowledge and little intelligence by agreeing a grand coalition with them it will do much harm than good.

splendour - 24 July 2013

Please Dabengwa, just stay on your own. You did split the vote last time and had the temerity to mention that during your current campaign. Now hardly a month after that you are singing some coalition song. Are you another serial flip- flopper just as Jonathan Moyo . Morgan should be advised to stay away from this guy. In any case other than devolution what else has he got to offer

Zimbabwean - 24 July 2013

Let politicians stop playing Russian roulette with people's lives.The game in town is about removing mugabe despite what Welsh and others may say. Welsh says Morgan is dishonest. That's debatable. Maybe he is but is it not better to deal with a dishonest morgan as president than have to contend with mugabe who will likely hand over power to mnangagwa.the new constitution will allow us to buid institutions which will keep morgan in check even if he wants to turn into another mugabe. Zimbabwe will clearly never allow any other leader to amass power the way mugabe did. look what the zambians did with chiluba. After removing KK they are free to change leaders as they wish.there isnt much idelogical difference between the mdcs having been one previuosly. Its about personality and surely we cannot hold the country at ransome for this.I believe there is room for all patriotic zimbabweans in a new government with the space created by zanu pf vacating.

magame - 24 July 2013

@CDE SIMUKAI. You are wrong, parties in Zimbabwe are not formed on tribal lines. Its the leadership of the already established parties that tribalise the newly established parties on the basis of languages of their leaders speak in order to destroy competition. As an example, we have heard so many claims about Welshman or Dabengwa being tribal, but if you ask those who make these claims to substantiate these allegation, you will never get an answer. Many of them cant even quote even one tribalistic comment or statement by those they accuse of tribalism. It is just fashionable in Zimbabwe to accuse Matebeleland politicians of tribalism so as to destroy them politically and prevent Shona voters from supporting them. These divisive campaign tactics were brought by Mugabe and his ZANU PF from Mozambique in 1980. In Zimbabwe, tribalism in politics is caused by the leadership - it is not the ordinary people who are guilty of this. I live in South Africa, and have never heard any South African political leader accuse opponents of tribalism - this is why South African politics is not tribal - anyone from any part of the country can become president, as long as he is in the party that wins the elections. There is too much focus on political party leadership in Zimbabwe, rather than the parties themselves hence the tribal tendencies. I look forward to the day we each a democratic state like that of the US or UK, where leaders come and go but political parties remain!!

Phunyukabemphethe - 24 July 2013

Just a little thought here. Let's suppose these guys go into this grand coalition thing and they lose to ZANU PF, because a win is not guaranteed. What will they do to the grand coalition? To avoid such headaches, as DD says, let each party go it alone and form coalitions after elections if necessary. If ZPF wins a peaceful election then tough luck, that is democracy. Just tell your people to vote wisely that's all.

dubeka - 24 July 2013

Given the very real possibility of vote massaging, a coalition NOW (b4 the poll) is best to make manipulation difficult. That you are talking of ganging up after the poll gives PF all the reason to ensure they get an outright victory NOW under the muckiest of circumstances. If you guys have the interests of the nation at heart you shld join forces now. None of you (MT, DD, Ncube) has deep tentacles spreading into all facets of Zim's society and devious behaviour can be dealt with fairly easily than the more entranched RG. Please don't prolong the pple's suffering.

Wasu - 24 July 2013

tsvangirai should go it alone. at present he is carefully hearing what people want. people want mugabe out and are even prepared for a gnu which dies not include zanu. that is what people want, but welshman and dumiso cant hear that. people are not saying tsvangirai is the best, not at all, that would rather have him that robert. that it welshman and dumiso.

sammy - 24 July 2013

as long as h is the only leader concerned bwt the future of us the youths w wl vote him bek nto power!thnk yu fo evrythng mr president w r fully behind yu nd yo policies

tapuwa rusununguko - 24 July 2013

What happens after the removal of Mugabe and installation of Tsvangirayi? You guys, are you sure you know and can trust Tsvangirayi? Joshua Nkomo knew and trusted Mugabe in 1980 and what happened to later. Sorry guys I would rather stick Welshman he presents a sober mind in our quest to have a democratic society.

viera - 24 July 2013

Mugabe may be fixes by or through his wife, Grace - watch this space!

Peter Kisa - 24 July 2013

Mugabe may be fixed by or through his wife, Grace - watch this space!

Peter Kisa - 24 July 2013

Please, Dabengwa and Ncube should realise that this is not about the past just like what mugabe and zanu pf are always singing about that we went to war, talking about Rekai Tangwena, etc, that is not going to bring bread and butter to the people of Zimbabwe. Grand coalition is important if they are entertaining the idea of removing mugabe and zanu pf from power. Think about ordinary Zimbabweans not the past.

chisakasaka - 24 July 2013

Dabengwa and Ncube lets fight one foe. We should remove ZANU pf you can not do it alone. What we need is Manicaland presdent 2terms, Matebeleland two terms, Midlands 2terms... generally we should rotate for the better of provinces... VOTE MDC T

NOSMAS - 24 July 2013

Ane nzeve anzwa.Those who have ears have heard already.I doubt though that this Ncube/Dabengwa guys have ears.All they care about is their ego.People have tried to convince them,but its now two months and they dont seem to budge.If by monday they dont join others,the best is to forget about them for good.Gog is not a fool,maybe Tsvangirai and Makoni will just make it then we have less confusion.So lets not worry much ,for we all have tried to hummer sense into these two guys but they wont listen.They will be surprised when the train takes off without them.Ishe inzwai minamato yedu.

Pablo - 24 July 2013

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