Chamisa's loss a sad outcome

HARARE - Our News Editor Gift Phiri (GP) talks to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai (MT) in this exclusive interview.

Find below excerpts of the interview.

GP: You have just completed the 4th MDC congress, are you happy with the manner in which the congress was conducted?

MT: The conduct of the process of the congress was impeccable and right up to the end.

I think the conclusion was the hallmark of a party of excellence.

GP: The new line up that emerged out of this congress; do you have confidence that it has the capacity to reinvigorate your party?

MT: The people have chosen leadership that they have confidence in. I have no doubt in my mind that it’s a competent team, it enjoys a fresh mandate from the people, and that they will carry out the road map that has been outlined.

GP: Critics are raising concerns about gender parity, that perhaps you are moving away from the 50-50 balance between men and women in your executive...

MT: No, no, no Gift. Gender parity is no longer a matter of negotiation; it’s now a matter of fulfilment. And I am glad that we are working toward it.

The congress has enunciated that the question of gender sensitivity is something that everyone is taking very seriously.

So I am sure that as we move forward, it will be achieved.

GP: What about accusations that you are centralising power in your office. Is this your vision?

MT: The constitution of the MDC says the president of the party is responsible for the vision and strategy of the party. It has not changed. Nothing has changed. We have just redefined roles so that there is no real confusion. We have..

GP: Why did you think there was a need to redefine...

MT: Because sometimes instability arises because of confusion of roles. And you need role clarity to ensure there is more coherence than situations where there appears to be competition rather than cooperation.

I am a believer in democracy. I have fought all my life a dictatorship. I cannot believe that centralising power in an individual is helpful to the organisation.

GP: There is a sense that the power of the secretary-general has been diluted. Do you see it that way?

MT: Why should it be diluted?

GP: There was a resolution that “the secretary-general shall no longer be responsible ‘for all party affairs in the National Secretariat’ and shall report to the president”.

MT: There is no dilution of roles. What we will see is more collaboration between the policy front, which is the presidency and the secretariat, coordinating together to make sure we achieve the goal.

So let’s not look at individuals, let’s look at various roles in the organisation.

GP: Does the secretary-general retain all the powers he previously had?

MT: Yes he has. He is there?

GP: There was a major upset in the election. Nelson Chamisa, lost the election.  What is your reaction to that?

MT: Well, it’s a sad outcome, you know my relationship with Nelson goes beyond just national, it’s personal; it’s a father-son relationship.

However, I want to say that it’s a temporary setback. I am sure he is young enough to rebound provided he is committed to three things. One, he is committed to continue to serve the party. I know he is unequivocal about it. He should continue to serve the people through the skills he has acquired.

He has made quite substantial accumulation of skills and talent over the last 15 years. And lastly, committed commitment to the fact that if for some reason people lost confidence in him, he should work to earn the confidence of the people and I am sure he is going to do that.

He is a man of the people and I believe he has to work through what he believes he has to reconnect with. And I think that’s what he is supposed to do.

GP: Some people claim that there was a fallout between you and Chamisa, is this true?

MT: You have to ask him. There is no fallout between me and Chamisa, everyone knows. I don’t know why people want to find fissures that don’t exist.

GP Are you going to leave Chamisa as a card-carrying member, without any role?

MT: No. In 2011, (Elias) Mudzuri was not elected as organising secretary. We co-opted him into the executive. He played his role in the executive effectively.

Nelson Chamisa, Mashakada, whoever may have felt they have not succeeded; they are leaders of the party. They cannot just be card-carrying members.

They have responsibilities to carry out. Losing a position does not mean you lose your role in the struggle. You can be deployed elsewhere.

GP: Were you involved in any way in this election, directly or indirectly?

MT: What do you mean?

GP: Did you influence the election outcome?

MT: I didn’t. I didn’t influence anything. All I made sure was that things were done to the satisfaction of all structures at various levels, including the congress.

Ultimately, the running of that congress will be a judgment on my capacity as leader.

GP: You posted on your Facebook page on October 28 that there were some people abusing your name, do you think there was mischief?

MT: The president does not choose who to work with, he is given by the people which team to work with and I provide the leadership.

GP: What is your vision for the next five years?

MT: We have got an agenda that congress has assigned to us. For instance, the road-map to the next elections, the convening of the national convergence conference because we believe that this country now needs a solution to the national crisis, the re-energising and transforming the institution of the MDC to be more effective and robust, the issue of cadre development, the issue of setting up various support services to the party, the political institute, re-energising the base, increasing membership, stability in the party because we believe the MDC is poised to win the next election bar, of course, the repeat of 2013 July where there were violations and subversion of the will of the people. But ...

GP: The people who walked out of the party such as Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma did not subject themselves to this congress. Why?

MT: It’s unfortunate, they know the rules. If for some reason you have a grievance, the highest appeal body is the congress.

One would have thought that those who were expelled would have used this opportunity to write to us to say I want to come and face the congress and appeal to the congress to reconsider my expulsion.

They would have been given the platform. No one said don’t come. But what do you see, you see people who want to form their own party, talking about we want to have a real congress in July. How about this one? It’s a missed opportunity.

GP: You are proposing mass action. You think that’s a viable route?

MT: There is nothing that says people should be docile forever even if they are facing very tough conditions. This mass action is an expression of public discontent by the sectors of this society.

GP: What form do you want this mass action to take?

MT: Peaceful demonstrations, the Constitution allows for peaceful demonstrations.

GP: And you are prepared to lead from the front?

MT: Of course. I would not be there to overthrow anyone. I’m there to mobilise people to express an opinion.

GP: Have you sought dialogue with the ruling party?

MT: I’m glad that President Mugabe the other day acknowledged the fact that yes, we can work with the MDC to resolve the national crisis.

That is how it should be. In fact, I actually think that at the end of the day, there is nothing that will surpass President Mugabe picking up a phone phoning Morgan Tsvangirai to say come and let’s talk about the national crisis; or beyond the two of us, other Zimbabweans who are concerned about the national crisis.

GP: What’s your take on the infighting in Zanu PF?

MT: I don’t want to comment about Zanu PF infights because that’s their own internal problem.

They are not finding a solution to the national crisis because they are preoccupied with their infights.

In the meantime, people are crying all over for a solution. But there is a misdirection of focus here.

GP: There are accusations that you are working with one faction in Zanu PF. Is that true?

MT: I am not working with any faction. I will work with Zanu PF to find a solution to the national crisis. After all, I don’t know which faction.

GP: The Mujuru faction. There are accusations that the MDC was formed in Mujuru’s house?

MT: No, no, that’s not a factual accusation; it’s just an emotional outburst.

GP: What message do you have for an MDC supporter, say in Mahenye or Msampakaruma?

MT: We have done our congress. Thank you very much for the new mandate that you have given us as new leadership. Let’s now fulfill the agenda that we agreed to at congress.

Let’s find a solution to the national crisis. We know you are suffering and you are looking to the MDC to provide the leadership, to all the problems that you face.

And indeed, MDC is ready to work with all Zimbabweans to find a solution to our national crisis. 

Comments (7)

i am the congress is over. people should very hard to achieve the objectives however, we need Chamisa in the top hierachy as he is energetic person

admire chikorowondo - 5 November 2014

It seems Tsvangirai, in seeking relevance, is offering President Mugabe a way out of his woes here. This invitation to dialogue can lead to GNU 2 would help him outwit those in zanu PF who want him out

Rob - 5 November 2014

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Well put Mr. President. Let's continue working towards a free and prosperous Zimbabwe. DailyNews, is the Chamisa loss the main subject of this discussion? I have a problem with people that claim to want democracy but when someone loses an election democratically - like Chamisa did - they insinuate that the President should have rigged for him to win...

Besto - 6 November 2014

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Flixcom Solutions - 6 November 2014

Besto, can you explain the arithmetic of how a person with a 91.66666666666667 % (11out of 12 provinces) endorsement can end up with 41.6% of the vote. If this is "losing an election democratically" as you put it then the MDC might as well accept that it "democratically lost"" the 31st July elections to ZANU PF !

Johno - 6 November 2014

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