Zimbabwe Zimbabwe flag. Click to return to the home page. Crisis

Home | ZimCrisis#78 -- July 3rd Report from Eddie Cross of the MDC

Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 01:25:42 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#78 -- July 3rd Report from Eddie Cross of the MDC
Cc: "Australian government":;, "British government":;,
"Canadian government":
;, "South African government":;,
"US government":;, Commonwealth:;, "NG organisations":;,
"African press":;, "Foreign press":;

Now we have had some sleep and had a chance to mull over the results we are feeling a bit better than we did on Monday night. In fact we now look upon the overall result as being inspired in terms of its outcome and the implications for the players. MDC ended up with 57 seats, Zanu PF 62 and Zanu Ndonga 1. We took all the urban seats and a fair mix of rural seats - with the exception of the rural seats in the three Mashonaland provinces. Overall we received 47 per cent of the poll, Zanu PF 48 per cent and the minor parties the balance of 5 per cent. Had we won the 85 to 89 seats forecast by the pollsters it is almost certain there would have been violence - our supporters would have felt it was "pay back" time and the outgoing administration would have felt deeply threatened. As it was, the fine balance between the two left us with an uneasy peace.

There were significant casualties on the Zanu side and their front bench will be much depleted. It was very good to see our candidate in Kwe Kwe beat the feared Minister of State Security by a margin of 4 to 1 even though three people had been killed in that constituency and the candidate had been in hiding for the past two months. Zanu PF had a number of new players elected - some of whom are real reprobates. Even with the 20 seats that Mr Mugabe has in his hands for appointed MP's he is going to have to scratch around for talent to fill his cabinet posts. The MDC team includes some top minds and leading members of the civil rights community. They are experienced, knowledgeable and tough and the level of debate is likely to be very stimulating after the lackluster experience of the past 20 years. One of the new players said it was going to be fun - but it will not be fun for the Zanu PF Ministers who will now be grilled on everything they propose or do. It is also likely that an impeachment proceeding against Mr Mugabe will be mounted by the MDC soon into the new session - this will be embarrassing for Mugabe and will attract worldwide attention. It will also bring to the surface a whole range of things that up to now have been out of sight or not debated in public.

I told some colleagues that this situation is a bit like sitting Mr Mugabe on a wood stove top - with MDC stoking the fire for the next 21 months until he steps down and we have a presidential election. The other aspect of this situation is that the Party (Zanu PF) cannot get rid of Mugabe even if he is a liability, as they would then have to face Morgan Tsvangirai - and if they lost that one, they would immediately be out of power. If any of them try to change horses they loose their seats so they have to hang together, even though its going to get very hot on that stove top!! Its fitting for a bunch of thugs who have recently used red hot stove tops to burn their victims to the extent where we have had to get them plastic surgery to repair the extensive damage caused. In the mean time we start next week on the legal process of challenging the results in those constituencies where we feel there has been gross irregularities in the elections or the Zanu PF candidate has violated the Electoral Act - we have quite a few targets!

They now have to deal with the social and economic crisis they have created over the past decade. We were ready to pick up the pieces and to start the process and had all the required instruments in place - we cannot say the same for Zanu PF whose much vaunted Millennium Economic Recovery Program is not worth the paper it is written on. It will now become abundantly clear that the king has no clothes on and has no idea as to how to solve the problems. He will be forced to talk to Mbeki who will now have to pay for his stance on Zimbabwe. Only South Africa will have the will to help this disgraced government. Both the EU and the Commonwealth will judge the election as not being free and fair and this will make it difficult to put programs in place to help the government, this reluctance will be exacerbated by continued poor governance, corruption and flawed macro economic policies.

Then there is the land program of Zanu PF - its not legal, its unsound in concept, its not sustainable and it will undermine the whole economy. Mugabe is in all sorts of trouble on the land issue and it is likely that in the final analysis he will not be able to deliver what he has promised. The world community is watching the process and will move swiftly if property rights are violated in any way - the Presidential order used to launch this latest land grab will lapse in less than 4 months and legal proceedings - likely to be lengthy and drawn out will take months, if not years. Then he has to go to the new Parliament with all those lawyers sitting on opposition benches and ask them for new legislation to give effect to what he is trying to do - and that will not be easy. In the meantime the count down to the presidential elections in 21 months time continues relentlessly.

He can always go back to the 1998 land agreement and ask foreign governments to fund the process; this will be humiliating and will be recognised as a real climb down. All the hoopla about land in the past 4 months will be neutralized and the process will have to be reversed and the Zanu PF thugs removed from the farms. This will be costly and damaging in political terms, but is unavoidable if he is going to get any help from the world community for the economy and for land reform. His position is desperate and he needs both. The risk he takes in sticking to his present program is further isolation in political and economic terms and continued melt down in the economy with the MDC baying at his heels and Morgan Tsvangirai campaigning for the Presidency. If Morgan wins the election in 2002, then immediately the MDC is in government with Morgan controlling a huge majority in the Parliament.

In August we have the elections for the city councils and executive mayoral posts in both Harare and Bulawayo. MDC is getting ready for these elections and we will aim at controlling the administrations in both cities. Then we will serve the 35 per cent of the nation that live in these two cities and demonstrate what we can do if given power. We have already started to think this through and there are great opportunities. It will be good experience for the MDC as we wait for the 2002 presidential elections and take power thereafter.

I assume that the government will not re launch the process of constitutional reform prior to the presidential elections as this would then threaten them with both parliamentary and presidential elections at the same time and under radically different circumstances. This would threaten their hold on parliament and I think they will try to stave this off until 2002 and then let the new parliament and president draw up a program for drafting a new constitution. The present constitution gives them the electoral system that they have used effectively to control power since 1980 and they will want to use that to once again fight the MDC - this time for the presidency. There is no doubt that the tactics worked for them in 2000 - we were told by the Helen Suzman Foundation in January that the rural populations were susceptible to intimidation and this proved to be the case.

And so the struggle goes on - we have decided not to co-operate in any way with Zanu PF in government and have instructed our parliamentary team to go into full opposition mode. This will be good for the nation and further consolidate our experience as a nation with real democracy. From that stand point this was a marvelous experience for all Zimbabweans - we stood up against tyranny and intimidation, were denied a level paying field and played with a referee who was a member of the side against whom we were playing - yet we won, and won big time. It was a victory for courage and determination and was won by democratic means - not violence. Zimbabwe will never be the same again and just maybe, we have helped Africa on the road to democracy and open societies.

Eddie Cross
3rd July 2000

Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List

This is currently a manually administered mailing list. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send your request to DELETED. Personal requests for removal will be carried out immediately. Requests from governmental, political or press organisations (or their representatives) will be treated less favourably. The purpose of this list is not necessarily to redistribute published news reports. Rather, it is intended to distribute reports from or directly affecting people in Zimbabwe. If you have seen something before, I apologise. Hopefully that will not be a regular occurrence. Any reports from respondents that are relayed to the mailing list will be done so anonymously.

Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List Archives -- http://www.niner.net/zimcrisis
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk