MOUs and alliances: Explaining the unfolding process
Last week saw President Morgan Tsvangirai sign two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with leaders of two political parties, Dr. Joice Mujuru and Professor Welshman Ncube to mark the commencement of a delicate process of several players coming together to contest Zanu PF as a united front in next year’s election.
This was the beginning of a negotiation process that will see Zimbabweans of all shades and colours coming together to coalesce into a formidable people’s alliance that will contest against Zanu PF next year.
We are heartened by the fact that Zimbabweans have largely welcomed the emerging convergence even though there have been several requests from both the media and the generality of the people. The inquiries are ranging from requests of copies of the MOUs to inquiries on whether President Tsvangirai is in talks with this or that other political leader or institution.
The facts of the matter are that the two memoranda are just the beginning of a process with both current and potential partners. As things stand, we are not at liberty to talk about specific MOU issues but to comment generally on the process and the output.
Discussions are still on-going both with current and potential partners in the form of political parties and other key networks such as churches, war veterans, students and other stakeholders. Suffice to say that the parties that have signed the MOU are at substantive stages of negotiations and once a full agreement is hammered out, a public announcement will be made.
We also continue to engage other political parties and some of the key networks stated above and the outcome of those engagements will be made public at the appropriate time. We are unable to give indicative time-frames at this stage save to say in our party, alliance building is receiving priority attention from President Tsvangirai, in line with the exclusive mandate given to him by the party’s national council to deal with this important matter.
We understand the nation’s anxiety around this process but it must also be understood that we cannot be negotiating in public.
We are alive to the fact that these alliances are about the people of Zimbabwe and not about the leaders who are engaged in the talks and that is why we keep coming back to update Zimbabweans at the appropriate stages, as we did last week.
It would be premature for us at this stage to get into the details of the current state of the negotiations after the signing of the MOUs as well as going public about who else President Tsvangirai is negotiating with. Going public at every stage of this delicate and sensitive process would be tantamount to negotiating in public and would be disrespectful both to our current and potential partners.
As a party, we have resolved that these alliance negotiations will be bilateral and not multilateral engagements. The national council, the party’s supreme decision-making body in between Congresses adopted principles and consequently drew up a framework to guide this delicate process and vested all powers and communication on the matter in President Tsvangirai. The party President further received direction from ordinary Zimbabweans and opinion leaders during his highly enriching one-and-half months tour of the country.
Once the on-going engagement with current and potential partners reaches substantive levels, President Tsvangirai will keep updating both the executive organs of the party and the people of Zimbabwe.
We reiterate that though it could be the political leaders that are in discussion, the next election is not about them. The next election is about the people of Zimbabwe and the perfect opportunity that elections allow them every five years to choose their preferred men and women who can lay the ground for an inclusive society that prides itself in leaving no-one behind.
That is why even as these alliance discussions continue; President Tsvangirai is urging Zimbabweans to take the next election seriously and to turn out in their large numbers to register to vote once the Zimbabwe electoral Commission rolls out the process.
Together, we are stronger.
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications
Movement for Democratic Change