CONVERSATIONS WITH MAWERE

"Invest in the change you want to see"

- Mutumwa Mawere -

The Zimbabwe We Want: A conversation with Mr. Roy Bennett

Posted on February 23th 2008

Zimbabwe was born out of the womb of a brutal, unjust and unconstitutional colonial system.  Regrettably, no serious foundational and construction issues of the post colonial state occupied the minds of not only the founding fathers of Zimbabwe but citizens in general to the extent that no serious attempt has been made to create a consensus on the kind of ideology, values and morality that should underpin the post colonial state.

At 28, the country has come of age and yet the political discourse even at this eleventh hour of change suggests that more effort needs to be exerted to locate the change agenda in broader context than the political actors that may be on stage. 

Zimbabweans will make a choice about who should become their President for the next five years on 29 March 2008.  However, it is evident that an investment is urgently required to improve political literacy of not only the registered voters but all interested parties who must and should play a part in helping shape the destiny of the country. 

Over the last 8 years, the political landscape of Zimbabwe has been dominated by two major political groupings i.e. MDC and ZANU-PF.  ZANU-PF inherited the colonial state and it is evident that the members of MDC would not be satisfied with any post-Mugabe construction in which they will play second fiddle to anyone.  At independence, the attitude of ZANU-PF was not dissimilar to the attitude of MDC and it is not farfetched to suggest that is ZANU did not win the 1980 elections; the liberation struggle was going to continue. 

 Although the liberation struggle was prosecuted with the sole objective of restoring sovereignty to the people, it is instructive that only ZANU was advanced as the only authentic custodian of such sovereignty.  In such an environment, elections do not really matter and yet Zimbabwe finds itself in 2008 at the crossroads and painful choices have to be made.  Fatigue is evident but hope is missing in action. 

When a new beginning is about to come it is normally evident as it was after the Lancaster House constitutional talks were successfully completed.  What is different about 2008 is that the two political actors President Mugabe and Tsvangirai who have dominated the political scene for the last 8 years are not prepared to accept the inevitable that Zimbabwe needs to turn a new leaf.  The country's future has regrettably now been reduced to the fate of these two individuals. 

Rationality has now been subordinated to political expediency.  President Mugabe cannot imagine a day in which he would call Tsvangirai his commander-in-chief and at the same time, Tsvangirai regards President Mugabe as illegitimate.  The MDC has accepted that the outcome of the forthcoming elections has been predetermined and yet no consensus exists on how to respond.  The polarisation of the Zimbabwean politics is largely a reflection of the architecture of the colonial state where no democratic avenue existed for change.

President Mugabe has not accepted that there is no better Zimbabwean than him to preside over the state and equally Tsvangirai has made the point that real change must situate him in the statehouse.  The Rhodesian economy is on its knees and President Mugabe is not convinced that he may be a liability rather he genuinely believes that the future of Zimbabwe is brighter under his watch.  On the other hand, Tsvangirai is convinced that he has paid his school fees and the scars that have been inflicted on his body must be rewarded with a new address at statehouse. 

 Whether the people of Zimbabwe are tired of this kind of political bickering is no longer an issue for the two opposition parties.  Until recently, the two individuals were the only principal political actors but this has changed with the emergence of Simba Makoni as a candidate.  Many have associated the world view of President Mugabe with his political party and yet the reality may suggest that ZANU-PF has failed to establish itself as a party of principles and a shared political morality.  President Mugabe has dominated the party for too long to the extent that his personality has now become part of what many people perceive to be ZANU-PF.  What President Mugabe thinks usually becomes the order of the day.

At independence, Zimbabweans adopted a Republican constitution underpinned by a shared desire to create a new society founded on republican values.  Although the colonial state was founded on the premise that it was irresponsible to give natives civil rights, it is not evident after 28 years of independence that Zimbabweans notwithstanding the election rituals are any more free to shape and define their destinies than at independence. 

The Movement for Democratic Change was expected to introduce a new culture in Zimbabwean politics and on the eve of the forthcoming defining elections it is significant that Mr. Roy Bennett, Treasurer of the party, shared his insights on the kind of Zimbabwe he and his party wants to see.  Mr. Bennett was a beneficiary of the colonial system that Mugabe fought against and yet at independence, Mugabe was magnanimous enough to embrace his former adversaries.

 Having carefully read Mr. Bennett's interview with Ms. Violet Gonda of SW Radio Africa, I thought it is important to capture some of the significant issues that he addressed so as to enhance the quality of conversations that are taking place among not only Zimbabweans who have a direct interest in the outcome of the elections but friends of Zimbabwe who may have an indirect or remote interest in the future of the country.

Although the interview covered a whole range of critical issues that help define the kind of thinking that informs the MDC, I thought it is important to locate Mr. Bennett's thinking in a broader context of key construction and foundational principles that I feel were overlooked by all concerned in the enterprise of post colonial nation building.

 Article 28 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides as follows in relation to the qualification and election of the President:

 (1)       A person shall be qualified for election as President if-

(a)      he is a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth or by descent; and

(b)      he has attained the age of forty years; and

(c)      he is ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.

(2)      The President shall be elected by voters registered on the common roll.

(Subsection as amended by s.2 of Act 15 of 1990 - Amdmt No.10).

 (3)      An election to the office of President shall take place within ninety days-

(a)      before the term of office of the President expires in terms of section 29; or

(b)      after the office of President becomes vacant by reason of his death or his resignation or removal from office in terms of this Constitution;

as the case may be.

It is evident that there is nothing in the constitution of Zimbabwe that says that an interested citizen must belong to a political party for him/her to be eligible for the highest office in the land.  Any democrat who believes in the supremacy of the constitution would find it hard to criticise any Zimbabwean who registers and whose nomination is accepted by the Court to run for the office of President. 

 However, nomination of Simba Makoni has exposed not only ZANU-PF but MDC's lip service commitment to the constitutional order that ought to have informed the post colonial democratic regime.  President Mugabe has already made his comments about Makoni preferring to label him as a prostitute only because he chose to offer himself as an independent candidate after being dismissed from the party following his decision to offer himself as available for nomination as a candidate for the post of state President.   

 If America was Zimbabwe, it is not difficult to imagine how Obama would have been treated for imagining that the Zimbabwean promise included satisfying his aspiration to lead his people to a new destination.  There is nothing that would have stopped Makoni from being nominated as a candidate for the state Presidency under the ZANU-PF ticket because for anyone to be eligible for the post, the Nomination Court has the final say.  There is no provision in the constitution that a candidate has to be the President of a political party to be eligible for nomination.

 The involvement of political parties in the nomination process has tended to undermine the constitutional order in that the process used has been fraught with problems to the extent that in the case of both MDC and ZANU-PF, there is no consensus on the candidates nominated.  It is unlikely that the test used for Makoni will be applied to all the parliamentary candidates who elected to challenge the parties and proceeded to get their names nominated as party candidates outside the party list.

To the extent that President Mugabe purports to be a democrat, it is ironic that he would have a problem in Makoni exercising his democratic right to offer his name to be considered by the people.  The President took an oath to respect and uphold the constitution of the country and yet he is the first person to criticise Makoni for doing what the constitution entitles him to do.  If the President's views are contrary to the provisions of the constitution as they appear to be, then surely he has disqualified himself from being the head of state. 

There must be something about Simba Makoni that would make President Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree.  He has been condemned by both parties and what is ironic is that even Bennett finds the participation of Makoni as treacherous leading to many observers asking the question about what kind of Zimbabwe; people who support Tsvangirai want to see.

 In the afore-mentioned interview, the exchange between Violet and Bennett on the Makoni factor went as follows:

Violet: In your view who is the Diplomatic Community trying to impose?  

Bennett: They are trying to impose Simba Makoni right now.

Comment:

While it is accepted that only Zimbabweans are eligible to nominate a citizen who qualifies for the post of President, it is significant that Bennett presumably representing his party has come to the same conclusion that Mugabe came to when Tsvangirai also decided to throw his name in the ring before that for anyone to even imagine of being a President that person must necessarily be a puppet of the west. 

Yesterday, it was argued that Tsvangirai was a puppet of the West and now Bennett, a person who purports to be a democrat is now arguing that Simba Makoni is not a principal rather is a creation of the diplomatic community. 

It is significant that Bennett fails to expose the names of the culprits but it is evident that the USA, EU, Australia, Canada and New Zealand not forgetting the Nordic countries would be on top of the list. 

After 8 years of struggle for change in Zimbabwe, one would have expected a person like Bennett to appreciate the need for more players to enter the political space so that voters can have more choices rather than seek to condemn the country into the politics of division and acrimony.

Violet: Can you talk a bit more about that? What is your assessment on the emergence of Simba Makoni, and what makes you say that the Diplomatic Community is supporting him?

Bennett: Well basically all you have to do is to look at the chattering class, look at the internet that is not available to the average people and listen to the Diplomats and pick up on their communications between each other that's very, very easy to see. What people don't realize Violet is that everybody wants a solution to Zimbabwe and they want a quick solution and they want a solution that they believe will happen and that ZANU PF will have to be part of that solution. It's not going to happen. The people of Zimbabwe want change, they want rid and gone of ZANU PF and they will settle for nothing else.

Again it was the same with the entrance of Arthur Mutambara into the whole issue of the President of the MDC. How and where in the world does someone parachute into a Presidential position never having addressed a branch meeting in the rural areas? And right now as we watch Simba Makoni, we see Simba Makoni walking with three people from his house into a room and making press statements. He tells us he is not alone, we've seen nobody else come up and stand next to him. There are rumours of that person and this person but at this stage how can we take him seriously? Have we seen him standing in front of a gathering of people, have we seen him addressing a branch? He throws a manifesto and puts out a manifesto without a political party.

Just say by some fluke chance he gets elected into government and you've got the MDC with so many seats and ZANU PF have so many seats, one obviously being in the majority of the other, we have got a Westminster system of government, so how now do you form a government? He has to go back to that party and ask them to form a government. What does this manifesto stand for if he is going to either go to one of them to form a government? Surely it's their manifesto that is going to count. We have to look a lot deeper into this to understand the dynamics of what is happening. And will not settle for a stooge to be pushed forward to be given a soft landing for the very people who have committed atrocities right across the lengths and breadths of Zimbabwe.

Comment:

Mr. Bennett believes that ZANU-PF is not going to be part of the solution.  If President Mugabe had taken the same choice at independence that Bennett is proposing now that all white settlers should be rid of and nothing short of this was going to be satisfactory, I do not believe that he would be relevant today in the affairs of Zimbabwe.  Bennett is of the view that: "The people of Zimbabwe want change, they want rid and gone of ZANU-PF and they will not settle for anything else."  When Bennett talks of the people of Zimbabwe it is not clear who he is referring to.  Does he speak for all the people of Zimbabwe?  How did he come to establish that the people of Zimbabwe have reached this conclusion and yet accept that elections are important for Zimbabweans to decide on who should govern them? 

When Bennett says that the people of Zimbabwe want ZANU-PF to be eliminated what precisely does he mean?  Does it mean that ZANU-PF as a body corporate will be de-registered or banned under the Tsvangirai era in as much as ZANU and other parties were banned during the colonial state?  Does it mean that a victory by MDC will return Zimbabwe to its colonial past where participation in political activities was criminalised? 

If Mugabe could accept that the Rhodesia Front was as Zimbabwean as ZANU at independence, what are we to make of Bennett's views?  Is it the case that when the MDC is talking of change it means that only Tsvangirai and his colleagues' views will be the gospel in the new Zimbabwe?  It is important that Mr. Tsvangirai clarifies his position on this defining nation building issue.

Again Bennett like Mugabe believes that it is wrong for Makoni to have entered the race as an independent when he said: "How and where in the world does someone parachute into a Presidential position never having addressed a branch meeting in the rural areas?  Was it the intention of the founding fathers of Zimbabwe that for any citizen to be eligible for nomination to the post of President they need to belong to political clubs?  If this was the case, then surely the constitution should have provided for this.  Bennett finds it wrong for Makoni to have a small circle of friends and supporters and then uses this to suggest that he should not be taken seriously.  I would have thought that a person who purports to be a democrat would find no offence in Makoni becoming a candidate in an open race.  It should be left to the voters to make their choices but it is evident that there are some Zimbabweans who believe that the constitution was written for a select few.  On this point, it appears that President Mugabe's views are not entirely different from those of Bennett suggesting that the kind of change that the MDC may be seeking for may be more dangerous than what is prevailing now.

It is true that Makoni like Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been nominated in a similar manner and it would be wrong for anyone to suggest that Makoni should have been disqualified in violation of the constitution necessarily because he has not addressed a rally.  We should tell Bennett and President Mugabe that the constitution is clear and deliberate on the question of the qualification of the President.  To my knowledge the four candidates whose nominations have been accepted by the Court are equal before the law and should be treated as such.  It would be contemptuous to then suggest that there should be another litmus test that MDC and ZANU-PF should impose outside the constitution. 

Like Bill Clinton who referred to Obama's foray into Presidential politics as a fairy tale, Bennett has the audacity to say: "Just say by some fluke chance he gets elected into government and you've got the MDC with so many seats and ZANU PF have so many seats, one obviously being in the majority of the other, we have got a Westminster system of government, so how now do you form a government?   

Bennett is wrong to suggest that Zimbabwe has a Westminster system of government.  The constitution of Zimbabwe has no provision for a monarchy rather the head of state is elected directly by the people.   It may be the case that the President and the majority of the members of Parliament come from the same party but the constitution of Zimbabwe contemplates a situation where a President could be an independent and yet still have a parliament dominated by people from different parties.  The Zanufication of Zimbabwean politics may have distorted Bennett's understanding of the constitutional order obtaining in the country. 

The President has a different mandate under the Zimbabwean constitution from that of the legislature and will have to select his cabinet from among the elected parliamentarians thanks to the Constitutional Amendment No. 18 that now makes it difficult for a President to select his cabinet from outside Parliament.  In fact, this amendment may make it difficult for a President to find suitable cabinet members if parliament is dominated by people who may not have much to offer to any government.  It does not necessarily mean that being elected as a parliamentarian necessarily makes one a suitable candidate for the executive branch of the government.  However, the same system applies in the case of the UK but it is significant that the President is directly elected rather than coming from the majority party.

Bennett then makes a number of factual errors on construction issues like suggesting that if Makoni won the elections he would need to go back to the party and ask them to form a government.  The constitution of Zimbabwe does not impose such obligations on a President.  All Makoni would need to do is simply to identify parliamentarians who may wish to be considered for appointment to cabinet.  The cabinet will have to reflect the choice of the President rather than the choice expressed in an election.  I have no doubt that if Makoni were to emerge as a President, then all the parliamentarians who like the majority of Zimbabweans have been yearning for change would be prepared to bury the past and join forces to advance the interests of Zimbabwe. 

What is worrying is that people like Bennett who purport to be change agents would rather have President Mugabe and ZANU-PF remain in power rather than open their minds to another alternative that may involve ZANU-PF and MDC parliamentarians.  While it is acceptable that Bennett like many South Africans have invested heavily in one individual, Tsvangirai and President Mandela, respectively, it should not be the case that if Tsvangirai were to lose the election and Makoni were to win then Zimbabweans reject the outcome when it is common cause that the real agenda for change is to get someone other than President Mugabe in statehouse.

I would like to believe that the people who support Makoni's candidature are as patriotic as the people who have supported Tsvangirai and continue to do so.  However, it would be wrong for the post-Mugabe era to be reserved for only the MDC as was the colonial state reserved for settlers with no respect for the rule of law and property rights.  Zimbabwe needs a new beginning and it is evident that Bennett and his principals are not ready for the new Zimbabwe electing to remain locked in the politics of yesterday.

Bennett makes the case that MDC will not settle for a stooge while not accepting the ZANU-PF position that it equally will not settle for a stooge.  It is evident that the stalemate will continue while the people of Zimbabwe will continue to be condemned to poverty.  ZANU-PF members are convinced that Tsvangirai is a stooge in as much as Bennett believes that Makoni is a stooge so the circus will go on.  What a shame that people like Bennett do not have better judgment. 

The views of Bennett confirm the widely held view that the new Zimbabwe under the MDC may take Zimbabwe back to Rhodesia.  Bennett makes the statement that people who have committed atrocities right across the lengths and breadths of Zimbabwe should not be given a soft landing as if to suggest that all the white settlers should be subjected to the same standard for similar transgressions.  Given the history of Zimbabwe, Bennett of all people should be the last person to hold such views particularly in view of the fact that like Makoni, Tsvangirai and many others he was also a member of ZANU-PF.  President Mandela has been credited for putting South Africa above his personal injuries and it is regrettable that people like Bennett would want a new Zimbabwe that is divisive and less tolerant.     

Imagine Mugabe reading about Bennett's interview and what would go through his mind? 

Violet: So what do you think are the implications of Makoni's candidature?

Bennett: Well I think when I give it some deep thought and look into the whole issue, I can only think of one thing, Violet. I can think that having no party, standing as an independent President, he is going to have to form a government. Should, and he is only banking on ZANU PF because he is a ZANU PF man he's banking that ZANU PF will win the highest number of seats within parliament. Mugabe will be very, very embarrassed because they have won the highest number of seats and he will have been defeated as President. So he will have to stand down or they will have to have a vote of no confidence and remove him, in which case they will call a congress and then appoint Simba Makoni as the President and therefore he can take off as President of Zimbabwe.

Comment:

Is it the case that Makoni is a ZANU-PF man?  If so, what would stop people calling Bennett a racist only because he was part of the colonial system that excluded the majority from political and economic participation?  This raises the question about the key constructional issues of the post colonial state.  If it was founded on principles of forgiveness then surely that must be evident in the language of the political actors.  Is it ironic in the case of the US that in as much as there may be disagreement among the various political actors about the reasons for going into Iraq, there is no suggestion that after a new President is elected his mission would be to eliminate Republicans from America and also seek to disqualify any republican from running for office. 

President Mugabe has been nominated and he is a candidate like Tsvangirai and Makoni and, therefore, he has no choice but to abide to the will of the people.  Zimbabwe's sovereignty resides in the people and it should be left to the owners of Zimbabwe to pronounce their opinion on who should govern the country.

Violet: What I also don't understand and maybe you can give us your thoughts on this. Many people say that Makoni is just an extension of ZANU PF and that if the goal is to keep the regime in power, so why not just have Makoni stand as the ZANU PF candidate instead of him becoming and independent candidate?

Bennett: Well for exactly the same reasons as what happened in our split. A minority decides that they want to be President and it's not being endorsed by the majority. So they connive and make plans to defeat the majority in order to achieve their goals. He was defeated at the presidency of ZANU PF, but now he has come in, and he said that he has people behind him and he is hoping to pick up votes across the board because he is an opportunist and right now it's ripe for the picking in Zimbabwe because as I said to you earlier an incumbent loses an election and an opposition never wins an election.

An incumbent loses the election by his policies. Every man and his dog today in Zimbabwe want change. Why do they want change, they want change because of their life and difficulties that they face on a day-today basis. There is not a single person who cannot see the failure of ZANU PF and they have lived under the violence and distraction for the last 28 years so they want change. Simba Makoni through his cohorts realized this so they have like opportunists tried to jump in to take advantage of that change in order to then go back to ZANU PF when he is the President and install himself as the President of ZANU PF, and for those that are with him to protect the ill gotten gains, to protect the human rights abuses and not to face the people of Zimbabwe. That's the way I see it and that's the way I believe it Violet.  

Comment:

It is not accurate for Bennett to state as fact that Makoni was defeated at the Presidency of ZANU-PF.  My understanding is that President Mugabe's terms as President of the Party is due to expire in 2009 and the national elections just happen to occur when he is still the head of the party.  Accordingly, as head of the party, he was endorsed as a candidate at the December special congress.  No elections were held or called for otherwise all the other office bearers of the party would have been recalled. 

Whether Makoni has people behind him or not is irrelevant as the voters will be the jury.  I should like to believe that even the so-called ZANU-PF political heavyweights have not been given more than one vote each.  If this is the case, then the people who can tell Makoni that his time is not now are the people in Zimbabwe.

Bennett then labels Makoni an opportunist while accepting that it is highly unlikely that the opposition will win.  If Bennett concedes that victory is remote should he not be open-minded instead of pre-empting what may emerge as a surprise for the people of Zimbabwe.  If change is the primary agenda for the opposition then surely the MDC must be the first to embrace Makoni for taking the courage to run as an independent.  While it is unjustified to call Makoni an opportunist, I am sure that Bennett would take kindly labelled as such. 

It is a historical fact that Bennett and his fellow settlers were allowed to protect their gains acquired through non-market forces during the colonial era and now would want to suggest that the same policies applicable to beneficiaries of the colonial state be restricted only to ZANU-PF.  He wants ZANU-PF to face the people of Zimbabwe instead of all perpetrators of injustice to face the people of Zimbabwe without favour or prejudice. 

Violet: What about the fact that Mutambara MDC is waiting to throw its support behind Simba Makoni?

Bennett: I think that clearly explains that the split in our MDC and that is the way it always has been. They are going home, they are joining ZANU PF where they belong.

Comment:

The fact that Mutambara elected not to offer himself for the Presidency was his personal choice based on his own assessment about his chances of success.  It is not correct for Bennett to allege that Mutambara played any part in the October 12 split of the MDC.  What would be helpful is for Bennett to record historical events accurately rather than to opportunistically seek to shade the truth for political expediency.  The leadership challenges that MDC faced were as natural as the challenges facing many political organisations.  ZANU-PF has its own history of such challenges and, therefore, the maturity of any movement is measured by its ability to resolve such challenges.  However, it has become a habit for the opposition to blame ZANU-PF even for personal differences that occur between party members.

To allege that Mutambara is ZANU-PF is political mischief at its best.  I do not think that Bennett is fair to seek to undermine Mutambara who was invited by senior members of the MDC who sought to assert their rights in a party they genuinely believed was betraying the democratic values on which it was founded.  I would like to believe that Mutambara has played his part and history will be kind to him.  His input was useful in the Mbeki-led initiative and credit must go to Tsvangirai for accepting the fact that there were two formations of the MDC and the opposition parliamentarians had divided loyalties. 

It would be wrong to suggest that the parliamentarians and members of the MDC who chose Mutambara to be their leader are fools.  Surely, if change is the motive behind Bennett's activism then respect of the choices made by others must be the starting point.  Mutambara has never been a creature of ZANU-PF and his record speaks for itself.  It is always easy to criticise other people but it is important to imagine how different the history of Zimbabwe would be if Mutambara had not accepted to lead the leaderless formation that had chosen to differ with Tsvangirai.  It is also important to imagine what would have happened if Tsvangirai had been elected President and the differences of opinion had emerged while he was in office.  Would Tsvangirai have accepted and respected the right of Ncube, Sibanda and others to differ with him without using the state machinery to discipline them?

The manner in which the MDC has resolved the differences between its members should be a cause for concern especially given the propensity of Africans to abuse state power when they seize it.  I can appreciate Bennett's views on power given his colonial heritage and it may well be the case that Mugabe also inherited the strategies and tactics used by the colonial state to handle his opponents.

To the extent that Bennett is a senior member of the MDC one has to carefully evaluate his comments because they may have a bearing on key foundational principles of the post-Mugabe era.  Anyone with interests in the future of Zimbabwe like me has to factor the Bennett equation in the construction of a new Zimbabwe and implications thereof on the rule of law and black property rights.

Could it be the case that Bennett supports Tsvangirai because a deal on property rights has been cut?  Why would Bennett not be open to allow Zimbabweans to make their own choice in an electoral process without prejudging the outcome?  Even if Makoni were to win, it appears that Bennett will still find a reason to manufacture conspiracy theories forgetting that in 1980 the incumbent Muzorewa/Smith lost to ZANU.  Equally, ANC won in 1994 in an election where the balance was tilted in favour of the status quo.

Zimbabwe deserves a new chapter and it is evident that Bennett would rather take the country back and lock it into the polarisation that transformed the Zimbabwean promise into a nightmare.

Violet: But wasn't the ethos of the Mutambara camp - wasn't it to destroy ZANU PF from within and that included working with reformers within ZANU PF. There are some who believe that Makoni is a moderate and that he could help weaken the Mugabe regime. So if the Tsvangirai MDC is calling for all progressive forces to fight Robert Mugabe, why not form an alliance with him to do so, if that is the case?  

Bennett: We understand, that's why I said, we haven't seen it yet but we believe from the press and the chattering class and what is thrown at us that Solomon Majuro is backing Simba Makoni. Now, the properties that Solomon Majuro has stolen, the wealth that he has stolen through corrupt practices, do you really think that after the suffering we've had in the last eight, nine years by standing up for democracy and challenging the system of ZANU PF of corruption, of murder, of rape and of blunder; do you really think that we could get into bed with him now and call that an alliance of all democracies or an alliance of all democratic forces to defeat the dictators? Why don't we just join up with Mugabe and say we are all one and let's just go ahead.

Comment:

Bennett states as fact that Mujuru has stolen some properties without naming the victims.  He also makes allegations that Mujuru has acquired his wealth corruptly without naming the corruptor.  He then makes the point that reconciliation is not acceptable in the new Zimbabwe as if to suggest that Mugabe was wrong in forgiving the beneficiaries of the colonial state.  I know that Bennett would also find it easy to label me a thief because it is common cause that the colonial state had zero tolerance on black economic empowerment.  Whatever Bennett acquired during the colonial state must be accepted as legitimate while any capital accumulation that has been acquired in the post colonial state is easily defined as proceeds of crime. 

The criminalisation of the beneficiaries of the post colonial state is regrettably not a monopoly of the MDC.  Even President Mugabe has accepted the notion that black progress necessarily represents corruption.  The state machinery has been targeted at blacks on the premise that the objective of a post colonial state was not to advance the careers of the previously disadvantaged rather to entrench the wealth primitively acquired during colonialism. 

It is significant that Bennett and his colleagues have invested in a new reality where corruption has taken a black face.  Anyone associated with ZANU-PF is then easily labelled corrupt.  To the extent that Bennett now wishes to revisit historical injuries it is important that we all join in this conversation so that we can comprehensively deal with the reasons why poverty in Zimbabwe like many African countries has a black face.  I am acutely aware that in as much as I may be angry at the loss of my assets to the government of Zimbabwe, I would not have acquired any such assets if the colonial state had been under settler control.

I would not be surprised if Bennett finds the expropriation of my assets justifiable.  What is ironic is that in Tsvangirai, Bennett may have found a leader who has also accepted that whites are not corrupt.  It would be interesting for Bennett to give us any names of white ZANU-PF cronies and suggest how they should be treated in the post-Mugabe era. 

Bennett has made his choice about who should be welcome in his new Zimbabwe in which Tsvangirai would be his superintendent.  The language of Bennett exposes the naivety of some of the most ardent supporters of change in Zimbabwe.  They genuinely believe that we are all idiots and for some reason they have more rights than they wish to confer on others.    

Violet: Your critics say this issue of people coming from ZANU PF should not really be a factor because a lot of MDC leaders were members of ZANU PF. They say that Mr Tsvangirai was a member of ZANU PF until the late 80s and said nothing during Gukurahundi and that you almost stood as a ZANU PF candidate in 2000. How would you answer them?

Bennett: Very, very simply, Violet. We listen to the call of the people and they told us that ZANU PF was rotten and the policies of ZANU PF were wrong so we formed the opposition. We have welcomed and continued to welcome with absolute open arms anybody who rejects ZANU PF and joins change. We will never accept a lukewarm change within inside ZANU PF and Simba Makoni has come out categorically and said on many, many occasions, he is ZANU PF, he believes in ZANU PF and ZANU PF is his party. So therefore it's not a case of ZANU PF people leaving ZANU PF coming to join the opposition and fight against everything that's destroyed our country.

They are saying to us that Morgan Tsvangirai should stand down and we should come under ZANU PF to form this wonderful new country of democracy. Where they have sat on the Politburo, they have sat and stood by very silently and watched every act that has been perpetrated against our country and against the people of our country. So I don't know Violet whether people think the people of Zimbabwe are fools, whether they think because they are rural devastated populations through the policies of the government, 85% unemployed, can't get any medical help, can't eat, whether they think that has affected their brains, I don't know.

The people of Zimbabwe know what they want. They have stood up for change they have stood behind our President Morgan Tsvangirai a man they can trust, its all about trust. Can I trust Simba Makoni? I very much doubt it. I can trust Morgan Tsvangirai, he's never ever backtracked on what he stood for, and he has never changed on his quest to stand for the people of Zimbabwe to bring them a better life and a new beginning. That's where we are Violet, nothing and nobody is going to change us and we are going to get there even if not this time, next time we will keep going, we will keep trying, and we will get there.

Comment:

Bennett alleges that ZANU-PF is rotten and hence the formation of the opposition.  He then makes the conclusion that anyone who is a member of ZANU-PF is not capable of embracing change.  With a population of about 13 million, not all Zimbabweans are members of political organisations and yet in Bennett's mind, there are people who can easily be identified as ZANU-PF.  It is accurate to say that less than 10% of Zimbabweans are members of political organisations and, therefore, the proposition that change can be located in political parties only is wrong. 

 It is common cause that Makoni was a member of ZANU-PF until he was dismissed.  Under the constitution of Zimbabwe, Makoni's choice to be a member of ZANU-PF must be respected in as much as Bennett's choice to join the MDC.  Surely, any new dispensation must entrench the rights of citizens to make their own choices about who they should associate with.  The suggestion made by Bennett is that ZANU-PF is culpable for the economic meltdown and political crisis when it may well be the case that both the ruling and opposition parties should be held culpable for sacrificing national interest to advance their selfish interests.

Mr. David Smith sat on Ian Smith's cabinet and yet President Mugabe appointed him as Minister of Finance.  What is striking is that Bennett is suggesting that any person associated with ZANU-PF should necessarily be disqualified from serving in the new Zimbabwe.  This kind of arrogance cannot be good for any nation building enterprise.  Bennett is entitled to trust Tsvangirai in as much as other people are entitled to trust Makoni let alone Mugabe.  Surely, the foundational principles of the post colonial state ought to be the basis on which people should locate their own principles.  What is evident is that in a post-Mugabe era in which Tsvangirai/Bennett is in charge, citizen rights may be permanently impaired in the name of change.

The term change has been abused more so in the last 8 years where the agents of past injustices appear now to be angels of change.  It is not too late for Zimbabweans to take note of what is at stake for the enemies of real change may not necessarily be restricted to what has been simplistically labelled as ZANU-PF. 

 

 

Comments

Comments by Moyo (2008-02-24 04:27:46) from Canada

Thanks very much once more for your well thoughtout response. Iam not sure if this moron will even make sense out of it.
This blind following of leaders esp pple like Tswangirai is extremely dangerous.
We are one way or the other products of Zanu and this Bennet has no right when to tell us when to jump ship.
Unfortunately you also did not address his extremely dangerous and tribalistic inputs. Bennett is extremely dangerous to Zimbabwe.

Thanks once more

Comments by Lovemore Nyatsine (2008-02-25 02:03:24) from South Africa

I agree that we need neither Zanu Pf or MDC, but we need ALL (Zanu PF and MDC included!)It behoves on us that the challenges facing our nation require that we sacrifice our partisan, parochial and personal interests for the broader interests of Zimbabwe. The intolerance of MDC Mr Tsvangirai is any no different from the intolerance of President Mugabe.(Classical case of the pot calling the kettle black). If those in Zanu Pf are dictators those in MDC are not democrats either. Who do people vote for then? While Mr Tsvangirai and President Mugabe have chosen to personalise the issues at hand, Simba Makoni has been steadfast in a pursuit for a national agenda. It is for that reason why all well meaning Zimbabeans need to rally behind a vision for a New Dawn. A Zimbabwe in which we all can express ourselves in word and in deed without self censoship, fear or favour.

Comments by Peter Nyanga (2008-02-25 03:00:40) from South Africa

It's almost like a movie - using terminology like da da - the Makoni factor. Look this is Africa, we are not americans so where does "factor" come from. makoni got it between the eyes this morning when was interviewed on South African radio. He is zanupf and will remain zanupf forever and if he is so stupid as to think that people are going to forget about Gukuruhundi and more...
Where was Makoni?
During Murambatsvina?
while Mugabe was destroying the economy?
Whilst the opposition were being bashed last March?
Whilst Mugabe was rigging elections?
Whilst the CIO were bashing woza?
He is dreaming and he got his come upance this morning because Zimbabweans are angry. Does Makoni think we are stupid? We want justice and we are not going forget abot it. He is zanupf and will remain zanupf till the day he dies. We don't want zanupf any longer.

Comments by Peter Nyanga (2008-02-25 03:18:17) from South Africa

What some of you are saying is that Bennett (notice the spelling because some of you can't spell) has personal issues with zanupf. He's not alone on this one so let's not beat about the bush. People are sick and tired of being abused by zanupf. Of course there are some who have made huge amounts of money beuing zanupf and it is expected that even if they are no longer in zanupf, for various reasons and we all know what those are, they will still have friends in zanupf. What does this mean? If you want to protect your ill-gotten gains or get back on the gravy train, you are going to try and belittle people like Bennett and cosy up to your friends in zanupf. Bennett is right. Zanupf have had their chance and look at what they have done. Zimbabweans no longer want a zanupf with a new face, Zimbabweans want real change and IF, by some minute chance, the rigging is exposed, Zimbabweans will get the change they so desperately desire

Comments by Chinyange (2008-02-25 03:18:19) from Zimbabwe

I am failing to understand the logic behind the MDC faction led by Tsvangirai. They want change, but they know that they, by themselves, can not bring that change to the people of Zimbabwe. The only way they can make a contribution towards deliverance of a New Zimbabwe is through alliance with other progressive movements, the Simba Makoni movement included.

Whether they like it or not, Simba is going to pick a large chunk of votes from the MDC pool, further weakening it. Tsvangirayi, the people of Zim want change. We request you, for the last time, to make a sacrifice. Those scars will continue coming if Mugabe wins. This is our only chance to change the future course of our country.

Let us all embrace it

Comments by kettos (2008-02-25 04:03:03) from rsa

Roy must accept that him and his principal failed hopelessly to change the lives of millions of zimbos.Roy must be made to understand that its not a political party that will bring about change and people are tired of this suffering.Makoni is standing for the people of zimbabwe who are suffering and the only thing he needs is their support which we must all give him.He was zanu,we all know that but he has now left the organization.Please eduacte Roy and tell him that zanupf is an entity which if on its own without the corrupt individuals that are there now is blemishless.It is also apparent that Roy understand that all zimbabweans have a choice as to who they want as their leader its not only the diplomatic community.Whatever personal issues you have zanu pf Roy please dont try and use them to confuse the electorate.I for one Roy will be driving home 3600km to vote Makoni and so is my xtended family

Comments by blm (2008-02-25 04:58:36) from Zimbabwe

Hmmmmm, your site seems a little biased!. I was 100% behind Makoni to begin with, now I am beginning to wonder. There is a little too much protesting about MDC and too much trying to impose Makoni on us ... why! MDC deserves to win the election, it has nearly 10 years of experience behind it. It genuinely has the interests of the people and Zimbabwe at heart. I\'m beginning to wonder about this website of yours Mr Mawere.

Comments by Nhamo-musarira (2008-02-25 08:29:14) from UK

Now that Tsvangirai says the second revolution belongs to him alone and ZANU says the first is theirs and noone else is allowed to contribute to nation building. I think we are left with Simba makoni alone national agenda not personal glory like the two the other two sides. Simba has a place for Morgana and mugabe because both did something for the country and that is a unifying factor we need in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans need to forget their political party affiliation, tribal background or socila status to aim at on thing for now which is : rebuilding Zimbabwe. I think from makoni's statements so far and in his manifesto the major issues are not 'ME' as in Mugabe and Tsvangirai but; 'ZIMBABWE'Honestly Mugabe has run his race very well according to the prevailing environment but his time is up and tsvangirai did his bit as well but can not run that country its in everyone's eyes. Who can doubt that we are left with one genuine candidate in the name of Simba Makoni. This is my opinion i am afraid the way the Tsvangirai group do not want people to express their views on this,will never want to this one. But that is the sad thing because they say they are democratic and mugabe is autocratic.

Comments by Regis Nyamakanga (2008-02-25 12:30:31) from South Africa

I agree with your comment. Bennet is not just myopic and shallow just like the rest of them in MDC, but he is a die-hard racist.

Comments by Percy Takunda (2008-02-25 12:47:40) from Johannesburg

There is a lot of excitement and emotion going into the last 4 weeks before the election. And I believe Dr.Makoni is what the doctor ordered. When fighting the enemy for so long you are indanger of becoming what you fight. A lot of pain has gone into this fight against Mugabe and people like Mr.Bennet are now treading the line of tyranny and anarchy based on the fight. Irrespective of who wins between Makoni and Tsvangirai we shall have to build a country and all progressive forces are necessary.This culture of polorazation we are inheriting from Mugabe is dangerous and will get us nowhere lets extend the hand of reconciliation in an effort to build a nation with a common identity. Mr Bennet and his personal issues with Zanu should not cloud our vision of a United Zimbabwe.

Comments by Thomas Nyikayaramba (2008-02-26 01:48:50) from Zimbabwe

I totlally agree with you Mawere. Not everything done by President Mugabe is wrong. There is need to form a national government of Zimbabwe based on all people who can bring change to Zimbabwe. I personally view Mugabe as a liability currently, not ZANU PF as a party.

I have questions to ask Mr Bennet:
1) Where was he when Smith was plundering and oppressing blacks in Zimbabwe?
2) Whats the difference, in crime, between the ZANU PF guys and Smith's guys? Why should Mugabe's brutality be an issue yet he is silent on Smith's crimes? Just as Makoni was ZANU PF, he Bennett was Rhodesia Front.
3) If Tsvangirai deserves the state house because he has been bruterised, why does he think Mugabe does not deserve it if Mugabe was beaten and jailed?

Its not an issue of what price an individual has paid, but rather an issue of Nation building. We need all brains to build not jailing the brains at the expense of nation building.

From my personal point of view, we need progressive change in Zimbabwe. Change that will make us build our economy and progress. Such change is only evitable if all Zimbabweans irrespective of colour or party participate in nation building.

Tsvangirai as an individual lacks Presidential qualities. He also lacks strategies. He has made too much mistakes and can't be relied on. Tsvangirai just like Mugabe is now an expense.

Comments by Kwame Buthelezi (2008-02-26 02:25:02) from South Afrika

I have one serious problem, I cant finish reading any piece once I see its packed with nonsense, thats why i did not finish reading benet's interview..........I'd like to plagiarise Regis's comment: I agree with your comment. Bennet is not just myopic and shallow just like the rest of them in MDC, but he is a die-hard racist.

Comments by Kwame Buthelezi (2008-02-26 04:59:04) from South Afrika

Very powerful and to the point Response Mr Mawere, very true!. But the problem we are talking to fools in trying to talk sense with the likes of Bennet and Morgan with their village politics, he believes just because he can speak Shona (it used to fascinate villagers back in the day kuti murungu anotawura Shona...not anymore!)then he is one of us...We are not idiots wena benett!, us'jwayela kabi!!

Comments by Murehwa (2008-02-26 09:09:26) from Australia

Having many players in the democratic process is healthy and it is Makoni's absolute right to stand for the presidency so is Tsvangirayi or even yourself Mawere if you were Zimbabwean. I find comments by the majority of forunmites here suggesting Tsvangirayi handover his right to Makoni laughable. Here is a man who yesterday was part and parcel of the insane decisions to destroy our parents' homesteads, businesses and lives (murambatsvina, price blitz etc), failed to appeal better judgement (on SA radio talk show) and apologise for all the madness he was part of.
He now wants us to take a holiday from our history in which he was part of saying:
-the killing of Gift Tandare and others was not relevant
-the beating of opposition leaders was irrelevant
-the stealing of elections does not matter
-the environment is perfect for a free and fair election.
-murambatsvina is not relevant.
Surely Zimbabweans can not be that blind.

Comments by Simba (2008-02-26 12:58:57) from South Africa

Mr Mawere, i must say that i'm dissapointed with the tone of your arguments, while you're entitled to your own opinion it may be difficult to be convinced that your sentiments about the political situation at home are not selfish. You have issues with the ZANU PF gvt over their stance on the economy, property rights, governance and the behaviour of the Central Bank to an extent that only foreign courts gave you justice which may not be easily enforceable in Zim. While ordinarily it would be progressive for Zimbabweans across the board to work together for the good of the nation, there are special cases that may need to be excluded from such cooperation. While you argue that Mugabe appointed a member of Smith's gvt into his post independence gvt, it would want to beleive that there were members of ZANU PF who could have been included in an MDC gvt, i make specific mention of Simba Makoni. It is true that he has enjoyed wide appeal across the political divide until recently when he decided to go independent. What Roy Bennet was suggesting is that there are some that are difficult to forgive. Patrick Chinamasa went on a personal campaign to get rid of other citizens in the guise of land reform and he went about it arrogantly hence the parliamentary confrontation that saw Roy go to prison. We can not turn a blind eye to such individuals who have allowed the chaos to flourish for their own selfish ends and suggest that because the hold Zimbabwean citizenship they become elligible for gvt appointments...the hell no. You were robbed of your companies by ZANU PF mooted strategies and you were not alone... Murambitsvina robbed some of us of businesses, Roy was robbed of a farm. It very insensitive for you to expect us to accept the whole ZANU PF lot. You can afford to seek some measure of justice elsewhere and even get a new beggining abroad...for some of us thats a dream. The architects of all this was ZANU PF and hence the reason to make wholesale changes should an MDC gvt come into power. Simba Makoni is arrogant to even suggest that he is focused about the future and is not ready to attend to the past...we need justice for Murambatsvina, Gukurahundi, political violence,etc

Comments by Francis Mwale (2008-02-28 01:00:45) from Zimbabwe

There is only one point to look at. Where will we be if the post Mugabe era proposes suggested by MDC Tsvangirai is blind of the real choices that governments have to face. Government is not child's play, it is serious business where choices mean destiny. To suggest that the Movement is mature to run a country says to me, Be Very Scared!

Comments by One Soul Zimbabwe (2008-03-05 07:44:40) from Zim

Roy Pachedu Benett is a wonderfull man with a great soul for his neighbours, country and friends, a non-choosy figure in deed. One who mingles with anyone easily. It is only one day when he was mentally condemned to life by the creator when he was made a child of a rhodesian settler, my heart bleeds for the poor man. Rather than enjoying the enviroment he grew in he was drilled to be a product of a false destiny. Punished when he played in the compound with black kids, taught to maltreat any blackman. Treat black people as children. Made to claim properties that were violently taken from natives. Went to racist schools where his race was supreme. Taught racist history and literature that aproved hanging of native \"rebels\" like Nehanda for leading their communities against land policies. Benett would have been a better boy if only then he grew up normally like other black boys in africa or white boys in europe or even asian boys in Asia. His people abused his intellect now he is a serious mental case. He becomes hysterical when told simple truth that his fathers were land thiefs, but where? - in the national august house! What a waste, such an energetic person with a mental judgement from the past 100 yrs. The most sorrowful part is that Pachedu does not know his problem when he speaks - its just like a made man. Colonialism affected rhodesians more than native blacks! so goes the say RHODESIANS WILL NEVER DIE. Pachedu\'s position about the current political and economic situation in his country is so correct, his limitation is on how to go about it. The other unfortunate piece of story is Tsvangirai, another mental product of very harsh colonialism - so goes the say RHODESIAN PRODUCT ARE PERFECT INDIVIDUALS. They can only see what the \"master\" wants. I met Morgan many a times and I like his simplicity, what a good fela indeed. Morgan was put by people who are in dire need for political and economic change and his bravery as supported by his people is legendary. It is only in the thinking that one takes a deep cautious look at tsvangirai and pachedu. The 2 seem to be getting along well but they really don\'t know why they easily associate like that - they are examples of pure products of a \'socio-genetically\' engineered colonial mentality. We are in the same trenches and fighting the same war but we are so different people from the same locality. It is difficult for Tsvangirai/Pachedu to fight our war from any other ankle except being protégés of a rhodhie front, without the 2 men realising it they just show it inherently when they open their mouths. they are urinating on our cause.

Comments by Conversations with Mawere and Roy Bennett (2008-03-09 12:40:04) from Zimbabwe

At 28, the country has come of age and yet the political discourse even at this eleventh hour of change suggests that more effort needs to be exerted to locate the change agenda in broader context than the political actors that may be on stage. (The more contenders the better. However, it is a well known fact that zanupf won’t tolerate serious contenders to their power – history has proved beyond any doubt that zanupf uses brutal violence on any opposition perceived as a threat. The Tsvangirai MDC is a classic example where zanupf uses state organs and structures to
violently crush opposition. Zanupf only tolerates opposition that is ineffective, such as the Mutambara splinter faction which calls itself the MDC. Time will tell whether it sees zanupf-Makoni as real threat)
Zimbabweans will make a choice about who should become their President for the next five years on 29 March 2008. However, it is evident that an investment is urgently required to improve political literacy of not only the registered voters but all interested parties who must and should play a part in helping shape the destiny of the country. (Political literacy? Is Mawere inferring that Zimbabweans are illiterate and need re-education? One would need justification to prove such an outrageous statement. Are Zimbabweans that stupid that they don’t understand how to vote? It is a well recognised fact that Zimbabweans are the most educated and literate people on the African continent. Which planet is Mawere coming from? Where does he get such bland and unfounded pronouncements? This is Zimbabwe, not some underdeveloped backwater in eastern China)
Over the last 8 years, the political landscape of Zimbabwe has been dominated by two major political groupings i.e. MDC and ZANU-PF. (Absolute and complete rubbish – Mawere is playing the zanupf game. The truth is that the political landscape has been dominated and driven by zanupf violence. The victims have been, in the main, the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai) ZANU-PF inherited the colonial state and it is evident that the members of MDC would not be satisfied with any post-Mugabe construction (what about using “destruction” because there absolutely no evidence to suggest that there was any “construction” under the zanupf. If there was, it was the construction of huge bank accounts for chefs) in which they will play second fiddle to anyone. (which makes Mawere’s last statement ludicrous in the extreme. If you look around Zimbabwe, where is the proof of any “construction” ? Mugabe has destroyed every structure of colonialism, good or bad, including inherited infrastructure and driven Zimbabwe backwards by over half a century. So in a sense, Mawere is right to assume that “the MDC would not be satisfied with any post-Mugabe “construction” because there isn’t any. But then who, in their right mind would? Mawere?) At independence, the attitude of ZANU-PF was not dissimilar to the attitude of MDC (Mawere is now taking the readers on a journey of fantasy. Although he fails to explain or substantiate his dream world of Disneyland. In fact there are definite zanupf tendencies in the tenor of what he is saying – say it often enough and people will believe it ! However, Zimbabweans know better than that. So who is his audience? The West? Or is it China?) and it is not farfetched to suggest that is ZANU (Mawere was a loyal zanupf member for many years so maybe he knows something that we don’t know. It would be nice if he would explain further as there is no point in playing a game of semantics or supposition) did not win the 1980 elections; the liberation struggle was going to continue.
Although the liberation struggle was prosecuted with the sole objective of restoring sovereignty to the people, it is instructive that only ZANU was advanced as the only authentic custodian of such sovereignty. (and who might one ask was “advancing” this scenario? Was it the MDC? Or was it those in the politburo of zanupf? And who was in the politburo at that time and who is now doing a rear flank action to fool the people of Zimbabwe?) In such an environment, elections do not really matter and yet Zimbabwe finds itself in 2008 at the crossroads and painful choices have to be made. Fatigue is evident but hope is missing in action. (How surprising? Mawere refuses to say why? For the benefit of Mawere and others who don’t know, it is because of violence, murder, rape and other abuses perpetrated by zanupf. Mugabe declared war (ever heard of the 3rd Chimurenga?) against the innocent people of Zimbabwe. He has brutalised Zimbabweans, with such impunity and to such an extent that some 4 million have fled their homeland and a further 2 million remain as internal refugees in their own country. What’s worse, Africa’s leadership have supported Mugabe to the hilt, giving him the space and protection to fulfil his genocidal dreams. So saying glibly that Zimbabweans have lost hope without explaining why is a further example of Mawere’s bland epistle.)
When a new beginning is about to come it is normally evident as it was after the Lancaster House constitutional talks were successfully completed. What is different about 2008 is that the two political actors President Mugabe and Tsvangirai who have dominated the political scene for the last 8 years are not prepared to accept the inevitable that Zimbabwe needs to turn a new leaf. (Mawere is trying desperately hard to apply linkages between Zanupf and the MDC. Oh, and by the way, Mawere’s “New Beginning” has been conveniently borrows from Tsvangirai’s MDC slogan. Is he perhaps seeing the light here? Whatever the case, Zimbabweans are simply not so stupid as to swallow such Mawere assertions. They already know what they want) The country’s future has regrettably now been reduced to the fate of these two individuals. ( Mawere is trying to shift blame, yet again. He’s wrong in every respect – it’s one, Robert Mugabe and his corrupt regime. Let’s not beat about the bush. Who else was a senior member of the politburo who won’t accept any responsibility for the destruction of Zimbabwe? Don’t keep us in suspense Mr Mawere.)
Rationality has now been subordinated to political expediency. (By who Mr Mawere? If Mr Mawere was forthright and said zanupf, he would be correct and would be in line with what most Zimbabweans believe. But he doesn’t or won’t say who and one would have to wonder if he really knows.) President Mugabe cannot imagine a day in which he would call Tsvangirai his commander-in-chief (neither can any Zimbabweans – given what Mugabe has done already) and at the same time, Tsvangirai regards President Mugabe as illegitimate. (It’s not only Tsvangirai who thinks that Mugabe is illegitimate – most Zimbabweans do. Tsvangirai is not alone. In fact Tsvangirai is just one of the majority of Zimbabweans who share this view. As for commander-in-chief, does Mawere not read the news? And anyway, who in their right mind would want to be Mugabe’s Commander-in-chief?) The MDC has accepted that the outcome of the forthcoming elections has been predetermined (It is not only the MDC who think way. A wide range of respectable organisations and countries share this view. The outward signs are there for all to see. The MDC is simply partaking to expose the extent of the rigging) and yet no consensus exists on how to respond. (that’s not correct – Mr Mawere really needs to speak to Zimbabweans to get a better understanding of how they think and feel) The polarisation of the Zimbabwean politics is largely a reflection of the architecture of the colonial state where no democratic avenue existed for change. (another trait that seems to be inherited by zanupf is the constant use colonialism as an excuse for every single failure of zanupf. It’s quite clear where the polarisation exists. It exists in the violent zanupf party. They have no tolerance whatsoever. It has nothing to do with colonialism)

President Mugabe has not accepted that there is no better Zimbabwean than him to preside over the state (At last we can agree on something, then Mr Mawere falls to pieces again ……) and equally Tsvangirai has made the point that real change must situate him in the statehouse. (Prove it Mr Mawere, show us where he has said this? You are using words here which are simply misleading and character assassinating – you are wrong in your assumptions Mr Mawere) The Rhodesian economy (it’s now called Zimbabwe Mr Mawere – where have you been all these years?)is on its knees and President Mugabe is not convinced that he may be a liability rather he genuinely believes that the future of Zimbabwe is brighter under his watch. (it’s surprising Mawere hasn’t shared the blame with Tsvangirai. Was this an oversight?) On the other hand, Tsvangirai is convinced that he has paid his school fees and the scars that have been inflicted on his body must be rewarded with a new address at statehouse. (dream on Mawere, dream on……. Where does he find all his machinations)

Whether the people of Zimbabwe are tired of this kind of political bickering (Mr Mawere’s ?) is no longer an issue for the two opposition parties. Until recently, the two individuals were the only principal political actors but this has changed with the emergence of Simba Makoni as a candidate. (Da da! …. ENTER Mawere’s hero to his fairy tale. Why did it take so long? The audience has been waiting all evening for this) Many have associated the world view of President Mugabe with his political party and yet the reality may suggest that ZANU-PF has failed to establish itself as a party of principles and a shared political morality. (Do I see a deliberate attempt to take zanupf out of the equation and dump all the blame on poor old Mugabe? Just because we killed 20 people in Matabeleland and Midlands, it’s not our fault. Murambatsvina? Not us either, he screeches – it was Robert Mugabe. The buck stops with him, he shouts. The truth is that there will one day be a truth and reconciliation and ALL those thugs in zanupf who have brutalised the people will be prosecuted. Get used to it because as sure as the sun shine, it’s going to happen and it has been well documented as to who has carried out these crimes) President Mugabe (with a little help of his friends) has dominated the party for too long to the extent that his personality has now become part of what many people perceive to be ZANU-PF. What President Mugabe thinks usually becomes the order of the day. (Zanupf is Robert Mugabe, Mugabe is zanupf, zanupf are zanupf and true justice will prevail one day soon)

At independence, Zimbabweans adopted a Republican constitution underpinned by a shared desire to create a new society founded on republican values. Although the colonial state was founded on the premise that it was irresponsible to give natives civil rights, it is not evident after 28 years of independence that Zimbabweans notwithstanding the election rituals are any more free to shape and define their destinies than at independence. (yawn, another revelation comes forth)

The Movement for Democratic Change was expected to introduce a new culture in Zimbabwean politics and on the eve of the forthcoming defining elections it is significant that Mr. Roy Bennett, Treasurer of the party, shared his insights on the kind of Zimbabwe he and his party wants to see. Mr. Bennett was a beneficiary of the colonial system that Mugabe fought against and yet at independence, Mugabe was magnanimous enough to embrace his former adversaries. (ah a beneficiary, says poor Mr Mawere? How many degrees has Bennett got? Does Mr Mawere have intimate knowledge of Bennett’s background or he doing what most zanupf stalwarts do – guess or make it up in the hope that he can sell a false impression. Or is it an assumption based a racist premise that because Bennett is white, he must have been a beneficiary. Zimbabweans need proof here Mr Mawere, not political image work)
Having carefully read Mr. Bennett’s interview with Ms. Violet Gonda of SW Radio Africa, I thought it is important to capture some of the significant issues (good idea Mr Mawere, let’s do it) that he addressed so as to enhance the quality of conversations that are taking place among not only Zimbabweans who have a direct interest in the outcome of the elections but friends of Zimbabwe who may have an indirect or remote interest in the future of the country.

Although the interview covered a whole range of critical issues that help define the kind of thinking that informs the MDC, I thought it is important to locate Mr. Bennett’s thinking in a broader context of key construction and foundational principles that I feel were overlooked by all concerned in the enterprise of post colonial nation building. (What’s your point Mr Mawere? What has this got to do with Bennett?)
Article 28 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides as follows in relation to the qualification and election of the President:
(1) A person shall be qualified for election as President if—
(a) he is a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth or by descent; and
(b) he has attained the age of forty years; and
(c) he is ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.
(2) The President shall be elected by voters registered on the common roll.
(Subsection as amended by s.2 of Act 15 of 1990 - Amdmt No.10).
(3) An election to the office of President shall take place within ninety days—
(a) before the term of office of the President expires in terms of section 29; or
(b) after the office of President becomes vacant by reason of his death or his resignation or removal from office in terms of this Constitution;as the case may be.
It is evident that there is nothing in the constitution of Zimbabwe that says that an interested citizen must belong to a political party for him/her to be eligible for the highest office in the land. (agreed) Any democrat who believes in the supremacy of the constitution would find it hard to criticise any Zimbabwean who registers and whose nomination is accepted by the Court to run for the office of President.
However, nomination of Simba Makoni has exposed not only ZANU-PF but MDC’s lip service (MDC lip service? Does Mr Mawere understand the meaning of the word “lip service”?) commitment to the constitutional order that ought to have informed the post colonial democratic regime. President Mugabe has already made his comments about Makoni preferring to label him as a prostitute (What’s your point Mr Mawere. As a past member of zanupf, you should know that name-calling is a zanupf hallmark) only because he chose to offer himself as an independent candidate after being dismissed from the party following his decision to offer himself as available for nomination as a candidate for the post of state President. (So why even use the word MDC in the above paragraph. Is this another attempt to demean the MDC? Because if it is, it’s not working Mr Mawere. Most Zimbabweans won’t buy your fantasy)

If America was Zimbabwe, (it not Mr Mawere, you fantasising again) it is not difficult to imagine how Obama would have been treated for imagining that the Zimbabwean promise included satisfying his aspiration to lead his people to a new destination. (really?) There is nothing that would have stopped Makoni from being nominated as a candidate for the state Presidency under the ZANU-PF ticket because for anyone to be eligible for the post, the Nomination Court has the final say. There is no provision in the constitution that a candidate has to be the President of a political party to be eligible for nomination. (What’s your point Mr Mawere?)
The involvement of political parties in the nomination process has tended to undermine the constitutional order in that the process used has been fraught with problems to the extent that in the case of both MDC and ZANU-PF, there is no consensus on the candidates nominated. (who knows about zanupf but Mr Mawere is guessing when it comes to the MDC and he’s wrong) It is unlikely that the test used for Makoni will be applied to all the parliamentary candidates who elected to challenge the parties and proceeded to get their names nominated as party candidates outside the party list. (Mr Mawere, you are simply hanging out zanupf dirty washing. Zimbabwe and Tsvangirai don’t for any part of your complaint. Talk to your friends in zanupf, surely they can help you)
To the extent that President Mugabe purports to be a democrat, it is ironic that he would have a problem in Makoni exercising his democratic right to offer his name to be considered by the people. (Ask any Zimbabwean and they will tell Mr Mawere that Mugabe is certainly not a democrat, so there is no irony whatsoever) The President took an oath to respect and uphold the constitution of the country and yet he is the first person to criticise Makoni for doing what the constitution entitles him to do. (It’s most rather odd that Mr Mawere doesn’t seem know that Mugabe has trashed the constitution of Zimbabwe time and time again. Why is he so bogged down with this when the whole of Zimbabwe already knows? Hasn’t anyone told him? This give new meaning to “being completely out of touch”) If the President’s views are contrary to the provisions of the constitution (“If” he says?) as they appear to be, then surely he has disqualified himself from being the head of state. (Does one get the impression that it is slowly sinking in? Is Mr Mawere touching on the raw nerve of legitimacy here? Let’s read on and find out…….)
There must be something about Simba Makoni that would make President Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree. He has been condemned by both parties (No he hasn’t Mr Mawere. Mugabe has called him names in the good-old zanupf tradition and Tsvangirai has welcomed his coming forward. Where did you dream up such fantasy? The fact that Tsvangirai welcomed Makoni doesn’t mean he has to fall under Makoni as everyone seems to be demanding. Quite the contrary. Makoni is a contestant in the same race) and what is ironic is that even Bennett finds the participation of Makoni as treacherous (Where did Bennett say this? Mr Mawere is taking extreme pain to put words into Bennett’s mouth. It didn’t happen Mr Mawere and it is disingenuous to say that it did) leading to many observers asking the question about what kind of Zimbabwe; people who support Tsvangirai want to see. (really, is that what Mr Mawere thinks? How odd.)

In the afore-mentioned interview, the exchange between Violet and Bennett on the Makoni factor (“The Makoni factor” is hitting box office in Disneyland !!! Buy you tickets now and watch how zanupf re-invented itself and fooled the west!! OR is Mr Mawere the brand manager of Makoni inc, or did Max Factor?) went as follows:

Violet: In your view who is the Diplomatic Community trying to impose?
Bennett: They are trying to impose Simba Makoni right now.
Comment:
While it is accepted that only Zimbabweans are eligible to nominate a citizen who qualifies for the post of President, (correct and that is why Bennett is angry about it.) it is significant that Bennett presumably representing his party has come to the same conclusion that Mugabe came to when Tsvangirai also decided to throw his name in the ring before that for anyone to even imagine of being a President that person must necessarily be a puppet of the west. (Mr Mawere presumes? Does Mr Mawere mix with the diplomatic community? So all we can go on is Mr Mawere’s presumptions or better still, guesses. Give is facts Mr. Mawere. ).
Yesterday, it was argued that Tsvangirai was a puppet of the West (It wasn’t argued Mr Mawere and is the person who said this to be taken seriously) and now Bennett, a person who purports to be a democrat is now arguing that Simba Makoni is not a principal rather is a creation of the diplomatic community.(No he didn’t say that Mr Mawere. He said that certain western countries were supporting Makoni and by doing so were trying to foist Makoni on Zimbabweans – there is a big difference and he could well be right) It is significant that Bennett fails to expose the names of the culprits but it is evident that the USA, EU, Australia, Canada and New Zealand not forgetting the Nordic countries would be on top of the list. (Why wait for Bennett when Mr Mawere already seems to know. Thanks for enlightening us Mr Mawere)

After 8 years of struggle for change in Zimbabwe, one would have expected a person like Bennett to appreciate the need for more players to enter the political space so that voters can have more choices rather than seek to condemn the country into the politics of division and acrimony. (Bennett is only interested in a free and fair elections where the people can vote for the person of their choice. He never said he was against more contestants. Is Mr Mawere trying to mislead us here?)

Violet: Can you talk a bit more about that? What is your assessment on the emergence of Simba Makoni, and what makes you say that the Diplomatic Community is supporting him?

Bennett: Well basically all you have to do is to look at the chattering class, look at the internet that is not available to the average people and listen to the Diplomats and pick up on their communications between each other that’s very, very easy to see. What people don’t realize Violet is that everybody wants a solution to Zimbabwe and they want a quick solution and they want a solution that they believe will happen and that ZANU PF will have to be part of that solution. It’s not going to happen.
The people of Zimbabwe want change, they want rid and gone of ZANU PF and they will settle for nothing else. Again it was the same with the entrance of Arthur Mutambara into the whole issue of the President of the MDC. How and where in the world does someone parachute into a Presidential position never having addressed a branch meeting in the rural areas? And right now as we watch Simba Makoni, we see Simba Makoni walking with three people from his house into a room and making press statements. He tells us he is not alone, we’ve seen nobody else come up and stand next to him. There are rumours of that person and this person but at this stage how can we take him seriously? Have we seen him standing in front of a gathering of people, have we seen him addressing a branch? He throws a manifesto and puts out a manifesto without a political party.
Just say by some fluke chance he gets elected into government and you’ve got the MDC with so many seats and ZANU PF have so many seats, one obviously being in the majority of the other, we have got a Westminster system of government, so how now do you form a government? He has to go back to that party and ask them to form a government. What does this manifesto stand for if he is going to either go to one of them to form a government? Surely it’s their manifesto that is going to count. We have to look a lot deeper into this to understand the dynamics of what is happening. And will not settle for a stooge to be pushed forward to be given a soft landing for the very people who have committed atrocities right across the lengths and breadths of Zimbabwe.

Comment:
Mr. Bennett believes that ZANU-PF is not going to be part of the solution. (After what zanupf have done, can you blame him?) If President Mugabe had taken the same choice at independence that Bennett is proposing now that all white settlers should be rid of and nothing short of this was going to be satisfactory, I do not believe that he would be relevant today in the affairs of Zimbabwe. (Mr Mawere is rushing off at tangents trying hard to build fictional outcomes.) Bennett is of the view that: “The people of Zimbabwe want change, they want rid and gone of ZANU-PF and they will not settle for anything else.” (If Mr Mawere bothered to do his homework and talk to grass roots Zimbabwe, he would soon learn that the people are in harmony with Bennett’s thinking. Zanupf have caused the problem and now they cannot extract themselves from the problem.) When Bennett talks of the people of Zimbabwe it is not clear who he is referring to. (To clarify Mr Mawere’s lack of knowledge of who Bennett is referring to. It is the grass roots ordinary people of Zimbabwe.) Does he speak for all the people of Zimbabwe? (not necessarily and he doesn’t profess to. Does Mr. Mawere speak for the people of Zimbabwe or is he speaking for Simba Makoni) How did he come to establish that the people of Zimbabwe have reached this conclusion (because he is more in touch Mr Mawere) and yet accept that elections are important for Zimbabweans to decide on who should govern them? (he never said that or inferred that Mr Mawere. Listen to the interview again and learn)
When Bennett says that the people of Zimbabwe want ZANU-PF to be eliminated what precisely does he mean? (Being ex-zanupf, it doesn’t mean what you think Mr Mawere. Bennett is using a euphemism that zanupf will be decimated at the polls. You are looking for something that’s not there Mr Mawere. Did you not listen to Bennett saying that the MDC was against all kinds of violence?) Does it mean that ZANU-PF as a body corporate will be de-registered or banned under the Tsvangirai era in as much as ZANU and other parties were banned during the colonial state? (dreaming again Mr Mawere. You are beginning to think along zanupf lines) Does it mean that a victory by MDC will return Zimbabwe to its colonial past where participation in political activities was criminalised? (The MDC manifesto is available to everyone – get a copy and read it Mr Mawere. Your machinations are beginning to get out of control. It’s almost as if you are getting as paranoid as most zanupf stalwarts. Get a grip of your imagination Mr Mawere and get back to the real world)
If Mugabe could accept that the Rhodesia Front was as Zimbabwean as ZANU at independence, what are we to make of Bennett’s views? (Make what you like Mr Mawere but you are painting a picture out of thin air.) Is it the case that when the MDC is talking of change it means that only Tsvangirai and his colleagues’ views will be the gospel in the new Zimbabwe? (your still dreaming and fantasising Mr. Mawere. Where are the facts to substantiate this drivel?) It is important that Mr. Tsvangirai clarifies his position on this defining nation building issue. (Wash your ears Mr Mawere, he has given a position statement in many public forums and the media. Where have you been Mr Mawere? There is nothing to clarify?)
Again Bennett like Mugabe (Here we go again – Mr Mawere, you are becoming beyond boring with your concocted drivel. When has Bennett ever said this?) believes that it is wrong for Makoni to have entered the race as an independent when he said: “How and where in the world does someone parachute into a Presidential position never having addressed a branch meeting in the rural areas? Was it the intention of the founding fathers of Zimbabwe that for any citizen to be eligible for nomination to the post of President they need to belong to political clubs? If this was the case, then surely the constitution should have provided for this. (Mr Mawere is now becoming totally confused. The parachute was worn by none other than the rocket scientist, not Makoni. You weren’t following it were you Mr Mawere?)
Bennett finds it wrong (no he doesn’t, when did he say he was wrong?) for Makoni to have a small circle of friends and supporters and then uses this to suggest that he should not be taken seriously. (Did he say that Mr Mawere are you dreaming it up? There is no evidence in the transcript to substantiate a word of what you are saying) I would have thought that a person who purports to be a democrat would find no offence in Makoni becoming a candidate in an open race. (Bennett has no offence whatsoever but in politics, an adversary is an adversary. Does Mr Mawere expect Bennett to cower before Makoni or what?) It should be left to the voters (that’s exactly what Bennett said) to make their choices but it is evident that there are some Zimbabweans who believe that the constitution was written for a select few. (It is presumed that Mr Mawere is thinking of Mugabe here) On this point, it appears that President Mugabe’s views are not entirely different from those of Bennett suggesting that the kind of change that the MDC may be seeking for may be more dangerous than what is prevailing now. (Now Mr Mawere is talking completely unsubstantiated rubbish and trying to denigrate a political adversary on pure assumptions. How shallow and naïve does he think his audience is? Does he think Zimbabweans will believe these rantings? If he does, then he must have some issues to attend to.)
It is true that Makoni like Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been nominated in a similar manner and it would be wrong for anyone to suggest that Makoni should have been disqualified in violation of the constitution necessarily because he has not addressed a rally. (that’s a mouthful, does anyone know what he is getting at?) We should tell Bennett and President Mugabe that the constitution is clear and deliberate on the question of the qualification of the President. (Who is we Mr Mawere? Are you not the only one writing this article? If there are others, are you playing the same smoke and mirrors game as Mr Makoni? I hear he has zanupf strongmen backing him. Are you in the same boat? If so, let us know who “we” are.) To my knowledge the four candidates whose nominations have been accepted by the Court are equal before the law and should be treated as such. It would be contemptuous to then suggest that there should be another litmus test that MDC and ZANU-PF should impose outside the constitution. (You really are mixed up Mr Mawere. The MDC has no say whatsoever. It is politely suggested that you point your questions to the zanupf dictatorship. They are the ones running things downhill at the moment)
Like Bill Clinton who referred to Obama’s foray into Presidential politics as a fairy tale, Bennett has the audacity to say: “Just say by some fluke chance he gets elected into government and you’ve got the MDC with so many seats and ZANU PF have so many seats, one obviously being in the majority of the other, we have got a Westminster system of government, so how now do you form a government?
Bennett is wrong (No you are wrong Mr Mawere, Bennett is referring to the style of government – not the monarchy) to suggest that Zimbabwe has a Westminster system of government. The constitution of Zimbabwe has no provision for a monarchy rather the head of state is elected directly by the people. It may be the case that the President and the majority of the members of Parliament come from the same party but the constitution of Zimbabwe contemplates a situation where a President could be an independent and yet still have a parliament dominated by people from different parties. The Zanufication of Zimbabwean politics may have distorted Bennett’s understanding of the constitutional order obtaining in the country. (Not at all Mr Mawere, it has distorted your understanding. The problem you have is that you are reading into things that are clearly not there. If fact this is getting unbelievably boring)
The President has a different mandate under the Zimbabwean constitution from that of the legislature and will have to select his cabinet from among the elected parliamentarians thanks to the Constitutional Amendment No. 18 that now makes it difficult for a President to select his cabinet from outside Parliament. In fact, this amendment may make it difficult for a President to find suitable cabinet members if parliament is dominated by people who may not have much to offer to any government. It does not necessarily mean that being elected as a parliamentarian necessarily makes one a suitable candidate for the executive branch of the government. However, the same system applies in the case of the UK but it is significant that the President is directly elected rather than coming from the majority party.

Bennett then makes a number of factual errors on construction issues like suggesting that if Makoni won the elections he would need to go back to the party and ask them to form a government. The constitution of Zimbabwe does not impose such obligations on a President. All Makoni would need to do is simply to identify parliamentarians who may wish to be considered for appointment to cabinet. The cabinet will have to reflect the choice of the President rather than the choice expressed in an election. I have no doubt that if Makoni were to emerge as a President, then all the parliamentarians who like the majority of Zimbabweans have been yearning for change would be prepared to bury the past and join forces to advance the interests of Zimbabwe. ( you hit the nail right on the head Mr Mawere although Bennett was alluding to it but you never picked it. If, and it is a huge IF, Makoni was elected President, it would be natural to assume that he would select his colleagues in zanupf. After all, he said he is zanupf. He never resigned and he has never spoken out about the horrific human rights violations perpetrated by his party. That’s why so many people can’t trust him. They believe that he is simply re-inventing zanupf by giving it a face-lift to gain international acceptance. It a very clever tactic but Zimbabweans weren’t born yesterday – they see what’s going on here – hence the huge “IF”.)
What is worrying is that people like Bennett who purport to be change agents would rather have President Mugabe and ZANU-PF remain in power rather than open their minds to another alternative that may involve ZANU-PF and MDC parliamentarians. (When did Bennett say this – or are you persisting in talking rubbish, Mr Mawere. This is not even pie in the sky analysis Mr Mawere, you are moving past fantasy into the bazaar.) While it is acceptable that Bennett like many South Africans have invested heavily in one individual, Tsvangirai and President Mandela, respectively, it should not be the case that if Tsvangirai were to lose the election and Makoni were to win then Zimbabweans reject the outcome when it is common cause that the real agenda for change is to get someone other than President Mugabe in statehouse. (Bennett has invested heavily in the people of Zimbabwe and the country as a whole. He is deeply respected by many Zimbabweans and no one with even half a clue is going to believe a word of Mr Mawere’s accusatory dribble)
I would like to believe that the people who support Makoni’s candidature are as patriotic as the people who have supported Tsvangirai and continue to do so. However, it would be wrong for the post-Mugabe era to be reserved for only the MDC as was the colonial state reserved for settlers with no respect for the rule of law and property rights. Zimbabwe needs a new beginning and it is evident that Bennett and his principals are not ready for the new Zimbabwe electing to remain locked in the politics of yesterday. (but Mr Mawere where is you evidence? You are talking from a position of weakness. There is no substance in what you say. In fact, maybe you should take a good look at what you have written, it’s an embarrassment to put it mildly. )
Bennett makes the case that MDC will not settle for a stooge while not accepting the ZANU-PF position that it equally will not settle for a stooge. ( Mr Mawere, would you settle for are stooge. Here’s a question which is surely on people’s lips. Are you a stooge Mr Mawere and do you know what a stooge is?) It is evident that the stalemate will continue while the people of Zimbabwe will continue to be condemned to poverty. ZANU-PF members are convinced that Tsvangirai is a stooge in as much as Bennett believes that Makoni is a stooge so the circus will go on. What a shame that people like Bennett do not have better judgment. (Judgement? What on earth are you trying to say Mr. Mawere. You are losing the plot. The poverty in Zimbabwe is caused by zanupf voodoo policies. It’s their judgement that you should be questioning, not the MDC or Bennett. They didn’t create the mess, it was your party that did it all. So talk to them)
The views of Bennett confirm the widely held view that the new Zimbabwe under the MDC may take Zimbabwe back to Rhodesia. (Mr Mawere has clearly placed himself in the minority of Zimbabwe’s political groupings – zanupf. It is there that the view is widely held. But if you talk to any zanupf member out of earshot of the rest, they’ll tell you that they don’t believe a word of it) Bennett makes the statement that people who have committed atrocities right across the lengths and breadths of Zimbabwe should not be given a soft landing as if to suggest that all the white settlers should be subjected to the same standard for similar transgressions. (Oh so it’s okay to commit atrocities or do two wrongs make a right?) Given the history of Zimbabwe, Bennett of all people should be the last person to hold such views particularly in view of the fact that like Makoni, Tsvangirai and many others he was also a member of ZANU-PF. (until they saw what was really happening – then they got out. But Makoni has been there all the way and he won’t even acknowledge what zanupf have done. Neither have you Mr Mawere. Can we take from it that you and Simba are supporting quiet diplomacy too?) President Mandela has been credited for putting South Africa above his personal injuries and it is regrettable that people like Bennett would want a new Zimbabwe that is divisive and less tolerant. Imagine Mugabe reading about Bennett’s interview and what would go through his mind? (No problem, that is why they has a Truth and reconciliation and that is exactly what the MDC is going to implement. They took the lead from Mandela)

Violet: So what do you think are the implications of Makoni’s candidature?
Bennett: Well I think when I give it some deep thought and look into the whole issue, I can only think of one thing, Violet. I can think that having no party, standing as an independent President, he is going to have to form a government. Should, and he is only banking on ZANU PF because he is a ZANU PF man he’s banking that ZANU PF will win the highest number of seats within parliament. Mugabe will be very, very embarrassed because they have won the highest number of seats and he will have been defeated as President. So he will have to stand down or they will have to have a vote of no confidence and remove him, in which case they will call a congress and then appoint Simba Makoni as the President and therefore he can take off as President of Zimbabwe.
Comment:
Is it the case that Makoni is a ZANU-PF man? (there is no evidence to suggest otherwise) If so, what would stop people calling Bennett a racist only because he was part of the colonial system that excluded the majority from political and economic participation? (nothing it’s a free world so go to it Mr. Mawere. But calling the kettle black might just blow up in your face.) This raises the question about the key constructional issues of the post colonial state. If it was founded on principles of forgiveness then surely that must be evident in the language of the political actors. Is it ironic in the case of the US that in as much as there may be disagreement among the various political actors about the reasons for going into Iraq, there is no suggestion that after a new President is elected his mission would be to eliminate Republicans from America and also seek to disqualify any republican from running for office. (This is Zimbabwe, Mr. Mawere, not Iraq. You are going into a blind alley)

President Mugabe has been nominated and he is a candidate like Tsvangirai and Makoni and, therefore, he has no choice but to abide to the will of the people. Zimbabwe’s sovereignty resides in the people and it should be left to the owners of Zimbabwe to pronounce their opinion on who should govern the country. (That is not a revelation Mr Mawere, we all know that. The problem is that zanupf has got completely confused as to the meaning of the word. Zanupf think that sovereignty means zanupf.inc. And given that Makoni says he is zanupf, it can be safely assumed that he thinks the same)

Violet: What I also don’t understand and maybe you can give us your thoughts on this. Many people say that Makoni is just an extension of ZANU PF and that if the goal is to keep the regime in power, so why not just have Makoni stand as the ZANU PF candidate instead of him becoming and independent candidate?

Bennett: Well for exactly the same reasons as what happened in our split. A minority decides that they want to be President and it’s not being endorsed by the majority. So they connive and make plans to defeat the majority in order to achieve their goals. He was defeated at the presidency of ZANU PF, but now he has come in, and he said that he has people behind him and he is hoping to pick up votes across the board because he is an opportunist and right now it’s ripe for the picking in Zimbabwe because as I said to you earlier an incumbent loses an election and an opposition never wins an election.
An incumbent loses the election by his policies. Every man and his dog today in Zimbabwe want change. Why do they want change, they want change because of their life and difficulties that they face on a day-today basis. There is not a single person who cannot see the failure of ZANU PF and they have lived under the violence and distraction for the last 28 years so they want change. Simba Makoni through his cohorts realized this so they have like opportunists tried to jump in to take advantage of that change in order to then go back to ZANU PF when he is the President and install himself as the President of ZANU PF, and for those that are with him to protect the ill gotten gains, to protect the human rights abuses and not to face the people of Zimbabwe. That’s the way I see it and that’s the way I believe it Violet.
Comment:
It is not accurate for Bennett to state as fact that Makoni was defeated at the Presidency of ZANU-PF. (how come?) My understanding (let’s get it right. Mr Mawere says “not accurate” and then he says “My understanding”. Which is right Mr. Mawere? Understanding does not imply accuracy either Mr Mawere. Or am I to understand that whatever you understand is 100% correct, Give us break Mr Mawere) is that President Mugabe’s terms as President of the Party is due to expire in 2009 and the national elections just happen to occur when he is still the head of the party. Accordingly, as head of the party, he was endorsed as a candidate at the December special congress. No elections were held or called for otherwise all the other office bearers of the party would have been recalled.

Whether Makoni has people behind him or not is irrelevant (what are you trying to hide here Mr. Mawere? We know he has people already hidden in the closet and we understand that they are strongmen. It is relevant Mr Mawere because Zimbabweans don’t like hidden agendas. You should know this) as the voters will be the jury. I should like to believe that even the so-called ZANU-PF political heavyweights have not been given more than one vote each. If this is the case, then the people who can tell Makoni that his time is not now are the people in Zimbabwe. (One has to wonder if Mr Mawere honestly believes a word of what he is saying)
Bennett then labels Makoni an opportunist (of course he is an opportunist. If he really and truly cared about Zimbabwe, he would have left years ago. Makoni can see the writing on the wall as clear as anyone else can) while accepting that it is highly unlikely that the opposition will win. If Bennett concedes that victory is remote should he not be open-minded instead of pre-empting what may emerge as a surprise for the people of Zimbabwe. ( No surprises for guessing Mr Mawere. It’s all hypothetical) If change is the primary agenda for the opposition then surely the MDC must be the first to embrace Makoni for taking the courage to run as an independent. (Why should they embrace a candidate who is clearly zanupf? This is politics, not a singles club although Makoni appears to be in that category) While it is unjustified to call Makoni an opportunist, I am sure that Bennett would take kindly labelled as such. (Really?)
It is a historical fact that Bennett and his fellow settlers were allowed to protect their gains acquired through non-market forces during the colonial era and now would want to suggest that the same policies applicable to beneficiaries of the colonial state be restricted only to ZANU-PF. (Ignorance is bliss as far as Mr. Mawere is concerned, especially as far as Bennett is concerned. History starts in the morning with Mr Mawere and he makes it up as he goes along. This is obviously something he learnt from zanupf. One has to wonder what opportunities zanupf gave Mr Mawere in gaining his empire) He wants ZANU-PF to face the people of Zimbabwe instead of all perpetrators of injustice to face the people of Zimbabwe without favour or prejudice. (really, did he say that?)

Violet: What about the fact that Mutambara MDC is waiting to throw its support behind Simba Makoni?
Bennett: I think that clearly explains that the split in our MDC and that is the way it always has been. They are going home, they are joining ZANU PF where they belong.
Comment:
The fact that Mutambara elected not to offer himself for the Presidency was his personal choice based on his own assessment about his chances of success. (a wise decision because his only constituency was within the leadership of the splinter faction. He had no other constituency in Zimbabwe and he was desperate to find a way out of his dilemma. Makoni fitted perfectly) It is not correct for Bennett to allege that Mutambara played any part in the October 12 split of the MDC. What would be helpful is for Bennett to record historical events accurately rather than to opportunistically seek to shade the truth for political expediency. (Mr Mawere, are you trying to call the kettle black? You are getting lost in detail that isn’t there) The leadership challenges that MDC faced were as natural as the challenges facing many political organisations. ZANU-PF has its own history of such challenges and, therefore, the maturity of any movement is measured by its ability to resolve such challenges. However, it has become a habit for the opposition to blame ZANU-PF even for personal differences that occur between party members. (This is superficial shallow analysis – if you can call analysis. It pure hearsay like most of this long and drawn out missive)
To allege that Mutambara is ZANU-PF is political mischief at its best. I do not think that Bennett is fair to seek to undermine Mutambara who was invited by senior members of the MDC who sought to assert their rights in a party they genuinely believed was betraying the democratic values on which it was founded. (Bennett has not undermined Mutambara in the least and it is mischief to allege that he is) I would like to believe that Mutambara has played his part and history will be kind to him. (What part Mr. Mawere? It would be nice if you would tell us) His input was useful in the Mbeki-led initiative and credit must go to Tsvangirai for accepting the fact that there were two formations of the MDC and the opposition parliamentarians had divided loyalties. (Mutambara was not involved – neither was Tsvangirai. It was Ncube and Biti)
It would be wrong to suggest that the parliamentarians and members of the MDC who chose Mutambara to be their leader are fools. (no one is assuming anything Mr Mawere)
Surely, if change is the motive behind Bennett’s activism then respect of the choices made by others must be the starting point. (what are you assuming Mr. Mawere?) Mutambara has never been a creature of ZANU-PF and his record speaks for itself. It is always easy to criticise other people (well Mr Mawere you are trying but it’s not working for you at all) but it is important to imagine how different the history of Zimbabwe would be if Mutambara had not accepted to lead the leaderless formation that had chosen to differ with Tsvangirai. It is also important to imagine what would have happened if Tsvangirai had been elected President and the differences of opinion had emerged while he was in office. Would Tsvangirai have accepted and respected the right of Ncube, Sibanda and others to differ with him without using the state machinery to discipline them? (try asking him Mr Mawere. You might be surprised with his answer)
The manner in which the MDC has resolved the differences between its members should be a cause for concern especially given the propensity of Africans to abuse state power when they seize it. I can appreciate Bennett’s views on power given his colonial heritage and it may well be the case that Mugabe also inherited the strategies and tactics used by the colonial state to handle his opponents. (dream on Mr Mawere, dream on)
To the extent that Bennett is a senior member of the MDC one has to carefully evaluate his comments because they may have a bearing on key foundational principles of the post-Mugabe era. Anyone with interests in the future of Zimbabwe like me has to factor the Bennett equation in the construction of a new Zimbabwe and implications thereof on the rule of law and black property rights. (black property rights? Don’t other Zimbabweans of other ethnicity count Mr. Mawere? So you want to conveniently leave out anyone else’s rights and at the same time you talk about law and order. You have just blown your cover Mr. Mawere. You are a racist)
Could it be the case that Bennett supports Tsvangirai because a deal on property rights has been cut?
(This is interesting, Mr Mawere is trying to paint a picture here. Let’s turn it round. Has Simba Makoni offered Mr Mawere a gold mine? The reason why this question is asked is that Mr Mawere is trying really hard but going nowhere. What is very clear is that his mindset must have been completely zanufied to the extent that his logic tells him that Bennett is doing secret deals? It’s almost like the unfaithful husband thinking that because he is unfaithful, then naturally so must his wife. Let’s get back to earth and look at the real world for a moment. In Bennett’s case, surely Mr Mawere would know that there are Zimbabwe High Court orders which say Bennett is entitled to his land. Mr Mawere talks about law and order but conveniently ignores High Court orders. Interesting to say the least but it clearly confirms that Mr Mawere is like the rest of zanupf. They don’t respect the Zimbabwe judiciary or Zimbabwean citizens rights. They are partisan and racist) Why would Bennett not be open to allow Zimbabweans to make their own choice in an electoral process without prejudging the outcome? Even if Makoni were to win, it appears that Bennett will still find a reason to manufacture conspiracy theories forgetting that in 1980 the incumbent Muzorewa/Smith lost to ZANU. Equally, ANC won in 1994 in an election where the balance was tilted in favour of the status quo. (It’s rather rich of Mr Mawere to accuse anyone of conspiracy theories. It is abundantly clear from this missive that Mr Mawere’s mind is bristling with crank and bazaar theories. He’s clearly suffering from the unfaithful husband syndrome)
Zimbabwe deserves a new chapter and it is evident that Bennett would rather take the country back and lock it into the polarisation that transformed the Zimbabwean promise into a nightmare. (But Mr Mawere, Zimbabweans are already living a nightmare. They don’t Bennett’s help to get there and it is very much doubtful that Bennett would oblige anyway)
Violet: But wasn’t the ethos of the Mutambara camp - wasn’t it to destroy ZANU PF from within and that included working with reformers within ZANU PF. There are some who believe that Makoni is a moderate and that he could help weaken the Mugabe regime. So if the Tsvangirai MDC is calling for all progressive forces to fight Robert Mugabe, why not form an alliance with him to do so, if that is the case?
Bennett: We understand, that’s why I said, we haven’t seen it yet but we believe from the press and the chattering class and what is thrown at us that Solomon Majuro is backing Simba Makoni. Now, the properties that Solomon Majuro has stolen, the wealth that he has stolen through corrupt practices, do you really think that after the suffering we’ve had in the last eight, nine years by standing up for democracy and challenging the system of ZANU PF of corruption, of murder, of rape and of blunder; do you really think that we could get into bed with him now and call that an alliance of all democracies or an alliance of all democratic forces to defeat the dictators? Why don’t we just join up with Mugabe and say we are all one and let’s just go ahead.
Comment:
Bennett states as fact that Mujuru has stolen some properties without naming the victims. (it’s true Mawere and how is it going to change things if the victims are mentioned?) He also makes allegations that Mujuru has acquired his wealth corruptly without naming the corruptor. (The corruptor? Is this man for real?) He then makes the point that reconciliation is not acceptable in the new Zimbabwe as if to suggest that Mugabe was wrong in forgiving the beneficiaries of the colonial state. ( Pure assumptions Mr Mawere, pure assumptions) I know that Bennett would also find it easy to label me a thief because it is common cause that the colonial state had zero tolerance on black economic empowerment. (How do you know Mr Mawere? And Did you steal anyone’s land? What are you hiding Mr Mawere. What was it like feeding at the trough? Do you know right from wrong? How about law and order? Do you know what really means?) Whatever Bennett acquired during the colonial state (Let’s get back to earth for just another moment. The homework is done. Bennett acquired nothing during the colonial state. He bought his farm in Chimanimani, with the local chief’s consent, after independence, with a certificate of no interest from the zanupf government. It’s becoming very clear that Mr Mawere’s brain seems to be totally conditional on whether the true facts fir his theories. He certainly seems to ignore them if they don’t fit his mindset. It’s sooooooo zanupf) must be accepted as legitimate while any capital accumulation that has been acquired in the post colonial state is easily defined as proceeds of crime.
The criminalisation of the beneficiaries of the post colonial state is regrettably not a monopoly of the MDC. (here we go again. The zanupf assumption reigns in Mr Mawere’s mindset. Make the victim into the criminal and the criminal into the victim Turn the bucket of logic upside down then play the blame game on the entity or person who has taken no part to create the mess) Even (even?) President Mugabe has accepted the notion that black progress necessarily represents corruption. (really? But what has this got to do with Bennett? Mr Mawere is going off subject. This is supposed to be a hate/denigrate Roy Bennett session. Stick to the subject Mr Mawere) The state machinery has been targeted at blacks on the premise that the objective of a post colonial state was not to advance the careers of the previously disadvantaged rather to entrench the wealth primitively acquired during colonialism. (Really Mr Mawere? BUT Mr Mawere if you got a farm – are you disadvantaged? Or is this because you were a chef at the time.)
It is significant that Bennett and his colleagues have invested in a new reality where corruption has taken a black face. (This accusation is said without foundation and Mr. Mawere, have you any idea how embarrassingly stupid your assumptions have become?) Anyone associated with ZANU-PF is then easily labelled corrupt. (C’mon Mr Mawere, be serious, they are as a grouping rotten to the core) To the extent that Bennett now wishes to revisit historical injuries it is important that we all join in this conversation so that we can comprehensively deal with the reasons why poverty in Zimbabwe like many African countries has a black face. (it is not historic at all Mr Mawere and hopefully you have nothing to hide. You are attempting to minimise the horrendous human rights abuses that have be unleashed on the people of Zimbabwe. If that’s the case, you are a disgrace. Why must he leave it to Bennett to highlight the genocide? ) I am acutely aware that in as much as I may be angry at the loss of my assets to the government of Zimbabwe, I would not have acquired any such assets if the colonial state had been under settler control. (well that’s great to hear Mr Mawere. So they left you with some. Zanupf is not all bad then?)
I would not be surprised if Bennett finds the expropriation of my assets justifiable. What is ironic is that in Tsvangirai, Bennett may have found a leader who has also accepted that whites are not corrupt. (Mr Mawere, don’t be surprised at all as it might explain a whole lot about why you have written this piece. Your worry must be – what you did, was it legal? If not, your worries are justified because when the MDC takes power, you will lose it) It would be interesting for Bennett to give us any names of white ZANU-PF cronies and suggest how they should be treated in the post-Mugabe era.(Patience Mr Mawere, Patience, I am sure Bennett will let you know at the appropriate time)
Bennett has made his choice about who should be welcome in his new Zimbabwe in which Tsvangirai would be his superintendent. (when?) The language of Bennett exposes the naivety (naivety? Are you for real Mr Mawere) of some of the most ardent supporters of change in Zimbabwe. They genuinely believe that we are all idiots ( well some of you are Mr. Mawere, especially in zanupf. Whilst we are on the subject, can you tell me what happened to all the bumper harvests?) and for some reason they have more rights than they wish to confer on others. (well you of all people should know all about that Mr Mawere, being ex zanupf)

Violet: Your critics say this issue of people coming from ZANU PF should not really be a factor because a lot of MDC leaders were members of ZANU PF. They say that Mr Tsvangirai was a member of ZANU PF until the late 80s and said nothing during Gukurahundi and that you almost stood as a ZANU PF candidate in 2000. How would you answer them?
Bennett: Very, very simply, Violet. We listen to the call of the people and they told us that ZANU PF was rotten and the policies of ZANU PF were wrong so we formed the opposition. We have welcomed and continued to welcome with absolute open arms anybody who rejects ZANU PF and joins change. We will never accept a lukewarm change within inside ZANU PF and Simba Makoni has come out categorically and said on many, many occasions, he is ZANU PF, he believes in ZANU PF and ZANU PF is his party. So therefore it’s not a case of ZANU PF people leaving ZANU PF coming to join the opposition and fight against everything that’s destroyed our country.
They are saying to us that Morgan Tsvangirai should stand down and we should come under ZANU PF to form this wonderful new country of democracy. Where they have sat on the Politburo, they have sat and stood by very silently and watched every act that has been perpetrated against our country and against the people of our country. So I don’t know Violet whether people think the people of Zimbabwe are fools, whether they think because they are rural devastated populations through the policies of the government, 85% unemployed, can’t get any medical help, can’t eat, whether they think that has affected their brains, I don’t know.
The people of Zimbabwe know what they want. They have stood up for change they have stood behind our President Morgan Tsvangirai a man they can trust, its all about trust. Can I trust Simba Makoni? I very much doubt it. I can trust Morgan Tsvangirai, he’s never ever backtracked on what he stood for, and he has never changed on his quest to stand for the people of Zimbabwe to bring them a better life and a new beginning. That’s where we are Violet, nothing and nobody is going to change us and we are going to get there even if not this time, next time we will keep going, we will keep trying, and we will get there.
Comment:
Bennett alleges that ZANU-PF is rotten and hence the formation of the opposition. (correct) He then makes the conclusion that anyone who is a member of ZANU-PF is not capable of embracing change. (Correct) With a population of about 13 million, not all Zimbabweans are members of political organisations and yet in Bennett’s mind, there are people who can easily be identified as ZANU-PF. (Yes, it easy to identify them because they wear a tattoo on their forehead saying “I am not am not an MDC stooge” – get a life Mr Mawere, your mind is full of plots and counter-plots. What about the real world?) It is accurate to say that less than 10% of Zimbabweans are members of political organisations (stats please – you are being accurate – give us facts) and, therefore, the proposition that change can be located in political parties only is wrong. (if Mawere is correct, then most people should be dead and buried. Millions of people are being fed with western food aid of which zanupf have distribution rights. No zanupf membership card means no food. So where are all the dead bodies Mr Mawere?)
It is common cause (Common cause? Is this a legal term to confuse those illiterate Zimbabweans?) that Makoni was a member of ZANU-PF until he was dismissed. (But Mr Mawere, Makoni has already said that he remains zanupf and the fact that Mnangagwa dismissed him was not technically correct so he remains a member and when the elections are over, no doubt, he intends to re-unite zanupf, which includes all those strongmen who are still hiding in the closet and too scared to come out. Mr Mawere, who are these strong men and why are they hiding?) Under the constitution of Zimbabwe, Makoni’s choice to be a member of ZANU-PF must be respected (so Mawere contradicts himself, he now admits that he is still zanupf? Hey let’s agree on this Mr Mawere – Simba Makoni is still zanupf.) in as much as Bennett’s choice to join the MDC. (Absolutely right here Mr Mawere – no arguments here!) Surely, any new dispensation must entrench the rights of citizens to make their own choices about who they should associate with. (no problem with that Mr Mawere) The suggestion made by Bennett is that ZANU-PF is culpable for the economic meltdown and political crisis when it may well be the case that both the ruling and opposition parties should be held culpable for sacrificing national interest to advance their selfish interests. (Here we go again. Mawere is trying hard to obscure, yet again, and to shift blame with scatter-gun tactics leaving his innocent little enclave of peace and tranquillity unscathed. It isn’t going to work for Mr Mawere. Mr Mawere, how does

Comments by Mazvionaka mabhunu, varoyi nembavha! (2008-03-30 11:17:36) from Zimbabwe

I smell a looser when I read some commends. MDC MT. Election time has come and is to go. If one doesnt have anything to do then take it to the streets to disturb hard working peace loving people shadurwa!

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About

Mutumwa Dziva Mawere (born January 11, 1960 in Bindura, Zimbabwe), is an African business executive, pioneer, financier, banker and entrepreneur best known as the founder and Chairman of Africa Resources Limited ("ARL"). He is known for having built one of the most powerful and influential corporations in Zimbabwe's history

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