LADIES and gentlemen, comrades and friends, today (Monday) presents a unique and historic occasion where Zimbabwean political leaders have shown political maturity by signing this MoU.
I must make a few observations that will allow all of us to put everything into perspective and context. There is always the danger of missing the forest for the trees.
The MoU we signed is a very important document as it allows us to begin negotiations on matters affecting our people.
The outcome of this process will lead us to a political settlement, thus allowing us to fashion a new beginning for our people. This we are determined to accomplish within two weeks. Let me emphasise that the agreement we seek to achieve in these negotiations is nothing but a short-term measure and a stop gap effort in pursuit of the resolution of our challenges. It is neither the answer nor the long-term solution.
Beyond the political agreement we need to execute a programme of national healing and rehabilitation of our people. This cannot be done in two weeks. What happened in our country in the past four months has traumatised our people. Our people have been brutalised and dehumanised.
The practice and culture of our country’s politics have been taken back 20 years. There is need for public meetings such as this one we have today, throughout the country; in every city, Mutare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Harare and in every village.
These political leaders we have on stage must address rallies together and say jointly to the people of Zimbabwe: “It is OK to belong to different political parties.
It is OK to vote for whom so ever you wish, and yes the will of the people shall be supreme, respected, and sovereign.” This must be the jointly presented message from political leaders to all citizens, in order to start the healing process.
The political settlement we seek to achieve within two weeks is a stop gap measure. We need a longer conversation among Zimbabweans. In addition to agreeing on the borders of our country, agreeing on the name of the country, why can’t we have a Constitution that we all defend and revere?
A people-driven democratic constitution should be the basis of a sustainable solution to our national problems. With this foundational legal framework in place, the journey towards a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe can then begin.
Such a Constitution cannot be achieved in two weeks, only a commitment to the requisite processes and timeframes of its development is possible.
Furthermore, why can’t we have a shared economic vision, a 20-30 year economic vision for our country? This, the Promised Land, must be developed, discussed and agreed upon by all political parties, civic society, and the business community.
There must be total buy in and ownership of this vision by all Zimbabwean stakeholders. We can then disagree and compete on strategies and tactics of achieving that common vision. The envisioning process cannot be done in two weeks. The most we can do is commit to the concept and principle.
In conclusion, the pursuit of the political settlement we have signed on to today, and the efforts to address the long term issues I have outlined above must be driven by the national interest.
This is not about Arthur Mutambara and his small political party. It is not about Morgan Tsvangirai and his party. It is not about Robert Mugabe and his party. It is about the people of Zimbabwe.