THE MDC formations which splintered from the mainstream party led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai sealed their re-unification deal in Harare on Wednesday.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC party dumped Tsvangirai in 2005, accusing him of unleashing violence against senior party officials who dared oppose his dictums.
Tendai Biti, who took over from Ncube as secretary general, nine years later – tread the path beaten by his predecessor and for pretty much the same laments.
The former finance minister and several disgruntled officials walked away following the MDC-T’s disastrous showing in the controversial July 31 2013 elections and the violent reaction by some Tsvangirai supporters to suggestions that the former trade unionist should consider stepping down to allow a new leader to take over.
SPEECH BY MDC PRESIDENT WELSHMAN NCUBE AT THE SIGNING OF THE REUNIFICATION AGREEMENT
Mama Sekai Holland, President of MDC RENEWAL. Pamusoroi Edwin Mushoriwa Vice President MDC. Pamusoroi Baba Chimbaira, Chairman MDC. Ngiyahlonipha njalo uNkomo uChairman we MDC Renewal. Sihloniphe njalo umama u Priscila Misihairabwi-Mushonga, uSecretary General wethu. Ngihloniphe amalunga eNational Executive le national council ze MDC zombili, Ngihloniphe ileadership yonke yakabva kuma province ose eZimbabwe. I acknowledge here today members of the diplomatic corps, members of civil society and representatives of all the other organisations.
Today as has already been pointed out by abakhula bami, is a historic day, a historic day in which I must begin by thanking those who worked tirelessly in the last few months to make today possible and I would to go further than she did and ask the Honourable Biti and Honorable Misihairabwi and their negotiating teams to stand so that we acknowledge them.
One of our problems as a country is that we do not acknowledge enough those who do good work.
Having acknowledged the good work that the negotiators did, acknowledging that the reason that we are here today fundamentally to fix our signatures to the agreement that they negotiated and which has been approved by the required organs of the two parties.
What is significant about our gathering today is to acknowledge that what we are doing as Mai Holland has painstakingly said is to regroup, to rediscover those things that brought us together at the formation of the MDC in 1999 leading to the first inaugural congress in January 2000. Those things that brought us together then are the same things that brought us together again. And those things are recorded in the document that we are going to affix our signatures to today.
They speak to the values and the principles that formed the foundation of our party. Values which along the way as Honourable Biti said, when the struggle against Mugabe became too difficult, when it became too protracted, when it was harder than we had originally thought in 1999, some of us began to admire the tactics and methods of Zanu PF. We began to mimmick the very things we had come together to oppose. We began to tell each other, in Zanu PF lokhu angeke kwenzakale. Yes yes angeke kwenzakala because we are not Zanu PF.
We had an agenda for change that we adopted in 1999. We forgot about that agenda for change and as we go back to our homes today, I want some of you who were there in 1999 to reflect and remember the priority of that agenda for change. That agenda for change focused on a new Constitution for Zimbabwe, focused on good governance for Zimbabwe, we called it our priority number one at the working people’s convention, at the women’s bureau which led to the formation of the MDC.
The things we prioritised then as urgent and needing our attention, remain equally urgent today. Yes we have a new Constitution, yes we went to a referendum, but that constitution remains a paper tiger which has no relationship with what happens in practice. It is our job to complete that agenda for change. But you cannot complete the agenda for democratic change, you cannot preside over a new democratic constitution in the absence of democratic political values.
If we are not able to build truly democratic parties, committed unconditionally and unequivocally to democracy, you will not have a democratic Zimbabwe. All of us in good times pretend to be democrats, even Mugabe pretends and has pretended over the years that his leadership is elected by congress. Those were the good times. That was a facade. When his power was challenged the veneer of pretense was lifted, we see today the nakedness of absence of any pretense any more.
We must remain democrats in our hearts, in our minds, in our entire DNA. And being democrats, we must recognise, we must appreciate that democracy sometimes gives you results not just which you oppose, but results that you strongly disagree with. As a democrat it must be your duty to say I disagree with this, this is wrong but the numbers game that is democracy has given us these results. We must accept it, both in our parties internal to us and in our national political discourse, and what we are doing today is recommitting to those values. They are spelt out more clearly in the document that we are going to sign.
That agenda for change, not just spoke about a new Constitution and good governance, it spoke about economic reform as well. Today the economic conditions of our people are worse than they were in 1999. The joblessness that we spoke about then, remains. The wages which have no relationship with the cost of living remain. The closure of businesses continues as if it were confetti at a wedding.
These are the challenges we must face.
The social factor which was our third priority then remains and it’s captured in the agreement that we are going to sign. The social agenda on health, the social agenda on education, on social services.
And I speak to these things in order to say the narrative in 1999 was a narrative about the lives of people, our narrative was about the working class. Our narrative was about what was it that we were going to do to attend to the basic needs of people.
Somewhere along the line that narrative got simplified and got lost in the simplicity of the narrative. As the young man from Zinasu who came here earlier pointed out, it became a narrative about removing Mugabe. And immediately you then say kana tabvisa Mugabe zvinoreva kuti we will have addressed the issues of the people. But no, from a political strategy point of view, I dare suggest that the moment we speak to that narrative is moment we give victory to Mugabe and Zanu.
Understand me, Mugabe wants us to talk about his removal so that he can talk about our being being puppets of imperialists who want to remove him. You will note those who read the newspapers and follow the goings on in Zanu. All the factions in Zanu, the competition was…whoever was able to persuade Mugabe that they do not want to remove him, they would win the factional war. You must understand the significance of that. Each of the factions wanted the world, wanted Mugabe to believe it was the other faction which wanted him to go, and that is the narrative, even internal to Zanu that Mugabe desires. Because in that narrative you can’t locate the people. The discourse becomes about regime change, becomes about the treasonous ones.
What we are saying in the agreement that we are going to sign today is that as we come together, as we rediscover the spirit of 1999 as we re-embrace our values, we need a different narrative, a narrative that takes us to the origins of our struggle. That is why I stand before you today, a happy man.
I am happy that we are recommitting ourselves to the founding values and principles of the MDC. I am happy that we are recommitting ourselves to the principles of democracy, to the principles of servant leadership, to the principles of patriotism, to the principles of pan Africanism. Recommitting ourselves to the ideals of equality. The equality between men and women, the equality among all Zimbabweans, regardless of language, regardless of place of origin, regardless of the accident of birth over which none of us ever have any control. Those are the things we adhere to. Whether we win or not depends on whether in the next few months, in the next few years, we can prevail on the political discourse of the country so that it is about all the things we agreed to in 1999 which we are recommitting ourselves to today.
Ngiyabonga, ngiyathaba, ngiyajabula ukuthi sonke ngobunengi bethu ngokwehlukana, in our diversity, in our orange colours, in our green colours, we are seeking to derive first from that diversity, that’s why I stand in the scorching sun today to address you. But today is really not a day for speeches, it is a day for us to celebrate, the day to sign the document we are about to sign.
Let me thank all you for travelling throughout the night and being historical witnesses. Let no man, no woman doubt that today is a historical day, because the things we stand for are timeless. They are enduring, they will not change over time. Only our resolve, our commitment might be tested, but the righteousness, the correctness of our cause cannot be disputed.
I thank all of you. I thank all the leadership of the two MDC formations for all the work they have done to make the day possible. Siyalibonga, tatenda.