Mugabe now a national security
threat: Zimbabwe President  Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace Mugabe celebrates his re-election unopposed as the leader of Zanu PF for the next five years during the closing day of the 6th Peoples Congress of Zanu PF in Harare on December 6, 2014. Zimbabwe's ruling party on Saturday wrapped up a key congress once again anointing veteran President Robert Mugabe as party leader and putting his wife Grace on a path to follow him into power. The congress elected his wife 49-year-old Grace to head the party's powerful women's wing, which would put her higher among the contenders to succeed Mugabe. AFP PHOTO/JEKESAI NIJIKIZAMA        (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)Ncube

President Robert Mugabe remains the single
biggest threat to national security in
Zimbabwe, opposition MDC president
Welshman Ncube (WN) has said. Ncube last
week talked to The Standard Senior Reporter
Richard Chidza (RC) about the prospects of
an opposition coalition ahead of the 2018
elections, the possibility of a single
candidate to face Mugabe and the recent
wave of protests. Below are excerpts;
the big interview BY RICHARD CHIDZA
RC: How involved is your party in the
opposition coalition proposals? What is the
link between Coalition of Democrats (Code)
for which you will be chair next month and
the National Election Reform Agenda (Nera)?
WN: Code is a political coalition of parties
that have agreed on the need to fight the
2018 elections from a common platform with
a single candidate for each elective office
from the president down to the local
councillor.
Code is in constant and on-going informal
and formal conversations with all key
political parties with a view to arriving at a
position where each and every political party
opposed to the continuation in office of the
Zanu PF government will fight from the same
corner and platform. But Code is much more
than a coming together for electoral
purposes and is thus a democratic platform
where like-minded political parties, bound by
common values and objectives collectively
take responsibility for providing leadership
and solutions which address the multiple and
complex challenges facing our nation.
Membership is open to all opposition political
parties and hopefully civil society
organisations in the near future.
On the other hand, my understanding of
Nera, as its name suggests, is that it is a
platform of political parties which have
agreed to work together under the umbrella
of Nera to campaign for both the
implementation of electoral reforms which are
already part of our laws under the
Constitution and the Electoral Act and the
making of further reforms which remain
necessary and needed, arising out of our
experience with the 2013 harmonised
elections.
As Code, we remain firmly committed to the
idea of a coalition of all political parties
opposed to Zanu PF and are working
tirelessly to reach out to all such parties
without exception.
RC: What is your party position on the issue
of a single presidential candidate for all
opposition parties against President Mugabe
in 2018, or when elections are held?
WN: I have already answered this question in
my answer to your previous question by
indicating that Code, of which MDC is a full
member, is irrevocably committed to working
with others to build a single coalition whose
candidates will face Zanu PF candidates in
2018 right from the office of president to
that of councillor.
RC: Does your party accept Joice Mujuru and
or Morgan Tsvangirai as coalition leaders
given their respective past and what is your
personal relationship with the two?
WN: Who the presidential candidate for the
coalition is going to be if we become
successful in building that grand coalition is
a matter for parties and members of the
coalition to agree upon. Both as Code and
MDC — we will fully and unconditionally back
the agreed candidate, whoever that may be.
RC: Do you have faith — are you prepared to
take part in elections — under the prevailing
electoral playfield and your view of Nera’s
preoccupation with the electoral playfield
vis-a-vis other issues that affect election
outcomes in Zimbabwe?
WN: I believe that all factors which go into
making a free and fair election and which
assist to ensure that election outcomes
match the true will of the people need to be
historically addressed. The opposition cannot
afford to take part in elections under the
present electoral framework where vast
areas of reforms contained in the
Constitution and the Electoral law lie
unimplemented. As long as electoral reforms
which we included in the Constitution and
agreed to during the tenure of the inclusive
government are not implemented, the
electoral system remains overwhelmingly
skewed in favour of Zanu PF.
The non-implementation of electoral reforms
is a major hindrance in ensuring multi-party
democracy and ensuring that electoral
outcomes truly reflect the true will of the
people. Ignoring this crucial factor only
legitimises Zanu PF fraud. The independence
of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC),
involvement of the Registrar-General in
voter registration, an accurate and readily
accessible voters’ roll, fair electoral funding,
voter education, voter registration,
transparent ballot paper counting and
disbursements; observation and monitoring;
access to both public and private media in
campaigning for all political players, post-
election happenings — are factors still
heavily skewed in favour of Zanu PF and if
this situation goes on uncorrected till the
next election it means the outcome is already
predetermined. Zanu PF directly or indirectly
cannot be both the referee and player at the
same time.
RC: What is your view on the usefulness of
on-going mass protests in the country and
the new wave of anti-government movements
such as #ThisFlag and #Tajamuka?
WN: I fully support all citizens’ peaceful
actions designed and intended to bring to an
end the suffering of the citizens of this
beautiful country so badly and cynically
ruined by Zanu PF. These protests are
necessary and long overdue. However, they
must remain peaceful at all times including
when young angry citizens are provoked by
the police and other State agents bent on
discrediting these citizens’ actions. When we
resort to violence, even when highly-
provoked, we undermine our moral standing
to resist the machinations of the regime
which have brought us to this state of
affairs. Thus, demonstrations, stayaways,
marches, Yes, Yes, but violence No, No.
It is also imperative that those who seek to
take action and to demonstrate must have a
game plan, an end game with measurable
outcomes.
RC: President Robert Mugabe’s unrestrained
attack on the judiciary has drawn criticism
from across the board. Do you think he has
become a threat to Zimbabwe as a nation
state and its institutions?
WN: He has not become a threat; he has
“always” been a threat right from the days
of Gukurahundi to this day.
RC: Do you think Zimbabwe can hold up
(economically and politically) until the 2018
polls?
WN: The Zanu PF government must accept
that it has failed. With that acceptance
comes possibilities of settlement which can
take us to 2018. I am neither a soothsayer
nor a crystal ball reader. What I know is
that enough is enough. Our suffering as a
people needs not last a day longer.
Zimbabweans are in deep pain. Poverty and
hunger stalk the nation. We must bring this
to an end somehow, soon.
RC: The current political architecture from
the opposition to the ruling party seems to
have failed Zimbabweans collectively. What is
your view?
WN: It is not the architecture that has failed
us but Zanu PF. As opposition, we have even
won elections in which Zanu PF has refused
to hand over power and cooked election
results.