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Tuesday, February 19, 2008



(Letter by Roy Bennett, MDC Treasurer, to the Editor of The Cape Argus)

UNFORTUNATELY, when (foreign correspondent) Peta Thornycroft allows her personal animosity towards my political party and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to completely distort objective comment, the valued integrity of the Independent Group of Newspapers is jeopardized.

On Sunday February 10 this lack of objectivity was there for all to see. Pointedly in The Sunday Times a sober, unemotional assessment of the current crisis in Zimbabwe was presented in a brilliantly balanced article written by a brave group of Zimbabwean non-aligned activists.

The Independent Paper Group by contrast, thrust forward the discredited notion that our party should throw in the towel in favour of Simba Makoni and abdicate our responsibility to our supporters.

By your own admission Makoni has been a loyal and long-standing member of Zanu-PF's politburo. His record is there for all who care to see. He was silent at the time of Gukurahundi and his overall backers are all the key perpetrators of that massacre. He was complicit and silent at the time rampaging mobs ran through our High Court rendering the rule of law obsolete. He was silent when The Daily News was shut down and the owners and employees were hounded and humiliated.

Makoni even sat in on political discussions and never once raised his voice when defenceless Zimbabweans were rendered homeless, in that shameless act of cruelty Operation Murambatsvina. He was silent when business leaders were assaulted and small businesses bankrupted through price controls.

The time for opportunism is not now. The MDC and their people have suffered the brunt of the same regime that through a “defend power” project of which Makoni was part of, have made the environment ripe for the pickings, as every man and his dog wants change.

Makoni and his own are seeking a soft landing for ill-gotten gains and human rights abuses, and are now attempting to believe in a need for change.

Our party has one message for Zimbabweans. They know very well which political party’s leaders have suffered with the people in our quest to rid Zimbabwe of Zanu-PF. They have full knowledge of the marginalisation and victimisation and the need for a national integration where one day we can all say an Ndebele can be president. The MDC and its leaders have been murdered, tortured and imprisoned and yet would still win the support of the majority of Zimbabweans in a genuinely free vote. If that is not self-evident, and Zanu-PF/ Makoni are confident of victory why do they refuse to implement the SADC, Mauritian declaration, of norms and standards?

Why do Zanu-PF/ Makoni refuse to allow me to return to Zimbabwe, when everyone knows that a prerequisite for the resolution of the South African political crisis was amnesty for a range of politicians such as the late Joe Slovo, Chris Hani etc? Rigged elections remain rigged elections.

The Zimbabwe crisis will only be resolved when genuinely free and fair elections are held. Rigged elections remain rigged elections. The Zimbabwe crisis will only be resolved when genuinely free and fair elections are held and are confirmed as such by a credible body of international observers.

Roy Bennett
Treasurer General, Movement for Democratic Change

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