Tsvangirai speaks on govt performance

Tsvangirai speaks on govt performance
Published: 29 January 2012 (1306 Views)
In an exclusive interview with the PM's Newsletter, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week spoke about the performance of government, violence, the government priorities for 2012, reforms, the election and other issues.

Excerpts:

Q: Prime Minister, How would you rate the performance of the transitional government in 2011?

PM: I think the year 2011 had mixed fortunes. First of all, on a positive note, in terms of social services and other deliverables, I think the government did manage to respond to the issue of education, health and water.

The stabilisation of the economy continued in 2011 but we also had our deficits.

We have not managed to put our grip on the Marange diamonds. We have not managed to respond to the fiscal demands of the recurrent expenditure.

There has been a break down in the protection of the people and in some instances there have been abuses that have been recorded.

In some instances there has been defiance of executive authority, particularly the authority of the Prime Minister.

The attendance and full commitment of some of the ministers to the Government Work Programme and the Council of Ministers have been very disappointing.

Some of the decisions of Cabinet have been ignored, especially the implementation of media reforms.

If you take a balance sheet, one recognises the difficulties and challenges of a coalition government.

As the election approaches there are likely to be tendencies to resort back to competitive politics and sabotage of other members of government.

For instance, the discord in policies over indigenisation and investment promotion should not happen.

We should have one policy that is supported by the whole government but it would appear that there is this tendency to resort back to compartments, political compartments that undermine cohesion in government.

Q: As we go into 2012, what is your primary focus?

PM: As we go into 2012 and taking what I have said before, there is need for a serious paradigm shift because 2012-13 is a watershed period.

First and foremost, whether there is an election or not the transitional government’s life will be determined by how many reforms we are able to implement in order to create conditions for a free and fair election.

At the same time it is a year where we can prove to the detractors of the transitional government that indeed we put our people first in all our decisions and in all our deliberations.

Q: What are some of the key reforms you have earmarked for 2012?

PM: Among the many key programmes is to implement the matrix of agreed positions of the Global Political Agreement.

We must implement what we have agreed on in terms of media reforms and in terms of strengthening the role of constitutional commissions that we have appointed.

We must also ensure the security sector re-alignment in terms of the adoption of a nonpartisan position by members of the security structure.

All this rhetoric, sabre rattling is not necessary. For a country that has gone through a crisis, I think that crisis should be a lesson for all of us of on what should not be done and that we should all be inspired by realising that there is greater advantage in working together than trying to undermine each other and sabotaging government programmes.

We delay our own situation of having economic turnaround; creating jobs that are necessary for the people and improving on the social delivery in the local authorities.

We are delaying ourselves in rectifying and addressing the issue of food security in agriculture.

I think those are the critical issues that the government has to focus on this year.

Q: Speaking of the security sector, Prime Minister, we have seen since the beginning of this year wanton arrests of MDC activists, the arrests of the booksellers selling your book and some violence, but no one has been picked up to answer to such violations?

PM: This is what I have always said that there is an element that is defiant to progress, that is defiant to the exercise of civilian authority over the security sector.

It is defiance that is historic in nature.

I think President Mugabe must, as his responsibility, demand to address this issue as he is the Commander-In-Chief.
He should demonstrate his commitment to non-violence.

He should demonstrate his commitment to ensuring that there is peace and stability in the country and above all he should rise above some of the statements that are being issued in his name either by the ministry of Information or the military establishment itself.

The ones that continuously emphasise fear and attrition against the people, he must address.

The people are not a threat to the nation’s stability — it is the institutions that are supposed to provide security of persons that have become the instruments of instability themselves. That cannot be acceptable.

Q: So are you going to take it up with the President?

PM: This is the issue of the Principals and the National Security Council.

This is also the issue of the various ministries responsible for the security sector.

By the way, I want to make reference to minister Mnangagwa’s statement that the army is there to thwart regime change.

Mnangagwa as the minister of Defence cannot talk about regime change.

Regime change took place in 2008, there is no longer a Zanu PF regime, neither is there an MDC regime, this is a coalition.

I think people must disabuse themselves of this preoccupation with regime change when it has already taken place.

It is irresponsible to refer to the right of the people to elect their own government as regime change.

In fact, the people have a right to effect regime change.

Q: Can you comment on the promotion of Douglas Nyikayaramba to the rank of Major-General in the Zimbabwe National Army when he has been on the forefront of instilling fear into the people and is accused of perpetrating human rights abuses?

PM: I am sure that this issue about appointments is an issue that I am going to take up with the President.

It is within our mandate to discuss that with the President in terms of the Constitution and in terms of the law.

Q: Prime Minister where is Sadc in all this?

PM: Sadc still remains the facilitator in our crisis. They are seized with the issue of the road map, they are seized with following up what the negotiators have been doing and I am sure at some stage President Jacob Zuma and the Sadc Chairman will call us to account.

There is no way you can have legitimacy without the endorsement of Sadc. We need Sadc, we need the AU and the international community to ensure that the process towards an election is one that is transparent, that is free and fair and that is legitimate.

Q: The issue that is burning, Prime Minister is that of the remuneration of civil servants, what is your comment on that?

PM: What is important is that if we are able to account for our diamond money I am sure we will have sufficient resources to respond to any of our recurrent and institutional financial demands.

We need to address the issue of ghost workers as well and the $600 million promised by the ministry of Mines must be realised.

Then this issue of remuneration of civil servants would not arise because we would be able to reward them handsomely.

As a person who has for a long time been committed to the workers’ welfare, this is an issue which we should all try to work progressively towards reaching a certain minimum.

There is a basis for government and its workers to discuss in an honest, open and frank manner.

Strike is a weapon which people use, there is a right to strike but at the end of the day any trade unionist leader knows that you cannot go on  strike when negotiations are taking place.

When deadlock has not been declared and you just say we are going on a strike.

They have to realise as progressive trade unionists that they have to give government an opportunity to sit down with them honestly and discuss their welfare.

Q: The ministry of Mines seems to be holding the government to ransom and is determining how much it wants to parcel out to government, is this legal and does this happen in a normal situation?

PM: In a normal government all the money should go to one pot. All the money should go to the fiscus, to the Treasury, that is what happens in normal administrative setups.

You cannot have a minister of Mines determining how much money will be going to the civil servants, where is the other money going to?

I think accountability must become a basis for how we behave in government.

Q: Are we going to have elections in 2012 Prime Minister?

PM: We still have to emphasise on the process of achieving the standards that will allow us to run an election which is legitimate, which is acceptable by Zimbabwean and by regional and world standards, so we cannot put a date on that.

It is driven by a process and everyone knows that process.

- Daily News

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