I’m not a Zanu PF mole: Madhuku

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National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku

ONE of Zimbabwe’s leading constitutional lawyers and activists Lovemore Madhuku (LM) has broken ranks with the main opposition MDC formations to form a political party he says will contests the 2018 polls.

Southern Eye deputy editor Njabulo Ncube (SE) sought to find out more from Madhuku, the former chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), what his mission is all about and allegations that he is a Zanu PF mole. Below are excerpts:

SE: What has culminated in the NCA being transformed into a political party? Is it as a result of the political fallout with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his leadership? What differences do you have with Tsvangirai?

LM: The transformation of the NCA into a political party has no relationship whatsoever with the leader of the MDC-T, Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai was elected by MDC-T members to be their leader. He is a leader of his party in the same way as leaders of other parties. The reason for the transformation is very simple: the NCA membership is convinced that at this point in time, the best way in which the NCA can contribute to the development of our country is by being a political party.

For the past 16 years, the NCA has made contributions to the political discourse in the country via the avenue of a civic organisation.

The unanimous view on Saturday, September 28, was to move from the methods and strategies of a civic organisation to those of a political party, but with the same goal of contributing to the development and prosperity of our country.

SE: How different will the proposed party be to other opposition political parties such as the two MDC formations? When is the party going to be officially unveiled and what name is being suggested?

LM: I must emphasise that it is the NCA which has moved from civil society status to a political party status and so the name does not change. The name of the party is the NCA. There is no new organisation. It is the same organisation, but has changed its methods and strategies.

The political party status will be launched any time before 31 March, 2014. We have to expand our membership base and build our structures.

The launch will be conducted at a congress where the substantive leadership of the party will be elected. Regarding our main difference from the existing opposition political parties, we are genuine, honest, committed and capable. We will pursue social democratic ideals genuinely and do so with a nationalist and pan-African thrust.

But the most important point is that we are exercising our freedom of association. We are providing another alternative to Zanu PF. In a constitutional democracy, the exercise of our right to form or join a political party of our choice is a fundamental right. We believe we are different and this will soon be apparent.

SE: There are reports you want to lure rebel MDC-T officials to your formation? Who else is behind you besides former student leaders Blessing Vava and Bere etc? Would you invite Tsvangirai to join your party?

LM: The term “rebel” is very unfortunate and inappropriate. I do not know of any person who fits the description of a “rebel”. I know of people that are no longer members of some of the other political parties who have joined us. It is their right to join a political party of their choice. They also have a right to change their choices from time to time. The student leaders you mention have always been members of the NCA. At the moment, the only persons I know to be behind me are the members of the NCA.

Tsvangirai is the leader of the MDC-T. He has played a key role in this country and will continue to be one of the leaders in our country. What we have done is merely to offer another alternative. We respect him and will not insult him to the extent suggested by your question. Instead, when the dust settles, we will seek to exchange notes with him and the MDC-T. What we will not do is to vote for him in the next election because we will have our own candidate for the presidency.

SE: After unsuccessfully campaigning against the new Constitution, do you think Zimbabweans will take your political formation seriously? Who are you targeting, the workers, peasants or students?

LM: Over 5% of the voters in the referendum in March 2013 supported our position. That is not insignificant. Most people now realise that they were cheated by President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai to endorse an undemocratic Constitution. Events after the referendum have given the NCA a lot of credibility. By the time we reach 2018, over 50% of voters will support our party. Given our social democratic thrust, our obvious target is the poor and marginalised. But we will seek to draw our support from all groups in society who have an interest in the prosperity of our country.

SE: Who is funding your political outfit? Is it not from the sources that bankroll the MDC-T?

LM: Our funding will come from our members. The membership fee per year is $5 for all members except those that are unable to raise it who will pay $1. After 2018, we will receive funding from the State in line with the law on the funding of political parties.

I am a founding leader of the MDC. It is not true that it is bankrolled by outsiders. This issue of foreign funding of the MDC-T is pure propaganda by Zanu PF.

Zanu PF itself receives more foreign funding that any other political party in Sadc. Their whole campaign regalia came from China.

SE: There are assertions that towards the disputed July 31 polls, your utterances and opposition to Tsvangirai and the MDC-T reflected Zanu PF thinking and its mantra. Are you not another Harare man, aka Jealousy Mawarire, or another Zanu PF project?

LM: I stand by everything I said towards the July 31 election. Some people choose to forget that outside politics, I am a law professor. My work at the university is a professional task. Part of that work involves what we call “service to the community”. As a professor of law, I am expected to be a leading opinion on legal issues in my areas of expertise.

I will not shy away from expressing an opinion on the law merely because it favours
Zanu PF. There are so many people in both Zanu PF and MDC-T who are my current and former law students. That will continue to be the case and is not affected by being a leader of a political party.

To say the NCA is a Zanu PF project is an insult. The NCA has been a key player in this country in the past 16 years. Time will tell. However, if Zanu PF gladly hands State power to us, we will accept!

1 COMMENT

  1. this country now needs a new face of leadership coz tsvangirai has failed us. for pple to believe that any person who form a political party is ZANU_PF project is misconstrued thinking. Tsvangirai shld not become a god to pple of zimbabwe who think that even if he fails shld continue to be there. Madhuku’s move is welcome and if thinks were to go according to my opinion even MDC shld join NCA as a new political party.

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