Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from E G Cross, Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Movement for Democratic Change


  1.  We in the MDC had hoped that the presidential elections held on 9 and 10 March would give Zimbabweans the opportunity to change the circumstances under which they have been obliged to live for the past five years. In the final event this did not happen and using a combination of violence, intimidation, ballot rigging and stuffing the incumbent was re-elected. We have rejected the outcome and have taken the electoral process to Court in Zimbabwe in an effort to secure a re-run—this time under international supervision and on a more level playing field.

  2.  What concerns us in the MDC today—six weeks after the election, is that we cannot expect a restructured High Court Bench or the Supreme Court to rule in our favour even if the evidence presented to them is overwhelming. This is not deterring us and we are preparing a full scale legal challenge with a international team of lawyers to represent the MDC point of view.

  3.  As a result of the Commonwealth's intervention, the Presidents of Nigeria and South Africa have launched an effort to negotiate a resolution to the problem of the outcome of the election. Talks related to this start on 13 May and are scheduled to go on for five days. However, at this stage it is difficult to see any prospect of a satisfactory outcome and we do not expect the talks to get beyond item 1 on the agenda—the issue of legitimacy. The positions of both parties to the talks are diametrically opposed on this issue and the MDC will not allow the talks to go on beyond this point unless it gets satisfaction on this issue.

  4.  The question I want the Committee to consider is what is the alternative for the MDC in this situation? We have struggled for three years to try and use the democratic means that are available to us to effect change—to no avail. Our membership is being targeted by Zanu-PF thugs and militia and since the presidential elections we have had 54 members killed—some in the most horrific circumstances. We also have 23 people missing and six unidentified bodies in mortuaries—all suspected politically motivated killings. We probably have several hundred thousand people displaced by violence and this coupled to the severe food shortages are creating conditions under which a violent reaction to Zanu-PF maladministration, corruption and thuggery cannot be far away.

  5.  If we are denied a re-run of the elections then we will have no other choice but to go onto the streets and confront this government. We have striven for three years to avoid this, we have held our members back from violence of any kind—even self protection. But this option is now running out of time. Should we be forced to take to the streets there will be bloodshed and the image of southern Africa will be further tarnished. It will also make a transfer of power through democratic means less likely.

Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Movement for Democratic Change

25 April 2002

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