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Published On: Wed, Aug 24th, 2016

Tsvangirai and Mujuru scoffs at elitist National Transitional Authority

THE opposition MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF have said the proposed National Transitional Authority (NTA) meant to prepare a soft landing for President Robert Mugabe was “too elitist” and modelled along the ruling party’s much-vilified “top-bottom approach”.

The NTA, according to one of its main proponents and People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti, was aimed at plugging an envisaged leadership vacuum after Mugabe’s departure.

According to the daily publication News Day, Biti and several academics, who include Ibbo Mandaza, have suggested that the only way Zimbabwe could come out of the political cesspit created by the Mugabe government’s legitimacy crisis was through an NTA.

But Mujuru and Tsvangirai yesterday said while they agreed on the need for a transitional mechanism, they did not want academics to impose the model on them.

“The elite pact is not the solution to the country’s political problems,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“That has been Mugabe’s dilemma where political decisions are made by Mugabe alone and his elites in the politburo. As the MDC, we cannot walk the same rope.”

He added: “We are not saying politicians should have the monopoly to solve the problems Zimbabweans are facing, but any solution should have the support of the people from the grassroots. There is need for political parties to consult their structures.”

Gutu said the country had no constitutional provision for the NTA model, adding Mugabe was not likely to endorse it.

ZimPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire described the model as utopian.

“Today it’s a transitional authority whose terms of reference and constitutional and political practicality remains shrouded in deep operational clouds,” Mawarire said.

“The other day the same protagonists, who also believe their ideas are pervasive and the only prescribed way out for our country, want to be coalition consultants despite the fact that their ideas have no resonance with the direction these political co-operations are envisaged to transact by the people who give political office bearers the legitimacy to form the coalition.”

He added: “It is, therefore, not surprising, when it happens, that those political parties which are serious about forming a coalition that will not just quantify votes, but one that heals our poisoned politics, boycott, or choose to excuse themselves from these debates which are utopian at best.”

The two party leaders have, however, agreed to a coalition of opposition political parties and a fortnight ago held a joint protest march in Gweru.

Biti yesterday, however, said the NTA was not an individual party decision, but should be debated by everyone.
“Parties should bring people to the negotiating table. No party or individual should have a monopoly on decisions,” the former Finance minister said.

Mandaza said there was a difference between NTA and collation of political parties. He said the NTA was not political, but all-inclusive to find consensus on how the country’s politicians can be handled after Mugabe, adding Zimbabwe was on a cliff edge where anything could happen.

“We are consulting every party. That is why we had invited every political party at last week’s Sapes dialogue on the matter. I personally invited Tsvangirai and he said he would send someone. I called Luke Tamborinyoka (Tsvangirai’s spokesperson) and he promised that as well,” Mandaza said.

“Mujuru had promised to send David Butau, but all did not come. We even invited Zanu PF because we are consulting.”
He added: “On the legal issue, we agreed at the Sapes debate that this would need a simple Parliamentary majority to change the Constitution to allow for the NTA. We need to consult everyone, and get regional and international buy-in.”