Notes following Briefing to the Media by Reverend Frank Chikane on the SADC Agreement on Zimbabwe, Union Buildings, Pretoria, Wednesday 28 January 2009
Good morning, you are welcome. Let me just clarify a number of things before we start. After the session on Tuesday morning there was a press conference where you were given the outcomes of the SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit. There was a view that we needed to do a briefing that was more than just a press conference to give all the background information that is necessary so that we can have the same sets of information.
Unfortunately the times did not work out well for Dr Salamao to be here.
I was going to speak to you as part of the Facilitation to give you background information and Dr Salamao would have spoken on the SADC issues but I am going to do both. Fortunately I am also part of the Chair of SADC because President Motlanthe is the Chair.
Secondly, because I am a facilitator I am not here to make statements about parties because facilitators do not do that. What they do is to facilitate, to assist parties to agree. So my approach here will not be that if you were briefed to come and ask me a particular question which will make the headlines that “Frank Chikane said this about a particular party” – unfortunately you cannot get it from me because when I start off this evening it is facilitation again.
The facilitation process for me is more important than controversy because our task is to make sure that there is a settlement in Zimbabwe and that we begin to turn the economy and people will then have a different quality of life.
I would like to start with the agreement to say that there is an agreement in Zimbabwe on how to resolve the political challenges of Zimbabwe. The problem is that most people work on the basis that there is no agreement as yet. That agreement in Zimbabwe is based on a number of fundamental issues that the parties agreed upon. I should have said the agreement is amongst the three main parties which are represented in Parliament.
The parties met, and we facilitated all the meetings, and they all start from a common basis which most people do not start from.
There was an election in March and everyone accepted that those elections were conducted under conditions that were conducive for free and fair elections. The starting point will be that in those elections no one party got the majority votes in the Parliamentary election – you will remember there were changes but let me use the old numbers – it was 100 for MDC-T, 99 for Zanu-PF and 10 MDC-M. So nobody won that election because nobody really got a majority. So if there is going to be a government in a Parliamentary system you will need to make coalition to govern, you could not govern without a coalition between two of the parties to form a government because together they would have the majority. So the minor party there is critical party because is the determinant party as to who they go with. If you want to put it that way there is a “hung Parliament”. Any party would need another to govern.
About the Presidential election, indeed the first round was held under conditions that were acceptable but nobody won the Presidential election because they did not meet the requirements of the Constitution.
I am explaining these things not to speak against any party but to explain the basis on which the agreement was built.
After the first round nobody got the 50% + 1 so in a sense you cannot use that outcome as a basis for determining who the President of the country is; so you had to do the second round. Now the second round was done and both SADC and the AU and everybody agreed that the conditions for the second round were not acceptable in terms of free and fair elections and there has not been any doubt or controversy about that matter. Nevertheless there was an election. There is a de facto President there and even you discounted those elections, once you do that then the former President remains being President until you do a run-off. So it means whichever way you go into it you will en up with a President until another President is elected. I am just talking about Constitutional issues in terms of the processes there.
The sad thing is that everybody after the 27th of June, because we met, before and after, everybody agreed that to do another run-off was not going to help anybody because the conditions were not conducive to hold an election like that. So we needed a different route to deal with this challenge. The parties then proposed to have a MoU – we did not think it was necessary – but they said “No, we need a MoU”. So we helped them agree on a MoU. Basically the MoU does not say what the public discourse is and what the public discourse will listen to – I will explain that public discourse because it confuses a lot of people.
In terms of the MoU, the parties agreed that the agenda by the parties will be to deal with the objectives and priorities of the new government, which are economic, political, security, communication – you will remember that. So that is their choice.
They did not make a choice about who should be what. They made a choice about how do we agree on these issues so that we can have a fresh start. A key issue was that the agreement we produce must enable us to create the conditions for a fair and free election. It was meant to create space for the parties to govern together so that by the time they go to an election they worked together to create conditions conducive for an election.
I think it is important to clarify this issue because that is why as facilitators we tend to be focused on what we need to do and not listen to the noise outside because the noise confuses you. You see there are people who are campaigning and there will be people who campaign against the MDC-T; against the MDC-M and people who campaign against Zanu-PF. There will also be people who campaign against President Mugabe himself as their project. Now we are not in the project of campaigning, we are in the project of facilitating a settlement of the problem in Zimbabwe. You see the campaigners who put measurements and say “you must achieve the following. If you do not achieve the following you have failed because you have not met our conditions”, rather than what did we set out to do. We set out in terms of the SADC resolutions and the AU resolutions to facilitate the establishment of an inclusive government. That is what we were mandated to do. Some people measure you against a particular outcome that they want and say: “no you have not met that requirement”. I am saying that if you measure what SADC is doing you must measure it against the resolutions of SADC and those of the AU. Those resolutions are based on the agreement that the people of Zimbabwe made.
The people of Zimbabwe agreed on an inclusive government and they determined how it should be constituted. And in constituting it they did not say in the agreement that one party would choose who would participate from the other party. Each party has the right to choose the people they puts forward – Zanu-PF has 15, MDC-T has 13 and MDC-M has 3 – who they are is not going to be determined by the facilitator or by SADC or AU, not even UN. The parties make their choices. We did the same in South Africa when the apartheid government wanted to determine who comes to the negotiations and that the bad people they did not like should not come to the negotiations and we said: “no it is not your choice; it is the choice of the party”. We should give the parties in Zimbabwe the right to make their choices; I think it is part of democracy.
The agreement that was signed says that the implementation of this agreement starts forthwith after the signatures of the parties on the agreement. So once they signed on the 15th the agreement was in effect. There is no other agreement, this is the real agreement.
This agreement says in paragraph 20.1.3 j – The President shall, pursuant to this agreement, appoint the Prime Minister pending the enactment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe amendment 19 as agreed by the Parties.
As you remember to make sure they agreed on Amendment 19, we spent two or three days to make sure that agreed upon it.
The Amendment 19 was agreed upon and was gazetted. In terms of this 20.1.3 j, you appoint the Prime Minister pending the enactment of Amendment 19. So in a sense immediately you agreed on Amendment 19 and enacted it you have to form a government. That is why SADC works on the basis that once this is agreed you form a government. Again Amendment 19, in 24.1 it says - The Parties undertake to unconditionally support the enactment of the said Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment 19. So the agreement was that once it was agreed those parties must go and vote for it. It is not a question of debate in Parliament because you agree in advance and you go and fulfil the requirements in Parliament to make sure it is passed. That is why they said 30 days and after the 30 days you implement that.
You remember in their agreement there is no reference to Governors, there is a reference to Senators. You will remember that there was a dispute about the copy of the 11th September and the copy of the 15th which was signed. There were discrepancies between the two copies. We then agreed that the original copy they signed during the negotiations is the valid copy, we relied on that copy. So the Senators are part of the portions that have to be distributed according to a formula.
The only thing that is not in the agreement is Governors. So as they signed it the MDC wanted guarantees that these governors would be resolved even after the signing and we agreed. The Facilitator then made an announcement at the end of the ceremony to say the outstanding issue of the Governors was going to be dealt with accordingly. All these matters were dealt with. By the way we also facilitated them agreeing on Ministries which the negotiators were not mandated to do. We facilitated and they ended up with 31 Ministries with names attached to them. When they went to the Principals, the Principals scolded them to say they did not mandate them to determine Ministries. Normally the Ministries are determined by the President or the Prime Minister. The Principals agreed that they had exceeded their limit.
Nobody really thought there was going to be a dispute on how you distributed the Ministries. When we left on the 11th September we expected that they would have put names next to the posts and that by the 15th we would announce the government – we thought it was as simple as that. Unfortunately they did not agree so we had to facilitate that. We facilitated it and all the time we negotiated up to the Home Affairs as the only one remaining and we got a deadlock which was “we will share the Ministry but who starts first?” You cannot mediate who starts first. It is a matter of deciding who starts first. So they could not agree. Then they escalated the matter to the Organ and it could not agree; then they escalated it to SADC – we did say to the members that if you escalate it beyond the Facilitator and Organ then SADC will have to make a decision. You actually turn it into an arbitration thing; you go beyond facilitation to arbitration for somebody to assist you to make a decision.
We facilitated Amendment 19 and made sure it is dealt with it. The outstanding issues we dealt with them as well. I understood that the MDC in particular were saying the Governors were outstanding and we all agreed that they needed to be dealt with. Then there were new issues that were raised like the National Security Council because the agreement says the Prime Minister shall be a member of the National Security Council but they wanted legislation so we said: “Ok we will deal with that”. Then there is the issue about Amendment 19 – it is gazetted so it is not an issue any more. What they are saying in their statement is that it should be enacted. There is an issue about the allocation of portfolios. Then there is the issue about the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Attorney-General, which they are saying were appointed during the time of the negotiations – that matter had to be dealt with as well.
The statement on Monday basically says: “pass Amendment 19 even if the agreement says you should form government before you pass it. Now that we are where we are it is water under the bridge and the notice that was given for which was the requirement of the current Constitution of Zimbabwe, pass that Bill”. The date is the 5th February. The original proposal was to form government and pass the Bill. This is a radical chance in this new decision that you enact the legislation and form government just to make it easier because of the demand of the MDC. And then swear in the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers February 11 – by the way they could have been sworn in without Amendment 19. Then swear in the Ministers from the 13th to conclude the process of forming the inclusive government. If you read that with 5, it says: The allocation of Ministerial portfolios endorsed by the SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit held on 9th November 2008 shall be reviews in six months time. In November it said the portfolio of Home Affairs shall be reviewed in six months time, this one now includes everything there. You are basing it on the agreement on the 9th November because the issue of portfolios was dealt with on the agreement of November 9th.
Then there was the issue of the Reserve Bank governor. They discussed the matter for the first time by the way, because there was no debate about this matter in September. Then they said the appointment of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney-General will be dealt with by the inclusive government after its formation. It means it is a question of appointments. That is a natural problem. If you delay forming government and contracts of people end, the de facto government makes the appointment.
On the issue of the National Security Council and the provincial governors it is in 7: The negotiators of the Parties shall meet immediately to consider the National Security Bill submitted by the MDC-T as well as the formula for the distribution of the provincial governors. So it is our task as the Facilitator to help them to deal with the issue of the formula to share the governors. We agreed that we are going to deal with this matter from today on.
The MDC was asked to draft the National Security Bill and we are going to look at the draft to deal with that matter.
The last thing is the issue of JOMIC. It was that once we have signed the agreement then we must form a structure called JOMIC which will consist of four senior members of each of the three parties and gender considerations must be taken into account in relation to the composition of JOMIC. So when we go there on Friday the 30th we will make sure that JOMIC is formed and the committee shall be co-chaired by persons from the parties. We will enable them to appoint co-chairs who will then deal will the issues. So all those issues about bridges and security related matters, this agreement says this Committee shall receive reports and complaints of any issue related to the implementation, enforcement and execution of this agreement (22.3 c).
So you can see that this agreement took care of all the aspects – it took long and by the way they drafted it and we just facilitated. There are some people who say Mbeki forced people to agree but the people of Zimbabwe are very proud people who believe in taking charge of their lives and would choose to draft their document – even the language is Zimbabwean technical language.
This product of Monday and Tuesday, ultimately SADC sat in its own Summit, go full report of what happened up to Monday and once they were finished they invited the parties to sit through and debated each one of the concerns the parties raised – that is why it took so many hours. Everything that is in that agreement was agreed upon on the basis of consensus. Now there is the different agreement and consensus. It means I may have had a different view but the consensus is that “now we are going this way”. All members of SADC were in attendance and they all agreed. I think a good thing that happened Monday and Tuesday was that SADC came out united; and that is a critical issue because it could easily have been divided. And they agreed on this outcome.
I realise the media asks “but did the parties agree to?” Now if consensus is built in your presence, and I think we must respect the MDC’s right, if you are a party and you agree on a consensus which is not everything you have asked for, you have to go back to your council. There is nothing wrong to do that. It is a normal process. They also raised the concern that they did not get everything they asked for. That is why they need to go to the national council.
Obviously everyone knows that nobody goes to a negotiation process and expect that everything you demanded; the outcome of the negotiations will be exactly as you demanded against every other demand of other people. Negotiations do not work like that. So you do lose things and gain things in a negotiations process and each one of the parties can tell you what they lost and what they gained in the process. I think MDC and the other parties have the right to say that not everything that they asked for they got.
We lost a lot during the negotiations. We started by saying there would be no round table but two sides of the table with the Bantustan leaders and the apartheid government on one side and us on the other side – we did not want to sit on the same side. What did we end up with? A round table and everybody else was equal in that round table. We lost a number of things. We thought we would change the generals and remove everybody else but we ended up with a new South Africa with General Meiring and General Fivaz. So you could have your demands but when you negotiate you come out with something different.
Indeed the National Party also is aggrieved. There are lots of people who still blame Mr de Klerk for selling them out because he made compromises there as well.
When you go to negotiations you make compromises.
There are many people since November and December who say: “remove President Mugabe” but none of these parties ever asked for that. It is outside people who are asking for it. None of the MDC factions are saying the solution is to remove President Mugabe. Their agreement says they need to go through a transition to create conditions for a free and fair election. There is also no clause in the agreement that says you shall not allow Mr Tsvangirai to be part of government. So when you judge the SADC agreement judge it against the agreement by the people of Zimbabwe.
I thought we should go through this so that we remove all the preconceptions and wrong conceptions about what this is all about. By the way it is not easy.
The only thing the people of Zimbabwe require is for the government agreed by the people of Zimbabwe to be formed and deal with the challenges; and then deal with the economic recovery. They have agreed what needs to be done – it is in the agreement. We just need to start the process and get the people of Zimbabwe to have a better life than the life that they are going through at the present moment. I have been there; I have dealt with the humanitarian issues and spoke to the people. It is tough. We need a quick resolution. We cannot delay for ever. That is why SADC put dates on each on of the things that need to happen as soon as possible.
Questions and Answers
Question: What happens if the National Council of the MDC rejects the agreement? Secondly, there is a report in the London Times today saying that President Obama and (inaudible) are considering fresh drive fro increased UN sanctions against President Mugabe and they are taking this to the UNSC and are confident they can get Russia and China to abstain from this matter. What is your response to this?
Answer: unfortunately I will not answer that question because it borders into a political debate. The only question for me is that all the parties should consider seriously the resolution that the leaders of this region reached after many hours, which is a product of a consensus where all of them agreed that this is the best way to resolve this matter. And I hope that all the parties will endeavour to cause the government to be formed. I think it is critical. It is for the sake of the people of Zimbabwe. By the way it does not rob any party of its own dynamics every party has its dynamics.
By the way there was a time when there was a deadlock. Mr Mandela said he would never talk to de Klerk and they went for two months without talking because of Boipatong. I was General Secretary of the Council and the deadline was coming and I had a sense that the MK lot was preparing for the ultimate failure to meet the demand and they would do certain things. I had to go with Dr Bayers Naudè to Mr Mandela to say: “let us deal with this thing differently” and the following day Mr Mandela and de Klerk were talking. I am just saying in negotiations you do not get everything. I am hoping that all the parties will consider the resolution and find a way of forming the government speedily.
Then the issues of sanctions do not become relevant because it means that little girl should go through that pain longer whereas if you form a government tomorrow, you can fix the economy and we get on with business so that the people of Zimbabwe do not have this problem anymore.
Question: I wonder if you could say something more about the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee. How will that work?
Answer: The details are in paragraph 22 which elaborates on what they should do in 22.3 and then in 22.4 the reporting process about compliance and grievances to JOMIC. Remember this JOMIC is to be implemented with the first thing being the formation of an inclusive government. So it will report to the inclusive government to assist in resolving the problems.
If they fail then the guarantors of the agreement – the Facilitator, SADC and the AU – then kick in.
Question: MDC are also complaining that Mr Mugabe was allowed to sit in the closed session of the plenary and that how he could be allowed to be the judge at his own court. Why was it that he was allowed to sit in the closed session?
Answer: Unfortunately Mr Salamao is not here, I think he should answer that question. I think my understanding is that a Summit is a Summit of member countries. I think that is the basis on which they deal with that matter. There could be a complaint about a member country in the UN but that member country sits in the UN, so that is the basis. I do not think that had anything to do with choosing who sits in or not. That is a SADC protocol matter
Question: What will happen if these deadlines are not met?
Answer: I really will not answer a question of presupposition because you just encourage people to make sure they do not get met. We have to meet those deadlines. It is a plan of action. Once you agree on something you put in a plan of action to execute. You must have deadlines. In fact if you look at the previous mandate there were deadlines which were put by the Organ with the Chair of SADC in Harare. The MDC turned those deadlines around to start with other things before the enactment and the formation of the government. So you can see in this agreement that I follows in the main that switch. The others said “form government and deal with the rest” and this one says “enact Amendment 19 and then form government”.
Question: Some spokes person from MDC said there was no agreement reached on Monday. Is that Morgan Tsvangirai saying “yes I am not happy but I agree that we go this way” or that “I cannot agree, let me go and consult?”
Answer: I was not in the meeting so I cannot answer this question in detail but the agreement says, and the parties have the right to consult their mandating bodies. I do not work on the basis of what spokespersons and other people say, we work on the basis of agreements and documents.
They have the right to say the things. Our job is to ensure peace is achieved in Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe’s conditions are changed.
Question: One of the most emotive issues that arose is the abductions that began in September of MDC supporters. Can you offer any comments on the abduction [and about allegations of Botswana training guerrillas]?
Answer: I cannot answer that question because it is a SADC question; I think the Executive Secretary can answer that question. This is about the training and SADC processes.
Those issues about the arrests of people etcetera, the Facilitator and the Chair of SADC have been engaging the parties about those matters, even the issues about a ruling of the court which was not followed. We intervened; we did a number of things. But I do not think I should go into detail here. If I go into detail they will accuse me of violating the MoU which says we should not go public about these things. Indeed we are as concerned as anybody else and we will deal with the issues as they come. But we have emphasised that the best way to deal with those matters is to be together in government to make sure that such things do not happen. The more we delay more things will happen and it will be problematic because you do not have the agreement enforced.
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
28 January 2009