MDC-T Parliamentarians at crossroads?

By Justin Mahlahla

parly flot.jpgIt appears the MDC-T think-tank has collapsed, what with the sudden u-turn by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as he openly challenged the party’s backers and financiers – Denmark and its European partners, Britain and the United States to remove the illegal sanctions imposed Zimbabwe.

The media was awash with reports that MDC-T members of parliament were visibly shocked to hear their leader, who had previously denied that sanctions existed in Zimbabwe, openly call for their removal and advised that any form of assistance offered to the country should come through the inclusive government.

The calls appeared to take the legislators by suprise, forcing them to swallow what was hetherto, a poisonous subject. All along they had denied the existence of sanctions and their part in calling for the ruinous embargo.

One would say the Prime Minister has finally seen the light, having experienced his own version of on the road to Damascus conversion, and now he has joined his voice to the cry of thousands, if not millions in Zimbabwe and across the continent and world over, who have stood by Zimbabwe and called for the unequivocal removal of illegal sanctions.

What has led to the premier’s change of heart anyway? Is he not the man who just a short while ago preferred to call the sanctions ‘restrictive measures’? Is it because the sanctions, which he described as ‘targeted’ have also targeted his party’s secretary-general, Tendai Biti, who himself admitted that the embargo was disrupting the functions of the inclusive government? Or is the premier simply going with the flow?

It is a pity that some MDC-T legislators are still to come to terms with the Prime Minister’s utterances. Clearly, their leader has done something unorthodox. They should be wondering – what next?

Although political analysts have welcomed the call by Mr Tsvangirai for the lifting of all sanctions, they feel the premier should go the extra mile and embark on a vigorous campaign to call for the immediate removal of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, ZIDERA, and all other forms of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.

Senator Aguy Georgias, who has over the years been fighting legal battles with the United States, Britain and the European Union over the illegal sanctions, said the Prime Minister should find an appropriate way through cabinet to tell the West that sanctions must go.

Political analyst, Mr. Jonathan Kadzura, advised Mr. Tsvangirai to reject the EU’s benchmarks for lifting the sanctions, saying accepting them would defeat the premier’s call for all sanctions to go.

The Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe, has for a long time been calling for the immediate lifting of the illegal sanctions which have wrecked havoc on Zimbabwe’s ordinary populace. 

It however remains to be seen whether Tsvangirai’s call and open admission of the existence of the embargo will live to yield much, for it comes just as the US has extended sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year.