The House met at 10:02.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS - see col 000.
DISCUSSION OF REPORT OF OBSERVER MISSION TO ZIMBABWE The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, before we start with today's proceedings, I wish to acknowledge the presence in our midst of the joint chairpersons and representatives, including South Africa's Ambassador to Brussels, who are here for the meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Assembly. You are welcome, and we are glad you joined us for this debate. [Applause.]
Ms N N MAPISA-NQAKULA: Firstly, I must express my gratitude and sincere appreciation to this House and to Madam Speaker in particular for allowing me to lead this delegation to Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean election has come and gone. A president of that country, Robert Mugabe, has been inaugurated. I believe that what is uppermost in the minds of the greater majority of that country's population is Zimbabwe's future. Everything that has happened in that country has happened to them directly. They had to confront want and deprivation in the face of food shortages and the death of social services. They have become victims of political instability that, at times, spills into violence and they are certainly asking the question: When will it all come to an end? That question is repeated all over the world. When will stability come to Zimbabwe? But we in South Africa, particularly we who are members of this Assembly, should say, as we ask that question, that we are ready to contribute to the pursuit of peace and stability in Zimbabwe. We cannot turn our backs on that country for the obvious reason that we would be deeply affected as a country were Zimbabwe to collapse. As we attempt to help that country and her people, we must never dictate to them what needs to be done and how it should be done. In the end it is the Zimbabweans themselves who should chart the way forward as they rebuild their country.
When our parliamentary delegation left for Zimbabwe on 22 February, we were very united. We were also united as we carried out the task that Parliament had given us. Our commitment to that cause could not be faulted by anyone. In fact we received praise from all sides of the political spectrum in Zimbabwe.
Our observations of what was happening on the ground were similar in most respects, as is confirmed by the report that we are tabling before Parliament today. It is my view and has been my position since arriving in Zimbabwe that elections extend over three phases: The first is the pre-election phase, followed by the actual poll and the postelection phase. I want to argue, therefore, that when we do an overall assessment of elections, it is proper to look at the whole picture. I am mentioning these things because the delegation may not necessarily be united on the ultimate pronouncement regarding the Zimbabwean election. I believe that our difficulty relates to our failure to assess, in the same way, the three phases and the total picture I have referred to.
Allow me to then address the House on the phases. It is true that the pre-election phase was marked by incidents of violence in Zimbabwe. It is also necessary to say that there were widespread allegations of violence, some of which we were able to verify. Others were not confirmed. I want to indicate to the House that not every corner of Zimbabwe was wracked with violence. In fact, even in areas where there were incidents of violence, it did not permeate right through those centres.
I was part of the observer mission that this House sent to observe the parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe. I am certain we will not forget the media images of the violence that happened on that occasion, especially as farms were forcefully occupied and farmers attacked, with many people falling victim to that situation. I did not feel, this time round, that the level of intensity was the same as that experienced earlier by our delegation in 2000. Of course, there was violence that was mostly sporadic. There has been no evidence, though, that the violence and intimidation had any effect on the voters.
The massive turnout at the polls on each of the three days set aside for the election testifies to this. Nobody can fault the enthusiasm and determination of the Zimbabweans to vote and choose their leadership.
There were many unfortunate remarks that were made before, during and after the election by some commentators, including some leaders of some of the countries of the West. It is extremely unfortunate that the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, in particular was amongst world leaders who made negative observations about the Zimbabwean leadership, to the point that he said that he would not recognise the outcome of the election if Zanu-PF was declared the winner. That was not only unfortunate, but also extremely dangerous coming, as it did, from a head of a colonial power of Zimbabwe. [Applause.]
It was also unfortunate that the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, when addressing the international observers, categorically stated that he would not accept the outcome of the election if he did not win. [Interjections.]
To us, as the ANC, the total picture of what happened in Zimbabwe convinces us that the election result was a credible expression of the will of the people of that country and thus deserves our respect. [Applause.] It deserves our respect.
As I have already said, the post-election problems of Zimbabwe will impact on us. The crises, the people and the leadership in that country, politically and otherwise, including civil society, will have to be faced and resolved by the Zimbabweans themselves, in the first instance. [Interjections.] But, surely, they will need a lot of assistance from all well-meaning people right across our globe.
We do not have the luxury, as South Africans, to choose to be hostile observers in that situation. We have a direct interest in the matter and must ensure at all times that all our neighbours, including Zimbabweans, are peaceful and stable. Therefore, we cannot watch Zimbabwe going down the path of self-destruction. [Applause.]
The challenge of the sociopolitical reconstruction of Zimbabwe is a challenge that the country's people must face. They must unite at every level of their human interaction and endeavours so that, as a united nation, they can defeat the enemies they have been facing for a long while now, of poverty, landlessness, unemployment and disease. [Interjections.]
Zimbabwe is a highly polarised country. This, in the first instance, relates to the urban-rural divide. This divide is historical. It has to do with the fact that the peasantry headed the motive forces of the struggle for liberation in that country. That is why the question of land in Zimbabwe is such a sensitive matter and should be handled as such. That is also the main reason for Zanu-PF's predominance in the rural countryside.
The polarisation in that country is palpable. Even the media are divided along political lines. National unity and reconciliation are an absolute necessity. [Applause.] Fortunately for us, we have the experience in South Africa that we can contribute to the ideal of peace and nation-building in Zimbabwe. Despite different political programmes and orientation, we still engage in dialogue, as South Africans, because of the enormous responsibility entrusted to us by our people from all walks of life.
The struggle to reposition Zimbabwe does not belong to Mugabe and Zanu-PF only. It belongs to Tsvangirai and the MDC and all other leaders of the respective formations in that country. [Applause.] But, I must keep on emphasising that it is a struggle which they should not be expected to conduct alone, in isolation. The world must help and South Africa must be at the top of the list of those who render that assistance. [Applause.]
We would be extremely naïve if we were to believe that Zimbabwe's future is not linked to ours. It is, in major material respects. I do not have to go into the history of that country to make my point. All of us here know that quite well.
There are commentators, both in South Africa and abroad, who have said the experience in Zimbabwe will detrimentally affect Nepad and that the President, Comrade Thabo Mbeki, must act in a manner that will save that programme. In other words, it is suggested that he should support sanctions against Zimbabwe and other punitive measures that have been suggested against that country and Mugabe personally to get help in regard to Nepad.
I believe that the world leaders who have committed themselves to Nepad will indeed participate in this programme unconditionally. They will not want to use Nepad as a measure to blackmail our people. [Applause.] We believe in the morality of their judgment on all developmental questions, and we therefore do not doubt their commitment to participating in Nepad.
I think it is proper that I should thank all hon members who were with me in the delegation to Zimbabwe. At this point we may have come to different conclusions about what has happened to Zimbabwe, but I think that it is the honourable thing to thank all the hon members for the support that they rendered to one another and for the manner in which we conducted our business as MPs with integrity and professionalism. I believe that what is tabled in the report as a conclusion is not something that can lead to a division in the delegation. It is absolutely necessary to put the record straight in this House that in fact the substantive matters in the report, the entire content of that report which is tabled before hon members, is a product of a collective effort. We sat yesterday, from nine o'clock until eleven o'clock in the evening, and agreed on the substantive matters in the report. [Applause.]
Mr E K MOORCROFT: Madam Speaker, I should begin by paying tribute to the manner in which the hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party led the delegation in Zimbabwe. If Parliament had been a little more generous with my time, I could be more generous in my appraisal of the way in which she led us. [Applause.]
The DP was represented on the Parliamentary Observer Mission by the hon Andries Botha and myself. According to our instructions from Parliament, we and the mission had to assess whether conditions existed for the conducting of an election that could demonstrate the general will of the Zimbabweans. Among other issues, we were to observe and consider the freeness and fairness of the political environment; whether political parties had unrestricted access to voters; whether the rules regulating the process were being adhered to by the parties; and whether there had been incidents of electoral violence and how they had been dealt with.
In all of these matters, we had to take into account much more than what happened on the polling days of 9 and 10 March 2002. We had to consider whether in the pre-election period, which stretched back for at least until the latter half of 2001, conditions for a sufficiently free and fair election had prevailed.
It is our considered opinion that in all of the above matters, the elections fell lamentably short of what could even be considered the rudiments of a free and fair election. [Applause.] The presidential elections cast a long shadow. Since its defeat in the 2000 referendum, the ruling Zanu-PF party has relied on a campaign of merciless intimidation to subdue its opponents.
This strategy was stepped up in both intensity and brutality in the recent elections. It consisted of a campaign of state-sponsored, nationally orchestrated violence, torture and destruction of property. It was aimed at retaining the ruling party's hold on power at all costs, even if this meant the destruction of the economy. In the process it rode roughshod over human rights; it subverted the rule of law and cynically exploited its legislative powers. Nothing was sacrosanct, not even racism, tribalism or the emotive land issue. All were cynically exploited regardless of the long-term consequences to the country.
The campaign of terror was spearheaded by the so-called war vets and youth militia, both of whom seemed to vie with one another to prove who could be the most ruthless and brutal. There is a considerable and ever-growing body of evidence to substantiate this claim. It was this violence which, in our estimation, was responsible for the creation of a climate in which free and fair elections could not take place. All evidence points to the fact that, although both parties were responsible for acts of violence, it was members of the MDC who were massively the victims of the violence.
The other factors which militated against the holding of free and fair elections were the provisions of the legal constitutional framework and the abuses of the electoral system which took place. With regard to the latter, mention need only be made of the tens of thousands of disclosed persons who were denied their right to vote, because they had been forced to leave the constituencies in which they had been registered, or the further tens of thousands who were unable to vote because of the deliberate reduction of polling stations in the urban areas, creating conditions of congestion and chaos in which people either left the polls in despair, or else were dispersed by the riot police.
One further feature of the elections which is deserving of mention is the fact that they were held in a climate in which the rule of law had effectively broken down. The most obvious manifestation of this was the shameful way in which the police deliberately adopted a partisan approach with regard to Zanu-PF. In case after recorded case, the police refused to take action against members of the ruling party who were responsible for acts of violence against the opposition. The first and most pressing task of any democratic government which might in the future take control of Zimbabwe will be to restore the rule of law.
For all of the above reasons, and for many more, which I do not have time to address, but which my colleagues will also touch on, the DP cannot endorse the 2002 Zimbabwean presidential elections as having been either free and fair or as representing the will of the Zimbabwean people.
Vho R S NḒOU: Mulangadzulo wa Mufumakadzi, vhahulisei vha Phalamennde, na khonani dzashu dzine ra vha nadzo fhano. Na nṋe ndi muṅwe wa vhathu vhe vha vha vho ya hangei Zimbabwe, u ya u lavhelesa mafhungo a dzikhetho dza ḽeneḽo shango. Ndi ngoho ro swika hangei Zimbabwe nga dzi 22 dza ṅwedzi wo fhelaho.
Tshe ra wana tshone ri tshi swika, ho vha uri zwine zwa khou ambiwa nga vhathu na nga vha midia vha fhano Afurika Tshipembe, a ri ngo zwi vhona rine hangei Zimbabwe. Na mafhungo ane a khou ambiwa nga vhathu nga ha kudzulele kwa vhathu vha Zimbabwe, u tambula kana u sa vha na mulayo havho, a si zwone.
Arali ra tou zwi sedza zwavhuḓi, vhathu vhane vha amba uri Zimbabwe a huna na tshithu na tshithihi tsho lugaho, ndi vhatshena, a si vhathu vharema. Na hanengei Zimbabwe arali vha nga ya, vha ḓo wana vhathu vhane vha amba hezwo vhe vhatshena.
A si vhathu vharema vhane vha amba hezwo. Vhathu vha Zimbabwe hezwo zwine zwa khou ambiwa, a vha zwi ḓivhi. [U dzhenelela.] Zimbabwe yo wana mbofholowo nga 1980, nga murahu ha zwenezwo, ho vha na dzikhakhathi shangoni ḽa Zimbabwe musi hu tshi vha na nndwa nga tshavho. Ho fa vhathu vhanzhi nga hetsho tshifhinga. Fhedzhi-ha, vhenevho vhathu vhane vha khou ambesa ṋamusi, a vha ngo amba tshithu nga vhathu vho faho nga tshenetsho tshifhinga, ngauri ho vha hu vhathu vharema vhane vha khou fa.
Musi hu tshi tou fa muthu muthihi wa bulasini wa mutshena, hu vuwa ha vuwa na vhatshena vha Amerika, vha sa athu u vhuya vha swika fhano kha shango ḽa Afurika. Vha ima nga milenzhe, fhedzi vha hashu vha tshi fa, a vha ambi tshithu. [U dzhenelela.]
Mugabe a si muṱaluli nga muvhala ngauri, musi a tshi lwela mbofholowo, muvhuso wa Smith wo vha u tshi khou vhulaha vhathu vhanzhi nga maanṋa, vhana vhaṱuku-ṱuku na vhasadzi. Fhedzi Mugabe o ri u wana muvhuso, havho vhathu vhothe a si vha fare. Na ṋamusi vha khou tshimbila vho vhofholowa na u khetha vha a khetha, vha tshi dovha vha ṱongela honouḽa o vha vhofhololaho. Zwino ndi zwifhio zwine na khou amba zwone?
Nga nnḓa ha hezwo, zwe ra wana zwone hangei Zimbabwe, ndi u dzhenelela ha Tony Blair kha mafhungo a Zimbabwe. Honoho u dzhenelela ha Tony Blair kha mafhungo a Zimbabwe, zwi khou tou sumba zwauri ha khou ambela vhathu vha Zimbabwe, u khou amba mafhungo awe a uri vha hashu vhatshena, vha khou ḓo tambula, ngauri shango ḽa Zimbabwe tshe ḽa vhofholowa, 4 200 ya mabulasi, i tshe zwanḓani zwa vhatshena. Vhatshena a vha shoni. Vha vhona zwo fanela. [U dzhenelela.] Vha amba nga u vhusa nga mulayo kana rule of law. Hufhio u vhusa nga Mulayo? Ngauri u vhusa nga mulayo ho ḓiswa nga Mugabe na Nkomo hafho Zimbabwe. Ho vha hu si na u vhusa nga mulayo. Seller Scouts ndi u vhusa nga mulayo. Ndi amba Selous Scouts. [U vhanda zwanda.] Ndi u vhusa nga mulayo u vhulaha vhathu vha si na mulandu? Hu ri dimokirasi yeneyo ine ya vha hone ine na khou amba yone musi ni tshi ri vhudza nga misi, yo pimiwaho ya dzitshakha kha dimokirasi, zwoṱhe zwenezwo zwine na amba zwone. [U dzhenelela.] A ni ngo vhuya na ri ṋea heyo dimokirasi vhoinwi. A huna na muthu na muthihi o ri ṋeaho dimokirasi.
Fhedzi, Mugabe na Nkomo ndi vhone vho ḓisaho dimokirasi kha shango ḽa Zimbabwe. [U vhanda zwanḓa.] A i ngo ḓiswa nga Tony Blair na Harold Wilson. Yo ḓiswa nga Mugabe na Nkomo dimokirasi kha heḽo shango. Zwino, a ri koni u funziwa rine nga vha vhukovhela nga ha dimokirasi ye vha sa ri fhe yone, ye riṋe ra tou i lwela. Ndi rine vhane vha tea u funza havha vhathu nga dimokirasi. Ri tea u vha funza zwauri dimokirasi ndi mini. [U vhanda zwanḓa.] Ndi riṋe ri ne ra ḓivha zwauri dimokirasi ndi mini. A huna dimokirasi ine vha nga ri vhudza yone.
Vha amba nga milayo ya dzitshakha ya dimokirasi. Ifhio ya dzitshakha. Ho vha na khetho zwenezwino Amerika, ha mbo ḓi vha na u dzhavhula muvhuso, nga vhanna vha khothe, vha dzhenisa muṅwe muthu. [U dzhenelela.] Kha vha pfe ngeno vhone vho khotsimunene, zwine vha khou amba zwone, a vha zwi ḓivhi. Rine ri zwipondwa zwa u tambula.
Ro dzheniswa dzikhothoni nga vha hanu. Vha tshi ri fara vha tshi ri pfisa vhuṱungu. A ni ngo vhuya na amba tshithu.
Nga 1976 musi vha tshi ri vhulaha a ni ngo vhuya na amba tshithu. No vha ni tshi ri ndi u vhusa nga mulayo. U vhulawa hashu ndi u vhusa nga mulayo. U vhulawa hashu, ndi u vhusa nga mulayo. [U vhanda zwanḓa.] A si zwone hezwo lini. Vhathu kha vha gude u amba ngoho, vha litshe u vha vhaswaledzi shango ḽoṱhe. Kha ri ambe ngoho ya uri musi ri tshi vhulawa, no vha ni ngafhi vhoinwi vhane na khou kona u amba ṋamusi.
Ro ni ṋea mbofholowo hei ine na khou amba ngayo. A ri khou ri tshithu ngazwo. Vhaṅwe vhanu arali ra nga tou ni tevhelela, ni na milandu. Ndi rine vhe ra bvisa ngoho. [U dzhelela.] Ndi riṋe ro zwi itaho uri hu vhe na Khomishini ya Ngoho na Vhupfumedzani nahone, ra sa fare na muthu na muthihi. Fhedzi, ndi tshiḓahela shagoni ḽanga. A thi ngo wela milambo ndi tshi ya kha shango ḽa muṅwe muthu.
Ndi khou amba zwauri, zwe Tony Blair a ita zwone, na zwiṅwe a khou zwi ita zwino, zwi tea uri zwi karuse Afurika yoṱhe, [Tshifhinga tsho fhela.] kha zwauri havha vhathu, a vha imi na riṋe nahone vha nndwani na riṋe. [U vhanda zwanḓa.] (Translation of Tshivenḓa speech follows.)
[Mr R S NDOU: Madam Speaker, hon members and our friends who are here, I am also one of those people who went to Zimbabwe as an election observer. It is true, we arrived in Zimbabwe on 22 March.
What we found there on our arrival was that what was being said by the South Africans and their media was not what we saw in Zimbabwe. Even the rumours that are being spread by the people about the standard of living of the Zimbabweans, their suffering or their lack of morals, are not true.
If we look at this very carefully, we see that the people who are saying that there is nothing good in Zimbabwe are the whites, not blacks. Even if one goes to Zimbabwe, one will find that the people who are saying that are the whites. It is not the blacks who are saying that. The people of Zimbabwe are not aware of what is being said. [Interjections.] Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980 and after that there were riots and civil war. Many people were killed during that time. But those people who are talking so much today said nothing about those who died during that era, because it was the black people who died.
If one white person dies, it causes whites from America to react, especially those who have never been to Africa. Then they stand on their feet, but if our people die, they say nothing. [Interjections.]
Mugabe is not a racist, because when he fought for freedom, the Smith government was killing lots of people, young children and women. When Mugabe came to power, he did not arrest those people. Even today, they are still walking free, voting and looking down on the very same person who emancipated them. So, what is it that those hon members are saying now?
Another thing that we found in Zimbabwe was the interference of Tony Blair in Zimbabwe's affairs. The interference of Tony Blair showed that he was not speaking on behalf of the people. They might think that it was his fellow whites who were suffering. Since the liberation of Zimbabwe, 4 200 farms are still in the hands of the whites. The whites are shameless. They see this as the right thing to do. [Interjections.] They speak of the rule of law. Is the way of the Seller Scouts, their rule of law? I mean Selous Scouts. [Applause.] Is the killing of innocent people the rule of law? Even the democracy that the opposition is always telling us about is racist. [Interjections.] Those hon members did not bring that democracy to us. No one gave us that democracy.
But, Mugabe and Nkomo brought democracy to Zimbabwe. [Applause.] It was not brought about by Tony Blair or Harold Wilson. Democracy in that country was brought to them by Mugabe and Nkomo. The Western people cannot teach us about democracy and they did not bring it to us - we were the ones who fought for it. We are the ones who must teach them what democracy is. [Applause.] We are the ones who know what democracy is. There is no democracy which they can tell us about.
They talk about the international laws of democracy. Which international laws? There were elections not too long ago in America, which resulted into a coup d'état by the court officials and somebody was put into power. [Interjections.] I want the hon member to listen to me, as he does not know what he is talking about. We are the victims of hardship.
We were imprisoned by the hon member's own people. We were arrested and tortured, but then they said nothing about that. In 1976, when they killed us, the hon members said nothing. They called that the rule of law. Our killings were then the rule of law. [Applause.] That was not fair. People must learn to speak the truth. The whole country must not consist of liars. Let us speak the truth about where those hon members were while we were being killed. Where were the hon members who are speaking today?
We gave them the freedom which they are talking about. If we look at some of them, they are guilty. We exposed the truth. [Interjections.] We insisted that there should be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we never arrested anyone. But, I am still regarded as a fool in my own country. I did not cross the river, going to somebody else's land.
What I am saying is that what Tony Blair did, and what he is doing now, should awaken the whole of Africa. They are the people that are against us and are also fighting us. [Time expired.] [Applause.]]
Chief M W HLENGWA: Madam Speaker, first of all may I register our appreciation for the opportunity we enjoyed of being led by the hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party. [Applause.] The IFP does not wish to bury Zimbabwe, neither do we praise them. We merely wish to examine the facts and put the whole matter in the proper perspective.