HARARE – Daily News’ political editor Gift Phiri (GP) talks to opposition Mavambo Kusile Dawn leader Simba Makoni (SM) about the forthcoming election.
GP: How do you define yourself as a leader, and why should Mai Rherhi in Mahenye vote for you?
SM: I am a team player, who works with others. I place importance on consensus rather than unilateral decisions.
I seek high office to serve, rather than to wield power and control. I am motivated to enable and or facilitate others to do things for themselves rather than I doing things for them, or trap them into dependence.
I believe in honest, clean, hardworking and exemplary leadership. I believe in community and sharing rather than greed and selfishness. I believe in kindness and compassion rather than cruelty and arrogance.
I believe in the equality of all citizens, and in equity and fairness.
I believe in the oneness of our country and all its people, and in the right of all of us to justice, security, peace, happiness and harmony.
GP: Is your party conducting primary elections?
SM: Not yet, but we will shortly launch our candidate selection.
That selection will entail the holding of primary elections, in cases where there are more than one candidate vying for the same seat.
GP: Are you fielding candidates in all the forthcoming harmonised elections, I mean municipal, legislative and presidential polls?
SM: Yes, we plan to participate fully at all levels of the elections.
GP: Dumiso Dabengwa told a rally held in Gwamayaya communal lands in Nkayi recently that “We used Makoni to stop the old man (Mugabe) and Tsvangirai whose track record we did not feel would make him a good president.” He actually said you were used as a “braai stick”, a Zanu PF project.
Is this correct and what guarantee is there that your current campaign is not another regime project?
SM: I have no evidence that Dumiso said that. But even if he did say that, it is not true.
In the statement I issued on February 5, 2008, I explained why I left Zanu PF, and why I offered to stand for the office of President of Zimbabwe as an independent candidate.
On July 1, 2009, we launched Mavambo Kusile Dawn as a fully fledged political party, under whose auspices many colleagues and I, as law abiding, patriotic citizens are contributing our best to get Zimbabwe working again.
GP: What caused the fallout between MKD and Dabengwa?
SM: The facts are that Dumiso Dabengwa supported independent candidate Simba Makoni in the 2008 presidential election.
In late 2008, he and other former PF Zapu members decided to revive that party, for reasons they have explained. On the other hand as stated above, we launched Mavambo Kusile Dawn as a party in July 2009.
He and I maintain cordial relations, and our two organisations liaise with each other constantly.
GP: There is talk of talks about a grand coalition involving yourself and Tsvangirai. Is there any such dialogue underway, and what are you envisaging?
SM: On January 23, 2013, in a formal statement presented to the media, I proposed a ‘Grand Coalition for Change’ and called on all like-minded Zimbabweans committed to solving the problems of the country to agree to work together.
Such like-minded Zimbabweans may be in politics, civil society, business, faith organisations, and all other walks of life.
They may be young or old, men or women, urban or rural, in the country or outside, in organisations or just individuals; they are welcome to participate in the grand coalition.
We are actively canvassing this idea to all who care to listen to us.
GP: You are one of more than 20 presidential candidates. What’s your take on the number of candidates, and what does your manifesto say?
SM: I am not aware there are more than 20 presidential candidates. However, if there are, that is democracy.
We are finalising our manifesto. It focuses on healing, uniting and reconciling Zimbabweans, thereby eradicating the fear that currently grips the nation. It emphasises on empowering citizens, families and communities to fend for themselves, rather than waiting for ‘Dai Hurumende …’
The manifesto exalts honesty, integrity and hard work. We implore citizens to patriotism, without turning them into mindless and thoughtless zombies.
GP: Who funds MKD?
SM: It is funded by our members, as well as many citizen sympathisers and well-wishers.
GP: Ex-ZNA soldier Rtd Major Kudzai Mbudzi, a founding member of MKD claims you failed to account for $3 million in cash donated to the party by well-wishers for your 2008 campaign including cars, 300 000 litres of fuel, and 100 000 rims of bond paper among other gifts.
These are serious charges, how do you respond to that ?
SM: Rtd Major Mbudzi was in the ‘Movement of Volunteers’ who supported independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni in 2008. A not-for-profit Trust was established to mobilise, deploy, husband and account for resources for the independent candidate’s campaign.
As stated countless times before, MKD was launched on July 1st, 2009.
Rtd Maj Mbudzi was no longer working with us from October 2008, and is, therefore, not a founder of MKD party.
GP: How do you plan to tackle corruption?
SM: First, through my own anti-corrupt behaviour, and not tolerating corruption among colleagues in leadership with me.
Then, by growing a culture of honesty among citizens, through national anti-corruption programmes.
Further, by ensuring that State agencies responsible for enforcing anti-corruption laws do so without fear or favour.
GP: Do you think we’ve lost the belief that we can succeed as Zimbabwe?
SM: No, I have not seen any evidence of that anywhere. On the contrary, I see everywhere evidence of a burning desire to succeed, a resilience to overcome all impediments. Although notably less so than in earlier years, Zimbabweans are still hardworking, still honest and still ambitious to succeed.
That is why our motto is ‘Let’s get Zimbabwe Working Again’.