YESTERDAY (Monday) I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Robert Mugabe and Prof Arthur Mutambara.
This document commits our three parties to a framework of negotiations that will take place over the next two weeks.
I know that in signing this MoU, I represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of Zimbabweans to end this crisis as soon as possible. Honest, hardworking Zimbabweans who want nothing more than a life that offers peace, security, economic opportunity, democracy and social and personal development. This is a responsibility that the MDC and I take with the utmost seriousness.
This memorandum offers the most tangible opportunity in the past 10 years to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. But, our signatures alone do not guarantee that we will be able to make the most of this opportunity. Our signatures on this document must be accompanied by acknowledging some very basic truths:
We are Zimbabweans who want only what is best for our country and our citizens. Our shared goal is best achieved in a climate of tolerance and stability, not divisiveness and anger. We believe that wanting a more democratic future or expressing an alternate political opinion should be viewed as a right and not as a declaration of war. No one has a monopoly on patriotism.
We believe that the will of the people is the fundamental basis on which to ground our negotiations. We acknowledge that these negotiations can only proceed and succeed if the rule of law is restored, if people are able to go about their business in safety, if the public media refrain from using hate speech to polarise the community, if the persecution of MDC MPs, members and supporters ceases, and if humanitarian organisations are allowed once again to provide aid to the millions of Zimbabweans in need of assistance.
Yesterday (Monday), we committed ourselves to a process that presents the framework in which we can strive to find a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis. This is just the first step on a journey whose duration and success is dependent on the sincerity and good faith of all parties involved. In the spirit of a shared vision to heal our nation, I call upon my fellow signatories to join me in putting aside our differences and acknowledging that we have a responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe to show true leadership and to find agreement that will bring an end to the violence, polarisation, poverty and fear in which we have all been living for too long. Our fellow countrymen and women look to us to find common ground that will allow us, as a nation, to chart a democratic path forward.
We must acknowledge that the outcome of these negotiations will not be acceptable until it has been endorsed by Zimbabwean civil society, the trade unions and the people themselves. We are not here to form an elitist pact, but rather to represent the hopes and aspirations of each citizen and every stakeholder. This is my commitment to our partners who have struggled with us for a more democratic form of government.
To the people of Zimbabwe I say, have courage, be strong, better days lie ahead.
The heart of the entire world is broken by what has happened in our country, and your bravery is praised among all peoples everywhere. The world stands ready to join us in rebuilding our nation and restoring what has been lost, once our peace and freedom are re-established.