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Sunday, 5 November, 2000, 12:45 GMT
Morgan Tsvangirai
DAVID FROST: And now to Zimbabwe where for the first in 20 years Robert Mugabe's ruling party has a serious challenger. The Movement for Democratic Change is the single greatest threat to the President's grip on power, the MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has said that they are seriously considering a Yugoslav-style uprising to topple Mugabe. The warning comes after the parliamentary election in June with the MDC narrowly lost and is now claiming was rigged and joining us now is the man himself, Morgan welcome.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Good morning David.

DAVID FROST: What, looking back on it now how rigged was that election, do you think?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: I think there were massive riggings, if you take high levels of violence, intimidation of the opposition, exclusion of the opposition in certain areas and the actual tampering with the vote I think we've hard facts to illustrate that the rigging was massive.

DAVID FROST: And can you get rid of Mugabe short of his full term?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well Mugabe's got the mandate until 2002 but does he have the legitimacy. 75 per cent of Zimbabweans say he should step down today and I think there is nothing to wait until 2002 when there's nothing to vote for. I mean that's the crisis we have reached.

DAVID FROST: And how could, how could he be persuaded to go, one or two papers have suggested that maybe Nelson Mandela could play a, play a central role in that?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well with the reputation of Mandela who can resist him? I think he can play a very influential role in trying to persuade his old colleague to step down and aside allow the country to move forward.

DAVID FROST: And in terms of what happens then to Mr Mugabe, I mean obviously some people have said that there are a number of things that he's done that he should be put in court for, and would you be in favour of that or do you think it's worth, as a price of getting rid of him, of, of giving him, as it were, a pardon?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well I think that is a very complex question. First of all there are people who have been victims of his actions and I think those people not really give him the pardon. But I think that for the country to move forward we must not act in retribution, or to be vindictive over him, I think his contribution far outweighs his mistakes over the last three or four years. So I think at the end of the day people must be persuaded to realise that the country cannot look back, it has to move forward beyond him.

DAVID FROST: Right, so you would still say that in the first, first 15 years of his rule or whatever, that he was, he was overall a plus?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well I think that if he had stepped down in 1995 he would have stepped down with his legacy in tact, but the fact that he has stayed over, he has made so many mistakes over the last four or fives years, we don't understand the transformation of the man and thus┐

DAVID FROST: Something, is it something medical do you think?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: It is speculation but I have no hard facts about that.

DAVID FROST: What about the land issue that's caused such, such concern and such controversy, how would your policy on land differ from his?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well I think there is national consensus on the land question, everyone agrees we need fundamental land reform, the only difference, I think, in divergence comes in the method. He has embarked on a fast-track land resettlement programme which is uncoordinated, no infrastructure, is a disastrous policy. And we suggest that I think the objectives must be clear, the objectives are empowerment, equitable land distribution and of course the fact that agriculture still is the mainstay of that economy so the question of viability┐in a sense via ability is very important. Having said that we believe that then to proceed on our political basis you need a land commission, that is going to look at where the land is going to come from and where the beneficiaries are going to┐be resettled.

DAVID FROST: And in fact as you look ahead then it could be, could be a peaceful future. I mean how peaceful is Zimbabwe today, we heard for instance during the election that there were possibly 12 members of your party who'd been killed, as a form, more than just intimidation, has that sort of intimidation, that sort of violence, that sort of killing gone on since the election or has there been a strained peace?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well we had hoped that immediately after the elections we would go into a period of normalcy but unfortunately Mugabe and Zanu PF always use violence as a fundamental instrument of political survival and as we go now into other by-elections the violence is very much evident on the ground, so we have not returned back to normal, the situation is tense, the people are restless and the government remains arrogant. So how do you balance between these two extremes.

DAVID FROST: It's a very difficult, very difficult task and we wish you well, thank you very much Morgan for being with us this morning.

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