BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Audio/Video: Programmes: Breakfast with Frost: Past Programmes
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 
Sunday, 25 June, 2000, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Interview with Morgan Tsvangirai

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, LEADER, MDC JUNE 25TH, 2000

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST:
I'm joined from Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, by Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition party, of course, the movement for democratic change. Good morning.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI:
Good morning, Sir David.

DAVID FROST:
Tell me straightaway Morgan if you would, we've had optimistic reports overnight of how the first day of voting has gone. Did you feel that it went well, went better than you had feared?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI:
Well I must say that the turnout, the peaceful nature in which the large majority of people who participated, I think is very encouraging for this election, in spite of the background to it.

DAVID FROST:
Yes, indeed. Would you say it's possible that these elections could be described after it's all over as free and fair as everybody hoped?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI:
No, I don't think that given the environment characterised by violence, these elections will in any way resemble a free and fair poll, but I must say that I think at the end of the day substantially it will reflect people's choices. But it can never be considered free and fair.

DAVID FROST:
Never considered free and fair. So, I mean, if there was a situation, for instance, where you won this election, you would have to work with President Mugabe for two years, wouldn't you before, before a presidential election. Do you think you could do that?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI:
Of course. There are two choices for the country. One is either you go towards a repressive route or you go towards coexistence. In which case I think the only route out of these elections is the coexistent mechanism. But it of course is dependent on Mr Mugabe himself. But what we are talking about here is a move away from executive authority to parliamentary authority. So he would have to make that choice himself.

DAVID FROST:
And what about the role of the police and the military if you were to win? I mean they've always seemed to be very happy with Mr Mugabe. Are you sure they'd maintain their position of neutrality?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI:
I have already stated that these are national institutions that should overcome any change of government and that they should be professional, neutral and non-partisan and that's why the MDC has no intention of engaging in acts of retribution. So I have no doubt in my mind that these are professional institutions and their loyalties are to the people and the state of Zimbabwe, not to any individual party or any individual person.

DAVID FROST:
And what about, we've seen a lot film and so on here, obviously, of the land grab that President Mugabe has been seeking to undertake. What would you do about this vital of the land reform issue, if and when you came to power?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI:
Yes, I think, as a background one must understand that this is an unfinished national agenda. It is not a Mugabe issue, it's not a Tsvangirai issue, it's not a Zanu PF issue, neither is it an MDC issue. It is a national issue, that should resolve this issue on a permanent basis. A permanent basis that is sound, equitable, legal and transparent. In our view the first point of call is of course to establish an independent land commission, which should examine the current land stock which should define the programme of infrastructure development, of training, re-allocation of people and re-examining the multiple ownership of land in So as far as we are convinced there is common cause on the land reform programme. But it should be solved and it should be resolved on a permanent basis and not just emerge at election time.

DAVID FROST:
And what about today's voting and then the count? Do you believe that there are sufficient observers there in Zimbabwe to ensure that the count is not a crooked count?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI:
I am sure that our internal monitors who are really in every polling station, the Civic Society Movement, we have provided these independent monitors internally, and international observers. I think a combination of both will be able to detect any act of suppression on the part of the counting. And I am hoping that it will be a true reflection on the counting.

DAVID FROST:
And as we look ahead obviously you have to get 76 out of 120 seats because of the way the constitution works which is a big demand. Do you think, as you sit here this Sunday morning, that you can win a majority in this election?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI:
I think the large turnout will reflect in all honesty the swing from government to the MDC in an overwhelming way and I have no doubt that if that is translated into parliamentary seats, I think the MDC will have an overwhelming parliamentary majority in parliament. But of course the issue of the president's prerogative to appoint, of course there has been this charge that Zanu PF have the monopoly of appointing 30 seats, I think that is a misrepresentation of the true facts. Which is largely it has been put in the constitution to allow for representation of other interested groups and that is a subject of legal and political action after the election.

DAVID FROST:
Well, Morgan Tsvangirai, we thank you for joining us in the middle of these vital two days. Thank you very much indeed. And I should say that we did also approach the government party, Zanu PF, but they didn't want to put up a representative to join us today, for whatever reason.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Past Programmes stories