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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007, 11:53 GMT
Zimbabwe discussion
On Sunday Sunday 18 March, Andrew Marr talked to Gugulethu Moyo and Hebson Makuvise.

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai leaves hospital

ANDREW MARR: The account this week of senior politicians in Zimbabwe being attacked, beaten and shot as they held a protest meeting was truly shocking.

Because Robert Mugabe restricts the media and bans the BBC altogether, images of it are scarce but some pictures of a tear gas attack on the protestors did emerge, and pictures of the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, after he'd been attacked and hospitalised underline just what's going on.

President Mugabe's response that western governments were worried could "go hang" was hardly reassuring.

Now last May Morgan Tsvangirai came to the UK and we talked here in the studio about his belief that the elections had been rigged by Robert Mugabe, and he's worried that the democratic process was being thwarted.

(part of Andrew Marr's interview with Morgan Tsvangirai):

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: It's a catastrophic turnout, at the moment I think one can see a very bleak future, the country is looking at the precipice.

But let me say that the people of Zimbabwe are determined, illustrated by our congress 15,000 delegates came. The people of Zimbabwe are resilient. They are resilient to see and there's a shared commitment, to see this dictatorship go.

ANDREW MARR: They don't have a real push from South Africa to make that happen, you lost the elections, what could happen now?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well the people will always prevail. Let me say that there is no dictatorship which is permanent. At the end of the day the people's determination to see their freedom will prevail.

ANDREW MARR: Well, Morgan Tsvangirai, after that appalling beating is of course still in Zimbabwe, and we hope to speak to him on the phone in a moment.

Meanwhile, here in the studio we have the MDC's chief representative in London, Hebson Makuvise, and Gugulethu Moyo who was a senior executive on the Daily News in Harare until Mugabe closed that newspaper down and smashed the presses.

Welcome to you both. Hebson, of all the countries which have real influence on Zimbabwe, I suppose none is more important than South Africa. Is this a moment for South Africans to really stand up to the plate?

Hebson Makuvise
Hebson Makuvise

HEBSON MAKUVISE: This is a moment when South Africans should show solidarity with the Zimbabweans. This is the moment that we expect President Thabo Mbeki to condemn the heinous actions of Robert Mugabe's government, publicly.

We expect the South Africans to isolate Robert Mugabe, economically Zimbabwe depends on South Africa. So we expect President Mbeki to do more. He also has to speak, you know, with the African union... they have to condemn Robert Mugabe.

ANDREW MARR: And they have to really start to condemn him as opposed to these behind-the-scenes conversations.

HEBSON MAKUVISE: We want them to condemn Robert Mugabe publicly, and isolate him as well.

ANDREW MARR: All right. You saw the effect of Mugabe's repression first hand, you were attacked yourself, you've seen the newspapers being attacked. Try and paint a picture for us of the atmosphere on the streets, you think, in Harare at the moment, because there'll be a lot of very frightened people but it's a question of when the anger overwhelms the fear I suppose.

Gugulethu Moyo
Gugulethu Moyo

GUGULETHU MOYO: Well, you know, it does seem that the fear is going a little, but you know I think you have to understand that Mugabe is willing to do anything to suppress opposition. A day after he made that statement about the international community going to hang, he then said, you know, if they try us we will bash them again. And Mugabe has been consistent really since day one of his rule. And in the 1980s 20,000 people died in Matabele as the result of violence the state orchestrated.

So the world has to understand that Mugabe really is a tyrant, he's a tyrant. But also his conduct as a criminal and the international community now has an instrument to deal with criminals who violate the international law, torture is prohibited absolutely in international criminal law. And they must go ahead and prosecute Mugabe because it's quite clear that he endorses this kind of conduct, and in fact is probably orchestrating it.

ANDREW MARR: Well let's hear what Morgan Tsvangirai has got to say. Because I think he can now hear us. Good morning Mr. Tsvangirai, can you hear us?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Yeah, good morning, I can hear you clearly.

ANDREW MARR: Good morning. First of all, just describe your physical condition, how are you?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well my physical condition is greatly improved. I'm recovering and it's unfortunate that some of my colleagues are still in pain and it's a long way before they can revocer.

ANDREW MARR: And I gather that some of them were needing to get medical help in South Africa and were turned back at the airport, and sent back home again?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Yes, they were turned at the airport. This morning when Nelson Chamisa tried to go to the airport on a scheduled mission he was attacked by men and he is also in hospital now having suffered a very serious fracture on his eye. This is a pattern which is increasing in intensity and I think that this is a very serious situation.

ANDREW MARR: Do you believe that at last Zimbabwe is on the edge of a moment of liberation, a moment of freedom, and that by pushing things so far President Mugabe may have made a serious mistake?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well I think that this is a tipping point. Things are bad but I think that this crisis has reached a tipping point and we could be seeing the beginning of the end of this dictatorship, in whatever form.

ANDREW MARR: Did you think that Britain had done all that Britain should? Did you feel in any way let down by Tony Blair and the British government over the last few months and years?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: I have repeatedly said that the British government can not be seen to be at the forefront of confronting Mugabe, alone. I've always said that that will be misconstrued as a colonial resuscitation of the same situation again. So I always say that Britain together with the rest of the international community, the African Union, and the rest of the international community, have to act together.

ANDREW MARR: How important in all of this, South Africa we've already heard absolutely crucial, but the Americans are now weighing in using much stronger language than they've used before. How important is that for you?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: It's very important that the international solidarity be shown in a much stronger pressure but also a combination of national/international pressure is required. So we appreciate the concern and the strong language that is being used but I want to emphasise that South Africa is a critical player in this the resolution of this crisis, and that they could have been more stronger than what they already argued.

ANDREW MARR: And what about your own personal position now, and those of your supporters, do you feel your life is in danger, is this a particularly threatening part of the unfolding drama?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Well we've always known that Mugabe is violent. But he has been prepared to use the violence too every time he feels threatened. And as the weakened reaction that has been emphasised by some of your commentators.

We know the situation is risky, there are people here who have already gone down, 450 people already dead, in fact more than that. And thousands of homes burned down just for belonging to the opposition. So the opposition is aware, the people of Zimbabwe are aware of the man they are dealing with. And we don't downgrade the risk that we are exposed to. But we are not going to give up.

ANDREW MARR: One of your own closest supporters was actually killed in that same melee where you got beaten up?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Yes. Tandari??? Was killed, in cold blood, and not only that, the insensitivity of grabbing the body and going to bury without the family involvement is un-Africa, and this shows the extent to which this regime is prepared - and the beatings-up that are going on in the townships, just random beatings by soldiers, by the militia, emphasises the disregard of human life that Mugabe's now downgraded to.

ANDREW MARR: Morgan Tsvangirai, you're a brave man. Thank you very much indeed for joining us this morning, and thank you to you both as well for coming into the studio. Thanks a lot.


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy

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