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Tsvangirai: 'Zimbabwe's conflict will end with credible election'

From Robyn Curnow, CNN
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In 2009, Morgan Tsvangirai entered into an uneasy power-sharing agreement with president Robert Mugabe.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Morgan Tsvangirai became Zimbabwe's PM after a power sharing deal with Mugabe
  • 'The country will not move forward unless you have a legitimate election,' he says
  • Marketplace Africa asked Tsvangirai if Zimbabwe was a safe opportunity for investment

CNN's Marketplace Africa offers viewers a unique window into African business on and off the continent. This week the show interviews Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Watch the show on Wednesdays 1845, Fridays 0045, Saturdays 0715, Sundays 0615 (all times GMT).

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's long-standing political conflict will not be resolved unless a fair election takes place, says Morgan Tsvangirai, the country's prime minister.

Speaking to CNN's Robyn Curnow in Johannesburg, Tsvangirai said: "The country will not move forward unless you have a credible and a legitimate election, so we have to get that mandate."

He added: "The time will have to be decided on the timing of it but certainly going to election is the one that will provide that exit strategy."

In 2009, Tsvangirai, who has survived three assassination attempts, imprisonment and beatings, entered into an uneasy power-sharing agreement with his arch-enemy of years, Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe.

He says that a compromise was necessary in order for the country to put its recent beleaguered history behind and move forward.

"When the country was confronted with chaos and anarchy, we rescued our country and saved it in order to have the long-term stability that we are looking for," said Tsvangirai, a former miner and trade union boss who helped form Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change party and became its leader in 1999.

One of the goals of Zimbabwe's national unity government is to drum up investment for the country's fragile economy.

Marketplace Africa spoke to Tsvangirai about his deal with Mugabe, investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and the country's future.

CNN: Zimbabwe is a deeply troubled nation and there is still so much uncertainty. It would still make an investor incredibly jittery.

Morgan Tsvangirai: Generally things have calmed down to a situation where there's peace and stability and that the political and economic reforms that we are implementing are good for business. There's no country without risks.

CNN: But this is Zimbabwe and it's a very particular country.

MT: But I think Zimbabwe, compared to other countries, it's advantageous and here the country's risks are reduced.

CNN: You are now part of Robert Mugabe's government. How does it sit with you?

MT: Well, let me just disclaim that -- I'm not part of Robert Mugabe's government.

CNN: You're a partner in it?

MT: It's a shared compromise out of a political crisis. Yes, we are partners in government -- I share the same executive authority with Robert Mugabe.

So what I'm saying here is that the political architecture we have built is a transitional architecture in order to softline the crisis. The winner, the loser, we all are in this together, that's why we have to build the confidence that is necessary to push the country forward.

CNN: Do you not sometimes feel frustrated? Many people in Zimbabwe feel like you've sold out.

MT: Selling out is a very strong word. It connotes betrayal and bad intentions.

CNN: Do you feel like you've given Mugabe legitimacy?

The political architecture we have built is a transitional architecture in order to soft line the crisis.
--Morgan Tsvangirai
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MT: No, I have not.

CNN: But this government is still essentially his.

MT: No it's not. It is not because I think from a practical point this is a coalition. And in all coalitions -- it doesn't matter where, Britain or Australia -- there are certain things that you give and certain things that you take.

You don't become part of the same because in actual effect you don't have the same shared common vision, but you have a compromised vision. These are the minimum things we can do in this period. It doesn't mean that ZANU-PF compromises its values and we don't compromise.

CNN: Do they compromise anything?

MT: We share, we give up some in order for the country to move forward.

CNN: There is a sense that perhaps Mugabe has outmaneuvered you because he still has control over security, which is so important.

MT: No, even in this country [South Africa], there was a moment in which Mandela had to share power with de Klerk and the nationalists.

CNN: But he still had control over security.

MT: He didn't have control, it was a transitional government. Mandela and de Klerk had to go through two years of transition. There was a security apparatus which was loyal to the apartheid state but they were able to manage that process in order to reach a certain stage. That's exactly the same.

CNN: So, do you feel that weight of history on you?

MT: Of course it's a weight of history that when the country was confronted with chaos and anarchy, we rescued our country and saved it in order to have the long-term stability that we are looking for.

CNN: How do you see Zimbabwe in five years time, in ten years time? There's the dreamer vision and then there's the reality.

MT: The reality is that this country is moving steadily and incrementally.

CNN: Slowly.

MT: Slowly though but incrementally, once this political problem has finally been resolved by a legitimate and credible election, with the full mandate of the people -- that government will take this country forward.

CNN: Are you crazy to go into an election again some people might say? Look at all the previous ones, what's going to be different?

MT: No, this is not just an election. This is about resolving a long-standing political conflict and the country will not move forward unless you have a credible and legitimate election, so we have to get that mandate. The time will have to be decided on the timing of it but certainly going to election is the one that will provide that exit strategy.

 
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