With a population that has a higher number of children and elderly, Zambia is left with not enough workers. Its dependency ratio leaves it vulnerable to taking on too much future debt, regardless of any post-default restructuring solution.
Interview: Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister
The Africa Report: What is the mood within the power-sharing government?
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: I think there is a general sense of commitment by all parties. Obviously the slow pace at which some of the issues have been resolved affects confidence and sometimes leads to frustration, but generally everyone believes this is the way to go. I have no doubt that this is an irreversible process leading this transition to a free and fair election, and that is why we have to implement all the reforms necessary, and I am sure we are on course.?
How do you react to civil society groups who say that the government is pushing reforms without wider consultation? ?
What further consultation do you need? We have a constitutional process taking place. The reforms that are being initiated are in line with the Global Political Agreement (GPA) of which the major parties are a factor and so we should be judged on the reforms that we are spearheading rather than condemned. In fact, I thought that they would actually be supportive of political and economic reforms.?
When President Mugabe first took office he took a softly-softly approach to the then Rhodesian administration, waiting before he replaced key officials. Is this the approach to emulate?
We are not in a revolution, we are in an evolutionary process and an evolutionary process means that some of the things have to be delayed whilst a smooth transition is taking place. We can’t replace everyone overnight because that would be revolutionary. We need to make sure that those who are supportive of this inclusive government and its thrust would continue to be accommodated and given the responsibility necessary to push the country forward.?
Are you considering amnesties for ZANU-PF cadres responsible for electoral violence? ?
The issue of amnesty was excluded from the negotiations. The understanding was that we have an organ on national healing and reconciliation, which is already taking place; they are the ones that have been tasked with the responsibility of proposing how to deal with the perpetrators and victims of violence. One of the things we have accepted is that there would be no retribution.?
What is the security situation?
The security situation has greatly improved since the inclusive government was formed. It’s not perfect yet. We are still working at security-sector reforms, there are still some individual security establishments that are taking the law into their own hands and applying the law selectively. I think that with security-sector reforms we will be able to train and re-train and professionalise these institutions. The Green Bombers should be disbanded. There is no way we can have militias in a civilised government.??
How important a factor is President Mugabe’s insistence that Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono stays in his post??
I have always said that what is important are the procedures in the appointment of these people in these institutions that we should all accept, and that still remains my position. Whether the individual qualifies is neither here nor there. President Mugabe may prefer Gideon Gono to remain in his post but that is subject to the agreement by the three principals of the GPA, and I think we all have our different yardsticks of measuring who qualifies and who doesn’t.??
Did Western governments give you a list of specific issues that have to be resolved before they will restart financing?
Yes, I am quite conscious of the concerns raised and they are legitimate concerns. We have an agreement, the GPA, which sets what Zimbabweans have agreed to implement, and as far as they are concerned all they are asking is for us to implement what we have already agreed.??
Western governments have been reluctant to fund the power-sharing government. What effect is this policy having on Zimbabwe’s economic position? ?
As far as I am concerned, whatever support is coming, whether it is channelled through government or through any other channel, it depends on the ultimate beneficiary. It is the Zimbabweans who are the ultimate beneficiaries.