Farai Shoko recently sat down with the National Constitutional Assembly's Lovemore Madhuku about its political aspirations in Zimbabwe.
Why is the NCA becoming a political party and what differences do you have with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai?
The reason for the transformation is very simple: the NCA membership is convinced that at this point in time, the best way in which the NCA can contribute to the development of our country is by being a political party.
For the past 16 years, the NCA has made contributions to the political discourse in the country as a civic organisation. The unanimous view on September 28 was to change to a political party, but with the same goal of contributing to the development and prosperity of the country.
The transformation of the NCA into a political party has no relationship whatsoever with Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai is a leader of his party.
How different will the NCA be to other opposition parties?
We will pursue social democratic ideals genuinely with a nationalist and pan-African thrust.
But the most important point is that we are exercising our freedom of association. We are providing another alternative to Zanu-PF.
What do you say to suggestions that you want to lure rebel MDC officials to your formation?
The term “rebel” is very unfortunate and inappropriate. I do not know of any person who fits the description of a “rebel”. I know of people who are no longer members of some of the other political parties who have joined us.
It is their right to join a political party of their choice. They also have a right to change their choices from time to time.
Tsvangirai is the leader of the MDC. He has played a key role in this country and will continue to be one of the leaders in our country.
What we have done is merely offer another alternative. We respect him and will not insult him.
Instead, when the dust settles, we will seek to exchange notes with him. What we will not do is vote for him in the next election. You unsuccessfully campaigned against the new Constitution.
Do you have support?
More than 5% of the voters in the [constitutional] referendum in March supported our position. That is not insignificant .
Most people realise that they were cheated by President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai to endorse an undemocratic Constitution. By the time we reach 2018, more than 50% of voters will support our party.
Who is funding you?
Our funding will come from our members. The membership fee per year is $5. But those who can’t afford will pay $1.
How do you respond to allegations that yours is a Zanu-PF project?
Some people choose to forget that outside politics, I am a law professor. My work at the university is a professional task. Part of that work involves what we call “service to the community”.
As a professor of law, I am expected to be a leading opinion on legal issues in my areas of expertise.
I will not shy away from expressing an opinion on the law merely because it favours Zanu-PF. There are so many people in both Zanu-PF and MDC who are current and former law students.
To say the NCA is a Zanu-PF project is an insult. The NCA has been a key player in this country in the past 16 years. Time will tell.
Do you see your political formation as the third way?
The answer is no. A third way presupposes the existence of two other ways. That is not the case. There are more than two political parties already in the country and more may be coming.
The language of a “third” way is insensitive to other political groups outside of Zanu-PF and MDC.
What would your advice to Tsvangirai ?
I am now a competitor and cannot give advice. All I have are good wishes for them as they soldier on.
What do you promise Zimbabweans?
Zanu-PF is a cluster of tired, corrupt, greedy and incompetent politicians. We promise capable management of our resources and a country that respects the rights of all.