Arthur Guseni Oliver Mutambara, a Zimbabwean political figure and scholar has served as the President of a faction of the Movement for Democratic Change since February 2006, a position previously held by secretary general Welshman Ncube. The Movement for Democratic Change split in 2005 after a dispute over whether or not to participate in Zimbabwean parliamentary election. Born May 25, 1966, Mutambara was a strong voice in the Zimbabwean student movement in 1988 and 1989, leading anti-government protests at the University of Zimbabwe, which led to his eventual arrest and detention. He continued his education as a Rhodes scholar at Merton College, Oxford in the United Kingdom, obtaining a Ph.D. in Robotics and Mechatronics. In his field he had taught at a number of universities in the United States including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has published three books on engineering including: Design and Analysis of Control Systems, Decentralized Estimation, and Control for Multisensor Systems and Mechatronics and Robotics. Additionally, he has served as a professor of Business Strategy and as a consultant for the management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Since September 2003 he has worked as the Managing Director and CEO of Africa Technology and Business Institute.
Topic: Zimbabwe today
Arthur Mutambara: Right now I’m involved in the struggle in Zimbabwe. The major problem in Zimbabwe is around two issues. Number one, political illegitimacy. What’s happening in Zimbabwe is that those who are running our country have been so without the consent of the government. They are in power because they stole elections. They were involved in fraudulent elections. Political illegitimacy is the number one challenge. The second challenge is around poor economic governance, which has led to a complete failure in the economic management of our country, to the extent that we’re talking about 85% unemployment in our country; 95% poverty levels in the country. Inflation numbers – official numbers of inflation – 5,000%. The actual number? Fifteen thousand percent. Life expectancy in our country? Thirty five years. And every week 4,000 people are dying because of HIV/AIDS and malnutrition in our country. If we don’t get food assistance this year, four million people might die of starvation. Those are the challenges I am grappling with in my country to say why can’t we have a legitimate government that is elected by people through a free and fair election? Why can’t we have economic programs, economic solutions that will make Zimbabwe a globally competitive economy and not a basket case where we are today? Those are the issues I am grappling with at the moment as a leader – one of the leaders – in the Opposition in Zimbabwe. So far we have managed to raise the profile of issues in the country and internationally. Secondly, we have managed to campaign on the grounds through defiance campaigns, through demonstrations, strikes and rallies so that we can put pressure on the regime of Robert Mugabe in our country so that we can demand conditions for free and fair. So we have achieved the propaganda wall around creation of conditions for free and fair. Secondly, we have also achieved – or we’re still working on – building a united front inspired by a single _______ principle so that in any election in our country, we can present a viable and electable opposition that can win power against the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. So creating conditions for free and fair elections – we are working on that. We’re raising the proffer of that issue. Creating a united front to win elections – we’re working on that. And we’re raising the proffer on that matter. And also number three, we have been crafting the economic blueprints – the economic solutions – that will allow our country to move from poverty to the Promised Land. So this . . . this is what defines our achievements; but there are achievements that are part of work in progress. They are not complete, but they’re the achievements that define our efforts to bring about resolutions in our country. The legacy of my part – the legacy of my colleagues and myself . . . I don’t believe in individual legacy. I believe in collective legacy. I believe in generational legacy. The legacy of my generation and my country is that of transforming Zimbabwe from poverty, from crisis, to make Zimbabwe a globally competitive economy – making Zimbabwe the Singapore of Africa. Making Zimbabwe the Switzerland of Africa. If as a generation we’re able to make Zimbabwe the Malaysia, the Singapore of Africa in terms of GDP, per capita income, business growth, economic empowerment of all my people, that will be our legacy – an economic legacy and an economic mandate.
Recorded On: 7/5/07