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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Zimbabwean Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai Dies; Jacob Zuma To Speak Amid Calls For His Resignation; U.S. Weapon Among Hardware For Sale Online In Syria. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired February 14, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome. I'm Clarissa Ward in for Hala Gorani.
Tonight, we start out by bringing you some breaking news, Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean opposition leader has died. That is according
to an MDC party spokesman. He was 65, died after a long battle with cancer.
Let's take a look now back at Morgan Tsvangirai's eventful life with this piece from our Robyn Kriel.
ROBYN KRIEL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chanting voices and the open palm, this is how many will remember Morgan Tsvangirai. The
son of a bricklayer, Tsvangirai, rose through the ranks in Zimbabwe's Trade Unions. The one entity in Zimbabwe that was strong enough and autonomous
enough to challenge the country's autocratic president, Robert Mugabi and his ruling political party, Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai's political party, a Movement for Democratic Change or MDC, adopted the symbol of the open palm to express opposition to Mugabi's
party's closed fist. Tsvangirai was beaten by the police and arrested repeatedly and accused of, among many other charges, treason and plotting
to assassinate the president.
He was never convicted but continued to serve as the head of his party and to stand against Mugabi in various presidential and parliamentary
elections. Tsvangirai was the only serious political contender against President Mugabi, who ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.
And he came close to winning several times particularly in 2008, which the MDC claims was stolen from them. Facing economic and political crises and
mounting opposition, even from within his own party in 2009, Mugabi agreed to a unity government, where he would continue to serve as president and
Tsvangirai is prime minister.
However, this posting was largely symbolic, and the MDC was left without any real power. Nearly one month after being sworn in, Tsvangirai and his
wife, Susan, were involved in a horrific car crash, his wife was killed, Tsvangirai was injured.
In June 2016, he announced that he was suffering from colon cancer, but Tsvangirai's dream of a peaceful and democratic transition of power from
Mugabi was never realized. In November 2017, Mugabi was forced out in a largely nonviolent military coup.
He was replaced by another member of ZANU-PF, Emmerson Mnangagwa, soft spoken, welcoming, jovial, but mired in tragedy. Morgan Tsvangirai will be
remembered as the politician with the common touch.
WARD: And we will have more on Tsvangirai's death throughout the program. But now to fast moving developments in South Africa where embattled
President Jacob Zuma is expected to speak at any moment after nine years in power, his own party is finally calling for his resignation. They have
even scheduled a vote of non-confidence for Thursday.
CNN's David McKenzie has been tracking Zuma's fortunes all week. He is live in Johannesburg for us this hour. David, earlier today, it seemed
like he was hanging on for dear life. What are you expecting to hear now?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are expecting to hear the president speak directly to the nation here in South Africa. The
podium is set up and he already is a few minutes late. Now President Zuma earlier gave a long, rambling interview, which was more like a monologue on
national television digging in, saying, that he had done nothing wrong.
And that in fact, he was the victim in all of this. President Zuma has faced scandals upon scandals through his tenure, Clarissa, as you know, but
there has been now this no-confidence vote scheduled by parliaments on tomorrow, in fact, in South Africa where the ANC, the ruling party is
expected to join together with the opposition to push him out.
Now the question that we'll be hearing -- want to hear from the president of South Africa in moments it seems is will he resign or will he dig in
further? His options are severely limited, but he's shown that he is willing to put himself before the party, and even the country.
[15:05:12] The party recalled him officially and yet, he is still not yet made his decision made -- Clarissa.
WARD: I mean, and David, as you said, this is not the first time that he's been mired in scandal and corruption charges. Why now does it appear to
have some traction? What was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak?
MCKENZIE: Well, we shouldn't see this as the ruling party, the party of Nelson Mandela suddenly coming up with its moral voice necessarily because
in fact these scandals are nothing new. Jacob Zuma has had multiple allegations of corruption hanging over his head. But now we'll find out
whether he'll resign or not.
WARD: And what's likely to be the reaction there? Are people expect -- is their expectation high that he will resign?
MCKENZIE: People want him to resign, I think, and the party wants him to resign. It will be deeply embarrassing for the ANC if they pushed it to a
no-confidence vote, but at this stage, it's hard to get inside the head of the president because in fact he's surprised many at every twist and turn,
And he has dug in despite being found by the highest court in the land to contravene the Constitution, despite multiple charges of corruption hanging
over him that might see them being prosecuted in a court of law, and the list of politicians or politicians with less of a survival instinct might
have being brought down by anyone of those scandals.
He's withstood them all and even withstood the power of his own party. Now the moves will be very quick in parliament if comes through. There will be
a lot of pressure for him, though, to step down first.
WARD: All right. David McKenzie, we'll be checking in with you throughout the program and keeping an eye on President Zuma. Thank you so much.
I do want to bring you now some breaking news that we are monitoring in Florida. The Broward County Sheriff's Office is responding to reports of a
shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. There are reports of victims. We will be bringing you much more on that story as we get it.
We are now going to take you over to our sister station in the U.S.
(SWITCHED TO CNN DOMESTIC)
WARD: OK. All right, you have been watching our sister network there to give you a quick recap of the breaking news that we are following. Local
media says at least 20 people are wounded in the U.S. state of Florida in a shooting at a high school.
Authorities say the shooter is still at large. Aerial footage from the scene shows students fleeing and a number of people being treated for
injuries outside the school. The FBI is responding to the incident and of course, working with local authorities.
This is a fast-moving story and certainly, we will continue to bring you details as soon as we get them.
But now we want to move on for a moment, machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, take one look at the weapons available to buy online in
Northern Syria, and you will find a terrifying array of hardware.
But among the massive selection of deadly weapons, CNN spotted one that stuck out, an assault rifle made in, you guessed it, United States. Here's
Nick Paton Walsh, with an exclusive report.
[15:25:07] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): After six years of war in Syria, it's awash with weapons yet no more so alarming than here on Jihadi messaging forums in al Qaeda dominated
areas of the north, hundreds of guns for sale on the app, Telegram, and you can see just how distant, peaceful normality.
Grenade launchers, sniper rifles, heavy machine guns, shoulder-launched missiles for most microscopes, but one offer stands out, an M-16 A4, all
the way from South Carolina Company, FN MFG. But somehow it seller says he is in the Syrian city of Edlib where Al Qaeda linked jihadists dominate.
He offers to meet and makes an extraordinary claim about where he got it from, Division 30, he says. They were U.S. funded and trained elite group
of Syrian rebels deployed in 2015. The unit was swiftly derailed by jihadists, some linked to al Qaeda and eventually collapsed.
The top-end U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons they had vanished into the void of the Syrian Civil War. The weapon's serial number suggest it was supplied
as part of a U.S. program in the region.
DAMIEN SPLEETERS, CONFLICT ARMAMENT RESEARCH: What this does show is that this weapon was made in the USA and its serial number is very close to
another weapon that our investigation teams to have committed in Northern Syria in July 2014.
We covered from ISIS forces there and presumably saw it from Iraqi forces earlier. It doesn't mean that this exact same thing happened with this
weapon, just that it probably shares the same or similar American source.
WALSH (on camera): Over the past three months, we've been observing this robust trade in anything from rifles to cell phones to mortar shells, we
can't be sure that every Telegram user is in possession of an extraordinary array of weapons on offer.
The U.S. military declined to comment ant Telegram say they block such content when it's encountered or reported, but it barely seems to let up.
(voice-over): What's more, it's all in an area where an al Qaeda affiliate known as HTS is the predominant military power.
HAID HAID, CHATHAM HOUSE: Al Qaeda there being active on having basically access to weapons onto human resources will for sure increase the
challenges of ending the war anytime soon.
WALSH: Idlib is fast bearing the brunt of the regime's fresh onslaught. Civilians trapped. Among extremists whose clout has grown as the focus has
been on fighting ISIS. The market of sophisticated weapons just making peace for these people even more distant dream.
WARD: And Nick joins me now live on set. Nick, this isn't really just about one American weapon. This sort of speaks to the convoluted and
confusing American presence and purpose in the Syrian war. Do you have a better sense of what that is now?
WALSH: Having some degree it's about the West's best intentions and where it's landed us now. I mean, this was -- this one gun you might say was all
about trying to acquit modernists, trying to put those people opposing the regime and ISIS in a better place to that job and it fell apart incredibly
And so, I think now when we see these weapons being sold on this extraordinary market and you shall spend minutes on this to see the volume
of different types of weapons. They can't all potentially be things people are trying to fraud each other or into buying to see exactly how well-
equipped these compulsive extremists are in a part of the country, which is currently under siege.
Now much of their perception of this war right now is it's beginning to wind down, this political process that may find some sort of accommodation
where the Americans who are helping the Syrian Kurds in the Northeast and the Turkish sifting those in the Northwest and the regime to the South all
find a way to calm down.
But right now, Idlib is on the barrage and hasn't seen in the past and you can see in that report there is so much weaponry and just this is the stuff
that's being sold online. I'm told there is also a lot of stuff being sold simply in markets from a day to day basis.
These are people who have an extreme ideology. You have an ambition and end goal or under siege and sort of see I think potentially how this war is
finding new terrifying ways (inaudible) yet again with sophisticated equipment.
WARD: You mentioned the American presence on the ground and certainly, it's been beefed up. You just had incredible access with U.S. special
forces. What sense did they give you of what their mandate is in Syria now? What is America's mandate?
WALSH: They still want to chase down what remains of ISIS and there is certainly some of them there. It's also clear I think they feel an
obligation to the Syrian Kurds to give them some level of support in this new kind of, I wouldn't say brave new world, but messy, awful places
Whether the final dividing borderlines between Kurds and Sunni extremists potentially all Sunni moderate, some left on the regime, what they all
finally land, what the Syria look like after this messy civil war.
But I think Americans too also now they have a more geostrategic role that potentially to be sure that America's allies that is in the gulf of
potentially in Israel as well. Feel that they have someone's check Iran's presence more globally in that area. But the border question is, where
does it end? What's the end state whatever when they're comfortable the Americans so they can start to go home and you see there's something like
this, but their initial good intentions to properly trained and equipped. A pretty serious bunch of people initially with from South Carolina ends up
with some strange online form of people with (INAUDIBLE) potentially trying to set up amongst themselves.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: An endlessly conflict situation. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much for this report. We're going to take a
short break. We'll be back soon with much more breaking news.
WARD: Let's take a quick recap of the breaking news that we are following. A shooting a high school in the U.S. State of Florida. Authorities say the
shooter is still at large. Local media saying at least 20 people are wounded. Footage from the scene, very dramatic, show students fleeing.
Some of them their hands in the air and a number of people being treated for injuries outside of that school. The FBI is responding to the
incident, reportedly, of course, working with local authorities. This is a fast-moving story, but we will continue to update you as when we get
Explosive new details are emerging about American airstrikes in Syria last week. The strikes killed more than 100 fighters attacking a base held by
U.S. supported forces. But now we're learning that a number of Russian mercenaries are among the dead. Frederik Pleitgen reports for Moscow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the night of February 7th, the U.S. Air Force was called to repel an attack by pro-
government militias against forces supported by the U.S. in Eastern Syria. Around 100 of the attacking militia men were killed.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL JEFFREY HARRIGIAN, SPOKESMAN, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: We are focused on a singular enemy, ISIS. We're not looking for a fight with
anyone else, but as Secretary Mattis said last week, if you threaten us, it will be your longest and worst day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: OK. You're listening now to South African President Jacob Zuma.
[15:35:54] JACOB ZUMA, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: I make reference to the much publicized and awaited decision of the African National Congress
issued on 13 February 2018. It is now public knowledge that the National Executive Committee of the ANC resolved to recall me as the President of
I have also learned that, before I respond to the initial decision, a new decision has been made by the ANC, whose effect is that I have now been
compelled to resign by way of a motion of no confidence, set down for tomorrow, 15 February 2018.
The ANC is indeed the party of whose nomination -- on whose nomination I became a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa after
its victory of the national elections of 2014.
It was on the ANC's nomination that I was later elected by the majority in the National Assembly as the President of the Republic. I am forever
indebted to the ANC, the liberation movement I have served almost all my life.
I respect each member and leader of this glorious movement. I respect its gallant fight against centuries of white minority brutality, whose relics
remain today and continue to be entrenched in all manner of sophisticated ways, in order to ensure the continued survival of white privilege.
I do take seriously and am grateful to the ANC that, in the face of its revolutionary mission to ensure a better life for all and the creation of a
non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa, it deployed me at the pinnacle of its role in government.
I was also elected in terms of Section 86 of the Constitution and from that moment pledged my loyalty to the Constitution of the Republic of South
Africa. It has indeed been a great learning experience, a mammoth task, the performance of which can never be done without difficulty and learning
on the way.
None of us, no matter how perfect, can claim that the building of a new society and the marshalling of a former liberation movement into a modern
political party all happen in a straight line.
[15:40:50] It has detours, human error and boulders strewn along the path. Because the struggle and politics are human activities, their pursuit is
not without the taints of human nature. All my life, I have served and will continue to serve the ANC in its pursuit of the objectives of the
National Democratic Revolution.
I serve in my capacity as President of the Republic of South Africa within the prism of our much acclaimed Constitution, whose foundational values I
fully subscribe to.
I understand fully that while I serve at the pleasure of my party, the ANC, the door through which I officially came to serve the people of South
Africa is the National Assembly, without which no political party can impose its candidate on the electorate, no matter how popular.
This Constitutional line between Party and State is often forgotten in the usual business of party political contestations. As we fight our own
battles in the corridors of political power, and sometimes serving the very interests of the oppressors of yesterday, who joyfully celebrate as we
lynch one another, we often forget the citizens on whose behalf we create a better life.
We tend to place the political party above the supreme law of the country, which is the rule book of the country's political engagement. I do not make
this reference because I am above reproach. Nor do I wish to proclaim that in understanding my political responsibilities I have been the epitome of
If truth be told, none of us are. However, I respect the prescripts of the Constitution and its consequences on how we enter, stay in and exit
political office and government.
There has been much speculation about how the president of the republic should exit his or her office. In my case, some have even dared to suggest
that one's perks and post-service benefits should determine how one chooses to vacate political office.
[15:45:44] Often these concerns about perks and benefits are raised by the very same people seeking to speak as paragons of virtue and all things
constitutional. Some even suggest that the relevant constitutional provisions, sections 89 and 102, in terms of which the President should be
removed from office, would constitute an embarrassment or humiliation.
For that reason, various suggestions are made to help leaders avoid this constitutional route of vacating political office without perks.
If we avail ourselves to serve in terms of the Constitution, we should be prepared, if needs be, and if those we serve deem it appropriate, to suffer
the hardship that comes with our constitutional obligations. Whether we lose our post-political office benefits, should not determine how we act in
the time of our departure.
Nor did I agree to serve because there are no better cadres in the ANC and the country. Most importantly, I did not agree to serve in order to exit
with perks and benefits of the Office of the President.
It is my party that placed me before the representatives of the people in the National Assembly to be elected. It is my party that availed me to
serve on the basis of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Make no mistake, no leader should stay beyond the time determined by the
people they serve.
Most importantly, no leader should seek an easy way out simply because they could not face life at the end of their term without the perks that come
with their political office.
I do not fear exiting political office. However, I have only asked my party to articulate my transactions, transgressions and the reason for its
immediate instruction that I vacate office.
This was important in view of the discussions I held with the President of the ANC and the secretary general of the party that were aimed at uniting
our organization, the ANC.
It is indeed true that there was an agreement, that even if the need arises that I should vacate the office before the end of term, there is a need to
have a period of transition, during which I would delegate some of the functions to the Deputy President of the Republic.
[15:50:56] Of course, I must accept that if my party and my compatriots wish that I be removed from office, they must exercise that right and do so
in the manner prescribed by the Constitution.
I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment, for they are the lawful mechanisms for the people of this beautiful country to remove their
President. I have served the people of South Africa to the best of my ability.
I am forever grateful that they trusted me with their highest office in the land. But when I accepted the deployment, I understood and undertook to
subject myself to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution.
Ngithanda ukusho ukuthi kwizinkalo ngezinkalo lapho abantu bakithi bekhona, ngokuzithoba okungenamkhawulo kusemqoka ukunazisa ukuthi angidaze nkani
WARD: All right. You have been listening there to Jacob Zuma, South Africa's president. This was a speech where many expected him to resign.
We've been listening for some time. But so far, not clear exactly what he was saying there.
We're joined by our David McKenzie who has been tracking Zuma's fortunes all week. David, help us -- help us unpick this speech. It was sort of
rambling at times. What did you understand as the main thrust of what Zuma was saying? We seem to be having some sort of difficult -- oh, here he is.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So the main thrust of that, Clarissa, if you had me is that the president was saying that he's
not going anywhere voluntarily, that he will not in fact resign tonight in South Africa. He said he feared a no motion or no confident or he didn't
fear impeachment either. He has, it appears, become a constitutionalist saying that the constitution should drive this decision-making process and
that he would resign if they went through with that no confidence vote, and if he was voted out by parliament. So a defiant Jacob Zuma tonight in
South Africa, saying he's not going to resign. He went full on his sword and saying that the parliament, the ANC and the opposition need to
effectively throw him out. This will be hugely damaging to the ruling party, the ANC, because they were hoping to try and get through this in the
least traumatic way possible, but he's certainly making sure that they have to fight for him to get because he's not going quietly. Clarissa.
WARD: So, how do they do that? What happens next? I mean, there was so much speculation that he really had no choice after an endless series of
corruption scandals to finally step down. As you said, he's making very clear that that's not going to happen. What does the ANC do next? What's
the protocol here?
MCKENZIE: Well, what they've done is that basically added themselves to a vote of no confidence, that the opposition had brought to parliament. Now,
what happens is that in parliament, in Cape Town, in the next 24 hours or so, or less in fact, they will have a debate and then call for motion to
throw out Zuma. Now, if he had resigned, then the acting -- the deputy president would have automatically taken his spot. Now, the entire cabinet
will be dissolved if they successfully pass that motion of no confidence. They'll have up to 30 days to come up with a new acting president and there
will be certainly fireworks in parliament as the opposition tries to put the sword into the ANC.
[15:55:02] But, again, this is a man who has refused to go quietly. He has survived any number of scandals and corruption allegations over the years.
Now, it seems like he is not willing to go, but he did say he would respect the constitution. Should they push him out in that vote of no confidence?
WARD: And what about the will of the people, David? Does he have his supporters within the country? What do you expect the reaction of most
South Africans to be to this stride in speech?
MCKENZIE: I think many people will be scratching their heads tonight and also feel frustrated, that they're not seeing the back of a man that has
presided over at times failing economy and has seen street demonstrations through the years against him. Now, also, earlier today, you had
extraordinary scenes of the Hawks, the crime-fighting unit, the elite units, raiding various homes across Johannesburg to take on people,
business partners of Zuma's families who alleged in grand corruption. So the circle is tightening around Zuma. He's just saying that he's not
willing to go -- not willing to go voluntarily. He kept on saying he'd be an ANC member most of his life, that he respected the party, he loved the
party. But in a way what he's doing is really tearing the party apart, because you could have a scenario in parliament where you have some members
of the ANC, they would have to be very brave ones, backing the embattled president and as is joining the opposition to throw him up.
WARD: An extraordinary situation. David McKenzie in Johannesburg, thank you so much.
Let's just take a quick recap of the breaking news that we are following. A shooting at a high school in the U.S. State of Florida. Authorities
saying the shooter is still at large. Footage from the scenes shows students fleeing the school and a number being treated for injuries
outside. The FBI is also responding to the incident and is working with local authorities. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is now dismissing
students. We are receiving reports of possible multiple injuries. Again, this is a fast-moving story. Of course, we will continue to update you as
soon as we get details.
And thank you so much for joining with us. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.