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Introduction - Reform Agenda Part 1 of 3

30 Jun 2020 at 07:24hrs | Views

1. What is the Reform Agenda?

The Reform Agenda is a politically conscious organisation that seeks to inform and influence political and civic outcomes in Zimbabwe, through constitutionally and legally recognised means.

2. Is it a political party and will it contest in any elections?

Reform Agenda is NOT a political party and does not intend to present itself as one. It is a pressure group, effective lobby if you want, aiming to achieve its set objectives. It will not contest in elections but may lobby for the election of candidates from certain existing parties who share the same views.

3. What are these objectives?

To use available constitutional, diplomatic and other means to effect and lure fundamental electoral adjustments that will safeguard the people's vote. In pursuit of this, Reform Agenda aims to influence the creation and promotion
of conditions that guarantee undisputable, clean, fair and free elections, separation of powers, rule of law, sanctity of the constitution, independence of the institutions that superintend over democratic processes, free airwaves, official recognition of political leaders with notable support base. To sum this up, the goal of the Reform Agenda is to see that the Security, Electoral and Legislative Reforms that are needed to hold free and fair elections in Zimbabwe are achieved by 2022.

4. How does it aim to achieve these objectives?

In a supposed democratic state, avenues should be plenty. Diplomatic, judicial, parliamentary and negotiated political trades. However, we have come to recognise that some avenues are hopeless due to various reasons, some institutional and some political. It has however been a foregone conclusion for many years that in Zimbabwe, political questions need political solutions, legality should only be an endowment of political processes. In terms of how the Reform Agenda will respond to each question of the day, this will be according to the above stated as informed by each situation that would have arisen.

5. What different approach will the Reform Agenda bring to the table to achieve the objectives, seeing that some of these objectives are on the agendas of existing political parties?

That is the crux of the problem, the reformist agendas have been on manifestos at every election since time memorial in many parties. It is a bucket list that has nothing being ticked off from election to election. The question is, is it a matter of incapacity or, are these things mere selling points that are so needed to lure votes because they are real issues that trigger reactions? Either way you see it, it only answers that the parties with the reformist agendas are failing to deliver, hence there is need for unlike, pragmatic and successful approaches.

6. Is the Reform Agenda affiliated to any political party in or outside parliament?

No. The Reform Agenda is an agenda of any like-minded Zimbabwean who believes in the restoration of Zimbabwe to true democracy and a legitimate government system.

7. How effective will the organisation be, seeing that they will be operating from outside the processes of parliament?

A campaign that started on social media toppled a dictatorship during the Arab Spring in 2010-2011, here in Zimbabwe Evan Mawarire organised the most effective mass stay-away in years, outside the process of parliament. Remember parliament derives its power and mandate from the people. All three organs of government answer to the people, whose voice is manifest in the constitution. Which is why Reform Agenda does not support nor promote any undemocratic means to effect a change of government nor achieve a political outcome by unlawful means. Parliament is but one of the ways, not all. MDC-T had majority in parliament at some point but no real change came out of it.

8. What is the position of the Reform Agenda with regards to the state of opposition politics in Zimbabwe?

The agenda of reform and democracy has surely penetrated; the game of the existing opposition parties has matured. We applaud the work done thus far. However this is a revolution, a democratic revolution. Not everyone will finish the race that was started 20 years ago. Some will be arrested, some will die naturally or otherwise, some will defect, some will run their course and get tired. The painful phases will always be there in such a revolution but, the most important thing to remember is that the decisions that are constantly made will either deliver the change desired sooner or much longer, meaning the pain may be shorter or last longer. For instance, the Vote No

constitutional campaign of 2000 was without wisdom. Had that constitution been accepted, Mugabe would have been gone much sooner. If a towering figure like Mugabe was defeated by Tsvangirai as late as 2008, was it not a most likely possibility that Mugabe's eventual successor would have been a walk in the park for Tsvangirai in 2013? The democratic project would have been somewhere far ahead by now.

9. Who sponsors the activities of the organisation?

We are not a political party, and therefore we are not bound by the Political Parties Finance Act, let alone not having at least 5% total representation in parliament as required. Our activities are funded voluntarily by citizen members and not by any foreign power or persons as that will enslave us to their and not our agenda. Our financial year audited reports will be publicly published each year on accessible platforms.

10. Does the organisation enjoy any cordial relationship with the ruling party?

We do not believe in politics of confrontation, but respectful engagement on mutual understanding of our respective objectives and how they can be harmonised. If such cannot be achieved, then let the people decide freely on the ballot, then let the Courts rule, then let regional bodies intervene.

11. What is the position of the Reform Agenda with regards to the agrarian land reform?

Zimbabwe's economy was anchored on agriculture and mining before things took a knock down. It is a fact that other related industries were also in operation and business as long as the anchor activity was intact. The land issue is a historic one, an issue that is surrounded by colonial injustices and it could not have been correct to perpetuate such a momentous colonial injustice in a politically liberated state. The land belongs to historically indigenous peoples of Zimbabwe, and they must work it, productively, for the
good of all. One man one farm, and production on arable land must be
enforced without fear or favour.

12. Is POLAD the way to go?

Absolutely. Zimbabwe will only move forward if all forces, pull in one direction. The government extended an invitation to all political parties of the day, which some accepted and which some shunned because of their own reasons. The so called smaller parties in POLAD have technocrats amongst them, visionaries amongst them, some are remarkable influencers in their fields of industry and operation. Everyone is needed, big or small. Yes politics is a numbers game, but what are numbers without a vision? A blind man will surely lead another blind man into a ditch, without vision and knowledge a flock scatters. One may argue that POLAD lacks political legitimacy as it does not recognise the will of the majority of the voters, well, it depends from which angle you want to look at it because from the numbers angle, the parties in POLAD collectively represent the majority of voters in the last election. What POLAD needs, is guarantees and capacity from the government to make real difference. It cannot be fanfare that ends in talks without action. Plus, the process must be endowed with absolute bona fides.

With or without being in POLAD, the leader of the most popular opposition party must be officially recognised, with an office and on government payroll. You cannot have a situation where a leader with at least a third of the total MPs in parliament, sits at home while his or her party's MPs take official capacities in government.

13. Does the Reform Agenda have a membership and any leadership structures?

Our objectives do not rely on numbers per se to be accomplished, and further we believe our cause is the wish the majority of Zimbabweans want to see. By only that moral bear and allegiance, our support permeates political demarcations. However, yes we do have members

in and out of the Zimbabwe who are registered voters. Membership is free
and there is NO subscription fee.

14. Is the organisation open to any form of political coalition with existing political parties or civic organisations?

By the nature of our objectives, we are political in nature. We believe the political space has enough players in terms of political parties, if not crowded. But that is not a bother as we believe the people of Zimbabwe are matured to notice substance and choose their own battles and destinies within the existing parties. What Reform Agenda is all about is to ensure by all possible means that the right to vote is heard and respected.

15. The Matebeleland question, the organisation's position?

One of the most important things recognised by the 2013 Constitution is the issue of regional devolution, which then gave rise to an effective concept of capacitating regions to be in charge of certain portfolios in cognisance of regional diversities. This is opposed to a centralised government system which we have at the moment. The pace at which this concept is being realised is next to zero, there is nothing on the ground so far, which is disheartening. As a politically conscious organisation, it is our view that to fuel the idea of secession of one region or the other, and form a separate state is a dangerous gospel. More than anything this idea is sowing seeds of division amongst the people and going against the spirit of unity which Father Zimbabwe stood for. The Zimbabwe we have today recognises diverse ethnicities, if then each tribe had to demand its own right to self rule, no country on earth would stand. The Shona, Ndebele and other tribes living in Zimbabwe are living in the land of their fathers collectively, regional cognisance of these tribes must not be dangerously construed to mean self rule. We are a people in our collective diversity as Bantu peoples.

History binds us together. Issues like underdevelopment of other provinces as compared to others, the issue of Gukurahundi, those are real sticky issues which must be addressed. People lost their mothers, fathers, relatives, sons and daughters, some are maimed permanently to this day. No amount of money can replace any one life that was lost but at least they must receive compensation and certain incentives to calm tempers and show commitment to the healing process. Even in our culture when a person murders someone, they go and pay ngozi. This is not the time to point fingers at who did what, that we may never know for sure but what is known is that what was done was done in representative capacity of security forces under the government of the day. So any apology and incentives offered will not be offered in any individual capacity or individual acceptance of guilt, but in representative capacity of the government. That is how the affected regions will heal and move forward.

For fair and obvious reasons, the central government must look at ways of rapid gravitation towards full realisation of the devolution concept. These include some issues raised by the Matebeleland regional parties with regards to employment of purely Shona teachers to teach pure Ndebele children at ECD level, that is worrisome. The persistent water shortages the region due to unfinished government projects, those are real issues. Devolution will ensure speedy attendance of regional issues by a capacitated provincial system of authority with political and administrative arms. We do not support secession, we are fully behind the implementation of the constitutionally provided system of devolution, and we need it now.

16. Last but certainly the biggest issue, what needs to be done with regards to the economy?

At some point we had Simba Makoni as Minister of Finance and Economic Development, brilliant guy, but things continued on a spiral down. Now we

even have a whole economics professor whose CV buys him a seat at international corporations and fora effortlessly, but it has got worse since he took the reins.
The issue is not with economic formulas done incorrectly, the cancer is our culture of politics, contested legitimacy, the markets have no confidence at all. Fix the culture of politics, the markets will respond positively. The economy must be opened fully, the communist idea of having to force price controls creates bigger problems than what is being aimed to be solved. Talk of artificial shortages of basic commodities, the rise of black markets, speculative inflation and exchange rates e.t.c. The markets must be opened and regulate themselves by fair contestation, this happens when there is confidence in the government of the day that their work is towards creating conditions that promote an open market system.

17. Where does the organisation see itself in ten years from now?

We surely hope our work about the challenges we are facing today will be accomplished, our successors will be tackling newer challenges that will arise at that time because there will always be. We are for the people, even if the opposition gets into power, they stand warned that Reform Agenda will keep them in check.

18. Any special words to the people of Zimbabwe?

Hope is alive and well Zimbabwe. Democracy and a better life for all are possible in our life time. The leadership in the opposition and the government are at the mercy of your voices, use your voice and your vote. Reform Agenda's number one objective is to ensure that your voice is heard and truly respected.

Robert Sigauke (LLB, NWU) (DC) General Secretariat

WhatsApp +2771 321 3014
Johannesburg 24 June 2020

Source - Robert Sigauke
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