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Post GNU performance in Zimbabwe

04 Apr 2014 at 06:40hrs | Views
(A speech delivered at the public meeting organised by the Mass Public Opinion Institute, Ambassador Hotel, Harare 27.03.14)

Since the stolen July 31, 2013 elections Zimbabweans have been living in poverty and misery. Over one million poor primary school children have been unable to attend school due to the massive looting of the BEAM fund by the Zanu-PF bigwigs. The statistics at hand show that 40% of the children in Zimbabwe's hospitals are suffering from kwashiorkor. Further service delivery in major hospitals has deteriorated to such an extent that those people who require blood transfusion are required to pay for the blood upfront failure which they are left to die if they cannot pay for the blood.

Although Zanu-PF promised in its manifesto that it would create employment, eight months down the line no single job has been created. Hundreds of companies have been forced to close due to viability problems triggering further mass unemployment. The situation is so dire that most of the graduates from Zimbabwe's universities and colleges are now left to do menial jobs that they hardly trained for. Our civil servants have had their pay days deferred due to the failure of the government to pay their salaries.

Although Zanu-PF was quick to produce an economic blue print called Zim-Asset, it is clear that this programme is ill-fated as it requires $27 billion to operationalise it. The fact that there has been further capital flight from Zimbabwe and that unemployment levels continue to swell and that Zimbabwe is experiencing deflation unprecedented in the history of the country is clear testimony of the impotence of the Zim-Asset program.

Up to now the government has shown little interest or zeal to operationalise the constitution of Zimbabwe. Although, Provincial Councils were elected on July 31 under the popular principle of devolution, same have not been sworn in eight months after their election. Further the government has done nothing to align the country's laws to the new Constitution. This is clear testimony that the government is bent on circumventing the constitution of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans don't appear to realise that in President Mugabe we now have a very weak President who appears to be easily manipulated by the corrupt and powerful elements connected to his party. A few days after his election, President Mugabe told the nation of massive corruption involving one of the well-connected Zanu-PF functionaries whom he identified by name. That official was never brought to book only for the President to turn around and exonerate him. A few weeks ago President Mugabe told the nation that of one of his ministers who had solicited a bribe from an unnamed investor. However up to now, no minister has been brought to book. This has raised suspicion that this corrupt minister is going to be let off the hook again. Some of those who have been accused of corruption by inflating the cost of certain goods procured on behalf of ZBC have been very casually dealt with. News is that they simply supplied a statement to the police and were told to go home. Thus Zanu-PF's commitment to fighting corruption has been seriously put to doubt. Further the ability of the current President to reign in on corrupt state officials is seriously questionable.

Asked to explain its telling failures, Zanu-PF has gone back to the old tactic of blaming everything on sanctions. It is now embarrassing that the government is failing to reign in on the obvious pilferage that is going on in the diamond industry. The corrupt rich and powerful who refused to remit diamond revenue to Minister Tendai Biti of MDC during the Inclusive Government are also refusing to remit the revenue to the current Minister for Finance.

The current minister of Finance has clearly misread contemporary world economics. Most countries including the USA have developed on the basis of small to medium enterprises and not so much on the basis of big business although this is also a big factor. However the Minister clearly confused SMEs and the informal sector. Whereas the SMEs pay taxes because of their formal nature and therefore readily contribute to the fiscus, the informal sector is difficult to harness as far as taxes are concerned. The MDC has been advocating for the formalisation of the informal sector so as to have a viable and sustainable economy.

There has been a damning international embarrassment that has far reaching consequences on Zimbabwe's credibility. The immediately after the elections of 2013, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission posted fake letters misrepresenting them as letters from the British Embassy and one letter purportedly coming from the MDC. These letters supported the Zanu-PF position on the credibility of Zimbabwe's elections. The posting of these letters on the ZEC website and the subsequent admission that these letters were forged clearly support the MDC position that Zimbabwe's elections were a monumental fraud. It puts the credibility of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the line.

The state of affairs in Zimbabwe leaves the people of Zimbabwe with no hope that Zanu-PF will deliver them from the economic and social quagmire that they find themselves in. In that regard, in spite of the current political turbulence within the MDC, it remains the only viable option for them.

The MDC has a clear social democratic ideology, through which it seeks to serve the people of Zimbabwe through a transparent and accountable government respecting the rule of law, combatting crime and promoting a modern, inclusive and socially just economy. Its vision is to turn Zimbabwe into a modern, healthy, happy, functional, integrated, democratic, fair and prosperous society that takes pride in leaving no one behind. Its core values of freedom, social justice, equality fairness, solidarity, liberty, transparency and accountability posit it as a viable change agent in Zimbabwe.

Some of the guiding principles of the MDC include a commitment to uplifting the economy and the reintegration of Zimbabwe into the international community of nations. Devolution of power to the local level remains a key value of the MDC together with good governance and social justice. The MDC knows that policies that have the net effect of alienating Zimbabwe from international business are basically anti people.

Therefore, realising the historic task ahead, the MDC has embarked on a three pronged action path. First is to position itself organisationally as a strong and viable change agent. To this end through its President, it has launched what is popularly known as Operation Dzoka Kumusha (Operation Come Back Home). Under this program the MDC is trying to persuade all those who may have left the party for whatever reason to come back to their political home, the MDC. It has also launched Operation Sunga Musangano (Operation Glue the Party) under which it is striving to re-establish internal party cohesion among its ranks. Further it has launched Operation Ngitibatanei (Operation Lets Unite). Here the MDC wants to foster the unity of all progressive forces in Zimbabwe. These progressive forces will range from other political parties, churches and civil society. Through good research, it is seeking to perfect it pro-people polices so as to make sure that it brings real change to the lives of the Zimbabwean people once it takes over governmental power.

Thus the main thrust of the MDC is national dialogue leading to a national consensus on how to resolve Zimbabwe's social, economic and political crisis. This should culminate in a plan that leads to national economic revival. There is need to immediately establish and strengthen the institutions supporting democracy that have been created in our constitution. Zimbabwe has to start respecting and implementing its constitution and aligning its laws to the constitution. But importantly after many years of self-inflicted international isolation, Zimbabwe has to learn to be a friend of the world.

For the MDC therefore, the 2013 are now a bad dream that we have to forget. As Mandela says "A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying". Victory is Certain!

Douglas Mwonzora is the Spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai

Douglas M
Douglas Mwonzora is the Spokesperson for the Movemen

Source - Douglas Mwonzora
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