I want to take this opportunity to say a short Christmas message to you all as the structures of Harare province. I felt I owed you a message because the rains washed away our last rally at Zimbabwe Grounds some three weeks ago.
The past year has been momentous in many respects. It saw the massive traction of this party through our public demonstrations in the provinces, starting with Harare on 14 April, 2016. After our demonstrations, we saw the emergence of many social movements to confront the regime. This must continue even in the next year.
It is a year in which we saw unprecedented State brutality as police moved in to violently crush legitimate protests that are sanctioned by the Constitution. Coupled with the fact that Itai Dzamara is still missing, this regime continues to entrench its dismal human rights record.
On the economic front, the situation has been worsening as evidenced by the introduction of bond notes. However, the introduction of bond notes is just palliative care on an economic patient who needs open heart surgery. We cannot cure the symptoms and think we have dealt with the disease. The solution is not bond notes but the resuscitation of production in our industries.
On a sad note, the courts sentenced our colleagues to 20 years for murder when we all know they are innocent. This was purely a political judgement because we all know Madzokere, Maengahama and Musarurwa are innocent.
As a party, we have lost over 500 of our members since 2000 but no one has been arrested or convicted for murder. This is brazen abuse of the law to achieve the political objective of instilling fear and intimidation.
We are concluding the year with heavy hearts but we will not be intimidated because we know the people’s cause is just.
The current context
Everyone in the country is suffering. The situation is not unique to Harare but to all the corners of the country. Zimbabwe is in deep trouble and whether you are Zanu PF, MDC or any other political affiliation, the plight is the same.
We are all faced with a bleak Christmas and it is certain that the situation can only get worse next year. As we go home this Christmas, let us take time to discuss with our families and children so that we all participate in the politics of our country.
It is in such difficult moments such as we face today that we all must agree that our future is in our hands. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to participate in all governance matters in our country. The key governance matters in which we must participate include voter registration, the actual voting and to continuously demand that the government of the day accounts for all its acts of omission and commission.
The post-election agenda
We are going to win the next election. Some have said the MDC has no post-election plan of how to take this country forward. Today, I want to run you through our major areas of focus when—and not if—-we form the next government. Our policies are being polished and finalized ahead of our major policy council early next year but the following are going to be our major areas of focus as the new government after the next election.
The new government has to bring in a new governance culture; a new way of doing business. The adoption of a new Constitution was supposed to usher in a new governance culture but the supreme law of the land remains unimplemented. Three years after the adoption of a new Constitution, the country’s laws are yet to be aligned to the new governance culture determined by the people themselves and affirmed through a referendum. Our new administration will have to bring in a new governance culture that inspires confidence locally, regionally and internationally.
The new administration will also decisively deal with the issue of corruption, which has become a cancer on the country’s body politic. I want to warn Harare City council that they must decisively deal with this scourge both among the councilors and among the staff at Town House. This party does not tolerate corruption and that is why in Chitungwiza, we fired an entire council for corruption. Harare should stand warned.
Our national institutions need to be transformed and aligned with the dictates of a new governance culture as espoused by our Constitution.
The police, the army and all institutions should not to be controlled by any political party. They are institutions of the State. That is a very urgent matter that has to be addressed by the new administration. When you have Ministers of government admitting to having used resources of an institution of government to sponsor political marches and rallies, then the situation begins to cry out for urgent redress.
That Jonathan Moyo could use ZIMDEF funds to sponsor Grace Mugabe’s rallies and to fund the so-called one million man march shows a disturbing trend of State/party conflation. Institutions of the State have to be weaned from the ruling party, even when that party in government becomes the MDC.
The country’s infrastructure has collapsed. Our airports, roads and railways and energy infrastructure has all but collapsed and the new government must embark on a massive programme of infrastructure rehabilitation. This will cost billions but it has to be done. The dilapidated machinery in our dead industries is no longer relevant considering the technological advancement that has taken place over the years. We need new, modern infrastructure if we are to catch up with the rest of Africa and the world and to bring back our local expertise that is now scattered across the world because of collapsed infrastructure and a productive sector that has virtually shut down. Infrastructure rehabilitation has to be treated as an urgent matter by our new government.
The country needs to mobilize resources to revive the productive sector so that industry begins to function, in the process spurring economic growth and creating jobs. To do this, we need a legitimate government that inspires confidence and encourages Foreign Direct Investment and Overseas Development Assistance.
The new administration needs to urgently review our policies in order to attract investment, create jobs and empower the people. To attract investment and engender growth in this country, there will be urgent need for policy consistency and doing away with bad and poorly-crafted policies such as indigenization. We need a viable, fully-functional economy so that we create jobs and widen the tax-base; in the process increasing revenue inflows as well as dealing decisively with the scourge of corruption.
The other key issue is that this country cannot continue to be isolated. We have to engage everyone and bring back Zimbabwe into the family of nations. We need a sustained programme of engagement with the region, Africa and the broader international community. But before we begin this mammoth task, we have to first solve our legitimacy challenge by holding a free, fair and credible election. The world wants to engage with a country that has a leadership mandated by the people in a free and fair election.
As we speak, our human rights record as a country is a major cause for concern. Murder, arrests, brutalization of innocent citizens by the police and abductions are the order of the day. Itai Dzamara remains missing and the new government will have to respect international covenants and assure safety to the citizens of this country. That will form the basis for any meaningful engagement with the world.
With our ideological inclination of social democracy, we will prioritize social interventions in the areas of health, education, water and sanitation urban and rural planning. Our health infrastructure has collapsed, with our main referral hospitals at Harare and Mpilo having suspended key operations and surgical services. Our education system has yet to be aligned to the demands of industry while as a country we continue to grapple with the provision of water and sanitation services.
The new administration will have to look at urgent social interventions as well as to invest in both rural and urban planning, so that we have modern settlements with basic infrastructure. I am aware of the challenges that our urban local authorities are facing, especially after that populist Zanu PF decision to write off all debts ahead of the 2013 election. That decision has grossly affected the councils’ capacity to deliver. Any new administration has to have fool-proof intervention mechanisms in social services. Health, education, water and sanitation have to take priority in this regard to enable a situation where affordable services are guaranteed.
The party’s focus in 2017
Next year, our programmes will centre on strengthening the party and preparing for elections. All provinces have to prepare for the next election, starting with a massive turnout when voter registration kicks off early next year. We will also raise the bar in the demand for comprehensive reforms ahead of the next election so that our polls become free, fair and credible.
Early next year, we will hold our policy council, where we will unveil the policy programme of the new government, including what the new government will do in its first 100 days in order to positively impact on the lives of the people. Next year, we have to show massive people traction in whatever we do as a party and that we are christening 2017, The Year of the People’s Power. Indeed, igore remasimba evanhu.
I wish to conclude by urging to the youth of this country to fully participate in the politics of their country. It is no use being lied to everyday that you are the leaders of tomorrow when tomorrow is under serious threat from the leaders of today.
We run the risk of raising a lost generation—a generation that wants jobs but that is scared to demand them. Remember this government promised to create 2,2 million jobs but has created 2,2 million struggling vendors instead. I urge all the young people to take part in the affairs of their country by registering to vote and determining their own future. This is the time when we expect dancehall musicians to create new lyrics that urge the youth to register and vote.
To the young generation, I say you can only deal with your dire poverty if you register to vote this government out of office in 2018.
This is the challenge I give to the young people and to all Zim-dancehall chanters. You must chat and tweet your way into a new Zimbabwe in a big way by urging each other to register to vote in your millions. To all Zimbabweans in the villages and in the towns, I know the suffering we are all facing. I know that whole families are surviving on less than a dollar a day. I am aware of the grinding poverty in the villages and in the towns. Let us brace for an even tougher 2017. Let us shake the foundations of this repression and come out in our millions to register to vote and on the actual voting day so that we can collectively and decisively determine our future.
Let us take advantage of this holiday to sit down and caucus as families and debate whether as a people we really deserve this suffering. After all, we are a nation of heroes. Repression knows no colour. We fought repression and we can do it again.
Indeed, the future can only be in our open hands. I wish I could say “Merry Christmas” but I can’t.
Yesterday, we met as a party and agreed to work with other political parties in a coalition to deal with this Zanu PF menace. The national council yesterday adopted principles that will guide us in our discussions with other political entities.
It is a cause to cheer this Christmas that our party, consistent with our Congress resolutions, will work with like-minded political organizations to create a common electoral front in 2018.
We owe it to future generations to work together in confronting common challenges.
See you next year.