Speech by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai

Job Sikhala comes home“Welcome Home”
Today, I take this opportunity to announce with pride the return to the Party of two founding members of this great people’s movement, Mr Job Sikhala and Mr Joubert Mudzumwe. These are colleagues with whom we have walked in the struggle but at some point had pursued other political options.

Today, I welcome them back to the party they helped form.

I have had intense discussions with these two colleagues and many others and we have agreed that we all need to be in one big tent as we fight for positive change in the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. By having these two colleagues rejoining us today, we are underlining the resilience of our struggle and the indestructibility of our mission.

Today, we obliterate the premature obituaries of this great movement. We showcase the dexterity with which we have outmanoeuvred our political opponents who have underestimated our capacity to organise a common front of one big family of fighters for democratic change.

We are not there yet but today’s reunion is a good start.

We take this opportunity to send a clear message that our democratic struggle is still on track. We have agreed with these two gentlemen and many others that together, we are bigger, better and more formidable. Through this homecoming by our colleagues in the struggle, we confound sceptics and put to shame the perception of MDC as a party in turmoil and a movement in disintegration.

This party is alive, in spite of the negative energy that seeks to dampen the people’s spirits and to dash their hopes and aspirations. Some have mistaken the robust debate in this party as a sign of disintegration but I want to assure you that we continue working towards achieving unity so that we become bigger and better as a credible alternative.

I have known these two colleagues since we started this great journey in 1999. Sikhala was a feisty former student leader, with other youngsters such as Tafadzwa Musekiwa, Learnmore Jongwe and Nelson Chamisa.

Mudzumwe was a seasoned trade unionist with many others when together we started this great journey whose destination we can clearly see in the horizon. Both were members of the party’s national executive.

I have recently traversed this great country, seeking to engage the people after what happened on July 31. I was seeking to re-energise the party base and to reassure the people that their investment in the MDC is not misplaced.

Recent engagements with the people through our rallies and other public platforms have shown that the spirit of our collective struggle remains unstoppable to the extent that those who would like to divert our attention from this acute national crisis will be disappointed. It is my sincere conviction that this homecoming by our colleagues today will further galvanize and re-energize our base. I can assure you that we are slowly and surely gathering in one tent because we know we are stronger in unity and weaker in division.

Today is an illustration that our struggle is not about personalities but a broad front united in the objective of achieving democratic change in our lifetime. This is a demonstration of our sincerity to unity and to the big tent approach in our struggle for democracy. Together, we are better and we can be able to confront the bigger national crisis that is the real issue this nation must confront and address.

Without dialogue and national consensus, we cannot move forward in addressing the key issues of poverty, hunger, unemployment and the liquidity crunch that has affected all sectors of the economy. The nation needs a united front to refine the struggle and to demand true national leadership that can begin to address the multi-layered crisis facing this nation.

Anyway, today is not a day of speeches.

Together with these gentlemen we started this journey for a new Zimbabwe. We know that many lost life and limb in the post-liberation struggle for democracy and our gathering together is our humble way of ensuring that those who died on this journey did not die in vain.

Together we must build and enhance a strong movement so that when some of us leave the cockpit of this party, as we will definitely do in the foreseeable future, we must leave a united party in the hands of a new generation able to steer our struggle forward and to fulfil the people’s aspirations.

Welcome home, gentlemen!

I thank you

Press Statement by Hon. Dr. Ruth Labode, the MDC Shadow Minister for Health and Child Welfare

Hon LabodeThe health sector crisis continues unabated, resulting in high maternal mortality and child mortality, morbidity rates. The main causes of poor performances of the sector are:

1.    Budgetary constraints
The health sector was allocated US$330 million which is 8% of the national budget, hence failing below the Abuja Declaration of 15%. The budget allocated to the hospitals is US$25 million while the institutions owe suppliers US$33 million leaving them with funding gap of US$12 million.

This scenario has forced hospitals to deny the poor access to health care. Patients are left to die because they cannot afford tertiary care services. The service providers have withdrawn their services or are demanding cash up front. BTS is being owed US$270 000 and demanding cash up front. This is a tragedy because blood is an essential for the tertiary institutes.

2.    Corruption
Corruption in health institutions, which has gone unabated by the Zanu PF government, has risen to alarming levels. It comes in different forms:

  •     Pilferage of drugs, sundries and patient consumables
  •     Flouting of informal tenders
  •     Prolonged investigations that yield no results and no punishment

3.    Human Resources Gap
The migration of trained labour force hit this sector more than any other sector

4.    Poor district health systems management
The District health system is the anchor of the health sector. Remember that 70% of the population resides in rural areas. Once the district health system collapses, the referral hospitals are overcrowded and people are likely to remain in their homes and die.

The District Health System in Zimbabwe has almost collapsed because of:

  •    Poor remuneration for professional workers
  •    Poor referral system, no ambulances
  •    Broken down outreach program
  •    Inability of DHS to provide the Zimbabwe essential health package
  •    Poor supervision

Vertical Health Care Program

  •     The failure to convince donors to basket the donated funds and implement a comprehensive health package has increased the cost of service provisions, leaving programs competing for the attention of District Health workers.
  •     Excessive training and re-training of District health workers without follow up visits.

5.    Lack of Political Will
The Zanu PF government has failed to honour its constitutional commitment of providing basic services to the people of Zimbabwe. This is despite receiving over US$500 million for health activities in 2013, and almost US$600 million has been allocated to the health sector this year (2014) by donors.

6.    Conclusion
The difficulties facing the health sector are not insurmountable. The provision of quality health is key to the overall wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe.

There is need for at least 15 per cent of the national budget to be spent on the health sector.

The MDC takes serious cognisance of the importance of health, and its centrality to sustainable national development, noting that no prospects for development will be realised if the population suffers from ill health, and if visitors and investors alike are not assured of access to quality health care.

As the MDC we propose that an integrated health care system that ensures that every citizen and resident has access to quality and affordable health care be established.

A National Health Board integrating key economic and social sectors should be immediately established to integrate public health standards into various areas of economic and social activities.

I thank you

Dr Ruth Labode
Shadow Minister for Health and Child Welfare

Press Statement by Hon Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo , the MDC Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Lands and Water Development

Hon Sipepa NkomoThe MDC is concerned that the government of the day is only interested in political expedience and is failing to implement policies that will ensure the revival of the agricultural sector and sustainability of our water reservoirs.

Food Security
Zanu PF should stop making political decisions on technical issues as evidenced by an increase of reports from the countryside that the party working with the AREX officials and the government district administrators were distributing the grain and agricultural loan schemes along partisan and corrupt lines, thereby leaving thousands of families without food and no inputs. This has created serious food insecurity in the country.

The actions of the Zanu PF government are in fundamental breach of the Constitution, which clearly states in the Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms Act that every citizen has a right to sufficient food, safe and potable water.

We urge Zanu PF to stop gambling with people’s lives for cheap political gain. Further, in a country where more than two million people need food aid, there are disturbing reports from across the country that Zanu PF officials, government officials and traditional chiefs are demanding Zanu PF membership cards from the villagers before they receive the government food aid and agricultural inputs.

The MDC’s position is that in order to prevent future food shortages, the country needs to promote policies and strategies which increase the demand for labour through a strategy of broad-based, labour-intensive growth in agriculture, agro-industries and related sectors.

Land disruptions
The MDC remains seriously concerned over the murkiness, corruption and confusion in land distribution taking place in most parts of the country. Last month, Grace Mugabe took over 800 hectares of prime land at Mazoe Citrus Estates and Manshou Game Reserve in Mazowe, leaving hundreds of workers unemployed and homeless. Last year, Grace Mugabe forcibly grabbed 1 600 ha of Mazoe Citrus Estates.

Similar reports are coming from across the country where Zanu PF supporters are moving in and disrupting farming activities.

As the MDC, we demand the urgent establishment of the Zimbabwe Land Commission in line with the country’s Constitution that should immediately carry out a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan audit to weed out greedy multiple farm owners.

Land resources, taken as a whole, remain chronically under-utilised and inefficiently managed. The continued growth of the country will require a coherent and pragmatic approach to land use planning and management. The issues of tenure, linking communal area agricultural land productivity to service agro-industrial opportunities and acceding to regional and international conventions, treaties and declarations need therefore, to be dealt with.

Water situation
Despite receiving favourable rains this season, the Zanu PF government continues to fail in developing and supporting irrigation projects, which go a long way in alleviating food shortages.

There is need to focus on the development of smallholder irrigation schemes, increase the participation of women and the unemployed youths to embrace irrigation farming and ensure that cost saving drip irrigation is developed in all provinces.

Further, there is an urgent need to promote integrated water resources planning, management and service delivery to ensure that water does not become a constraint to national development. The integrated approach should address participatory, multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary river basin management, by recognising that water is a natural resource, by integrating linkages between land use and water use, and by giving full support to the important roles water ecosystems play in the national economy and broader ecological reproduction.

Projects implemented under the MDC in Government
While in the Inclusive government, as MDC we had made concerted efforts to try and avert the water challenges faced by the nation. Various water supply projects were continued, some completed and most near completion by the end of our tenure.

Success stories included the Mtange Dam, Mtshabezi pipeline, Bubi-Lupane Dam, Mhangura Water Supply, Birchenough Bridge Water Supply, Gokwe, Mutoko and Darwendale Water Supplies. We also had the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam, which unfortunately has recently flooded its basins forcing the rescue and relocation of thousands of villagers.

We managed to begin rehabilitation and upgrading projects of water supply stations in Sadza, Hauna, Darwendale, Glendale, Guruve, Karoi, Conemara, Chivake, Ngundu, Gutu, Makwi, Neshuro, Inyati, Victoria Falls and Kennilworth.

We prepared draft terms of conditions for the independent consultant engineer for the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam which was meant to supply water to the City of Bulawayo, we hope the Zanu PF government will ensure that this project comes to pass to ensure water supply to the City of Bulawayo.

Nyamandlovu Borehole Rehabilitation Project has a total of 49 borehole which are fully functional and pumping water into Bulawayo, seven other boreholes are fully functional but needed to be fitted with transformers by the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company.

So, the MDC played its part and expects the Zanu PF government to continue from where we left in the hope of providing clean water to the nation.

The MDC believes that Zimbabwe has the capacity to return to its former status of the bread basket of Africa and more but this can only be achieved when we carry one objective as a nation. We are Zimbabweans first before we belong to any political party. We should therefore strive to ensure that every citizen of this nation has been given their space to play the developmental role for themselves, their society and ultimately their nation.

The MDC is uncompromising when it comes to the provision of food, water and sanitation to the people. It is a universal human right, as such; no amount of politicking should disable other people from accessing basic goods like food and water.
The people need practical interventions in regard to food security and provision of safe, potable water therefore; the MDC urges the present government to implement appropriate policy interventions before the negative repercussions on the health and functioning of this country are increased.

I Thank You.

Hon Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo
Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land and Water Development

MDC National Council Suspends Hon. Mangoma

MDC suspends MangomaToday, the MDC National Council suspended Hon. Elton Mangoma as the Deputy Treasurer General of the party pending the appearance before an Independent Disciplinary Tribunal in terms of the Constitution of the MDC.

After extensive debate, the National Council resolved that charges be preferred against Hon. Mangoma for various transgressions levelled against him.

The charges emanate from the decision by Hon. Mangoma to ignore the directive of the National Executive not to discuss party business through the press and fanning factionalism within the Party.

The charges preferred against Mr Mangoma are as follows:

1. Article 2.1 (o) of the Disciplinary Code of Conduct and Regulations of Movement for Democratic Change Constitution which notes that an offense shall be committed by a member who disrespect and undermines any organ or elected official including failure to respect the protocol of the Party.

Mr. Mangoma’s allegations made in the various interviews with the local and international media houses undermined the authority of the National Standing Committee, National Executive, National Council and Congress.

2. Contravening Article 5.4 (b) of the Constitution which notes that every member shall have the duty to conduct oneself in a manner which is not prejudicial to the interests of the party in particular, to adhere to the Code of Conduct of the Party.

The actions by Mr. Mangoma have seriously undermined our relationship with strategic partners. It is also further noticed that his behaviour and attitude undermines the party position that the July 31 elections were stolen.

3. Article 2.1 (O) of the Disciplinary Code of Conduct and Regulations of Movement for Democratic Change constitution which notes that an offense shall be committed by a member who disrespect and undermines any organ or elected official including failure to respect the protocol of the Party.

Mr. Mangoma’s allegations made in the various interviews with the local and international media houses undermined the authority of the National Standing Committee, National Executive, National Council and Congress.

4. Contravening Article 5.4 (b) of the Constitution which notes that every member shall have the duty to conduct oneself in a manner which is not prejudicial to the interests of the party in particular, to adhere to the Code of Conduct of the Party.

The actions by Mr. Mangoma have seriously undermined our relationship with strategic partners. It is also further noticed that his behaviour and attitude undermines the party position that the July 31 elections were stolen.

The Party is going to appoint an Independent Tribunal which will be made up of three lawyers with the chairperson who shall be a person qualified to be a Judge of the High Court. The MDC has formally served Hon. Mangoma who was present at the meeting with the suspension letter.

The hearing will start immediately.

President Tsvangirai’s address at a rally in Budiriro on Sunday

President TsvangiraiBelow are some excerpts of President Tsvangirai’s address at a rally in Budiriro 5, Harare before over 15 000 party supporters on Sunday.

On violence
“The MDC is a party that does not tolerate any form of violence and there is no violence in the MDC as we do not support violence. We want to make it clear that once a party member assaults anyone, you have lost the party’s direction. The MDC is not about an individual; it is a people’s movement.

Zanu PF is planning on infiltrating the MDC with people who will in our midst cause commotion and violence but I want to remind you that we do not have the DNA of violence in the MDC.

As the MDC, we have been the victims of violence, not the perpetrators. How can I perpetrate violence when we have a lot of party members who have been killed, women who were raped, houses that were destroyed, people who were displaced and others injured?

It is a travesty against justice when an elderly person like Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe pretends to be a saint when he has got more than 20 000 graves to his name.
On democracy
I am not Mugabe, I am not Zanu PF. I know what the party’s Constitution says. Once my time is up, I will give way to another leader and pass on the button.

We have got a system called a Constitution. It gives a step by step guide of what ought to be done in the party. That document is clear on what happens when one’s term of office elapses.  So I know when to pass the button to the next leader in the party.

What I refuse to do is to be told to step down outside of the party’s Constitution.  It is at Congress that new candidates avail themselves to the electorate. We should lay the appropriate foundation so that the future generation will have a strong foundation upon which to build the party.

We are a democratic party. Democracy is not a means to an end. Democracy is a principle and the goal of our struggle. We are not interested in acquiring power and that’s it, democracy is not about removing an individual. It is a principle that will live forever and ever. It is much more challenging to build a democratic society.

I urge those that want to aspire for higher office to wait for the right time and people will elect you to the position you want.

As the MDC, we need to be united as a party. I am not going to push anyone out of the tent unless one chooses to do so. I believe we need everyone inside the tent not outside so that we fight off Zanu PF dictatorship as one.

On corruption
Over US$2 billion worth of diamonds have disappeared in this country due to looting by Zanu PF linked officials. The biggest diamond resources in the world are found at Marange but as the people of Zimbabwe, we have nothing to show for it.

As the MDC, we have shown that we are a party that deals with corruption. In Chitungwiza in 2009 we fired the whole council because of corruption, but because (Ignatious) Chombo is corrupt, he reinstated them.

Harare City Mayor (Ben Manyenyeni) suspended the Town Clerk (Tendai Mahachi) last month, but Chombo again turned around that suspension.

Hefty and obscene salaries are being paid to parastatal bosses. When someone steals, they must be arrested so that others with like minded personalities are deterred. If not, they too are arrested. The then MDC  Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals (Hon. Gorden Moyo) developed a corporate governance framework for all parastatals but this was thrown away by Zanu PF and now we hear that Gershem Pasi (the Zimra boss) is earning over US$300 000 per month over other hefty salaries we continue to hear about in the media.

Zanu PF and Mugabe stole the people’s mandate in the last election. If you see a party that steals the people’s mandate and has a crisis of legitimacy, that party is very corrupt and can therefore not act on corruption.

In the last inclusive government, we formed the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission to deal with the issue of corruption. This Commission must be given teeth so that they do their work. MP’s have a committee on corruption; this is the time that Parliament has an oversight of all corrupt activities.

On economy
Zanu PF has shown that it cannot solve the economic crisis of this country but we as the MDC we have shown that we can turnaround this economy overnight. Mugabe has said it on his own that they (Zanu PF) have failed. When a government fails, it should be changed.