On Friday the 15th August 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture through the Agricultural Marketing Authority issued regulations that seek to control the price at which traders will buy Maize and Sorghum in Zimbabwe. The price of both products was set at US$390 per tonne.
No restrictions were placed on the importation of grain based products which will continue to be freely available on local markets at market prices. In addition the new regulations override contracts between growers and end users that have already been concluded and those that cover production in 2013/14 season.
It must be noted that all regional States except Zimbabwe have significant surpluses with Zambia holding stocks in excess of two years consumption. Prices in these regional markets are well below the price established in the new regulations. Zimbabwe continues to import half its domestic needs for maize and all its needs for wheat.
So long as the Zimbabwe government continues to deny Zimbabwean farmers security of tenure acceptable as security for bank financing, and continues to undermine land prices through its arbitrary and politically motivated land invasions, farmers will be unable to finance their activities on a sustainable basis.
These problems are compounded by the continued failure of government to get to grips with the ongoing banking crisis associated with the near total absence of liquidity. These fundamental problems are compounded by the refusal of the State to allow new GMO crop varieties to be provided to Zimbabwean farmers so that they can compete with their regional counterparts.
The consequences of this ill advised action by Government are far reaching – the State does not have the money to buy the crop at these inflated prices and the private sector will not be able to do so without running the risk of buying stocks that are overpriced. This means that the maize that remains on farms will not be sold this winter compounding their difficulties in financing the next crop.
In addition, the regulations create an almost impossible situation for the country's grain traders and millers and it is likely that they will lose the market share to imports of finished products from neighboring States. For consumers, the news is equally dire, they will face higher prices and disrupted supplies for the most basic foods that they need on a daily basis.
For the past two decades Zimbabwe has been in the grip of a national crisis in its agriculture industry. These new regulations confirm that the present administration simply does not have any idea as to what to do about resolving our deep seated economic problems. Reckless measures that seek to solve the viability problems of farmers locked in a no win situation on farms they cannot operate, will simply compound our problems. Zimbabwe deserves better.
Information and Publicity Department
Movement for Democratic Change
Six MDC youth activists were seriously injured and scores others arrested as police violently clamped down on party youths holding a peaceful protest for jobs.
The MDC Youth Assembly last month launched a national campaign for jobs. Today, as hundreds of youths peacefully marched demanding that the Zanu PF government delivers on its promise for jobs, armed riot police quelled the protest, seriously injuring the youths and arresting scores of others.
The injured were rushed to the hospital.
The MDC condemns the police's violent action against a peaceful protest in violation of the national constitution which makes peaceful protests legal. The violent clampdown takes place in the presence of SADC Heads of State, hours after President Mugabe comes into office as the new SADC chair.
The MDC today remembers the tremendous role that has been played by the country’s heroes in liberating the country from colonial bondage. This indeed gave our country pride.
The liberation war heroes who fought for the liberation of this country from the yoke of colonialism deserve recognition and respect by the generality of Zimbabweans in their tribal, racial and political diversity. They also deserved the highest consideration from the Zimbabwe government.
We remember today all those who lost life and limb so future generations would walk. We remember the country’s sons and daughters who paid the ultimate price so that this country would be freed from the chains of colonialism and repression.
Over and above the war of liberation, the MDC pays tribute to the sons and daughters of this land, living and dead, who have made their mark in various sectors that include sport, business and the arts. They are also heroes and heroines who deserve our respect and recognition.
It is our view that even those who are alive today but who made their mark; who made an indelible national and international imprint in promoting our beloved country deserve our honor and respect. It is the MDC's view that one does not need to die first for their hero status to be recognized and celebrated in the country of their birth.
These national heroes also include post-liberation heroes and heroines; some of whom have died in the pursuit of the freedom and democracy. They also include sons and daughters of this land who have been raped, maimed and even murdered for fighting for democracy and freedom in this country. The democratic struggle is in itself in pursuit of the unfinished business of the liberation struggle.
As we delve deep in thought and remembrance for the heroes of this country, both living and dead, we must think of how to give true meaning to our Constitution that we made and endorsed ourselves as the people of Zimbabwe.
Our collective heroism as a people would be in vain if we do not take seriously the charter and covenant we made ourselves; a charter that determines how we want to be government and how we want to live with each other.
Today, we must ask ourselves whether Josiah Magama Tongogara, Hebert Wiltshire Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo or Sheba Tavarwisa, Ndabaningi Sithole, Tichaona Mudzingwa and other true heroes of this land, would really rest in peace if we can’t give life to a Constitution that we heroically made ourselves.
The blood lost for this country was not lost in vain and every day, we must strive to pursue that which makes us proud Zimbabweans; a proud people known for their heroism and other acts of distinction.
The MDC is concerned about the lack of dignity, respect and the apparent neglect of the welfare of the true heroes of this country.
We urge government to look into the welfare of the heroes and heroines of Zimbabwe so that they are able to live with the dignity that they deserve.
On Defence Forces day, we remember the sons and daughters of this land who toil every day to defend and protect this land and its people. We recognize their plight, their poor welfare, their lack of housing and decent pay.
Our thoughts in the MDC are with our Defence forces, all of whom are part of a heroic civil service with an indecent salary that is not even guaranteed by this uncaring government.
This government sometimes has abused some of them by coercing them to beat up and harass their fellow citizens but we know that deep down in their hearts, and left to their whims, they are all loving and caring mothers and fathers in their own right who would ordinarily not wish any harm to their fellow citizens.
We take into cognizance of the great work they do in protecting and defending this country and we know that most of them voted for the positive transformation of their lives in the last election. This Defence Forces day, we in the MDC spare a thought for you, the gallant sons and daughters of this land who protect us every day.
The MDC is currently gathering the views of its grassroots members in the provinces ahead of a review of the party constitution.
The process has nothing to do with entrenching anyone’s position but strengthening the party as an institution. For the avoidance of doubt, the MDC is a democratic party and the review exercise is only meant to remove vagueness, enhance clarity and to input any other objective voice of the people informed by our collective experience as a party that has been in existence for 15 years.
Zimbabwe has had a bad experience of autocracy, dictatorship and the abuse of the Constitutions .The MDC and President Morgan Tsvangirai pledge to the people of this country that the exercise will be a truly objective process; a process that will not be abused to constitutionally anoint a tin-pot dictator in the MDC leadership, as has been wrongly peddled by others.
We say no to the creation of dictators through clauses, verses and chapters of our Constitutional review. We are certain that the fears of the doomsayers are grossly misplaced.
In any case, the Constitutional review exercise is not meant to enhance the powers of any person as all Congress offices are being treated as faceless vacancies as no one at this stage, including President Tsvangirai, has been nominated by any province.
As the current leader of our democratic party, President Tsvangirai will not allow the process to degenerate into the creation of all-powerful individuals, especially in the Presidency. Zimbabwe has sad stories to tell on the abuse of the powers of an executive President and we have learnt that autocracy is a monumental vice that cannot be mimicked, even in a party constitution.
In his address t Matabeleland South province recently, President Tsvangirai repeated the adage that Constitutions are not made for the angels we know, but for the devils we don’t know. We pledge to safeguard the democratic credentials of the MDC and to ensure that every office bearer, including and especially the party Presidency, or any other office for that matter, is vaccinated from the whims of individuals. President Tsvangirai has spent half his life fighting all-powerful individuals and he certainly will not be a cheerleader to the creation of dictators.
In any case, the next MDC Congress is not necessarily about elections and positions. The MDC Congress will not only be busy with issues of Constitutional review but will also deal with the review of the party’s policy programme.
The Congress delegates will deliberate and adopt party programmes as well as a clear roadmap to the next election, whenever it will be held. There have to be clear signposts on what the party will do ahead of the next election, which we pledge to contest only on condition that reforms are implemented so that we do not perpetually breed contested electoral outcomes.
Instead, the constitutional review process is part of the MDC's organizational transformation meant to grossly change and improve the way the organization conducts its business through the various offices and departments.
While elections at this Congress will definitely be held to showcase our democratic credentials and to highlight the proper platform at which leaders are removed and installed in the party, we have no intention to create another dictator through any of our Congress processes.
Without pre-empting anything in the exercise, which is still on-going, the MDC has never believed in arrogating power to individuals but to party organs and processes with a view to improve on democracy and the attendant checks and balances necessary in a democratic party.
One dictator in a country is enough, in the name of a President, First secretary of his party, Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces and chancellor of all State Universities. Contrary to mischievous press reports, the MDC as a democratic party has no intention whatsoever to mimic and replicate such arrant nonsense.
Movement for Democratic Change
UNITED KINGDOM - President Tsvangirai yesterday told Zimbabweans at a rally in Birmingham that the solution in Zimbabwe was unconditional dialogue and rejected outright the Zanu PF precondition that the MDC must first concede defeat in the elections of 2013.
“If they think I will concede defeat, they are deluding themselves because everyone knows last year’s election was stolen. I will not do it. Everyone knows that election was stolen,” President Tsvangirai told a rapturous crowd.
He said Zimbabweans were facing a serious crisis and the way forward was unconditional dialogue by not just political parties but a broad section of stakeholders that includes students, trade unions, industry and the church, among other players.
He said with good leadership, Zimbabwe had the potential to reclaim its rightful place on the continent and in the world. President Tsvangirai dismissed the speculation that the MDC was desperate to get back into government, saying the call for dialogue was a simple demand for a national conversation that had become very urgent in the wake of the crisis in the country.
He said with Zimbabweans facing such a huge crisis, others remained misguided by regarding him, and not Zanu PF, as being at the centre of the national crisis. He said there was a group of former colleagues in the MDC, that went on a retreat in January plotting, not how to deal with Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe who are the centre of the national crisis, but conspiring how to unconstitionally remove Morgan Tsvangirai from office.
“Ambition is not criminal but there are rules. It is only congress that removes and installs leaders in the MDC,” President Tsvangirai said to applause. “And I also want to assure you that I will not die in office like Robert Mugabe. I will leave office one day and leave others to carry the mantle forward,” he said.
President Tsvangirai is in the United Kingdom at the invitation of the Royal Institution of International Affairs who wanted him to speak on the situation in Zimbabwe at Chatham House. After his presentation at Chatham House on Friday, the President entered day three of his trip with the busy schedule that included an address to Zimbabweans in Birmingham yesterday.
The MDC leader also held an hour-long meeting with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham where they discussed the various areas of co-operation, including the possibility of twinning arrangements between the city of Birmingham and some of the cities in Zimbabwe, most of which are run by MDC-led councils.
The rally was preceded by a meeting between the MDC leader and party structures in the UK and Ireland before a rally was held in the afternoon. Later, the President, who is accompanied on the UK trip by his wife and officials from his office, was last night part of a fundraising dinner in Birmingham. The dinner was meant to raise funds for the party back home.
President Tsvangirai returns home this week.
Movement for Democratic Change