The MDC Harare province takes great exception to the move by the Zanu PF Harare provincial leadership to meddle in the work of elected councilors in the capital city of the country.
Zanu PF provincial secretary for the commissariat, one Shadreck Mashayamombe, said at the weekend that their party will move around all the wards in Harare with Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to listen and respond to the to the problems facing the people.
The MDC takes great exception to this brazen interference in the work of the elected local, government leadership in Harare, which is mainly MDC. It is the duty of the elected council of Harare to deal with issues affecting the people and not a party that lost the election. It is our view that the Minister of Local Government must work with the elected leadership of Harare to deal with problems in the city’s wards. The Minister cannot move around with unelected officials when there is a legitimate and elected leadership that he can work with to improve service delivery in Harare.
As the MDC’s Harare province leadership, we will not allow Zanu PF thugs to move around in the wards disrupting the work of elected local leadership there. The Minister of Local Government cannot be on the forefront in sanctioning lawlessness in Harare by moving around with unelected people purporting to solve problems that are already being addressed by elected councilors.
The inescapable truth is that Zanu PF are visitors and strangers in Harare. They must not use parallel processes to foist themselves as the de-facto council of Harare. This is an issue that we are not taking lightly and we will do everything legal and peaceful to stop this arrant nonsense. Zanu PF cannot purport to solve problems of the people of Harare when the very same people did not vote for Zanu PF in 2013.
Hon. Eric Murai, MP
MDC-T Harare Provincial Chairperson
The MDC unreservedly condemns the police heavy handedness in the brutal clampdown and the throwing of teargas on commuter omnibus operators in Chitungwiza yesterday.
The MDC appreciates the efforts by local authorities to bring order and sanity in urban transport sector, but we add that it is advisable for councils and commuter omnibus operators to engage in dialogue and come up with a peaceful way to bring order in our urban areas. In this regard, we welcome the exemplary way in which the Bulawayo City Council and commuter omnibus operators engaged in meaningful and fruitful dialogue to bring sanity in urban transportation in the country’s second largest city. We urge other local authorities and commuter operators to emulate the city of Bulawayo example so that we tame the traffic jungle in our urban areas.
However, while the police have every right to assist in bringing order in our communities, the MDC condemns in the strongest terms the police decision to fire teargas on innocent commuter operators in legitimate demonstration against what they perceived to be Chitungwiza city council’s punitive levies on all commuter operators in town.
The barbaric action by the police to engage in a violent clampdown on citizens exercising their constitutional right should be condemned in the strongest terms. We expect the police to assist in facilitating meaningful dialogue between disputing parties and not to worsen the situation by brutally attacking commuter operators who are struggling to eke a living in these trying times.
The MDC is on the side of any legitimate, constitutional and peaceful expression by citizens of the country, including commuter bus operators. There is no reason whatsoever for such heavy handedness by the police, whose responsibility is to maintain law and order and not cause unnecessary pain to citizens exercising their constitutional right of freedom of expression.
The MDC notes that it is the police themselves who have gravely affected the transportation of urban commuters by their punitive fines of $100 for even small traffic offenses at a time Zimbabweans are surviving on less than US$1 a day.
While we need the police on our roads to stem the road carnage, the new regime of punitive fines by the police will fuel corruption and are not consistent with the economic situation in the country.
The MDC roundly condemns the stiff fines gazetted by government which have fuelled corruption on our roads by police officers as well as the law enforcement agents’ use of hard, brutal power on innocent commuter operators exercising their Constitutional right in Chitungwiza. The police should operate within reasonable and civil limits and not be agents of brutality and disorder.
Hon. Lillian Timveos
Secretary for Home Affairs
We face a bleak Christmas, amid a serious national crisis. Over ninety percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed. The few people still on formal employment have not been paid for months, if not years while government itself is still to pay the bonus it promised civil servants last month.
Those in the security sector who were supposed to receive their 13th cheque last month did not receive it. They also did not receive it this month. For the first time, the rest of the civil servants are set to receive their December salaries after Christmas; that is if the salaries will come at all.
There is no power in our homes, the country is broke and government is struggling to raise revenue for salaries, let alone having resources for capital expenditure and other critical government projects. Instead of trying to come up with solutions to steer the country from this despicable morass, the catch-phrase in the party in government is succession and factionalism---issues far removed from the challenges we face. No one in government is thinking of solutions to the national challenges as everyone is preoccupied with issues of who will succeed this tired man steering the ship of State; the man who has now been surreptitiously but willingly replaced by his wife in a palace coup.
Zanu PF befittingly met in Victoria Falls for the party’s conference-- befittingly because the party is on a free fall that is consistent with the gushing and falling waters at Mosi Oa Tunya. Zanu PF is indeed a falling party which we must not allow to fall with the nation. Instead of proposing the way forward from the debilitating crisis, the conference was all about factions, scheming and lambasting Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. This is the sad context in which we are commemorating---not celebrating---this year’s festive season.
The nature of our crisis
The country is in the throes of a multi-layered crisis. Oftentimes, we in the MDC have spoken about the crisis of legitimacy, the crisis of leadership, the crisis of the economy and the crisis of governance that are arresting the political and economic progress of the country.
On governance, we have a virgin Constitution that is yet to be implemented. We now have an expanded bill of rights which we cannot enjoy because our laws are still to be aligned to the new Constitution. The party in government is not concerned about implementing the progressive provisions espoused in a Constitution that remains an unimplemented document in the national closet.
On the social front, Zimbabweans are facing starvation. We are on the brink of yet another bleak farming season. We have no money to pay wages for government workers and import food that communities need as a matter urgency. In the very few areas where food has been made available by government, it has been distributed on a partisan basis only to Zanu PF supporters. Social safety nets for the needy remain porous and are failing to serve the vulnerable. Health, education and other social services are suffering due to poor and inadequate funding. The national budget instead allocated a large chunk of funds to security ministries at the expense of capital projects and the social needs of the people.
The crisis of the economy has reached alarming levels. The millions of vendors roaming the streets of our cities and selling anything to anyone bear testimony to the unsustainable informalisation of the national economy. We have a staggering external debt of $10 billion that government has pledged to repay by April 2016 at a time when we have an unfunded budget of $4 billion that is woefully less than annual profit of a retail company in neighbouring South Africa.
But of course, the genesis of all these challenges is the crisis of legitimacy, stemming from yet another disputed election in July 2013 that yielded a government that the world has no confidence in. Unless and until we sort out the legitimacy crisis, we will not resolve the confidence deficit this government has suffered from local and international investors. All we hear are mega deals which have provided no palpable relief to the suffering of the people. We now have mega deals amid mega poverty and there is no relationship between the billion dollars deals being announced in government newspapers every day with the poverty among the people.
Yet, at the centre of all this is a crisis of leadership. The fact that we have a 91 year old President who his party says should stand again for election in 2018 is an apt summation of the cockpit challenges that confronts us as a nation. There is no boldness to confront the national crisis; what with an aged President and everyone around him fighting to succeed him. Everyone in the party in government is worried more about the succession issues than the monumental challenges facing us as a people.
So desperate have they become that they want to portray the MDC as being in a similar crisis. There is a brazen attempt to equalize and portray as if there are also factions in the MDC. The nation knows that there is no truth in all these lies. It is all part of the calculated sustained attack on the Tsvangirai brand. In their warped logic, the MDC must be portrayed as having the same chaos as Zanu PF in order to dispirit and disillusion the people that there is no credible alternative in the country.
Yet in spite of all these desperate measures by Zanu PF, I remain humbled by the confidence people in the party and in the country continue have in the MDC. Zanu PF knows the threat we pose because of our grassroots support and that is why their conference was about denigrating Morgan Tsvangirai and the party I lead.
The way forward
We in the MDC are clear about the way forward which we have made public since our Congress in October last year.
Together, we are stronger. Together, we are better. We resolved at our last Congress that we will work with others in the broader democratic movement to deal with the national challenges. Two weeks ago, together with others in the broader political movement; we publicly signed the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) document. NERA will deal with the underlying electoral challenges that are at the core of the crisis of legitimacy that has held the nation at ransom and impeded progress.
Every journey begins with a bold step and what has earnestly begun is a national conversation. Collectively, we will soon be announcing a joint programme emanating from the national convergence in confronting the key issues affecting the country and its people.
The way forward lies in Zimbabweans in a collective sense coming together regardless of their diversity to chart the way forward for the country. All I can say for now is that we are headed in that direction and there is a national conversation currently taking place.
In the MDC, we are finishing our blueprint of how to rescue this country. We have gone beyond simply being seasoned critics of Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe. The real solution is a credible, bankable plan of how to rescue and resuscitate the country beyond Mugabe and Zanu PF. What is now urgent is a clear policy framework on what can be done to address power generation, to create jobs and to bring the economy back on the rails, among other issues.
At 91, whether by natural or other factors, we must begin to plan and budget for a post-Mugabe scenario and have in place bankable and credible programmes to rescue the country from this abyss. I am glad to announce that we in the MDC are tying up the loose ends of a comprehensive policy programme post-Mugabe and post-Zanu PF.
The people of Zimbabwe are clear that Zanu PF cannot be the solution to the problems they created in the same way that a mosquito cannot cure malaria.
As political leaders, we know what Zimbabweans want and expect in the wake of a party in government so out of sorts that the fixation with succession issues and positions have taken centre-stage at the expense of a despondent people. Zimbabweans want to see unity of purpose and I can assure you that a broader, collective agenda will soon be unveiled to the nation by the relevant people after the relevant consultations.
In the middle of all this gloom, it is our wish to lift the spirits of the despondent people of Zimbabwe and give them a befitting Christmas present by showcasing national convergence regarding the key challenges facing the people. Let us all take time this Christmas to reflect on the future of our country and whether this country really deserves this penury when it is endowed with abundant resources and an educated human capital.
I know it is going to be a difficult and bleak Christmas considering that we all do not have disposable income. But let us use the little we have to share the little joy and happiness we can afford with friends, family and relatives. Let us pray and celebrate the birth of Christ, even in the middle of the debilitating crisis we face.
We are a Christian nation and the only resource we must have in unparalleled abundance is love. Let us spread it and share it in the nation. Let us share the gift of unity and togetherness. We in the political leadership of the broader democratic movement are slowly understanding and appreciating the sanctity of togetherness and unity of purpose.
They may try to stop our convergence as Zimbabweans from diverse backgrounds, but they cannot stop the collective spirit of Zimbabweans and the imminent, lasting change whose time has come.
Happy Christmas, Zimbabwe.
Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully.
Of late, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other organs of the State security apparatus have ruthlessly and unlawfully clamped down on peaceful demonstrations. On Monday, January 4, 2016 in Harare, the Police unlawfully blocked a protest march that was organised by the Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) to press government to urgently release civil servants’ December salaries. The MDC unreservedly condemns the high – handed and unlawful action by the police in violently crushing a peaceful demonstration.
It is apparent that the Zanu PF regime is afraid of the people of Zimbabwe. The regime is now paranoid as it is acutely aware of the fact that millions of Zimbabweans are living in abject poverty and destitution as a direct result of the regime’s misrule, unmitigated corruption and misgovernance. Typical of all dictatorial and fascist regimes, the Zanu PF government is determined to use brute force and violence in order to unconstitutionally stop Zimbabweans from exercising their constitutional right to stage peaceful demonstrations.
Zimbabwe has now degenerated into a virtual police state since all forms of demonstrations against the deteriorating socio – economic conditions presently obtaining in the country are crushed through the thuggish and Stalinist use of force and repression.
At a time when more than 90% of the population is living rough, President Robert Mugabe and a large entourage of his hangers – on have decided to embark on an expensive holiday in the Far East; which holiday jamboree is fully funded by the near bankrupt State. Whilst the majority of civil servants such as doctors, nurses and teachers have not been paid their deserved annual bonuses and salaries, Robert Mugabe is completely insensitive to the plight of these hardworking servants of the State.
Instead of urgently returning home to address the emergency situation caused by the non – payment of civil servants’ salaries as well as the impending drought, Mugabe and his extended family are wining and dining in very expensive and upmarket hotels and restaurants in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.
As a party, the MDC would like to call upon Robert Mugabe to cut short his undeserved State – funded holiday and to immediately come back so that he can personally take control of the collapsing national economy. The country is on virtual auto pilot as the nonagenarian President is living it up in the Far East. How insensitive and selfish can a President be?
The MDC would also like to take this opportunity to call upon all Parliamentarians, across the political divide, to put their heads together when Parliament resumes sitting within the next few weeks. It is abundantly clear that President Robert Mugabe has abdicated his responsibilities as the Head of State and as such, Parliament should proceed to impeach him.The old man is now clearly out of his wits and he is no longer fit for purpose. He doesn’t deserve to continue exercising the duties and functions of our State President. We call upon Mugabe to call it a day and retreat to Gushungo Estates in Mazowe where he can spend time admiring his huge herd of dairy cows.
Zimbabweans have suffered for too long under the Zanu PF dictatorship being fronted by Robert Mugabe. The chains of servitude now have to be unlocked. 2016 should be the Year of The People’s Liberation.
MDC: Equal Opportunities for All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
The allegations made in the Herald regarding the possible abuse of office by Harare City Councilors drawn from both the MDC and Zanu PF and allegations against the Chairman of the Medical Aid scheme for Harare Council Staff, Mr. Jogee, are of great concern to the MDC. This is especially against the background of a forensic audit of the Premier Medical Aid Society which disclosed massive payments to a number of people, including senior staff.
The MDC has a policy of zero tolerance for all forms of corruption and abuse of office by officials elected on an MDC ticket or working in any local authorities that are controlled by MDC dominated Councils.
Accordingly, the President of the MDC, Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai, met yesterday with Harare City Councilors and the Harare Province leadership and instructed the Province to constitute a Commission of Enquiry immediately and to investigate the allegations and report their findings to his Office in 14 days. Once this report is received, the Party will decide on appropriate disciplinary action for any officials involved if wrong doing is confirmed.
E G Cross
Secretary for Local Government
Movement for Democratic Change