Press statement by President Morgan Tsvangirai

The MDC Standing CommitteeToday, I welcome all of you here at the party headquarters to announce a very significant political development.

On Friday last week, we met as the elected senior leaders of the party, the National Standing Committee. The meeting was a grueling five hours of honest and frank discussion on the developments in the party and in the country.

After that frank heart-to heart session, we all unanimously agreed that our disagreements in the cockpit, while confirming our credentials as a democratic party, had needlessly diverted attention from the key issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe. But we had realized it was important for us to sit down as the party leadership to openly discuss and sort out our issues.

I am proud to announce today that we have discussed our issues and there is now unprecedented harmony and unity of purpose in the MDC cockpit. We all agreed that we owed it to the members of the party and to the nation at large to discuss and resolve our matters so that we would be more effective in providing hope and a credible alternative to Zanu PF.

I can assure you that in those five-hours of no-holds barred discussions, we told each other the brutal but honest truth that will save this party and ensure the security of the faith and trust the people have bestowed on us.

After all, the last national executive meeting early this month recommended that the standing committee members should meet alone to discuss and iron out their issues in the cockpit. So we complied by having frank discussions with each other last week. I am happy to say that we have all found each other.

As you can see, we are the great team that we have always been since the people gave us the mandate to be at the helm of this party; a mandate given to us at the Congress in Bulawayo in 2011. We all agreed on the supremacy of Congress as the forum that makes and unmakes leaders in the MDC. We all agreed that the fixation with the MDC and specific individuals in the cockpit as if they were at the centre of the national crisis was both needless and unnecessary.While disagreements are necessary in a democracy, they have to be resolved. And we have just resolved ours.

The concept of dynamic contradictions drives our democracy as a party. As all of you saw, it is only in the MDC where one can finger-point at their leader or publicly declare their ambition. Ambition is not criminal in the MDC and the robust debate confirms the democratic credentials of this great people’s movement.

Mr Mangoma is not here because the national council, the party’s supreme decision-making body outside Congress, has suspended him pending his appearance before an independent disciplinary tribunal. He is still very much one of us and he is innocent until proven guilty. At the end of the day, we are a team and we will swim or sink together.

As a united leadership, we are bigger and better and we will able to confront the challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe.

We have created a big tent for everyone and I can restate here that no one already inside is moving out of the tent. This party is not splitting and as a leadership in our collective sense, we all know our responsibility to our membership and to the people of Zimbabwe. I have said it before that there are many who had mistaken the robust debate in this party as a sign of disintegration.

I can assure you that this party is alive and well. The rallies in the countryside that I have addressed, the latest being at Watsomba business centre in Mutasa district on Sunday, have shown that the ground remains solid and unshaken. The people still have unstinting faith and hope in the MDC and its leadership as the only alternative that will resolve the debilitating crisis facing the country.

Once again, we tear to shreds today the premature obituaries of this great movement that some of you had begun to write. And once again today, we confound sceptics and put to shame the perception of the MDC as a party in turmoil and a movement in disintegration.

We have found each other in the cockpit. Our erstwhile friends in the struggle continue to come into the tent as we mount a united front against the real authors of the national crisis who are clueless on how to solve the problems facing the people. So we are coming together once again. We are bringing the spirit of 1999 in this big tent that continues to grow every day.
 
The crisis facing the people of Zimbabwe is greater than individual egos, unbridled ambitions and our disagreements in the cockpit.

The people have invested so much in this great movement. Only on Saturday at a rally at Tafara in Chipinge East, I saw a cheerful MDC cadre who lost a leg in the Zanu PF-led violence of 2008. But despite losing his leg, there was still a beaming smile and abundant hope planted on his face when I saw him on that sunny afternoon.

We will not let him down, together with many others across Zimbabwe who have suffered in this our tenacious struggle for positive change in the country. It is those people who continue to guide some of us in the national leadership of this struggle.

 I want to conclude by reassuring the nation that the MDC leadership is determined more than ever to complete this journey of democratic change that we started in 1999. Now that all this over, we are concentrating on the important programmes of  renergizing the base through the holding of rallies and public meetings throughout the country.

Ours is the people’s project and we are not losing focus on the important things such as preparing for the net election and being a credible alternative to this Zanu PF government that has dismally failed to deliver even on its election promises. The country is on its knees and we have a serious national crisis on our hands as a country. Now they cannot even ay government workers their salaries.

All of us in the cockpit are confident that the positive change, for which many Zimbabweans paid the ultimate price, will definitely be achieved well within our lifetime.

I thank You

Alternative Cabinet deliberates on key national issues

Hon ChamisaToday the alternative Cabinet, which convenes fortnightly, engaged in a five-hour long robust and focussed debate on key national issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe.

The issues discussed ranged from corruption, humanitarian support for Tokwe-Mukosi victims, events and developments in Parliament. The plight of workers, the unemployed and retrenched majority in the country, the collapse of social services and infrastructure and the increasing levels of poverty and suffering were also discussed.

On Corruption
The MDC alternative government, extremely concerned and worried at developments in the country on corruption, received a corruption index from each ministry, chronicling and detailing how the country is being prejudiced by the greedy and corrupt few in charge of the affairs of key sectors of the economy.

Among the many shocking cases of corruption revealed was how parastatals have been turned into feeding troughs for the parasitic elite who seem to be enjoy Canaan while the rest of Zimbabweans are still in Egypt. The alternative government is in the process of compiling a corruption dossier chronicling all corruption activities in the various sectors and departments of government.

On parastatals
The alternative Cabinet adopted a new model and policy that will eliminate the fingers of government functionaries from all the parastatals pie. On the humanitarian situation at Tokwe-Mukorsi  and in Tsholotsho, the alternative Cabinet set up a five-member task force that will assist in mobilising disaster support services for the thousands of flood victims in the afftected areas.

There was acknowledgement by Cabinet that Tokwe Mukorsi was not only a humanitarian issue but a national issue with a high security significance.

Cabinet noted that not enough has been done by the Zanu PF government to adequately respond and cushion the vulnerability and the unfortunate circumstances of the brave and humble people of Tokwe Mukorsi and Tsholotsho.

The alternative Cabinet is appealing to and calling upon all well-wishers to assist and take part in the rescue efforts to help the affected communities.

On Parliament
The alternative Cabinet noted the disturbing development and the needless attempts to gag parliamentarians through unconstitutional and undemocratic rulings by the Speaker of Parliament.

Parliament is a theatre and market place of ideas by the people’s ambassadors. The alternative Cabinet calls upon the Speaker of Parliament to restore the credibility and integrity of Parliament by reversing and desisting from pursuing undemocratic tendencies.

Further, the Cabinet notes with concern the truancy and absenteeism of  Zanu PF Ministers concerning Parliamentary business. For an effective democracy, Ministers have to be accountable for their actions and responsive to questions raised by the people of Zimbabwe through their legislators. It was agreed that delinquent Ministers must be punished severely as they constitute the dead wood that continues to cause the discomfort of the nation at large.

On the plight of Zimbabweans
The alternative Cabinet noted the deteriorating plight of the people who are suffering incessant power outages, worsening health and education services and an acute shortage of water even in the middle of abundant rains. The MDC shadow cabinet resolved that the worsening economic situation was symptomatic of a deep political crisis emanating from the crisis of legitimacy and confidence in the Zanu PF government after the controversial poll of July 31.
    
Hon Nelson Chamisa, MP
Media and Communications (Alternative Cabinet)

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

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

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.