Three MDC members were hospitalized while six others were arrested after they were attacked by a Zanu PF mob during an MDC youth mobilization and recruitment exercise in Budiriro on Sunday.
It was in fact the victims who were arrested as the police once again showed their bias in the wake of the resurgence of Zanu PF violence.
MDC Youth had recruited over 100 youth in Budiriro who signed up to be a part of the party before Zanu PF thugs attacked the youth leaders with sticks, stones and iron bars.
The rowdy Zanu PF youth, led by their Harare province chairman Godfrey Gomwe attacked our youth for merely wearing the party regalia and carrying out visibility programmes in Budiriro. They ordered MDC youths to remove their T-shirts.
Johanna Mamombe, Harare West district youth secretary, Benard Ncube, Harare West district Chair and Tangai Magawa Hatfield district youth chair were brutally attacked and had to be hospitalized while Trust Muchena, the Glen Norah youth organising Secretary was kidnapped by Zanu PF youth before they surrendered him at Budiriro 2 police station, together with five other party members.
MDC youth provincial chairperson, Stan Manyenga attracted the ire of the police for rescuing Johanna and Bernard before taking them to a local hospital. Police officers from the Law and Order section went to his home this afternoon looking for him.
The MDC is concerned that violence continues to rear its ugly head in our society where focus should be on reviving the economy and creating jobs for the youth. We call upon the police to execute its mandate without fear or favour.
Zanu PF has not changed and violence continues to be part of their DNA. We urge the police to arrest the real perpetrators of violence and to release our innocent members immediately.
MDC: Equal opportunities for all
On Friday, January 24 2014, President Morgan Tsvangirai presented a state of the nation address at a Harare hotel where he spoke about the urgent need for national dialogue, beyond just political parties, to address the crisis facing the country.
It was just 153 days after the controversial July 31 election, but the signs of a worsening crisis had begun to show.
In that state of the address last year, President Tsvangirai presented a seven-point plan as the basis for a roadmap to legitimacy and economic stability in the country.
In that seven point plan 12 months ago, the highlight was the urgent need for national dialogue, which he clearly said should be a national conversation beyond the MDC.
"There is no doubt that our situation demands sincere dialogue by a broad section of stakeholders, from political parties to the church, labour, industry, students and civic society, among others," President Tsvangirai told his audience in January last year, which included diplomats, ordinary residents and the media, as he laid the basis for the national convergence conference.
From 16-19 August 2014, the MDC national executive, during its strategic retreat held in Kadoma, adopted national convergence as a key signpost on the roadmap legitimacy.
At its 4th Congress at the end of October 2014, the MDC’s supreme decision-making body adopted a roadmap to legitimacy whose first signpost was a national conversation through the convening of a national convergence conference.
And on Thursday last week, President Tsvangirai restated for the fourth time what he had said since January 2014. He made it clear last Thursday that the national convergence should not be an MDC platform, but a dialogue by a cross-section of Zimbabweans to deliberate on the national grievances and chart the way forward.
It is comforting to note that there is now convergence on the need for the National Convergence Conference as it emerges that other groups and individuals are of the same mind.
It is our view that it is a trite debate to spend valuable time on who first initiated the issue of a national convergence conference.
What is important is that there is emerging national consensus on the need for a national conversation to deliberate on our sad national predicament.
The national convergence conference should be a truly national platform where Zimbabweans in their diversity discuss the crisis facing the people of Zimbabwe. In fact, no single political party can successfully organize a national convergence conference. All that individual political parties and organizations can do is to endorse it, as the MDC has done through its President.
President Tsvangirai has not stolen anything or anyone's idea. He has simply restated what he has been saying for a year. The only person who has stolen anything is the one who pilfered our Christmas and placed everyone in this deep economic malaise.
As a party, we do endorse the idea of a national platform, organized and run by neutral bodies and people and where everyone, including Zanu PF is invited.
We cannot waste valuable time debating who saw the bus first. The bottom line is that we are all agreed that this bus, the national indaba, is our best mode of transport to our desired destination of building national consensus on the way forward!
Movement for Democratic Change
We meet again after a very bleak so called festive season at a time when the national predicament is worsening every day. The signs of national leadership failure are now even more glaring for everyone to see, with government now literally lurching from one crisis to the other.With paralysis everywhere, the President, insensitive to the overwhelming national crisis, has delegated his appointed green lieutenants to manage the crisis whilst he goes on leave, to the extent of even extending the same.
For his age, it is understandable why our President would want to rest. But what he needs is not an annual holiday but to admit to his failure of leadership at this critical national hour of need. Surely, we cannot all be blind to the reality of his state of health, his age and his physical frailties.
2. The national crisis
As I said in my end of year statement 17 days ago, we are in the middle of a serious crisis. National revenue has dwindled and government is struggling to pay its own workers.There is no predictability on government policy as such policies are being changed every day. In 2014, the economy contracted sharply, with GDP declining by between 10-14 percent, the same decline as during the economic collapse of 2008. The budget was $4,1 billion in 2014 while expenditure was $4,8 billion plus a revenue shortfall $300 million ,giving rise to a massive budget deficit of $1 billion or 22 percent of expenditure. This was funded mainly by short-term borrowings and creditors, giving rise to severe cash flow problems for 2015 and beyond.
The lesson is that Zimbabwe urgently needs to re-engage the international community for budgetary support if it were to meet essential social and other targets.
During 2014, FDU inflows into Zimbabwe were only $160 million, compared to $5,7 billion in Mozambique. As a consequence, the liquidity situation has reached critical levels, with 10 commercial banks closing their doors since Zanu PF resumed control of the State in August 2013. There is no respite in the ongoing financial collapse while business continues to suffer from the collapse of confidence as represented by the Stock Market which has declined by 40 percent since the election of 2013. Unemployment has continued to spiral in the past 18 months and is now threat to national stability. Ten percent of the national workforce has been made redundant as companies continue to close.
The parlous state of State enterprises is a sign of a collapsing government, with even the Grain Marketing Board offering workers bags of grain in place of salary arrears. Most of them are indebted, while the majority of the poor people in the country will not access health facilities as government owes in excess of $3 million to public hospitals.
The national budget and the government’s much-vaunted blueprint, ZimAsset, have failed to inspire growth and a positive impetus in the economy. In fact, the blueprint has proved to be much ado about nothing.
3. The façade of reform
There have been changes in the leadership of both Zanu PF and the government by the appointment of two new Vice Presidents. Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko were added into the cockpit of both party and government. It is simply a cosmetic change without any substantial impact on the direction of the country.
The newly appointed Vice Presidents have their work clearly cut out for them. But predictably, they cannot extricate themselves from Mugabe’s ruinous and disastrous legacy. They are entrapped in the same policy failure that has characterized Zanu PF governance culture in the past 35 years.
Attempts have been made by Mnangagwa, the acting President and some of his acolytes, to brand themselves as reformists when in fact they are unrependant hardliners. There are those who are so naïve as to believe that token changes in the cockpit can lead to realignment of our politics and that those token changes can spearhead a reform agenda. These are leaders who were not elected but appointed to their positions. They have no mandate from the people and will simply do Mugabe’s bidding.
If Mnangagwa were sincere about reform, he would have pushed for the implementation of the Constitution in his capacity as Minister of Justice and leader of government business in Parliament. Any leader who is keen on genuine reform would have prioritized the implementation of the people’s charter endorsed by over three Zimbabweans in a referendum.
These latest Mugabe appointees are desperate to brand themselves as different and yet we know they have little room to manouver outside the dictates of the appointing authority. In the case of the acting President, he has a tainted record that Zimbabweans will never forget both in terms of his role in Gukurahundi, repression in the presidential runoff of 2008 as Minister of Defence and the electoral theft of 2013.
4. Defining the end-game --The 2015 agenda and the way forward
Never in the history of the MDC have we faced a national challenge to find a solution to the end-game. Following our very successful Congress, a clear roadmap to the endgame was adopted and the implementation of those resolutions is our immediate task.
The following are the five areas of focus for 2015:
1. National Convergence Conference
In line with our Congress roadmap, we in the MDC are going to initiate the convening of the National Convergence Conference. After that conference, there will be a new roadmap, agreed across the political divide, to rescue this country from its current quagmire. The national convergence conference will not be an MDC platform but a platform for all players in their diversity to agree on the national grievances and together chart the way forward for the country.
The idea of a national convergence conference arose after a realization that the national crisis is affecting every Zimbabwean despite, our political, racial and ethnic differences. We shall be calling political parties, civic groups, the church, war veterans and other independent groups and individuals to come together so that we can discuss the national crisis and agree on the way forward. This is an opportunity for all of us in our diversity to mobilize the national sentiment for a national solution.
2. Rolling out a national and global campaign to liberate the people
As we have said before, we reserve the right to mobilize the people of Zimbabwe around the national grievances agreed under the convergence conference. There will also be an attendant global campaign to sensitize the region, Africa and the world on the crisis in the country and the need to return to legitimacy.
Stopping Zanu PF must not only be a national campaign. Liberating the people of Zimbabwe must be a global cause.
We have written to SADC Heads of State warning them of a possible implosion in Zimbabwe. SADC and the AU must appreciate that the declining economic situation and the implosion in Zanu PF as the party in government has far-reaching consequences for stability, democratisation and development in the region.
3. Implementation of the reform agenda (Constitutional and Electoral reforms).
Subsequent to the national and global campaign, there has to be expedient and urgent implementation of the genuine reforms, including Constitutional, electoral and other reforms agreed under the auspices of SADC and the AU as key to the conduct of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
4. Campaign for national elections and the return to legitimacy
Implementation of agreed key reforms should then be followed by free, fair and credible election that does not breed a contested outcome.
5. Economic and Social Transformation
Economic and social transformation is the fifth and last signpost that should be the responsibility of the legitimate government after the free, fair and credible election.
In conclusion, the MDC faces a historic challenge of completing the post-liberation democratization agenda. We are aware of our historical mandate to deliver positive transformation in the lives of the people. As I have stated often-times, we reserve our right as a party to mobilize the people of Zimbabwe to engage in legitimate and constitutionally permissible action to petition government on any of the national grievances affecting ordinary Zimbabweans in their diversity.
And yes, we dare not fail in that goal.
And yes, in our diversity we shall attend the national convergence conference designed to map the way forward for our beloved country.
In the MDC, we believe in this country becoming a dignified home to all its citizens. Farmers, housewives, students, business people, labour, the church and the unemployed deserve a dignified country with abundant and equal opportunities for all.
The MDC is calling for unity of purpose by all democratic forces. Now is the time for the broader democratic movement to unite and rally together in finding a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. We should not allow egos and petty differences to stand in the way of the noble agenda to bring change in the country and to positively transform the lives of the people.
We will not rest until we achieve that historical obligation well within our lifetime.
I thank you.
On Wednesday January 7, 2015 more than 200 villagers were illegally and forcibly evicted from Manzou farm in Mazowe district to pave way for one Grace Mugabe to continue with her voracious land grab escapade. The MDC has always advocated for a sustainable and holistic land reform programme that is deliberately aimed at productivity and sustainably resettling all holistically disadvantaged people.
The Zanu PF regime, on the other hand , has undertaken a violent and unsustainable land grab exercise whereby millions of hactares of productive commercial farmland has been usurped and parceled out to a few Zanu PF politicians and other politically well connected individuals . thus, in a short period of 15 years, the Zanu PF regime has managed to destroy a once viable commercial agricultural sector. In the process, more than 90% of Zimbabweans have been reduced to poverty, destitution and squalor . From being the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has been reduced to a mere basket case thanks to the ruinous and disasterous violent so-called land reform programme undertaken by the Zanu PF regime over the past few years.
From its formation in September 1999, the MDC has always and consistently called for the adoption of a holistic and sustainable land reform programme targeted at decongesting the over-populated and barren communal areas by giving land to the deserving black majority. The MDC land reform programme is under-pinned by a deliberate policy that will empower resettled farmers by granting them new skills and providing them with adequate input support as well as agricultural mechanisation. The MDC will ensure that the lives of all resettled farmers are transferred for the better and that the living standards of all Zimbabweans transformed improved. By contrast, the Zanu PF regime only believes in empowering the elite section of society leaving the majority of the people in abject poverty. Typical of all dictatorships, the Zanu PF regime , fronted by Robert Mugabe , is very comfortable when the majority of people are poor and thus, easily susceptible to political manipulation.
Grace Mugabe has unlawfully and selfishly taken over the entire Mazowe valley which is one of the most fertile farming areas in Zimbabwe. Poor peasants have been treated in a very inhumane and degrading manner by Grace Mugabe who is corruptly abusing State power by disobeying a lawful order issued by the High Court. The Zanu PF regime believes in the rule by law as opposed to the rule of law. According to Grace Mugabe, might is right and the rights of the poor do not matter at all as long as the rich and powerful get their way.
The Zimbabwean economy is in a sorry state presently largely because the majority of the people's rights are trashed by an insensitive, cruel, ruthless and corrupt ruling elite.
The MDC calls upon Grace Mugabe to immediately obey the High Court order that allowed the villagers at Manzou Farm not to be evicted until such a time they are allocated suitable and adequate alternative agricultural land.
MDC: Equal Opportunities For All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson.
The MDC is appalled by the decision of the Zanu PF regime to roll out 32 additional tollgates across the country at a time when the majority of the people of Zimbabwe are living in abject poverty and squalor.
In 2014, the Zanu PF regime collected a total amount of US$132 million from the 24 tollgates that are already in place. It is abundantly clear that the sum of US$132 million that was collected in 2014 from the 24 tollgate has been misused and abused by the rogue Zanu PF
regime. The country’s major roads remain in a dilapidated condition and indeed, there is no single tarred road in Zimbabwe that is not littered with huge potholes.
Motorists are called to pay money at the country’s existing 24 tollgates but apparently, the money is not chanelled to the intended purpose of road maintenance as well as road construction. Zimbabwe’s roads are now a death trap, mainly due to the failure by the Zanu PF
regime to properly and constantly maintain the country’s highways using money collected from the existing 24 tollgates. Instead of maintaining the country’s roads using the tollgate fees, the rogue Zanu PF regime diverts the money collected at the tollgates to pay civil servants’ salaries as well as bankrolling the wasteful expenditure of the bloated bureaucracy that includes several ministers and deputy ministers.
The decision to construct 32 additional tollgates across the country is thus, solely meant to extort more money from motorists in order to fund Robert Mugabe’s extended holiday jamborees as well as to pay for his numerous overseas trips, mainly to the far East.
The MDC strenuously condemns the Zanu PF regime’s decision to construct 32 additional tollgates instead of using the money collected at the existing 24 tollgates to rehabilitate the country’s collapsed road infrastructure.
We have stated it before, and we repeat it here and now: that Zanu PF regime is not fit for purpose and that the people of Zimbabwe shall continue to wallow in poverty for as long as this corrupt and rogue regime remains in office.
The MDC calls upon the patriotic people of Zimbabwe to thunderously oppose and resist the proposed construction of 32 additional tollgates.
MDC: Equal opportunities for all