President Morgan Tsvangirai today continued on his listening tour when he engaged opinion leaders in Bulawayo and Plumtree in Matabeleland South.
The tour continues to reflect a region with deep-seated feelings of marginalisation, neglect and abandonment by an uncaring government that has no love for its people.
The people continued to pour their hearts out to a leader they love and whom they thanked for giving them an opportunity to input into the alliance building process and the sculpting of a new society beyond Mugabe and Zanu PF in 2018. So frank and open were the meetings that at one point in Bulawayo, one opinion leader made an emotional outburst in which he bemoaned the marginalisation of the people in the Matabeleland region.
Both in Bulawayo and Plumtree, they were strong feelings not only about the collapse of the political economy, but also of the deep wounds inflicted by the State-sponsored Gukurahundi atrocities. There were several suggestions on how to deal with this grievance so that the nation puts closure to this painful period in the country’s history.
The suggestions ranged from the payment of reparations to the implementation of devolution as a permanent solution to the bad politics of exclusion that Zanu PF has pursued in the past.
President Tsvangirai took time during the engagements to clear the air about the false reports that he had already traded off some seats to the coalition partners. The alliance negotiations had not even begun and the reports were false and malicious as there was no agreement yet. He said the new government must be inclusive and must prioritise merit and not tribe.
The opinion leaders had strong feelings on gender representation in the new government and said while they supported the alliance, it must be sculpted in a way that would inspire the people and ensure that change comes in 2018.
Most of the input by the people are of a strategic nature and are meant to enrich both the alliance building process and the post-Mugabe government policies that should promote development and inclusivity.
As part of his mass-line approach to politics, it is President Tsvangirai's belief that public participation can only enhance and enrich the party's approach to national issues that affect the people.
The opinion leaders that are being engaged represent the breadth of leaders ranging from traditional leaders, civic leaders as well as leaders in church and business, among many others sectors.
Tomorrow, President Tsvangirai addresses a provincial assembly meeting in Bulawayo, after which he will go on a short break before proceeding to the other provinces to solicit the people's views at this delicate political moment for the country.
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications
Movement for Democratic Change