The last mile: Towards real transformation
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 15:13
As Zimbabweans saunter towards the demise of the ultimate phase of a hard transition, decisions about an ideal future have long been stored subliminally among the people. If the climate ensures the security of the vote, security of the voter and the security after the vote, no patriotic Zimbabwean would vote for the iniquity and wickedness of pre-2009 when hopelessness was pronounced in bone and mind alike.
In 1999, the People’s Party of Excellence, the MDC which is a force for real change and a locomotive for real transformation was formed by the working people of Zimbabwe as a decisive response to hopelessness, disempowerment and break down of rule of law through sponsored violence.
The working people were responding to a severe decline in incomes, employment, health, food security and general wellbeing of the people. Women and youth were facing encyclopaedic discrimination in public and private life with public services having declined and in some cases collapsed. The absence of a people framed constitution; weak growth by industries, poor economic policies by government gave birth to the MDC.
The crisis was, as it still is, a crisis of governance. It arises due to a breakdown of a contract with the people characterised by broken promises, betrayed hopes and unfulfilled commitments.
The MDC which stands for the supremacy of the nation and its people over partisan and individual interests representing a system that prioritises the defense of the people’s interests over the defense of leadership interests. At the core of the Party’s philosophy is the belief in a people’s charter that recognises the equality of opportunity and treatment of all Zimbabweans.
The Party of Excellence is a pro-poor, labour centric, social democratic and human centred development party that cherishes political pluralism, citizen participation, and accountable and transparent government. The MDC stands for inclusive politics, smart leadership and a clean and lean government for prosperity.
For the above reason, the MDC has sought to use democratic means to seek and secure the people‘s mandate to deliver an alternative narrative to the banal and hopeless politics and leadership of yesteryear. We have participated in undemocratic, unfree and unfair elections yet won them.
Because a revolution has not been possible, an evolution became appropriate, inevitable and necessary. Ours is an incremental process. Democracy is a process not a finished product, and liberty in all its forms is also forever under perfection. This informs the strategies and tactics employed by the party around the key party congress resolutions of 2006. Following a successful congress in May 2006, the party adopted the sign posts to peace, democracy, legitimacy, reconstruction and national healing.
With hindsight, the whole country is now firmly following the MDC proposed roadmap and signposts. The 2006 MDC roadmap had 5 stages to a NEW Zimbabwe (The save Zimbabwe campaign).
- Mass protests leading to negotiations
- A transitional mechanism – Government
- An economic reconstruction agenda, national healing and integratic agenda – repealing of POSA and AIIPA, opening of the airwaves
- Constitutional agenda
- Free and fair elections for a New Zimbabwe.
To all intents and purposes we have completed all the other critical stages albeit with imperfections. We are now on stages 4 and 5, the constitution and free and fair elections agenda.
After resoundingly winning elections in March 2008, the transitional government was ushered. Since 2009, the MDC under very extraordinary difficult circumstances has managed to lead differently in Government, cause impactful change and restore people’s hope.
Forming the inclusive government was a very painful decision but we had to do so to save the people and stop the bleeding. People were dying of cholera, bread was being bought from South Africa, prices were changing every second and we had no food in the shops.
We had a choice between saving the people on one hand and pursuit of political power even if it means walking on dead bodies to State House on the other hand, we chose the people.
We entered into a political bedroom with our political cousin Zanu PF. Tragically it is difficult to come out of that bedroom without the smell of the other.
Through the able leadership of Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the creative government work programme, MDC Ministers have largely proved to be connected to people issues, value centred and principle laden policies.
The economy is now relatively stable and basic commodities are generally available. Thanks to the MDC. The hospitals were re-opened, schools and universities are back to life, cellphones are now cheaper than tomatoes, newspapers like the Newsday and Daily News are on the streets.
Unfinished bridges were completed, dams are being constructed, tobacco farmers are in good business. Violence has relatively subsided. BEAM and social welfare fund for our war veterans and elderly have been restored. Much has been done but is not enough. Better times and seasons lie ahead. We are happy that although we may have borrowed a bad smell temporarily, those whom we serve are happy-that is servant leadership.
On the political front, the MDC has taught Zanu PF politics of competition, alternative politics and leading differently to the greater common good. With the people, the MDC made history by resoundingly disciplining Zanu PF in both the Parliamentary and Presidential elections of 2008. In Parliament, Zanu PF,s indomitability was perforated with the coming in of Hon. Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of Parliament from the Party of Excellence.
Granted, there are still challenges that are mind-boggling and heart-wreaking in government that require a wholly MDC government to deal with namely civil servants salaries, stopping of disruptions on farms and conservancies, lack of genuine independent TV and radio stations, lack of transparency in diamond mining, shortages of water and electricity, closure of companies, retrenchments, shortage of cash, unconducive business environment and weak infrastructure to mention but a few.
To a greater extent, these challenges are man-made out of omission and commission at the heart of government. Some corrosive policies in government which the MDC disagrees with have marked the genesis of the country’s nemesis. There has been too much heat than light, too much noise than music in the transitional government. There is too much policy noise and conflict in the cockpit. Capital hates noise. Business loves peace – that explains our circumstances.
Granted the people’s Party of Excellence is not full of angels. We have had some few bad apples in a basket of a majority of good apples in the various stations of government. Some party deployees were creating social distance and isolation of the party from its base, the people.
As a Party of Excellence, we don’t sweep scorpions and snakes under the carpet. We sweep literally and metaphorically!! This justifies our noble decision in Chitungwiza and elsewhere where a few have gone to Tarshish instead of Niniveh in representing people.
Our MPs have largely performed excellently outstanding by reporting back and being visible and present in the constituencies. Those that have crossed the line are under the radar in the party.
As the MDC, we believe that the Zimbabwe of today should to all intents and purposes be better than the Zimbabwe of our great grandparents. The Zimbabwe of tomorrow should be the best of them all. We need real change to restore the glitter and glamour of our country. In spite of being raped and abused, Zimbabwe retains her beauty.
Our mission is basic: to right the wrongs of the past, to just injustice and to serve the unserved men and women, boys and girls of our motherland. We are the opposite of suffering, darkness, abuse and marginalisation. We are designed, named and scoped to define and refine real transformation and stir reform making good the promise of a Great Zimbabwe.
On 29 September 2012, MDC turns 13. The theme for the anniversary, The last mile, towards real transformation. Indeed with the people we are completing the last mile in the journey to a New Zimbabwe.
People have a clear choice: either hope or fear, prosperity or suffering, boom or doom, the future or the past. The MDC represents a fresh set of policies and a new tools box of ideas to unlock the maximum best of our country.
Through our alternative policies such as the New Zimbabwe blue print Vision 2030, JUICE plan for jobs and economic upliftment and investment and other sectoral policies, Zimbabwe is ready for take off and open for business. Its 3am in Zimbabwe, dawn is coming, the sunrise is inevitable and not too far away.
To all those who are unemployed, MDC is the choice. To all those who believe in free press MDC is your hope. To all those who cherish worshipping God, prosperity and happiness of families, MDC stands with you. For you the farmer, business person and our teachers and nurses, you will shine as the sun rises.
Our heritage is the celebration of difference, a history of suffering and fighting for democracy, a legacy of creating hope and restoring lives. We fight hard because we care deeply and profoundly about our principles, convictions and purposes of servant leadership. Difference will win us the next election. Together we make the difference for real change. Help us achieve it.
by Hon Nelson Chamisa