The global Advocacy trip by the MDC Alliance delegation: A big achievement and a strategic move
1.We wish to acknowledge the interest generated by the trip to the US and that it is fundamental that there be adequate communication to clear the myths. The MDC understands the importance of accountability, which is a key pillar of good governance, public duty and people-centred leadership. The purpose of this briefing is to account to the people.
2.It is exactly 6 weeks into this regime, the situation has not significantly changed and will require all hands to develop and usher a new value driven, democratic developmental state. Correction of past wrongs, violations and failures should not be selective but comprehensive. In our view, economic reforms without political reforms are an unsustainable deception;
3.Next year in 2018, Zimbabwe goes into a watershed election through which the country should poise itself for growth, progress and development. Following the ouster last month of the big man, a strongman who had misgoverned the country for 37 years, all patriotic Zimbabweans know that we must leave no stone unturned in giving the citizens of our beloved country a reason to hope.
4.The much needed hope and national prosperity can only be assured through a return to legitimacy and people’s will underwritten by SADC, Africa and the world. It is against this background that President Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC Alliance presidential candidate, dispatched us into Africa, Europe and the United States on a global campaign for free, fair and credible elections. That was the essence of our mission and it is regrettable that some among us fell for the cheap ruse that we had gone around calling for sanctions against this country.
5.Every Zimbabwean knows our record in patriotism and national duty. Our trip was about, strategic reengagement for reconstruction and economic recovery, opposition repositioning and a call for a return to legitimacy through free, fair and credible elections. This is the only sure route to have all undesirable restrictive measures and other encumbrances against this country jettisoned and lifted. Zimbabwe cannot continue to be a pariah state or banana republic. Our nation needs to immediately be back into the glorious family of nations as a people-centered, prosperous and progressive developmental country.
6.We mean business. We stand strong. We are serious about forming and being the next government in the next few months. Central to the purpose of our trip, if we are to be the new government we must prepare. Being the new and next government we can’t call for sanctions against our government. Strategic reengagement at party and country level is key. The “Mugabe must go” mantra requires we reposition and reframe our message. Reengagement is a Long process. We saw it in the inclusive government. We must start now. We need $15bn for reconstruction
7.Put simply, we were on a patriotic duty to ensure that Zimbabwe gets back into business again, (a back to business mode) (a back in the game approach) particularly if we are able to bring back African and international confidence by running a truly credible election next year.
8.During this trip, we met business and political leaders in Africa and beyond. We made presentations to various bodies, including the US Foreign Relations Committee, exhorting them to assist this country in its return to legitimacy which is the only way we can unlock the political and economic handcuffs currently arresting the nation.
9.Zimbabweans know that this country needs to start afresh. We need international goodwill. We need massive capital injection but above all, we need international confidence; which confidence can only come with the installation of a legitimate regime in Harare through credible elections. Last month’s developments must be seen as the first step towards a long journey to legitimacy, which must culminate in clean elections and a truly people’s government next year.
10.The new administration in Harare has said the right words at times. They have promised a new start and a new era for the country. Above all, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised free and fair elections but what has been missing is a proper roadmap to that election; the timelines and the implementation of key reforms, including the return of our soldiers to the barracks in line with the dictates of the Constitution. That is the area where we need the support of SADC, the AU and the broader international community--- all of whom we have engaged and will continue to engage without fear or favour.
11.Moreover, the signs and noises coming from the current regime in the past week have confirmed our skepticism about the new regime in Harare especially the words of presidential advisor Chris Mutsvangwa who said last week that Zanu PF will be working with the army to ensure victory in the next elections. This is in flagrant violation of our Constitution and it is such noises that vindicate the chastity of our mission to Africa and the broader international community that indeed we need everyone’s support in our pursuit of credible elections in Zimbabwe.
12.The struggle for a democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe is a long and winding one. History did not begin or end in November 2017. The MDC has continued on the path it has been following since 1999 and while we acknowledge the changes that have happened in the national leadership they inevitably remain changes in a political party. This must not sway us from the path of democracy.
13.We were all united and in agreement that Mugabe had to go and we will never regret the position we took because it has always been our position. We welcome those who joined us in November after they finally saw the light. However we were not blind to the fact that the removal of Mugabe did not mean the removal of Mugabeism and the totality of the system that he had created. Thus in all this we knew that after waking up the day after Mugabe's departure we still had lots of work to do. This is the work that we continue doing, engaging Zimbabweans, our regional and international allies.
14.We are happy the soldiers have returned to the barracks. We are happy to see that even they now agree with us, now that the command element has announced the same. We must now proceed with Operation Restore Legitimacy because that is the core of next year's elections.
15.Our great motivation is that Zimbabwe must have legitimacy because the lack of it among fellow members of the community of nations has been a burden on our economy. It is because of a lack of legitimacy that some countries continue to impose measures upon us. As a nation we have the power to get these measures removed and all we have to do is to do things the right way. We must hold free, fair and credible elections. How will they stand on hilltops telling us what to do if we hold free, fair and credible elections? This is what we seek. Our engagements are aimed at ensuring that we hold free, fair and credible elections.
16.We know that many Zimbabweans are very hopeful. We all want economic liberation. We also want democracy. However, our hopes must be based on firm foundations, not false premises. As your leadership, we believe it is important to lay down these foundations. We cannot allow ourselves to be swayed by the prevailing winds at any given time. If it happens we must quickly find ourselves. In this case our hope as a nation must be firmly founded on democratic values and principles; on strong economic ideas and honest relations with others.
17.We went to the US as part of our engagements towards fulfilling these goals. Contrary to propaganda and misinterpretations we did not go to America to call for any measures. We have no control over American policy. If anything we asked the Americans to continue with the humanitarian support they have been giving to Zimbabweans. It is our wish to see our people thriving not starving. We understand the need for external help where we are struggling. However, we will continue to be charity cases unless we do the right things by ourselves. We also need to show our commitment by demonstrating electoral reforms that will help us have free fair and credible elections. If we do that, these countries that have measures against us will have no leg to stand on. The power is in our hands. Let’s collectively and together shame all who wish us ill.
18. Our great hope is that the government will understand this cardinal rule that for us to advance as a nation we must have sound policies and a free fair and credible election. Our view is that whoever succeeds between our parties must proceed on a foundation of legitimacy. That is what will emancipate our economy from the present shackles. This is why we seek to work together in order to implement the necessary reforms. If they are receptive this would be great news to Zimbabweans. To this end we urge them to retract or castigate statements made by some among their number to the effect of military involvement in the 2018 elections campaign. They create the wrong impression and spoil the name of the nation at a time when so many Zimbabweans have hope for a better and cleaner future.
19. It is urgent that we transit towards the restoration to legitimacy constitutionalism and the rule of law.
This roadmap must have the following benchmarks
1) The implementation and executing electoral reforms that including
2) (a) credible BVR in respect of which all political parties sign on to
(b) The introduction of the diaspora vote
(c) The presence of international monitors and observers at least six months before the election
(d) The establishment of an enabling environment without violence, fear and coercion
(e) Electoral and other legislative reforms including the repeal of POSA and AIPPA
(f) Comprehensive media reforms including equal access to the public media and the granting of broadcasting licences.
(g) A special role of the UN in view of past contested elections
All the above must be guaranteed and underwritten by the international community including SADC, the AU and the UN.
We must collectively deal with the political and economic hygiene issues.
Issues that still need to be addressed by the current government, opposition political parties and the generality of Zimbabweans are:
- Having a clear roadmap to credible, free and fair elections
- How to develop and implement a shared national vision which is inclusive, promotes tolerance, encourages investment, and safeguards property rights, address past violence, reconciliation
- How to develop a plan of action that address the 3 wicked problems of inequality, poverty and unemployment is still missing
- How to restore confidence in our economy, for investors, for foreign direct investments and not mortgage our future, our children’s inheritance in debt
- How to restore constitutional legitimacy, the return of soldiers to the barracks is a first step, which should be celebrated, but this is not the end, civilian processes and institutions should be allowed to function with fear, bias or favour.
- How to regain standing in international community should be equally grounded in internal reforms that remove justification for continued isolation of Zimbabwe for her peers.
Key spaces need to be made national not partisan,
1. Traditional leaders, our police and army (these are representatives of the people and not the party)
2. Public media should give unequal space and coverage to all voices and all parties;
3. The governing party should not abuse state resources
Contrary to Zanu PF peddled misinformation, our message in the US was very clear. Zimbabwe needs to be engaged and not isolated. More precisely, the new authorities need to be engaged particularly on the difficult issues affecting our country t avoid lip stick temporary solutions.
We are patriotic citizens.
We are democrats.
We owe no one an apology for our global campaign for re-engagement and for the return to legitimacy through the holding of free and fair elections whose mission and agenda some have deliberately chosen to misrepresent for selfish political capital.
Our record however speaks for itself, we have served our country to the best of our abilities and we have always put our people first. For us to move without the fear of regression we need to address the following:
1.Resolution of the Political Crisis, through the holding of a proper election with observers allowed in the country three months before the election with unfettered access to the different parts in the country. We view this as a proper path to rebuilding the social contract.
2.Creation of an inclusive growing economy, deal with macroeconomic stability and in the long term ensure growth, we in the MDC Alliance will create a hundred billion dollar economy within 15 years with the economy growing at an average of 7 percent.
3.Attracting FDI, our team will create a conducive environment including the total repealing of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, the respect of property rights, the rule of law and constitutionalism.
4.Change the country’s accumulation model, the state must shift from the current extraction model which places our dealings at the lowest level of global commodity circuits.
5.Financial Sector Stability and Liquidity, as we stated in our critique of Chinamasa’s budget there is urgent need to demonetise the bond note, joining the Rand Monetary Union in the medium term and ring fencing of the US dollar balances to avoid a further loss of value in the accounts of the Zimbabwean people.
6.Expenditure retrenchment, a phased ejection of ghost workers over a period of three years so as to rationalise the public sector wage bill and reform of all State Owned Enterprises.
7.Monetising Democracy, all the Chapter 13 institutions must be strengthened and the implementation of devolution of power must be urgent to ensure even development with decision making vested in decentralised tiers and spheres. The talk by Chinamasa of trying to do away with devolution will further divide our people and polarise our society.
8.International Relations, International Re-Engagement, end isolation of the nation, deal with the debt question and negotiate a martial plan aimed at reconstruction.
9.Putting an end to the land question, stop new farm invasions, deal with security of tenure to ensure that new farmers have both use and exchange value and institute a land audit meant to weed out multiple farm ownerships as well as rationalise the ownership of idle farms.
10.Dealing with the past, we need full enquiries into past political violence including Gukurahundi, we also need to have missing people accounted for including Itai Dzamara. The approach being advocated by Mutsvangwa of sweeping stuff under the carpet did not work under Mugabe repeating the same mistake is folly of the highest order. A full judicial inquiry into the disappearance of the Marange diamonds must also be opened.
Lastly, we want to assure the people of Zimbabwe that as an Alliance, we will continue our international advocacy for free and fair elections next year. As a nation, we have waited too long on the lay by of democracy and we cannot afford to miss the opportunity provided by next year’s elections to poise this country for growth, prosperity and development.
We wish to state that we are heartened by the receptive ear granted to us by our brothers and sisters in Africa and beyond during our recent trip.
Yes, Mugabe may be gone but our national challenges are far much greater than the removal of one person. As Zimbabweans, we need jobs, a stable economy and an accountable people’s government with love and care. We need truly national institutions chlorinated from partisan infections and interference. We need a government that tells the truth and gives people hope.
We need growth, prosperity, development and happiness of the people of this land. Above all else, we need a government installed through the sovereign will of the people of Zimbabwe and that can only happen through a credible election. That process towards a full return to legitimacy needs African and broader international support and that was the basis of our mission.
Zimbabweans certainly deserve better and soon, we will be intensifying our engagement in that regard.
God bless You
God bless Zimbabwe
Hon. MP. Advocate Nelson Chamisa and Advocate Tendai Biti