When we arrive at our desired destination in 2018, we will revive our industries so that we can create job opportunities for millions of our young people. We will attract investment to create new wealth, new jobs and end the man made cash crisis. We will give title deeds and sustained support to our new farmers and compensate our old farmers as a process of restoring property rights and making Zimbabwe a net exporter of food again. We will revamp and revitalize our health and education service delivery system. We will rehabilitate and modernize our collapsed infrastructure of roads, rail and energy. We will declare war on corruption. Through our Socio Economic transformation agenda, we will restore Zimbabwe to its former glory.
However, to embark on this transformation agenda, we need to extricate ourselves from the shackles of the corrosive dictatorship and economic mismanagement gripping our nation State. Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nkomo, in his memoirs whilst exiled in England wrote something very profound and I quote. “The hardest lesson of my life has come to me late. It is that a nation can win freedom without its people being free.” His words still ring true today as they did then. As Zimbabweans we are still not free, but none but ourselves can free ourselves, and to do so we need to work together.
Ladies and gentleman, Dr Nkomo was exiled not by the racist settler regime of Ian Douglas Smith, but by his own comrade in arms, President Robert Mugabe. His exiling was not motivated by anything other than power and its retention at all cost. The cost of that power retention agenda was the massacre of 20 000 of our fellow citizens in Midlands and Matabeleland.
President Mugabe, as Prime Minister, presided over these senseless killings. His response to the cry for a simple apology and for transitional justice was that it was a “moment of madness”. Really? Was it one moment of madness or more than 20 000 moments of madness? To us it was more—–it can only be described as cruel, unbridled, State sponsored terrorism. Cruelty manifested in divisive politics of hate, violence, intolerance, racism and tribalism which form part of the DNA of Zanu-PF. This, my countrymen and women, we will put an end to come 2018. Not through retribution but restitution.
Fellow Zimbabweans, for change to come we all have a part to play. The most critical role that you must play wherever you are is to register to vote so that you can participate in shaping the destiny of your own country and securing the future of your children by voting for change. Failure to do so would mean that you are voting for the perpetuation of our current suffering. Let’s go out in our numbers and register to vote so that we can usher in a new dispensation where every Zimbabwean irrespective of race, creed, religion or tribe is given an equal opportunity to prosper.
Ladies and gentleman, it would be remiss for me not to mention that whilst yesterday we started a journey of alliance building, the real journey for the democratization of our country started in 1997 with people like myself and Professor Ncube here, when we launched the National Constitutional Assembly. It was an inspired process designed to give the people of this country the freedom that they demand and deserve through the enactment of a democratic constitution.
Today, we take pride in that we achieved what we set ourselves to do – a new democratic Constitution with a superior bill of rights. This was against the wishes of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF. Sadly, most parts of that constitution, notably devolution of power to the provinces are still to be implemented because democracy and freedom are alien to President Mugabe and Zanu-PF. A difficult proposition indeed as President Mugabe once said.
I want to promise today that come 2018, we will fully implement our Constitution as part of our democratization agenda and ensure that our provinces and local authorities take responsibility for the management of their own affairs.
It would also be equally dishonest not to recognize that in our journey with Professor Ncube we both made our own mistakes. We split our party in 2005. The cost of that vote splitting in addition to the blatant manipulation of results was delayed change for the people of Zimbabwe in 2008. Ladies and gentleman, it takes humble leadership to accept one’s mistakes but it takes bold leadership to correct those mistakes.
It is in this respect that I am both relieved and pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Professor Ncube, as a first step towards undoing the damage we caused ourselves. Today, Professor Ncube and I will open a new chapter and craft a political agreement that should see us harness and combine our known electoral strength to face our common opponent as a united front.
If anyone in this country expects us to contest the next elections separately as we did in 2008 and 2013 and expect a different result, it will not only be a third moment of real madness, but the highest form of insanity and none of us is insane.
Finally, to my late friend and comrade Gibson Sibanda, I have taken the first step to do that which you would have wanted us to do.
May your dear soul rest in eternal peace.
Today, we are coming together once again because Zimbabwe and the collective interests of its people are more important than any one of us.
I thank you