Hunters Road nickel feasibility study completed (20-07-07)

Honourable Members of Parliament,

 On the 9th of July 2007, the MDC alerted the nation to the dangers of the state-sponsored siege on our struggling business community following a decision by the Robert Mugabe dictatorship to slash commodity prices and promote a run on all businesses

. Mugabe and Zanu PF have sabotaged the economy   through policy inconsistencies and reckless populism.

 Today, the situation has become totally unacceptable. We are at risk, without food, without water, without electricity and without basic means of sustenance. Our schools opened for the third term this week. Headmasters and school administrators countrywide are so desperate for basics to keep these already squeezed institutions open. Possibilities exist for some of the schools to close before the end of the year. Our hospitals can no longer feed patients. Our hotels and food outlets are failing to access essentials to ensure the viability of the hospitality industry. Even our prisons have reduced their rations to life-threatening levels.

 Literally, every ordinary person, state and private institutions and the business community have been forced to source food and other scarce necessities on the black market because of a systematic destruction of the formal sector. An informal market ravages the poor in any society as speculators and beneficiaries of a government patronage system thrive on the scarcity of goods and services. The poor cannot afford the goods sold on the parallel market.

 Businesses are closing down. Thousands of jobs have been lost and more are on the firing line. That our shops and market shelves are already empty is common cause. Our families are exposed. Mugabe and Zanu PF continue to bicker and to sacrifice the people’s livelihoods for political expediency.

 The plan is to drive the entire nation into destitution for easier control and punishment for rejecting Zanu PF rule. To those in urban areas, the onslaught began with operation Murambatsvina in 2005. Mugabe’s intention is to push everybody into a hunter-gatherer subsistence mode of life and to scatter whole communities into the countryside in search of food. The plan is to weaken and liquidate organised constituencies and organised life in Zimbabwe.

 I salute you, Zimbabweans for remaining focussed on the goal; for rejecting the selfish and poor Zanu PF election gimmicks. Our experience shows once a key economic sector is targeted by this regime, the poor and vulnerable often bear the brunt of such recklessness. I salute you, brave mothers and fathers, the workers, commuters, students, businesspeople, the unemployed and all our children for the discipline you have maintained in the face of such naked provocation from Mugabe and his regime.

 We have a scheduled election in March 2008. In stable societies, a free and fair election opens up a host of opportunities for citizens. In our case, the conditions are so flawed that our voices are often muzzled. We must get the right conditions to pull through an election process that works as a catalyst for a holistic transformation of our society.

 For 27 years, Mugabe and Zanu PF have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are unable to lead us to the desired national destiny. Under this regime, Zimbabwe shall never realise the ideals of the liberation struggle. Mugabe and Zanu PF simply enjoy the blame game.

 For nearly three decades, they have targeted the opposition and people of Matabeleland and the Midlands to defend their power-base. Mugabe has smashed the media; he has attacked white Zimbabweans, white farmers and the West; he has gone for the church and church leaders; now he has turned his axe onto ordinary people by smashing the conventional business environment.

 We can reverse the decay. We have the power to restore our dignity. We can turn around our fortunes, our economy and enjoy our self-esteem. We can reclaim our sovereignty and our freedom. We pledge to lay before you a new breed of leaders, a new generation of committed patriots, ready to tackle the complicated task of putting permanent structures for a new Zimbabwe.

 The choice is simple: either take the country into a new era or maintain a decaying status quo. A free and fair election can assist in lifting us from this scrap-heap, restore our respect among nations and rest our restless population in its own natural home. A free and fair election, given the right political will, is possible.

 With a worthless currency, a huge budget deficit, a shocking external debt, nearly 100 percent unemployment and a devastating HIV/Aids pandemic, fellow Zimbabweans, the time has come for us to swear that we cannot take in any more battering.

 Mugabe and Zanu PF have lost interest in turning around the damage they have caused. They are hopelessly weak and tired. The regime no longer has the capacity nor the national interest to clean up the mess. The time has come for us to start afresh. The answer lies in the manner in which we organise ourselves for an orderly regime change.

 Organise yourselves in every village, at growth points, in your streets and at meeting places to raise the nation out of this deepening crisis. Talk to your neighbours, engage each other in your churches and at gatherings. Talk about the future. Talk about Zimbabwe. We are ready to provide the leadership. Resist Mugabe’s attempts to scatter the nation into various tribes and clans. Maintain the thread that links us to a single nation and a single identity. Fight the fragmentation, endure the temporary setbacks and overcome fear. Keep hope alive.

 My vision rests on a flourishing , tolerant society that respects our diversity as a source of strength. We have already put together a post-Mugabe reconstruction and reconciliation plan in line with our national healing focus.

 We need a spirit of togetherness and must come to terms with our disruptive past in order to iron out any traces of covert discrimination based on a person’s ancestry and geographical station in Zimbabwe. A new Zimbabwe shall respect the people’s right to decency.

 Zimbabweans require a minimum state involvement in the economy. Zimbabweans require a cafeteria environment to explore their dreams and to realise their full potential as a people.

 Given the pressures on our young people – a generation that has borne the brunt of this dictatorship most – we shall put in place a Marshall-plan type of programme to rescue the jobless millions through viable placements in all sectors of the economy in order to offer them a belated head start in life.

 Zimbabweans stranded in neighbouring countries and beyond, searching for food security and economic opportunities, shall rejoin their families at home. We pledge to make this possible within a short space of time. We have a committed leadership, a leadership for change, a leadership ready for a new Zimbabwe.

 Prepare yourselves and your communities for a new Zimbabwe. Let us stand ready for a society awash with food and jobs for our people. The temporary setbacks we are all facing shall vanish as soon as we mobilise and claim our space. The time for a new Zimbabwe is now with us.

 Morgan Tsvangirai,



Post published in: Economy

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