of the last year, which have followed us into the new year; and which are standing in the way of any prospect for a
happy and prosperous year for Zimbabweans.This year, 2020, is an important year not least because it marks the end of a decade and the start of a new one.
Over the last decade, and indeed over the last two decades, Zimbabweans have not been able to realistically wish
each other a happy and prosperous new year, with any credibility. The last decade, and the one before it, have seen
the destruction of happiness and prosperity in our country in ways that are unprecedented.Throughout the last decade, Zimbabweans have moved from one year to another, on a wing and a prayer while plunging from crisis to crisis and darkness to darkness, with oppression and the brutal denial of basic human rights as the order of the day.
We declare 2020 a year of breakthrough in reclaiming the people’s victory and 2020-2030 a decade of hope rapid radical transformation.
In March 1997 Zimbabwe launched Vision 2020. Vision 2020 promised:
We have no healthcare, no housing, no universal education and no jobs. 23 years later we have a rapidly deteriorating healthcare system where doctors have to protest for medicines and equipment and where teachers cannot afford to send their own children to school.
We have a beautiful AND RICH country, with talented people and a wealth of natural resources. Ours is ONLY a failure of leadership.
The Zimbabwe of today is the product of and an expression of poor leadership. The crisis in Zimbabwe is man-made.
We are a broken and divided nation, led through fear, governed by force and ruled through violence.
Man-made poverty is being used as a tool of repression and oppression, while poverty has been weaponised to enrich a few. Food continues to be used as a political weapon to sow divisions, fuel hate and instill fear. This can’t be allowed to continue.
Right now, we are struggling with everything and anything education, school fees and teachers conditions of service, doctors, water, electricity, transport and social service delivery in general
People have been impoverished beyond measure, no jobs, no income, no lights, no water, no fuel, prices are escalating while incomes are plunging. It’s just hell on earth, a beautiful country and hitherto relatively prosperous country turned into a hellhole by a failed, rogue and corrupt politics and policies.
THIS IS THE SIGNAL!
The old order has failed to bring forth the new. They have shown that they possess neither the appetite nor capacity to change. They’re vacuous. Their politics is vapid, insipid and out of time.
To place any hope on the past and on yesterday’s people is an act of cruelty and a betrayal of our children’s future.
our neighbours, friends, comrades and compatriots.
each and every Zimbabwean regardless of who they are, their station in life, their tribe, their national origin, their totem or even their political affiliation.
As we christen 2020, the year of the people’s action, I’m happy to announce the launch today of the Breaking Barriers Initiative (BBI), from my office as MDC president, designed to enable the people of Zimbabwe from across the full political spectrum of our nation to act together, support each other and speak with one voice beyond political boundaries and divisions created by the mashurugwi regime which have built artificial barriers between and among Zimbabweans.
Our BBI seeks to bridge and break the negative barriers that have developed between and among us Zimbabweans
over the last 40 years, and which have thus come in the way of real change, especially over the last two decades, to the detriment of the people and the advantage of the regime’s merchants of division.
The BBI has the following objectives:
basic freedoms for all Zimbabweans;
eradicate poverty, hunger and disease in the country; and,
technological driven economy, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and propel Zimbabwe into the fourth industrial revolution.
• Engage Zimbabwe’s friends and cooperating partners in the international community to rationalise their humanitarian support and developmental projects to ensure they benefit the people of Zimbabwe in their communities.
there are three important action issues that must be addressed urgently, and these are:
Safeguarding People’s Livelihoods
people able to live? For an overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans, the answer is a resounding no.
that has become a poverty AND HUNGER desert.
defence of their livelihoods under the MDC’s Agenda 2020.
In summary, the BBI under the Nation’s Agenda 2020 translates into a model of triple action for the people to mark 2020 as the year of the people and to start the new decade as the people’s decade through revolutionary actions for change, in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The long and short of it is that enough is enough. A lot of damage has been done to Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans in the name of the State. There’s a difference of night and day between officeholders and the State. In a constitutional democracy, such as ours should be, the State belongs to the people, as its creators; it does not belong to its officeholders.
Ours is a National democratic struggle whose success depends on nationwide transformation and reform, Ours is a National Democratic struggle whose main facets entail different zones of struggle.
The party held a successful congress in 2019, ushering in new and dynamic leadership with a range of skills and competencies.
We have sound, realistic policies.
Our vision is clear.
The people’s party was born out of the working-class and working people’s struggles, toil and sweat.
The people’s party has had 21 years of resilience, service and sacrifice. We continue to stand strong on the foundations of our birth and our hopes for the future. We have survived all manner of mischief because the people’s cause cannot be killed. It survives at the will of the people.
We have entered a period of renewal. Renovating our systems. Reviving our culture of excellence and sharpening our strategy.
We are taking the fight for democracy deep into the rural areas. Rural development is not an option but a necessity. In 2020 we will focus our efforts on securing rural development as a key pillar for national transformation.
We are working to revamp party administration, party communications, party discipline, funding, community projects and party candidate selection rules to make them more efficient, transparent and people-centred.
We will continue visiting and supporting political prisoners and their families.
We will also focus on the survivors of political violence and maintain a roll of honour for those who have died in the struggle for change.
We are and must be, trusted leaders of society. Fit and proper to provide everyday answers to everyday problems. Our leaders and representatives must be different, accessible, available, able, credible, dependable, reliable.
We will put more emphasis on fundraising and mobilization strategies guided by principles of accountability and transparency. We will also make party membership easier using modern systems of online registration and robust performance contracts, monitoring and evaluation frameworks for its leaders and members.
Fellow Zimbabweans, as part of Agenda 2020, we will deepen our role in Parliament. In 2019, our Members of Parliament continued to work hard under difficult conditions on behalf of the citizens we represent.
Our refusal to recognise illegitimacy has not compromised our mandate in Parliament. The state propaganda machine will have you believe that the MDC has abandoned the peoples’ cause. The reality is we continue to fight for transparency and accountability.
Fighting illegitimacy does not undermine our work. In all things, the needs of the citizens come first. Restoring legitimacy and credibility to our executive is key among them. True change demands both electoral and performance legitimacy.
We are not walking out on our work. The work of our portfolio committees continues without forgetting our longer term goal of fighting for reform.
We fought a spirited battle against the adoption of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act. This is just another POSA, if not worse in some aspects. We stood on principle. We will work harder and smarter to highlight our Member of Parliament’s contribution in various committees and portfolios.
In Parliament, we will fight even harder for the Diaspora vote. Not only was this promised to this nation, but it is the right of every citizen. My opposite number in Zanu PF made various assurances while on the election campaign trail and even after in 2018 that once elections were concluded, mechanisms would be put in place to ensure the diaspora vote. To date, no steps have been taken to make this a reality. They are quick to look for diaspora money and skills but show no interest in giving the diaspora their right to truly influence the direction of Zimbabwe.
This is simply another of many examples of tragic and failed leadership.
The party will use parliament as a theatre of the struggle for a better life for Zimbabweans, struggle for democracy.
We will strengthen our debating capacity, ensuring that we have more motions that are people-centred and
focus on peoples everyday issues above all else.
We’ll build the capacities of our MPs through a parliamentary research unit to improve the quality of debates and contributions.
Get in touch with your local councillor, find your Member of Parliament. If there are community interventions you are interested in supporting, get involved. None but ourselves will reverse the under-development that our country continues to face. We cannot outsource this function to development partners. We can work with them, but there can be no development of Zimbabwe without us as Zimbabweans determining and driving our own agenda.
sources of energy solar for each rural home borehole per village infrastructure for villages, schools, bridges, etc.
We are also going the emphasize on proper and true devolution and a people-centred devolution bill inline with the spirit in the constitution.
and other officials. This means they continue to sabotage our efforts for change. Government still approves and limits our budgets. We are not able to determine rates leaving us unable to make enough money to provide adequate services. We are also not exempt from very real consequences of the prevailing economic environment where sourcing forex for goods and services such as water chemicals and road equipment etc.
is difficult and dependent on the charity of the Ministry of Finance. The system is broken.
Despite that we will make a greater effort in professionalising service delivery and community development.
We will work to remove the bottlenecks compromising service delivery, in particular:
• Giving procurement to local authorities as opposed to local government.
• Moving joint ventures powers back to council and away from central government.
• Removing the approval of the budget from the central government, in particular, the local authority and residents.
• Stopping unconstitutional ministerial directives and political interference from central government.
• Removing the hiring and firing of senior employees or staff in local authorities from the local government.
We will take a no-nonsense approach to deal with integrity, excellence and accountability to cleanse our leadership against corruption and incompetence in the zones we lead.
As you all know, we have had a number of by-elections which have been manipulated to produce a predetermined outcome.
It’s a myth that the cheating Zanu PF wins and is popular in the rural areas. What is a fact is that Zanu PF cheats more in the rural areas using intimidation, fear, disinformation and food as political weapons. We must stop the cheating.
There must be a link between the delimitation process and census data to ensure transparently and a level playing field to avoid gerrymandering or manipulation of boundaries.
before and non-partisan.
We want a raft of electoral reforms in line with the recommendations of the International election observer mission reports as detailed in our RELOAD document we recently launched in 2019.
We are going to launch our alternative electoral bill detailing the reforms Zimbabweans are demanding. This bill is ready and has already been finalized by our elections department.
The security of persons and national peace are very important to us. We take note of the lawlessness seeping through society through the activities of state-protected machete gangs. No amount of propaganda can change the fact that these gangs are as a result of the lawlessness and selective application of the law that has been taken over the country.
The individuals concerned are well known in their communities. The shops and factories manufacturing the machetes and other instruments of destruction that they are using are well known. Under these circumstances,
it beholds reason why they are not being brought to account.
We place the birth and origin of these machete yielding characters squarely at the doors of the elites in violent Zanu PF functionaries who in any event are the holders of the gold claims that these groups were originally created to defend.
There is a need to inquire on the circumstances of how they were born and created as well as to compensate the victims including families that have lost their loved ones. This is why we propose the setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry into this issue as a matter of urgency.
Let me be categoric about the security services, a new government that I will lead will not temper with the military or security services, they are not the problem. We will avail the right politics and a conducive environment for our men and women in uniform to shine and excel, a task which they know best.
Our military and security services should be well fed and resourced, it is cruel to neglect the welfare of our defenders of the nation.
Ensuring the independence of institutions is a must in creating the Zimbabwe we want. At the present moment our institutions are crippled by a lack of budgetary support and excessive executive interference.
State capture has eroded most of our institutions. We, therefore, put firmly the proposal that the independence of institutions in Zimbabwe must be at the fore of any progressive reform agenda.
In this respect, the following Chapter 12 institutions must be prioritised: The Zimbabwe Media Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. These play a key role in safeguarding our democracy.
The calls for the alignment of the constitution must ring louder than before. There should be no amendment to the people’s contract without first aligning the constitution –Alignment not an amendment.
The Economist’s Intelligence Unit expects inflation to average 165.5% in 2020, owing to shortages of basic goods and US dollars and sustained currency weakness. The ongoing drought will continue to constrain exports and necessitate imports in 2020
Unemployment and joblessness remain a palpable threat to national security. Government is best that governs least.
Governments don’t run companies. The best they can do is to govern and create a conducive environment for ease of doing business.
Modern defense is not in the military in nature but economic. A functioning economy is the strongest defense force for any nation.
We must return to basics.
Attracting investment will be critical and to do so Zimbabwe’s ease of doing business must be attended to.
The Zimbabwean economy is in a tailspin suffocating from massive headwinds across all sectors of the economy.
The economy is not performing and therefore the country is suffering from the twin deficits of democratic legitimacy and performance legitimacy. Without these two ingredients, that constitute two ingredients of the Social Contract, the state can implode at any moment and that is why it is essential to create a soft landing through national dialogue.
Zimbabwe has risen dramatically on the global Anti-Corruption Index. Recent work in the Public Accounts Committee has unearthed massive corruption done through the Ministry of the Finance itself.
In 2017 treasury without supporting vouchers siphoned off USD 2,9 billion ostensibly to Command Agriculture. This is captured in the Auditor General’s report. The same report of that same year shows that USD 3,3 billion was siphoned outside parliament and public finance management regulations again channelled towards command agriculture.
The average worker in Zimbabwe faces unmitigated suffering. Since January 2019, the Zimbabwean dollar has lost 85% of its value thereby effectively devaluing the wage of the worker. As this has been happening, massive inflation has also short up which is now in access of 700%.
The MDC thus supports, the call for a living wage being made by unions and indeed supports, the introduction of a US$ the wage in respect of all civil servants and workers in the private sector.
Such a call is consistent with our demand that Si142/2019 must be repealed and that the country must effectively redollarise.
This is the only way forward.
The shortage of both fuel and electricity has become a human rights issue. Zimbabwe has moved from a situation where on average 18-hour power cuts were being experienced to a situation where there are now total power blackouts in many areas of Zimbabwe.
The Constitution protects the Right to Human Dignity in Section 50. Our current power crisis is indeed an infringement of the right to human dignity and indeed the right to life.
We propose that the government must immediately scrape the huge subsidies of almost US$70 million per month that they are dishing out to cartels in the form of Trafigura and Sakunda.
In 2020, we face one of the most difficult years we have ever faced as a nation. The World Food Programme says Zimbabwe is one of its 2020 hunger hotspots. This is painful for every Zimbabwean because we know we should not be in this position. We used to feed the entire region. Today we are one of the world’s biggest beggars. It is a failure to lead that brought us here.
Yes, we have a drought. We salute all the partners working to help our people. However, what kills people is not the drought, it is a failure to prepare. A failure to prepare is a failure to lead. When people in a country as rich as ours go to bed hungry, there has been a failure to lead.
Our country is not a desert. Droughts have always been there. Having a drought is not the issue but having a drought without A plan is problematic.
If 4.1 million of your own people have to be fed by donors, while you live in luxury, there has been leadership failure. When children in a country as rich as ours are dropping out of school because they are hungry, there has been a failure to lead. When the whole country has been overtaken by violent thugs, raping women and killing each other in the mines, with no action being taken, there has been a failure to lead.
Our crisis is a crisis of governance born out of a legitimacy crisis because of the rigged, stolen and disputed the 2018 election. There is no credible future election without the resolution of the disputed election. The result of 2018 must be respected.
We must return to legitimacy and democracy. Zimbabwe must have a political dialogue that is credible and genuine underwritten by the international community to facilitate a transitional authority that will pave way for reforms. The National Transition Authority is the appropriate vehicle to turnaround this country.
In 2019, we published our RELOAD document the crux of which was essential to give peace a chance. In that document, we made it clear that the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis require dialogue, which we were to push through political pressure in all legitimate forms. The basis and purpose of that pressure were to force the government of the day, to agree to dialogue focused on Comprehensive Reforms to be implemented through a National Transitional Mechanism.
The reality on the ground is that more than two years after November 2017, and more than 18 months after the 30 July 2018 election, time is running out for Zimbabwe.
Impatience engulfs the nation and the real danger is that all and sundry will be engulfed by forces and processes that are intolerant to the continued reproduction of the terrible status quo.
We remain committed to genuine dialogue. Our position will not change. What we want is a useful dialogue. It is not dialogue for the purposes of accommodation, photo opportunities or political expediency.
We are a party that has learnt that the people’s struggle must not be hijacked by incomplete or captured processes that provide limited relief, improper answers and imperfect temporary remedies.
We reiterate our position that dialogue must lead to a transitional mechanism that stops the country’s slide towards total collapse. This must be followed by genuine reforms and free elections.
The Case for a Transitional National Authority: The Road to Credibility
Power is not somewhere remote. Power is within us, the people!
We have heard you cry for action. Action is not the responsibility of one person. Do not allow individuals to personalise the struggle for freedom. Stand with us to restore this country. It is time pull together to mend the social fabric that has been torn apart by this tragic failure of leadership.
I would like to assure every person who has ever put their faith in this movement that we will not abandon the cause. The path ahead may seem unclear, but we are resolved and continue to work tirelessly to bring about change that transforms the lives of every woman, man and child who belongs to this soil.
Ours is an inter-generational mandate that requires each individual to look inside themselves and ask what action they can make to harness the winds of change. The time is now. If we are to achieve freedom, prosperity and equal opportunity we have to act as one, individually and collectively.
God Bless Zimbabwe.