|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
TSVANGIRAI’S TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF
completed our provincial consultative meetings on
Unlike the violence that marked the end of the Mashonaland Central meeting on Friday, the Chinhoyi gathering ended without incident.
There is a broad acceptance countrywide that once a dictatorship starts to yield to popular pressure, the people must push it further towards full political reform for the sake of a lasting solution and peace. Deceit is a recipe for long-term national instability.
transformation is a comprehensive process of change, as was the case in
I am happy that all the senior leaders of the MDC, right down to our provinces and districts, are united on the need for a radical revision to our electoral standards before we embark on another national plebiscite.
The Mashonaland assemblies vowed to reject any cosmetic changes to our electoral framework. Our successes at the weekend exposed the myth and unmasked the falsehoods and perceptions that Mashonaland provinces are no-go areas for the MDC. Our party is as strong in those areas as in other parts of the country. Against all odds, our structures are still visible and our membership is increasing daily.
At our meetings, we worked out ways to revive the spirit of 1999. We designed strategies to intensify our campaign for free and fair elections and to curb violence. There is so much political confidence in the three provinces – sufficient confidence in the MDC to deal with any attempts to repeat the horrors and experiences of the past five years.
Starting today, we are taking the campaign to individual districts. We shall liaise with all the communities and share our vision for the future. We have to reach out to millions of people in the next few months, even if it requires us to conduct our meetings at night.
Our country is hungry. Our country is bleeding. Our country desperately needs help. The MDC has to do its best to consult and search for solutions from the people.
As I drove
through Mashonaland at the weekend, it became impossible to ignore the highly
visible knock on agriculture in an area whose previous production levels helped
The restoration of order onto our land is a national priority. We aim to introduce an efficient distribution mechanism, accompanied by a comprehensive land use programme in order to clean up the mess in the former commercial farming areas. We are committed to land reform. We are committed to ending the crisis in agriculture through a democratic, transparent and lawful process. We are committed to food security and prosperity.
Agricultural recovery will be rooted on a non-negotiable return to the rule of law, restoration of private property rights and a strict adherence to the fundamental rights enshrined in a people-driven Constitution.
What I witnessed on the former commercial farms in the Mashonaland prime agricultural districts is too much for anybody to conclude that claims of bumper harvest and food security this year are mere political statements from a cornered regime that is keen to cover-up a failed populist experiment.
For an economy largely dependant on agriculture, what happened here in the past four years is unfortunate. If you tamper with the land, you destroy your revenue base. You blow life out of all essential services: health, education, taxation, public services and employment. We must restore sanity in agriculture to use that industry to revive education, to repair our health services, to restart the economy and to create jobs.
Food security is a basic human right. The MDC policies and programmes seek to observe that fundamental right as a social and legal obligation, on the part of the state, to ensure that all Zimbabwean citizens get sufficient food. Because of our abundant resources, full employment can be a reality within a short space of time.
We wish to make it clear that
Surviving on handouts either from the state or from international donors diminishes the people’s dignity and their influence and choices over what and how they are being fed. The situation gets worse when the little that is available is distributed along partisan lines.
Access to food and food availability affect the protection and promotion of human dignity.
One of our values as a party emphasise the concept of equity and solidarity. Since we recognise adequate food as a fundamental right, we shall deploy considerable resources to dealing with the concerns of weaker communities and vulnerable groups.
The concept of human rights refers to the manner in which our human dignity is respected and recognised. Merely feeding people degrades them, especially when they know that they are capable of looking after themselves.
We need to meet without hindrance and to express ourselves without restrictions. We need an atmosphere in which mechanisms exist for us to question and to remedy developments that infringe on our sovereignty.
The MDC believes the right to assemble and to speak out provides essential solutions to food deficits. That is the only way we can shape our destiny because we will be in control of the conditions in which we live.
Food production and access to food have strong links to our crisis of governance. What I observed in Mashonaland explains why politics is the main factor in our failure to assure Zimbabweans of adequate food as a human right.
After our consultations in Mvurwi on electoral standards with the grassroots leadership of the MDC from Dande, Kanyemba, Guruve, Mukumbura, Mt Darwin, Dotito, Shamva, Bindura and Chiweshe, the subject of access to food cropped up.
Hundreds of MDC supporters, whose property was destroyed in political violence, complained about discrimination in the allocation of food in their wards. Some had their granaries burned down; others were denied seed.
The issue was raised again on Saturday by delegates from Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, Hwedza, Chikomba, Murehwa, Mutoko, Marondera West and Goromonzi. Officials from Zvimba, Msengezi, Chegutu, Chitomborwizi, Makonde, Mhangura, Banket, Hurungwe, Karoi and Kariba made similar submissions, protesting at the use of food as a coercive political weapon. The levels of abuse are so open and so deep that only a truth and justice commission can assist in healing our nation.
At the centre of this Zanu PF
tragedy is political intolerance. Unless Zanu PF accepts multi-party democracy
and advises its supporters about the diversity of
Instead of creating conditions for debate and discussion where consensus and disagreement are possible outcomes, our opponents in Zanu PF still believe that whenever we meet, notwithstanding the police clearance and monitoring, they should start to organise violence.
The society we seek to build has no
room for such behaviour. In concert
with civil society, we shall search, promote and establish a
Our people shall be encouraged to get down to work. The rationalization of land allocation will reconcile the MDC’s policy principles with on-the-ground realities. We shall resolutely apply the principles of justice to the letter to rectify the anomalies created in Mugabe’s land reform process.
Total agrarian reform, covering the whole country including the communal lands, must be one of our top priorities. With an impartial, independent and well-resourced Land Commission to determine the legal status of all land holdings through a comprehensive land audit, our aim is to rationalize ownership and land use patterns as a precursor to a properly planned resettlement programme. Zimbabweans must never be hungry again.
Together, we shall win.
u www.theaccountabilitycommission.com u
The Accountability Commission Z i m b a b w e
Date: 6 July 2004
Re: African Union Report on Zimbabwe
The Accountability Commission-Zimbabwe (AC) welcomes with relief the African Union Executive Council report on Zimbabwe. The report condemns the government of Zimbabwe for ‘flagrant human rights abuses’, arrest, harassment and torture of opposition Members of Parliament, human rights lawyers and journalists as well as the breakdown of the rule of law in general.
As a human rights organisation involved with victims of gross human rights violations in the country, the AC feels that civil society has been vindicated in noting that the Zimbabwe government if ruling the country through terror, torture and tyranny. Indeed, the AU has urged the government of Zimbabwe to take measures to ensure that the country ‘withdraws from this precipice’. The AU would like to see this unprecedented and forthright condemnation followed by tangible and concrete action from all African countries to force the ZANU (PF) regime to restore fundamental human rights and to create an environment in which every citizen of Zimbabwe can elect his or her own government freely.
The AC also urges individual the Southern African Development community and individual governments, in particular South Africa, to take the cue from the African Union and stop shielding the Mugabe regime from international pressure. To condemn human rights abuses on our continent is an imperative for all progressive country and is also consistent with the principles that guide the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the African Renaissance.
In conclusion, the AC hopes that the African Heads of State will have no hesitation to endorse the report of the Executive Council.
C/o Centre for Human Rights
University of Pretoria
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