President Morgan Tsvangirai and other top leaders of the MDC were present at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Friday, November, 24, 2017 when Emmerson Mnangagwa was inaugurated as the new President of the Republic of Zimbabwe after the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe on November 21, 2017.
The MDC is a social democratic political party whose roots are firmly anchored in the labour movement. Ideologically, therefore, the MDC is on the left of centre. It is a politically party that has designed and adopted policies that deliberately take into account the interests of labour, the poor and the marginalised.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration speech was refreshingly reflective of the well–grounded MDC policies such as the stimulation of industrial production, re–engagement with the broader community of nations, job creation and clamping down on rampant corruption including, of course, the rationalisation of the land reform program as well as the compensation of former white commercial farmers.
As people listened to Mnangagwa’s inauguration speech, it basically sounded like he was reading from the MDC policy documents such as JUICE and ART. As a party, we are flattered to note that President Mnangagwa seems to have radically departed from the usual Zanu PF drivel such as hate–filled language, empty sloganeering and the rabid promotion of racism and retribution against perceived political foes, both domestically and internationally. As the MDC, we feel vindicated that our policy framework has since attracted new admirers in the form of President Emmerson Mnangagwa if his inauguration speech is anything to go by.
President Mnangagwa promised that elections will be held in 2018 as scheduled. The MDC and its Alliance partners have been preparing for next year’s harmonised elections for quite some time now. What we really expect is that next year’s elections should be free and fair and that they should produce a credible and legitimate result that is free from contestation.
Electoral reforms that include complete and thorough de – politicisation of traditional leaders, should, thus, be promptly put in place in time for next year’s elections. That is the real acid test of the new President’s inauguration speech. Elections in Zimbabwe have been routinely rigged and manipulated in favour of the ruling party. Zanu PF has developed a notorious record of violence, thuggery and intimidation; particularly during electioneering times.
Opposition political parties have been deliberately denied access to State – controlled print and electronic media and we honestly hope and trust that the Mnangagwa Presidency will usher in a more democratic and tolerant trajectory that firmly abides by all the dictates of the supreme law of the land. We now look forward to the creation of a policy framework that will, inter alia, create provincial and metropolitan councils, in tandem with the provisions of our national constitution.
In addition, we also look forward to the thorough investigation of circumstances surrounding the abduction of human rights activists such as Itai Dzamara and several others who have disappeared without trace over the years.
The MDC is not going to be impressed by mere talk that is not backed by concrete action. Indeed, action speaks louder than words.We also look forward to the release of political prisoners such as Yvonne Musarurwa, Last Maengehama and Tungamirai Madzokere. These three MDC cadres were incarcerated after being convicted of murder in a politically–biased judicial process by the High Court of Zimbabwe. Perpetrators of politically – motived crimes that were committed over the years, particularly the heinous murders and other sordid acts of criminality that were committed during the violent Presidential election run–off of June 2008, should also be brought to book. It is only when this happens that we will begin to believe and accept that President Mnangagwa was indeed genuine when he talked about peace and stability of the nation in his inauguration speech.
Corruption in both the public and private sectors is literally bleeding the national economy dry. There are several crooks and other high level criminals amongst Cabinet Ministers and politically well – connected individuals in the country, across the political divide. These social miscreants and political wheeler dealers should be promptly brought to book if President Mnangagwa’s call for the fight against corruption is to be taken seriously. If this doesn’t happen soon, we will conclude that the new President was simply politicking when he referred to the fight against corruption in his inauguration speech.
The MDC also needs afirm and unequivocal re-assurance that the security services, particularly the Zimbabwe National Army, shall promptly be returning to their barracks and that never again will they play an active role in determining who rules the country.
Henceforth, the security services should be confined to their duties as provided for in Section 212 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Put bluntly, the security services should never, ever be active political players going forward.
Obert Chaurura Gutu, MDC National Spokesperson