RE: Massey Ferguson Supports Mugabe and ZANU PF - Charles - Can you Help? -
BBC 'Conflicts: Zimbabwe' programme - Charles Fritzell - RE: Voting as
Permanent Residents - Helen Clarke - Election Alert - Gerry
1: RE: Massey Ferguson Supports Mugabe and ZANU PF,
After reading an
article on the 25th January in the Daily Herald reporting a meeting between
Massey Ferguson and Minister Made regarding the supply of agricultural
equipment to farmers in Zimbabwe it crossed my mind that the equipment was
intended for use on the illegally settled farms. With this thought in mind I
emailed Massey Ferguson with the following email:
"UNITED Kingdom-based farming equipment
manufacturing concern Massey Ferguson has indicated that it is ready to meet
the country's demand for agricultural machinery and
Speaking soon after meeting Agriculture and Rural Development
Minister Dr Joseph Made, Massey Ferguson's regional director for Africa, Mr
Nick Wright, said they envisaged extending the long association that
exists between his company, the country and the local farming
Should there be any truth in this report, it is my suspicion
(especially as the report suggests that the meeting was with Dr Joseph Made)
the equipment is for use on land seized from its owners by the Mugabe
regime. If this were to be the case then Massey Ferguson would, de facto, be
assisting and endorsing Mugabe's theft of land, his destruction of his
country's economy and his impoverishment of the Zimbabwean people. The
occupation of land by Mugabe's thugs is not only contrary to universally
accepted standards on human rights but is, in most areas, even illegal under
Mugabe's own twisted laws.
I look forward to your clarification of the
situation and to learn if you consider support for President Robert Mugabes'
regime is acceptable to your Code of Business Ethics and Conduct.
took me a while to get a response from Massey Ferguson, and here it
Thanks for your reply, I am sorry you are unable to talk to
As you will be aware, Massey Ferguson is a major supplier of
agricultural equipment in almost every country in the World. As a major
global supplier, we are sensitive to issues, some humanitarian following
famine and war, some political, social or cultural and we work ethically and
responsibly with our Distributors, Dealers, colleagues and customers in each
From experience we know that withdrawing from any country where
there is tension, political or otherwise is counter productive to the people
within that country. We produce agricultural machinery and we are in the
business of helping people feed themselves. Massey Ferguson therefore
continues to work responsibly wherever it is operating.
relationship with the MF Distributor and MF customers in Zimbabwe goes back
many years. Many of these customers continue to operate productive farming
operations and we believe it is responsible to support them when
I would be interested to hear
other peoples views on this and encourage anyone who feels it is unacceptable
to email Massey Ferguson at SteveWood@uk.agcocorp.com
2: Can you Help? - BBC 'Conflicts: Zimbabwe' programme,
by Alex Leech
I am working on
a 30minute television documentary about Zimbabwe for BBC3 television. The
documentary is called 'Conflicts: Zimbabwe' and aims to explain what is
happening in Zimbabwe today through telling the experiences of young people
from Zimbabwe who have lived through the recent problems.
One of the
areas we will be looking at is the Land Reform issue and the farm invasions.
We are currently looking to speak to a young person (18 - 35) from a white
farming background (now living in the UK) who experienced the violence and
intimidation of the farm invasions of 2001 and 2002 first hand. We are more
interested in hearing their personal account of what happened rather than
their political opinions. The idea is to get an understanding of what life
was like for white farmers at this time. We would ultimately like to do a sit
down interview in a studio with this person, hopefully in the next week or
I have spoken to some people who were worried about appearing in
this documentary as they still had family in Zimbabwe and were worried for
their welfare. If this is a concern to anybody I would advise that they do
not take part in the documentary, however I would still be happy to have a
chat off the record.
If you think you can help me, or have any
questions for me, my email is email@example.com and my direct phone
line is 0121 567 6507.
Leech Researcher, 'Conflicts', BBC Birmingham, Level 9, The Mailbox,
Birmingham, B1 1RF 0121 567 6507 http://www.bbc.co.uk/
3: Re: Voting as Permanent Residents, received 8.2.2005
In part you are correct, I alone from my family
never took Zimbabwean Citizenship and I have always been able to vote as a
resident. On the voters roll members of my family that had taken and then
renounced their citizenship were taken off the roll.
proof of residency and stamped passport they were re-registered, no trouble,
depends on your attitude and that of the presiding official?
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
LETTER 4: Election Alert, received 5.2.2005
The "election" will be Thursday the 31st March
2005 nomination courts will sit at 10am on Friday the 18th February 2005
Parliament will dissolved with effect from the 30th March 2005.
election as we are all aware is very importatant to us, our country and our
children, Lets all give our very best effort.
We have had one of our own
attacked and robbed at a lay by on the Bietbridge road, whilst this attack
was serious it could have been worse as he had his daughter with him. When
security was sent in, they recovered his personal papers and several sets of
papers belonging to other travelers, indicating that these criminals have
been doing this for some time. Please take care, we know that many people are
desperate now and will resort to crime, especially with the state that the
police are in now.
JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or
need advice, please don't hesitate to
contact us - we're here to help! +263
(04) 799 410 Office Lines
Army barracks declared 'no go' areas for opposition Fri 11
February 2005 HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has barred opposition and
independent candidates in next month's general election from canvassing for
support among uniformed forces, considered by many political analysts as the
bedrock of its 25-year grip on power, ZimOnline established.
Commanders at army, police and prison camps have in the past few weeks
refused the candidates permission to hold meetings or to distribute fliers
in the camps where thousands of service personnel live with their
Ruling ZANU PF party candidates and government ministers
can enter the camps freely to canvass for support among the uniformed forces
who like any adult Zimbabwean are allowed to vote in the March
For example, police authorities last week barred
independent candidate Margaret Dongo from entering Tomlinson Depot in Harare
Central constituency where she is standing.
In a letter to
Dongo, a police superintendent A Mpofu wrote: "Please be advised that your
application dated February 5 2005 (for permission to distribute campaign
material in ZRP Tomlinson Depot) has not been approved. Such activities are
not allowed in our camp and may you please accept our
Tomlinson Depot is one of no less than five large
camps and barracks in Harare Central constituency. The army's KG6 national
headquarters, barracks for President Robert Mugabe's special Presidential
Guard Battalion and Zimbabwe's elite One Commando brigade are also in the
Residents of the camps make up close to 50
percent of registered voters in the constituency.
"The major training and biggest army, police and prison camps are in Harare
Central constituency, but they are not permitting me to campaign in these
camps. How then am I expected to reach out (to voters living there)? This is
not fair at all."
High Court Judge, George Chiweshe,
appointed last month to head the newly created Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
that is tasked with running elections in the country could not be reached
for comment on the matter last night. He does not have phones and staff as
Harare lawyer and main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party parliamentarian Tendai Biti, who was refused entry into
Chikurubi prison complex, east of the capital, said it was illegal for the
government to ban opposition candidates from canvassing for support among
Biti said: "It is unconstitutional and
immoral to bar the opposition from campaigning in camps and
"If the uniformed officers are allowed to vote, then they
must be given the right of choice which supposes that some people must
market their manifestos to them for them to make informed decisions.
Politicians must be allowed to campaign freely if Zimbabwe is a democratic
Just before the 2002 presidential election
controversially won by Mugabe, the top commanders of Zimbabwe's army, air
force, police, prison and secret service declared in a joint statement that
they were not going to back the winner of the poll if that person
did not fight in Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war.
was seen as a clear threat to stage a coup should MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who did not fight the war, won.
Constantine Chiwenga has in the past also publicly told soldiers to support
Analysts agree that without firm backing of the security
forces, Mugabe and his government would have long crumbled under the weight
of public discontent fuelled by severe food shortages and economic
hardships, Zimbabweans blame on government policies. ZimOnline
MDC legislator remanded to May 16 Fri 11 February 2005
BULAWAYO - A magistrate's court yesterday remanded opposition legislator
Thokozani Khupe to May 16 on charges that she breached state security laws
by meeting with her supporters without police permission.
Khupe, who is the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's Member of
Parliament for Makokoba, was last month arrested together with 60 party
supporters she was meeting with at her restaurant in the city. Khupe is out
of police custody.
She filed an application at the High Court
last week challenging her arrest saying the meeting she was attending with
her supporters was not a public gathering but a private one held at her
Under the government's Public Order and Security
Act (POSA), Zimbabweans must seek permission first from the police before
holding public political meetings.
In her High Court
application, Khupe wants the court to define what a public meeting is and
what is not. Justice Nicholas Ndou reserved judgment on the
The MDC has accused the government of using POSA to stifle
its campaign for a key general election in March by ensuring that the police
refuse to sanction most of the party's meetings.
have cancelled several meetings of the opposition party but have never
cancelled meetings by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.
Central bank extends curators' terms Fri 11 February
2005 HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) yesterday extended terms
of curators running three failed banks plunging into confusion a scheme to
bring sanity to the financial sector by merging the institutions into one
state-controlled Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG).
institutions, Trust Bank, Royal Bank, Barbican Bank and Time Bank are part
of the ZABG. The allied bank opened last month and has for the past weeks
concentrated on transferring clients of three of the banks onto its
Barbican was not immediately brought under ZABG as
the curator appointed to run the institution when it collapsed last year
needed more time to review its books.
But no sooner had the
ZABG started business than when the three remaining banks filed applications
at the courts challenging their forced acquisition and merging into the ZABG
by the government. Barbican is said to be also contemplating challenging in
court its compulsory acquisition by the state.
As if confusion
surrounding its ZABG project was not enough, the RBZ yesterday announced it
was extending the terms of caretaker curators it appointed at Royal and
Barbican, in what financial industry experts said was an admission by the
central bank that the bank-merger project was in serious difficulties and
may never take off anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the High Court
yesterday reserved judgment in Trust's appeal against acquisition. The court
has also reserved judgment in Royal and Time appeals.
applications, Royal and Trust argue that their seizure was unlawful and that
shareholders of the institutions were not properly and legally consulted
before their investments were confiscated.
The banks are also
contesting the formation of ZABG in which the government holds a controlling
stake saying this is in violation of the Banking Act which bars the state
from directly holding more than 25 percent in a bank.
government assumed a majority stake in the ZABG after converting debt owed
by the individual banks to the state through the RBZ to equity. -
Refurbishment of new domestic terminal almost
THE refurbishment of the new domestic terminal at the Harare
International Airport, which commenced in July last year, is now 80 percent
complete, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has
The authority's acting chief executive, Mr David Chawota, told New
Ziana this week that they expected the Z$3 billion project to be completed
between the first and second week of March this year.
"Work is in
progress and we are 80 percent through. We are also putting up modern
check-in facilities and expect the terminal to be complete by the first or
second week of March," he said.
He said the restaurant, bar and shops
would soon be moved from the old terminal to the new one.
made available more office and shop space in the new terminal which can
accommodate up to 10 shops," he said.
Mr Chawota said the terminal would
also house the National Handling Service (NHS), which would occupy a wing,
while the rest of the space would be reserved for offices and
Commenting on the rehabilitation of the Harare International
Airport runway, Mr Chawota said the first kilometre had been completed and
the second one was scheduled for completion in three weeks' time.
said the remaining three kilometres should be completed by end of the year,
subject to funding.
"CAAZ requires about $50 billion to complete the
project," he said, adding that the authority had spent Euro 850 000 on
runway lights, $2 billion on installation works and $20 billion on the
refurbishment of the two kilometres over and above the costs of
The authority had gone to tender for a new taxiware lighting
system, the cost of which was yet to be confirmed.
Chawota said the construction of a new Victoria Falls runway, expected to
cost about $200 billion, would commence as soon as the authority sourced
Last year, Vice President Joseph Msika was quoted as saying the
Government would commit itself to extend the Victoria Falls runway to
facilitate smooth landing of big aircraft.
The refurbishment, which
will turn the old international terminal into a domestic terminal following
the construction of a new one, started in July and was supposed to have been
completed by end of August last year. - New Ziana.
February 10, 2005 Posted to the web February 10,
HARARE City Council plans to lay off an undisclosed
number of workers to reduce its bloated wage bill as it also emerged that
the city has finished formulating its 2005 annual budget.
estimated $52 billion has since been set aside for retrenchment packages in
the proposed budget, which will be presented to residents and ratepayers
The budget is expected to be implemented in April although
other charges would become effective once the proposals are
The April date has been given to allow for advertising,
consultations and receipt of objections.
It is feared that council
could have lost billions of dollars owing to its failure to put the budget
into effect at the beginning of the year.
Parking fees and water charges
have been kept at last year's rates.
The first 10 cubic metres would be
charged at $800 per cubic metre commencing in February and with effect from
July the amount would increase to $1 200 for the same quantity of
After the first 10 cubic metres, consumption would be charged at
$1 600 effective from February and at $2 400 from July
Domestic users who consume more than 300 cubic metres would be
charged at $4 500 with effect from February while the figure would rise to
$6 750 from July.
The cost of water remains lower than the treatment
and supply costs, which are pegged at $1 775 per cubic metre.
proposed budget would be presented for adoption by the full commission
running the affairs of Harare council in two weeks' time after which it
would be forwarded to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing for approval.
"We are now through with the figure
work. The next step is to go to the residents to inform them on issues
relating to the 2005 budget. We will collect their views and include them
where necessary and justifiable," said town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya.
HARARE, Feb. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- The
European Union said Thursday itis committed to supporting Zimbabwe's social
services sector despite strained relations that exist between the southern
Africancountry and the bloc.
"The EU is very much committed
to supporting Zimbabwe's health,education and the local community in spite
of our relations," saidFrancesca Mosca, EU ambassador and head of the
European Commissiondelegation to Zimbabwe.
She made the
remarks while speaking to journalists after payinga courtesy call on Vice
President Joyce Mujuru to congratulate heron her appointment as the
country's first female vice president.
Mosca said both Zimbabwe
and the EU were committed to improvingrelations, which became sour following
disagreements over Zimbabwe's land reform program the government embarked on
in 2000 to resettle landless Zimbabweans through acquiring land from white
Before the exercise, about 4,000 white
commercial farmers ownedabout 80 percent of the country's fertile land while
the majority blacks were cramped on unproductive land.
are working toward bettering relations with Zimbabwe. I feel we can achieve
a lot in that regard. We are committed to lookinto the future and not the
She applauded President Robert Mugabe's call for
non-violence in the run up to the general elections scheduled for March 31,
adding that they were also closely following developments in the
Meanwhile, Tanzania's and Kenya's ambassadors to
Zimbabwe, Retired Brigadier Hashim Mbita and Maria Nzomo also met Vice
President Mujuru respectively to congratulate her on her new appointment.
Pretoria: The tripartite alliance
has called on the Southern African Development Community to send a team of
monitors to Zimbabwe to determine if free and fair elections will be
possible on March 31.
This follows a special alliance secretariat
meeting at which Cosatu presented a report on its discussions with leaders
of the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions.
It was agreed at
the meeting, characterised by "frank discussion", that Zimbabwe's
parliamentary elections, like all elections in the SADC, must comply with
the SADC's electoral principles and guidelines.
emphasised that the SADC should field a team - which should include
representatives of "important stakeholder" the Southern African Trade Union
Co-ordinating Council - to assess whether conditions in Zimbabwe comply with
its guidelines for free and fair elections.
Under its protocols,
which have been signed by President Robert Mugabe, the SADC was to have sent
a delegation to Zimbabwe 90 days before the elections to monitor compliance
with its guidelines. Zimbabwe, however, has yet to give permission for
a delegation to enter the country.
African Union cannot be expected to police democracy
effectively February 11, 2005
The editorial "AU must expel
Togo" (The Star, February 8) refers.
Your trouncing of Togo for
having "flouted the constitution" and your demand that the Africa Union (AU)
should expel that country to show how the "new, democratic Africa deals with
recalcitrant, autocratic governments" provided a powerful argument in
content and conclusion.
Certainly, this "Togo test case" is worth
watching closely but to expect the AU to take the decisive action suggested
is pure wishful thinking.
Africa is infused with non-democratic
states and there can be no credibility in asking Togo to "go" while the
rest of the democracy-dodgers are ignored.
We must face the
facts. This so-called "peer review" system in Africa is nothing but a
A quick peek by the peers at the "sinners", and
then they scurry off to do more important things - such as persuading the
wealthy nations that debt is not something that needs to be repaid and that
limitless aid is an African "right".
Asking the AU to
monitor democracy in Africa is about as silly as asking Colonel Sanders to
baby-sit the chickens.
Once again it will be left to the western
democracies to take action, and when they do they will soon be condemned as
a bunch of racists.
And finally, what can globetrotting President
Thabo Mbeki tell the new leaders of Togo when he finds himself tongue-tied
in the presence of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe?
I am reminded of
that old TV advert featuring elephants hugging each other with their trunks
and with a voice declaring: "You're my brother ..."
A few days ago Henry Broder wrote
in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe - your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase
you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly
"Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as
England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long
before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless
Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the
Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where
for decades, inhuman, suppressive, and murderous governments were glorified
as the ideologically correct alternative to all other
Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in
Kosovo, and, even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we
Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when
finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe
yet again, and do our work for us.
Rather than protecting democracy in
the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word
"equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist
Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to
ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and,
motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to
issue bad grades to George Bush... Even as it is uncovered that the loudest
critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of
billions, in the corrupt U. N. Oil-for-Food program.
And now we are
faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany
reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and
elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in
I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of
our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German
people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday"
will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.
cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable
treaty signed by Adolph Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in our
What else has to happen before the European public and its
political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an
especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic
Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western
societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter
It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any
of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by
an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is
actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will
always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.
recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement:
Reagan and Bush.
His American critics may quibble over the details, but
we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the
Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror
and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair,
acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War
against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a
number of years have passed.
In the meantime, Europe sits back with
charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending
liberal society's values and being an attractive centre of power on the same
playing field as the true great powers, America and China.
contrary, we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant
Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even Otto Schily
Because we're so moral? I fear it's
more because we're so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.
his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional
national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy,
because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake -
While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons"
of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend
our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd
rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4
weeks of paid vacation, or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to
"Reach out to terrorists, to understand and forgive".
Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides
her last pieces of jewellery when she notices a robber breaking into a
Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice. Mathias
Döpfner CEO of the large German publishing firm Axel Springer
The government's failure to stand up for the property rights
of its nationals in Zimbabwe is indefensible.
This saga has
been running for years and the government's inaction is clear evidence
that it is not serious about holding the Zimbabwean government to its legal
In response to a parliamentary question posed last
year by the DA on this matter Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma made the following commitments.
Firstly, that the
government will take steps to protect the property rights of South African
citizens in Zimbabwe; secondly, that it had secured assurances that cases of
land seizure affecting South African nationals would be postponed until
negotiations between the two countries are completed; and, finally, that her
department would continue to engage the Zimbabwean government to ensure the
safety and security of all SA citizens and their
Yet it now appears that these assurances, like so
many of the government's assurances on Zimbabwe, are
The Zimbabwean government is currently fast-tracking
the expropriation of South African-owned land and is doing everything in its
power to avoid signing the vitally-important bilateral agreement that would
serve to secure the property rights of nationals from each
The inability of the South African government to ensure
that this agreement is signed only reinforces the perception that it lacks
the necessary political will to protect the interests of its
It is high time that the government showed the necessary
resolve and stopped allowing itself to be consistently outmanoeuvred by its
Douglas Gibson, MP DA
Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Parliament, Cape Town
By Professor Welshman Ncube,
MDC Secretary General
Unity of Purpose is What Shapes and Guides
Making tough choices is part and parcel of
politics. The decision by the MDC National Council, at its extraordinary
meeting on Thursday 3 February, to lift the party's suspension on election
participation and enter the fray under protest, was the toughest decision
the party leadership has had to make since the MDC's inception 5 years
The MDC's National Executive had announced on 25 August 2004
that the party would suspend participation in the elections pending the
Zimbabwe Government's full compliance with the SADC Protocol on Guidelines
and Principles Governing Democratic Elections.
At the time,
the MDC retained a degree of optimism that President Mugabe would act in the
interests of Zimbabwe and the SADC region and honour the undertakings he had
given to other regional leaders to bring Zimbabwe's electoral framework and
political environment into line with what is expected under the new SADC
standards. Regrettably our optimism proved unfounded. The Government remains
uninterested in extending to Zimbabweans the rights and freedoms enjoyed by
our bothers and sisters across the SADC region. The reforms that have been
introduced are cosmetic and self-serving and fail to properly address the
democratic deficits that preclude a free and fair election from taking
The intransigence of the Zimbabwe Government on the issue
of comprehensive electoral and democratic reform made boycotting the
elections a compelling option for the MDC
Decisions in the MDC however are not made by
individuals at the top operating in isolation; they are made in consultation
with the party's structures. Decision-making is a collective exercise. The
party leadership is guided by what the people on the ground want and acts in
accordance with their wishes.
Since the announcement last
August to suspend participation in elections, the MDC leadership has
traveled to every corner of Zimbabwe engaging our structures and civil
society organisations on the issue of election participation and canvassing
views. We have held District Assembly meetings in all of Zimbabwe's 120
districts and held Provincial Assembly meetings in all 12 Provinces. Each
district and each province was asked to submit resolutions to the National
Council confirming their respective positions. The resolutions that were
submitted were overwhelmingly in favour of participation.
the various constituencies that make up the MDC expressed similar reasons
for wanting to participate in the elections. The businessmen we spoke to in
Masvingo, the unemployed youth we spoke to in Chipinge, the factory workers
we spoke to in Harare and the ex-farm workers we spoke to in rural parts of
Manicaland all expressed their desire to exercise their inalienable right to
vote, regardless of the negative democratic conditions on the
Amongst our working class support base the determination
to see the implementation of RESTART, the MDC's economic policy agenda for
job creation and sustainable economic recovery, appeared to strengthen their
resolve to participate in the elections.
RESTART rejects the
neo-liberal approach to economic development and focuses on the need to
create a more socially cohesive society in which there is equal opportunity
for all and a fairer distribution of the nation's wealth.
manner in which the decision to participate in the elections was made is
indicative of the subordination of the MDC leadership to the internal
democratic processes of the party when it comes to
It also reflects the unity of purpose which
binds the MDC and which has enabled it to overcome everything which has been
thrown at it by Zanu PF over the past five years. Without this unity of
purpose the MDC would have disappeared from the political map and become
another historical footnote.
Contrary to the accusations of our
critics, both inside and outside the country, this unity of purpose is not
based solely on the objective of replacing the current Government. It is a
plural phenomenon, rooted in the MDC's civic society origins. The MDC
evolved out of civil society, in particular the labour movement, and was
formed in direct response to the failure of the Government to address
pressing socio-economic grievances.
The political and
socio-economic context in which the MDC was born means the party is very
much a 'broad church', consisting of a wide range of constituencies ranging
from labour, youth and women to business. We are the leaders of the social
liberation struggle in Zimbabwe.
There is a perception that the
MDC's diversity is its 'Achilles Heal', paralysing efforts to formulate a
common programme. Nothing could be further from the truth. The various
constituencies that make-up the MDC are united in their collective desire to
not only usher in a new beginning but also to build a new Zimbabwe based on
the social democratic values of solidarity, social justice, freedom,
democracy, equity and equality. It is this shared vision of the future, and
the ideological principles on which it will be based that binds the MDC
The forthcoming elections offer a glimmer of hope for
change. We will, however, remain vigilant of the ruling party's capacity for
electoral malpractice. If conditions on the ground deteriorate,
extinguishing all glimmer of hope, we have reserved the right to take