Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Message from Dr Simba Makoni – Interim President, Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn (MKD)

New Year Message from Dr Simba Makoni – Interim President, Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn (MKD)


As 2009 has drawn to a close, and we welcome the year 2010, I take this opportunity, on behalf of the National Steering Committee (NSC) of our Party, to extend cordial greetings to all the people of Zimbabwe. The year 2009 started on a positive and optimistic footing for all of us, on the back of two landmark occurrences, viz:

·                    the abandonment of the worthless Zimbabwe Dollar, on January 29 2009, by the then ZANU (PF) regime; and,

·                    the installation of the Inclusive Government, on February 13 2009.


Unfortunately, that optimism quickly faded away, as members of the so-called Inclusive Government wasted no time to settle into their relatively more comfortable positions, and engaged themselves in fierce struggles for power, and bigger shares of the meager national resources.


Much to the dismay and disbelief of all of us, the new members of the government from the MDC Formations, did not take long to learn and adopt the ways of their experienced ZANU (PF) peers. They seem to have quickly forgotten the suffering of the people, and the promises they made upon entering the government; to work for improvements in the lives of all citizens. Readily and willingly, they joined the race to pillage the already empty fiscus; clamouring for motor cars, allowances for foreign trips, etc. Fights for jobs for more of them intensified, as the year wore on.


Meantime, those members of the government from ZANU (PF) maintained their grip on power, completely oblivious and disdainful of the fact that they had been rejected by the majority of the electorate in March 2008. They even made a virtue of their electoral defeat, showing complete disregard for the wishes of the voters.


While these contests for positions, power and purchase raged on, the poor Zimbabweans continued to suffer, finding relief only from their own initiatives and the generosity of the much maligned official donors and NGOs.


On July 1 2009, at the formal launch of our Party, we proposed to the nation, including the so-called Inclusive Government, three Immediate Priorities for Stabilising and Re-Building Zimbabwe; viz:

·                    Promotion of National Reconciliation and Healing;

·                    Restoration of the Rule of Law and Citizens’ Rights (Civil Liberties); and,

·                    Restoration of the Social and Economic Viability of Zimbabwe.


The institutions provided for in the Global Political Agreement, that would have driven the country forward, in pursuit of these priorities, remain moribund and dysfunctional. These are the cumbersome and ineffectual three-headed Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation, the fractious and quarrelsome Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Review, the still born National Security Council and Economic Recovery Council.


The modest improvements in the daily lives of citizens are largely the result of the people’s own initiatives, not the effect of any policies of the MDC-PF regime. Noteworthy of such improvements, is the abandonment of the national currency, in preference to dollarisation.  By the end of 2007, far ahead of the birth of the so-called Inclusive Government, the business community and people in the streets and villages, had effectively adopted the US Dollar, SA Rand and Botswana Pula, as tender for all transactions. Recognising the reality of this Fact on the Ground, the then ZANU (PF) regime went ahead to formalise the dollarisation of the economy.


The one positive outcome of the Global Political Agreement, that we welcome and commend, is the reduction in tension, and violent conflict in the country. However, we note with concern that mistrust and suspicion still abound between members of different political organisations; and instilling fear among supporters of other parties is a weapon still in common use, especially by ZANU (PF) activists, and some agents of certain state organs.


Notwithstanding the disappointments and missed opportunities of 2009, we enter 2010, still with hope and expectation that the so-called Inclusive Government will discover their true purpose, i.e. to serve the people of Zimbabwe. We particularly implore the so-called Principals to the Global Political Agreement, to show genuine commitment to this agreement, to act in accordance with the letter, and especially the spirit, of the said agreement. We urge them that, if indeed the Global Political Agreement is a home-grown solution to the home-grown problems of corruption, greed, intolerance and concentration of power, it is incumbent upon them to implement post haste all its provisions. We further urge them to begin to act in unison, like true partners, in the joint venture to enable Zimbabweans haul themselves out of misery.


The biggest and truest test of the viability of the Inclusive Government is not in the filling of shop shelves with imported goods that the large majority of our people cannot physically access, nor economically afford.  What will show their genuine patriotism is the formulation and implementation of policies that:

·                    restore the dignity, integrity and self-esteem of all Zimbabweans;

·                    restore the economy to full production;

·                    generate gainful engagement for the people;

·                    afford every family food security, every school-going child beneficial education and every ill and needy citizen care and welfare;

·                    restore peace and security to all citizens and all parts of the country; and,

·                    give confidence and comfort to all Zimbabweans currently exiled, that they can return home and rebuild their lives.


The Inclusive Government needs to facilitate and champion the country’s re-admission

and re-integration into the global community of nations.


For our part, we of MKD re-affirm our readiness to contribute to the normalisation of our national situation, the genuine empowerment of individual citizens, families, communities and the whole nation; so that we can all enjoy true national sovereignty in an inter-dependent global village. In this regard, we implore members of the Inclusive Government to be open to, welcome and accept the immense contributions that other Zimbabweans in civil society, in business, in the professions, in religious organisations and in traditional leadership, can offer; to Get Zimbabwe Working Again.


As we strive to make our mark in the national political arena, I urge all members of MKD to demonstrate our philosophy of genuine empowerment, care, compassion, equity and fairness. I particularly urge us to conduct ourselves at all times, according to our values; especially those of service to others, honesty, integrity and tolerance.


I wish all Zimbabweans a more peaceful, joyous and prosperous 2010.





Simba Makoni


Monday, November 9, 2009

We Can Get Zimbabwe Working Again

by Tofaranashe Gumbo, MKD Member from Mashonaland West

We can get Zimbabwe working again. Yes, “Let’s get Zimbabwe working again”. This is an agenda every responsible Zimbabwean must take part in.

Let me start by highlighting some of the famous sayings by Father Zimbabwe, the late Cde Joshua Mqubuko Nyongolo Nkomo. He said: “Our primary task is to create one nation. All those fighters in unmarked graves died to liberate all Zimbabweans as a single nation. It would be terrible, and what would the world say if we use the same weapons that we got to free our country against each other? We must united and be an example....The rulers will go, and so will men present and those to come, but Zimbabwe will never go....” (September 1980). Yes, we should take seriously the words of wisdom from the late Dr Joshua Nkomo. Fellow Zimbabweans, we must not behave as if the rulers we have today will be here forever. Neither will we be here forever. As we pass on, we will continue to pass on the baton to our children who shall inherit this country. Anyone who is destroying this country rather than building it is a liability to all Zimbabweans and to generations to come.
The biggest failure of the ZANU PF Government which ruled this country for 29 years was exactly its failure to liberate Zimbabwe by building one single, united Zimbabwe. Instead it has managed to disunite the nation by tribe and by wealth. They have set tribe against tribe. They have set the wealthy against the poor, and the poor against the wealthy. What about the Inclusive government? Is it able to liberate Zimbabwe by building one single, united country? The signs are bad. The nation remains polarized, with ZANU PF accusing MDC – T of refusing to end sanctions, and MDC – T accusing ZANU PF of illegitimately holding on to the reins of power. Now we have a semi-divorce, with MDC – T refusing to have anything to do with ZANU PF. Is this disunity for the nation? Can this disunity liberate all Zimbabweans as was the dream of Dr Joshua Nkomo?
One of the obvious weaknesses of both the MDC – T and ZANU PF is their inability to deal with conflict. As soon as there is a disagreement of any sort, ZANU PF will set its dogs of war against anyone who dares to have a different opinion. MDC – T will rush off to seek mediators and support from outside. Is the Inclusive Government better at conflict resolution? It appears not. They are once again fighting each other, each accusing the other of transgressing against the GPA. Hard words have been uttered, each condemning the other for political crimes of various sorts.
Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) believes that conflict is inevitable. Conflict can also be constructive. We can learn by listening to each other’s views and experiences. The war veterans of the 1970s have much to teach the unemployed youths of the 21st Century. They also have much to learn from the frustrations of these unemployed youths who have received education but have no jobs. In fact the two groups share the challenge of unemployment, and the two groups could solve this problem rather than fighting each other. Their disagreement should and could lead to innovative and creative solutions to the problems of the country.
Yet we find the opposite. The disagreements between MDC – T and ZANU PF are destructive of each other. They are also self-destructive. The more they fight each other, the weaker they will become. This is because they are not following Dr Joshua Nkomo’s wise advice: we must liberate all Zimbabweans by uniting them. And we must unite to achieve common shared goals.
Mavambo Kusile Dawn offers the following common goals that all Zimbabweans can follow:
• Let’s work together to get a good national Constitution that will build Zimbabwe and enrich all Zimbabweans, whether they are war veterans or unemployed youths, rather than one that will benefit only a small number of already rich people.
• Let’s work together to provide security for all, rather than being frightened of each other, and attacking, torturing and killing each other in the name of security.
• Let’s work together to provide food for all. We must get rid of our dependence on donor food, and provide food security by ourselves.
• Let’s work together to provide good health facilities for all. Many people are dying needlessly because of lack of health care.
• Let’s work together to provide quality education for all. Our wonderful education system has been brought down. Let us re-build it.
‘Let’s Get Zimbabwe Working Again’

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why the Media Needs to Change – Protect and Enhance Zimbabwean Democracy through Information

By Diana Patel

Zimbabweans are waiting patiently for the announcement of the new Zimbabwe Media Commission. The names of the proposed commissioners have been forwarded to the President two months ago and, we expect the appointment of the new Zimbabwe Media Commission by the end of this month, together with those of the other three commissions, the Zimbabwe Commission on Human Rights, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. We need the new Zimbabwe Media Commission in place so that other potential players in the media, such as the long awaited daily newspaper, News Day, can obtain a license to operate. The more players in the arena the better our chances of access to information.


For democracy to function in Zimbabwe people’s access to information is essential. The free flow of information is critical for people to actively engage in national and local activities. However, while access to information is essential the definition of what is valuable information is open to debate. Zimbabweans have had very limited sources of information. They have been denied something that is essential for participation in community life. We need information to participate in elections and community activities, we need access to information to better our lives.


Zimbabweans need news and information to be able to take advantage of life’s opportunities for themselves and their families. We need information to participate fully in our system of government, for us to stand up and be heard. MKD’s values of openness, inclusion, participation and empowerment together with the pursuit of truth and the public interest are all important in pursuing democracy, allowing people’s voices to be heard. We have many journalists in Zimbabwe who have continued to work hard to pursue and promote these values.


New technology, the internet and mobile phones, allow us to connect and access information globally, but we still have difficulty accessing information nationally and  locally, where we live and work. Information is as vital to the healthy functioning of communities as jobs, clean air, safe streets and public health. Informed communities can effectively coordinate activities, achieve public accountability and solve problems. To achieve democracy in Zimbabwe we need access to information.


Where families struggle to make ends meet and many men and women work multiple jobs, time to access information that could better our lives is limited. Information must be easily accessible if we want communities to engage. MKD wants people to engage nationally and locally, and the path to this engagement may well be through fulfillment  of basic information about jobs, shelter and housing, health care, education, food, electricity and water. The first requirement of engagement is access to relevant and credible information, MKD promotes the free flow of information,freedom of the media, democratic dialogue and a vibrant well- informed society. MKD hopes that this will be of major concern to the new Zimbabwe Media Commission.

Diana Patel is a member of the Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn National Steering Committee and Convener of the Social Services Cluster of the party

Simba Makoni on The "Disengagement From ZANU PF" By the MDC-T

"Time To Concentrate on Policies and Not Jobs For The Boys And Girls"

The Interim President and National Steering Committee of Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn would like to register dismay at the developments within the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe.

It is clear that ZANU (PF) and President Robert Mugabe have never been serious about engaging the MDC-T and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, specifically, and about the concept of power-sharing in general.

Whereas ZANU (PF) has acted in bad faith throughout the life of the Inclusive Government, the MDC-T itself has also acted in a manner that does not inspire confidence in their ability to rise above the problems bedeviling Zimbabwe.

Since the inauguration of the Inclusive Government, the Prime Minister has insisted at every opportunity that everything is well, that “Mugabe is genuine”, “Mugabe is not the problem, but other people around him”, and “Mugabe is committed to power-sharing” despite warnings and clear evidence to the contrary. This went on even as the Prime Minister’s MPs, Deputy Minister of Agriculture-designate and MDC-T supporters were persecuted and harassed all over the country. Yet, now the Prime Minister says “in this period, we have seen a complete lack of paradigm shift on the part of ZANU PF.”

Everyone could see this, even as the Prime Minister told the world “Mugabe is indispensable and irreplaceable.”

We note with concern that the issues over which the MDC are disengaging from ZANU PF are issues of “jobs for the boys and girls” and not policies that can deliver real change for Zimbabweans.

The people want stable and permanent jobs, economic development, repair of dilapidated infrastructure, food, functioning health and education systems and social support networks. The people want their dignity and respect back. In this regard, we note that since they entered the Inclusive Government, the MDC-T have not put forward policy initiatives aimed at pulling the country out of crisis. The modest improvements that have occurred in people’s lives over the past year are the result of the default dollarisation which commenced in early 2008 and was formalized by ZANU (PF) before the Inclusive Government.

The MDC-T says it is unhappy that it still has no Ambassadors posted, no Provincial Governors and Resident Ministers appointed and that Roy Bennett has still not been sworn in as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

In principle, MKD stands opposed to a bloated government, especially the Executive. We would have expected that, instead of fighting for posts that will expand government and burden the struggling Zimbabwean taxpayer, Prime Minister Tsvangirai would be fighting President Mugabe over policy matters that can improve the economic fortunes of the country and the well-being of citizens.

One such policy we are still waiting for from the PM and his party is the reduction in the avaricious consumption of limited resources by the bloated executive, freeing up what little resources we have for the improvement of the quality of life of all Zimbabweans.

Indeed, while it is patently obvious that Mugabe has no intention of sharing real power with Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister and his party are expected to at least show that they have what it takes to change the fortunes of Zimbabweans. The people expect them to propose effective development policies, not just fight for public sector job opportunities.

The people expect MDC-T to champion causes such as National Reconciliation and Healing, in order that we never get a repeat of the violence and brutalities that have characterised recent elections.

The people expect the MDC-T to demonstrate better governance competency than ZANU (PF), instead of helping implement destructive ZANU (PF) policies, as they have been doing since they entered the Inclusive Government

The people want the MDC-Ti to demonstrate they can govern the country, facilitating prosperity through policies that are different from what we have come to expect from Mugabe and ZANU PF.

This is not happening.

Political will to bring social stability and economic well-being and create jobs seems to be lacking in both MDC-T and ZANU (PF). The focus is all about power, command and control, creating room at the feeding trough of government for themselves and a small number of their supporters and officials, while at the same time pursuing destructive policies that belong to the dinosaur age of the ZANU (PF) regime of the last decade.

On careful examination, it emerges that the reasons for the MDC-T disengagement from ZANU (PF) have nothing to do with delivering real change to the people of Zimbabwe. The fight is about the MDC-T being allowed a bigger share of public sector jobs, motor cars, travel allowances and good living.

We urge both President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai to show genuine concern for the suffering people of Zimbabwe, to apply themselves diligently to resolving their power disputes. We further urge President Mugabe, especially, to show that he is committed to genuine partnership and power-sharing with the MDC-T, a party that defeated him in the March 2008 elections.

This will enable the Inclusive Government to formulate and implement the policies required to create jobs, stimulate economic growth that benefits all our people and bring Zimbabwe back into the 21st Century where it belongs.

Also of concern to us is that even this action of “disengagement from ZANU (PF)” by the Prime Minister and the MDC-T is not clear in its meaning. The MDC-T can not have their cake and eat it. They say they have “disengaged from ZANU PF” and from Cabinet and yet they are still in the Inclusive Government, they are still reporting for work and they are still executing their duties as cabinet ministers? So what exactly is the meaning of their action as announced last Friday, 16 October 2009? Can the Prime Minister clearly spell out to a concerned and confused nation the practical meaning and effect of this action because the people can not see its significance?

At the same time, we are aware, as is the entire nation, that there are three parties to this agreement and this Inclusive Government. How is the Prime Minister relating to the third party in government, the MDC-M? Is he meeting with them in the Cabinet Room in the absence of ZANU PF? Is he engaging them at all or ignoring them?

The people of Zimbabwe are genuinely concerned and confused over this unclear position from the MDC-T. They have the right to an explanation from their Prime Minister.

It is time to stop playing with the people of Zimbabwe over petty positions and power. It is time to deliver real change to the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe. If the amount of attention that is being given to who gets what post in the Inclusive Government was directed towards delivering jobs, economic recovery, social harmony and stability, this country would have been much further down the road to prosperity than it is now.

It is time to bring real change to the people.

It is time to Get Zimbabwe Working Again.

Sanctions And Regime Change

Fay Chung (right, foreground) in conversation with a diplomat and Mr A. Mujeyi of MKD at the launch of the party at Stoddart Hall in Mbare on July 01 2009

A Political Analysis by Fay Chung

We heard again in the CNN Interview of President Mugabe in New York that sanctions and regime change are the main, or indeed the only reasons, for the disasters in Zimbabwe. How far are the problems we face due to these two factors?

Zimbabweans have faced the following problems: the horrendous inflation of 200 000 000 per cent before the Zimbabwe dollar was unceremoniously dumped; the dependence on food aid; election violence including torture, the burning of houses, the theft of cattle and other livestock, the killing of over 200 opposition political activists; etc. How far are these specific problems due to sanctions and regime change? And what are the exact remedies for these problems? A proper analysis should lead directly to an effective strategy.  

It is well known by everyone that the main cause of the inflation was the reckless printing of money. Once printing stopped, inflation also stopped. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was responsible for the printing of money, and this cannot be blamed on sanctions. Unfortunately the reckless inflation has led to the total loss of savings by everybody, in particular pensioners. We changed from trillionaires and billionaires to paupers.

The dependence on food aid – what happened? The answer is simple - Communal farmers who have fed Zimbabwe since the mid 1980s could not find seeds or fertilizer. We failed to plan for adequate seeds and fertilizer, either by producing them in country or by importing them. Again this cannot be blamed on sanctions and regime change. We were of course short of foreign exchange, but we did not prioritize seeds and fertilizer. Instead we bought expensive tractors and combine harvesters, given free to political supporters of ZANU PF. Our prioritisation was wrong: we know very well that for the past two decades the Communal farmers have produced maize for the country. Why did we not make sure that seeds and fertilizer could be available on sale to them? No seeds and no fertilizer meant no food. This was not due to sanctions and regime change. It was due to RBZ and Government prioritisation which excluded investment into seeds and fertilizer.

Election violence preceding the Presidential Re-Run in June 2008 was extreme, and particularly shameful as it was directed in particular at ZANU PF’s own supporters. These supporters voted for ZANU PF in the March 2008 Elections, but “kicked the ball outside the field” in the Presidential Elections. This means they voted for ZANU PF parliamentarians, but not for the ZANU PF Presidential candidate. Again it cannot be said that this political violence was caused by sanctions. Was it caused by regime change strategies?

There is little doubt that the USA and the West in general have openly desired regime change. Their reasons for this was the land resettlement programme of 2000, when over ten million hectares of land formerly owned by their companies and their nationals were taken over. Nevertheless, there is a universal consensus that land resettlement was absolutely essential in Zimbabwe, and that it was long overdue by 2000, twenty years after Independence. There is wonder and speculation about why the ZANU PF Government waited for twenty years before addressing this critically important issue. Indeed it was only tackled when the war veterans began openly criticizing the Government for “selling out” by its neglect of land resettlement over that long period. There is also criticism of the use of violence in the take over. The issue of multiple farm allocations, and the allocation of large farms to political heavy weights, and small farms to ordinary people can also be questioned.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) passed by the United States House of Assembly and Senate in 2001 is the document which most clearly outlines the sanctions. ZIDERA states that the USA will not support any multi-lateral or bilateral loans or grants to Zimbabwe unless there are specific reforms regarding ownership of property, the rule of law, and the use of political violence. ZIDERA specifically seeks collaboration of the European Union in the enforcement of these sanctions. What this has meant in reality is that Zimbabwe has been deprived of grants and investments from the West for the last decade. Zimbabwe received an average of about US$350 million in aid and investment in the 1980s and 1990s. This stopped abruptly in 2001. Aid and foreign investment came to about 10 – 15% of Zimbabwe’s export earnings at that time. It is important to analyze why the removal of this 10 – 15% of foreign exchange should have led to the collapse of the economy. Had Zimbabwe become so aid dependent that it could not survive without it?

It is to be remembered that the Ian Smith regime actually managed to industrialize and become food self sufficient under much worse sanctions over the period 1965 - 1980. Clearly the anti-sanctions strategies followed by the ZANU PF Government over the last decade were seriously deficient, if they existed at all. Cleverly the sanctions included targeting the personal accounts and travel arrangements of some 200 top ZANU PF officials, and most of the Government and ZANU PF rhetoric and activities were centred around this strategy, whilst totally neglecting the real issues of economic survival and growth. Expansion of the monetary supply and use of foreign exchange for finished goods intended to buy political support were the main observable strategies. Both of these strategies proved disastrous.

Sanctions were and are real. The wish for regime change was and is real. Nevertheless the reality is that probably sanctions and regime change strategies account for only 20% of the Zimbabwe’s political and economic failures. ZANU PF’s internal disintegration cannot be blamed on the West. The neglect of seeds and fertilizer in order to concentrate on luxury goods cannot be blamed on the West. The rampant corruption cannot be blamed on the West. The neglect of the poor and the wild enrichment of the politically elite cannot be blamed on the West.

Dr Fay Chung is the Cluster Convener: Communications, for Mavambo.KusileDawn Party and a member of the National Steering Committee. She is a former Minister of Education in ZImbabwe, who went on to spend 10 years working for the United Nations