THE following is the full statement by Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan Tsvangirai following a meeting of the national council in Harare on Tuesday Tuesday, 13 December 2016.
Introduction – Welcome to this press conference that we have called after robust meetings of the national executive and the national council. The national executive met yesterday and the national council, the party’s supreme decision-making body in between Congresses has just been meeting in this room today.
The party’s organs have had robust debate on the crisis engulfing the country and noted with concern the deteriorating situation in the country.
The executive and council noted that the Zanu PF government has dismally failed to address the plight of the people.
The signs are ominous for the coming year, especially with the smuggling in of the Zimdollar through the backdoor. However, the bond notes have provided a false hope and we understand that it is already trading on the parallel market. The fake money has just begun claiming its true worthless value.
From ordinary Zimbabweans struggling to survive to civil servants yet to get their bonuses, times are tough. Yet in the middle of all this, we have a ruling party that has evidently run out of ideas. Only last week, we had the President delivering a supposed State of the Nation Address (SONA) which turned out to be an empty statement that omitted the key issues. The President failed to touch the crux of the matters affecting the people such as the worsening state of the economy and a cash crisis which has seen people sleeping in bank queues to access their money.
Three years ago, Zanu PF lied to the people and ran with the election message: Bhora Mugedhi. Indeed, it was an apt message as the whole nation is now crowded in those nets of poverty.
As a party, we have had two days of robust debate and we took some far-reaching resolutions as well as adopting the party’s priority programmes for 2017.
1. On elections
The party has taken a decision to prioritise election preparedness in the year 2017. All our structures across the country, across villages and towns will collapse into a grand election machinery.
Related to poising the party for elections, the MDC will up its push for electoral conditions as a precondition to ensure that the next elections are free, fair and credible.
We are heartened by the developments in Africa, where credible elections are taking place and where sitting parties and governments are conceding defeat. Ghana and the Gambia are such examples, even though Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh is now singing a different tune after initially conceding defeat. In our case, when a party in government is defeated, it withholds results for over a month to do what eight years ago it called “meticulous verification” of election results!
2. On coalitions
The executive and council restated the party’s position on coalitions, which is consistent with our resolutions at Congress where we said we would work together with like-minded parties.
The party, however, has today set and defined its principles for engagement with other parties in the coalition.
In this regard we will engage with and seek to enter into an electoral alliance with political parties who share or subscribe to our Vision of:
A society that prides itself for not leaving anyone behind in their pursuit of freedom, prosperity and happiness.
Anchored on our Mission to:
Create and nurture a democratic developmental state
And guided and informed by our social democratic Values of:
Freedom & Liberty
The Guiding Principles for a coalition
(a) A common ground amongst the parties on the minimum conditions under which the next elections must be held
(b) A Common ground amongst the parties on a socio-political economic transformation agenda and shared National Vision anchored on the true ideals of the liberation struggle for the benefit of all Zimbabweans and those who live in the country.
(c) A Deepening and entrenchment of democracy inclusive of the respect for human rights, the rule of law and the right of Zimbabweans to freely elect a government of their choice.
(d) A non-negotiable position that the coalition processes must be driven by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans
2.2 The Form of Electoral Alliance We Seek
There are two variants of election pacts. The pre and post election pacts.
The MDC is persuaded by a People Based Pre-Election Pact for the following reasons:
(a) we are a People Based Party with an electoral history and subscribe to the democratic principle that the authority to govern is derived from the people
(b) the current challenges in Zimbabwe can best be tackled by a People Based pre-election Pact in that it minimises the unknowns by providing an equitable and scientific and objective basis for approaching the election based on known strengths of political leaders and parties nationally and in given electoral districts.
2.3 Institutional Framework of the Coalition
In light of the above, the party is available to cooperate with other parties based on the following internationally accepted and tested principles namely that:
(a) the coalition partners will field one Presidential candidate and one Parliamentary and one Local government candidate per contested seat.
(b) the Presidential candidate must be selected on the basis of the best individual who can win an election for the coalition against the incumbent.
(c) the party, which based on past performance and/or other factors, is the strongest electorally in a given constituency must field the candidate for the coalition
(d) parties will agree on the institutional framework (structure) for the management of the coalition and must have common ground and agree on key policy issues before the election
(e) after successfully winning the election, the Coalition President shall, in terms of the Constitution of the Republic, appoint a National State Executive of Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers guided by the following Five principles and considerations
(1) A lean, competent Executive
(2) A regionally-balanced Executive
(3) A gender-balanced Executive
(4) An inclusive Executive including all alliance partners
(5) Respect for and accommodation of other stakeholder interests including youth and minorities
The MDC is alive to the national sentiment and is committed to working with other political parties based on the principles adopted by the party’s organs after robust debates in the past two days.
It is the party’s position that the coalition will not distract us from the important issue of pursuing comprehensive reforms ahead of the next election, which will remain our key focus in 2017.
One of our key programmes in the first quarter of 2017 will be the policy conference where the party will unveil its policy programme. This remains consistent with our commitment to the coalition where we have already said we will engage those parties that share with us the same vision, values and policy programmes.
The party organs debated at length the sorry plight of the people of Zimbabwe. We have had a tough year and the signs are that next year will be even tougher.
We urge the people of Zimbabwe to continue with the same spirit of 2016 of using their power and traction to confront the challenges facing them. That is why we are declaring 2017 the year of the people’s power; the year in which the people will use their traction to demand prudent governance and to turn out in their millions in all programmes, including, but not limited to voter registration.
We are committed to working with others and it is our wish and commitment as a party to ensure that the next election becomes a giant leap into a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning.
I Thank You