Time Speeds By

It's May 2013 and the weeks and months slide past with accelerating speed. Just yesterday our leadership was squabbling over the new Constitution, today that is all behind us and next week on Tuesday we start the process of bringing it into force as the supreme law of the land. None of us saw that happening, but it has and now we are gearing up for the final act in this long drawn out play in the form of an election.

Zanu PF is, as usual, playing a smoke and mirrors game - they are shrilly calling for an election no later than the 29th of June - the last day of the life of this Parliament and of the Mugabe Presidency. In fact there is not a snowballs chance of that happening and Zanu PF is to blame for that. We have to see the new Constitution signed into law, then the electoral acts harmonised with the new Constitution and then finalise the voters roll and nominate perhaps 20 000 candidates from 23 political parties for 2400 seats. That process cannot be completed before the end of June and only then can we start the campaign that leads up to the election itself.

Only the MDC (T) seems to have all its ducks in a row - we will wrap up our primary elections for all candidates in the next two weeks and I do not expect any trouble during that process. To me it looks well planned and orderly and although there will be disappointments - by and large I think the outcome of the primaries will not be contested in any serious way. Then we hold our policy conference on the 18th and 19th of May which will see delegates from the whole country coming together to endorse the policy platform of the MDC. This has taken three years to prepare and incorporates our experience in Government since 2009.

This launches our manifesto for the 2013 campaign and our election campaign. We will roll out our messaging and our strategies and take time out to brief all our new nominee candidates on the way forward and what we expect from them. From that day onwards we hit the ground running on all cylinders.

By contrast Zanu PF has not even issued the guidelines for candidate selection and primaries; instead, the different factions inside and outside the Party squabble and scrap over who should contest who and where. Senior officers from all branches of the armed forces and the Police are declaring their intent to run as potential candidates for the Party. There is no sign of the new Party manifesto which was reportedly in draft by Jonathan Moyo and I suspect that is because the backbone of their 'policy' is indigenisation and that is in a shambles and is being revealed as a form of Ponzi scam designed at its core to sort out the Ministers financial problems.

As for the other Parties - I see no sign of any activity involving the appointment of candidates, I hear that Welshman is struggling to find suitable people and Simba Makoni is debating with himself as to whether he should run again and be humiliated. Mutambara may run as a Presidential candidate as might several others but that will be a total waste of resources and anyone who votes for any of them is simply wasting their vote. None have any form of a policy platform that is worth reading.

But the important thing to understand is that this time, Zanu PF is right about one thing - there will be an election before the end of October and it is going to decide who forms the next government and takes Zimbabwe into the future. The choice is stark but simple - this is a two horse race between a divided team of old men and young thugs, with a history of failure in every field of national governance except theft and corruption and the new boys on the block in the form of MDC (T). Looking at the track record of the past 4 years in the GNU government where MDC and Zanu PF have been working side by side, the difference could not be more striking.

We run Finance, Economic Planning, Energy, Education, Health, Water, Housing and Labour and Social Services and in every Ministry we can show substantial progress without any suggestion of corruption.

Zanu PF runs Transport (in a State of collapse and failure), Mines (riddled with high level corruption and the exploitation of Marange diamonds to the benefit of a select few individuals and companies), Defence and Security (characterized by no change and the continued abuse of power and authority and of human rights), Justice (where Judges take orders from politicians and many guilty of crimes are not prosecuted or arrested, including known murderers) and the Police Services where more effort is put into operating hundreds of road blocks every day and extorting fines and bribes than in crime detection or traffic control. Agriculture where chaos prevails and no progress has been made to restore Zimbabwe's capacity to feed itself, we still import 70 per cent of our food and pay higher prices for it that in any of our neighboring countries.

I read in the Standard the other day that MDC (T) has no policy and no ideology! Tell me, who wrote Restart, Sterp 1 and Sterp 2, the Medium Term Plan and steered the country back to sanity after 250 million per cent inflation and the total collapse of our economy in 2008? Who has crafted the national budget and laid down the principles on which it has been founded in the past four years? In our 2008 manifesto we set out a clear vision for the country and even suggested how the first national budget would look once we took over. Study the first budget and you will see that it followed our prescriptions to the letter.

National policy for the stabilisation and recovery of the economy and social services has been totally directed by the MDC (T). There has been little or no contribution from either MDC (N) or Zanu PF. In fact it has astonished me that Zanu PF has shown so little interest in anything that might contribute to the general welfare of all Zimbabweans.

As for ideology they make me laugh - what does Zanu PF stand for ideologically? Marxist Leninism, graft and corruption and self enrichment more likely. Right now they seem to be driven purely by greed, the hunger for power and control and self protection from their past sins, which are many. On the other hand we have made it clear from the start - we are Social Democrats and are aligned to the Social Democratic movements in Europe that have created some of the most successful societies and economic systems in the world today.

Our policies are quite clear - we will create a social market economy that is free of controls and where producers will be required to compete in open markets, but which in turn will be expected to play their role in raising general standards of living, giving all Zimbabweans an equal start in life and will do so transparently and in conformity to our laws and guidelines. We will strive to create a more equal society where the gap between the rich and the poor is not accentuated and where every Zimbabwean irrespective of their race or ethnicity will feel accepted and a full participant in every aspect of national life. We will restore respect for the constitution and the rule law.

When you see it like that it make the upcoming decisions faced by all who live in this country quite simple really - and I personally expect a landslide. As someone described it to me the other day - it's time for change.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 4th May 2013