Saturday 20 January 2018


In the most comprehensive policy speech of the presidential campaign, MDC vice president Nelson Chamisa has presented an opposition MDC Alliance vision of a growth and fairness economy, an economic agenda intended to end cash shortages, revive derelict factories, lift wages, expand social services, and combat a widening gap between rich and poor.

Chamisa said “the defining economic challenge of our time” is to usher a new Zimbabwe by reviving the economy, creating jobs and raising incomes for the civil service and the few employed Zimbabweans whose wages have remained virtually stagnant for 15 years as the costs of housing, college, child care and health care have soared.

“A new Zimbabwe is coming,” Chamisa said in a fiery speech to students and tertiary institutions in Harare.

“People must not be misled that a new Zimbabwe is upon us,” he said, referring to the regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power after a military intervention and popular protests ousted Robert Mugabe in November.

Chamisa said Mnangagwa has no capacity to repair the damage done to the once-thriving economy over recent decades by his predecessor, adding politics matters in the economy.

He said in South Africa for example, banking stocks rallied more than eight percent and the rand firmed after Cyril Ramaphosa became the newly-elected leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), buoyed by optimism that he will push through policies aimed at putting the economy on a stronger footing.

Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old union leader turned businessman who is South Africa’s deputy president and one of its richest people, is likely to become the next president after elections in 2019.

“Ramaphosa, when he was announced president (of the ANC), the rand firmed by four percent. When President ED was announced president, prices skyrocketed, the market panicked,” Chamisa said.
Mnangagwa acknowledged to members of his ruling Zanu PF party at a December extraordinary congress that they would have to start fixing the economy if they wanted a chance of winning the do-or-die vote.

“We will only win at the ballot box if we can show signs that we are reviving our economy and at the same time we will only be able to make economic gains if we can secure re-election,” Mnangagwa said.

The Kuwadzana East MDC MP called on voters to rally behind the opposition alliance, saying its candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has the credentials to quickly turn the economy around.
Tsvangirai will represent the opposition MDC alliance in the presidential election, his fourth time as a presidential candidate.

“Even during the GNU (government of national unity), it took just a few days after Prime Minister Tsvangirai announced the government work programme for the whole market to smile and foreign capital started coming in, with the country oozing US dollars that were marching into our pockets and bank accounts,” Chamisa said.

After briefly stabilising under a 2009-2013 power-sharing government, when Mugabe was forced to work with the opposition, the economy has once again collapsed, with hard currency short, inflation rocketing, imports running out and bank queues lengthening.

The 39-year-old old MDC deputy said the Zanu PF government has mismanaged the economy and unleashed hardship on the people, adding that retaining it in the mid-year elections would constitute a threat to the nation’s future.

Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe will hold elections in four or five months, the first not involving Mugabe since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980. Voting for the presidency, parliament, and local government will be peaceful, Mnangagwa claimed.

As the economy continues to grapple with shortages of US dollars, Chamisa said an MDC Alliance government will end this crisis soon after taking office.

“In a new Zimbabwe, cash shortages and bank queues are going to evaporate immediately and overnight,” Chamisa said, adding it was possible for Zimbabwe to have the strongest currency in the world.

“We will prioritise the politics of business, not this useless and perennial, profitless business of politics. We talk more politics than we talk the economy, we talk more divisions than we must be talking about vision of a united Zimbabwe; too much sloganeering. We must debunk that misbegotten mind-set.”

The MDC Alliance plan outlines policy priorities and the principles by which the opposition conglomerate would govern if elected.

Chamisa, who is an indisposed Tsvangirai’s proxy at the MDC Alliance, said they had resolved at a strategic retreat held last weekend to reach out to the Elton Mangoma-led Coalition of Democrats (Code), the People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC) led by Joice Mujuru, vanquished members of Zanu PF’s G40, disgruntled Team Lacoste members and war veterans, “to build a grand coalition for change.”

Chamisa outlined a holistic comprehensive plan about its economic intentions for government, based on what he said were the best interests of the Zimbabwean people.

“We are going to be focusing on fundamental things, getting our production back to a thriving status. Industries must not just survive, but thrive. Businesses and factories must be reopened and blossoming.

“Bulawayo must truly be inthuthu ziyathunqa, with factories having shifts, people working day and night. We can’t afford the luxury of sleeping when the economy is like this,” he said. Daily News


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