Saturday, May 18, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai speech to MDC-T policy conference
17/05/2013 00:00:00
by Morgan Tsvangirai

I stand before you as a proud President of the MDC, the party of excellence and the party of the future. It is with great pride that I am here to officially open this policy conference, running under the theme ‘Towards Real Transformation’.

Today’s event is testimony to the great advances we have made as a party. It is not every day that a political party holds a public function to announce its programme of action once it is elected into office. Others just get into office in the hope that the country will take care of itself.

We have lived this and we know the effects on the people of having a government without a bankable plan or programme. For some of us, this is a moment to cherish because this policy conference shows that we have not just a vision, but a plan and programme to transform the country, its economic policies and the government’s relationship with the citizens.

It is therefore with great joy that I open this conference after the country has just endorsed a new Constitution. As the founding chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly, I have great personal satisfaction knowing that the constitutional movement we began with many others all those years ago in 1997 has resulted in this new governance charter for our country.

I say this because having a new, democratic Constitution was at the centre of our founding aspirations and we are laying this policy programme here today, having endorsed a new set of values under which Zimbabweans have said they want to be governed.

So the new Constitution, in short, represents the achievement of one of the MDC’s founding aspirations.

Now that we have a new Constitution, we must definitely have a new government that will usher in a new and better Zimbabwe.

We are indeed a party of winners!

So today, we lay down our policy programme underpinned by our vision of a modern, functional, healthy and integrated democratic developmental State with a vibrant and socially-just economy that takes pride in leaving no one behind.

Ours is a revolutionary and transformative policy programme that will certainly lay the basis for a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning. In the various sectors, from the economic policy to other programmes related to social services, rights, infrastructure and security, we have a comprehensive plan on where we want to take Zimbabwe and how we will do it.

We will open Zimbabwe for business, usher in substantive reforms in various sectors with the sole objective of spurring economic growth, restoring our collective dignity and creating jobs for the millions of unemployed Zimbabweans who are struggling to survive in this dollarised economy.

This policy programme is our plan to address the many ills that we have faced as a people. Our policies that we discuss here are an addition to JUICE, our jobs and investment plan that we launched a few months ago.

I want to say that the terrain of the upcoming election will be determined by those that are able to give answers to Zimbabwe’s challenges. The next election is not necessarily going to be about who can set in motion the most blazing violence machinery in our land.

It is not going to be about who is able to dominate media space with as much hate speech, derogatory statements and dishonest claims and self-enrichment disguised as empowerment of the people. It is about a party and a leader who has the plan and the ideas that will address the many challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe.

Certainly, yesterday people cannot provide answers to the challenges we face today. Today’s problems need today’s people, new people with new ideas and a new vision.
So we are going to be the new brooms that will poise this country on the path to recovery, growth and stability.

A stable economy with shared growth and shared responsibilities is the cornerstone of our policy programme that will ensure that as a country, we will move towards real transformation.

Among the many sectors that need transformation, we have a new and exciting programme of rural transformation that will ensure that the majority of the people in the rural areas live in a new and better environment with assured food security and adequate basic services.

In this inclusive government, we have had some limited opportunity to showcase what the MDC can do, but we were largely limited by the policy discord.

Despite this policy discord, however, we were able to stabilise the economy, bring down run-away inflation, recapitalise schools and hospitals through the education and health transition funds as well as bringing food back on the shelves.

Through the Government Work Programme, we were able to give some respite to the suffering Zimbabweans.

On the international scene, we had begun to re-engage Africa and the world but the major challenge we have been burdened with in this coalition government, as indicated before, is the policy discord arising mainly on issues to do with empowerment and investment, as well as the stark refusal by our partners to implement agreed reforms that would have improved the political, social and economic environment in the country.

As a party, we are anchored in the values of the African struggles for freedom and democracy. We pay tribute to our forebearers who carried the torch of liberation. But we also represent a generational shift focusing on expanding the freedoms and fulfilling the aspirations. This is why an MDC government will forge strong ties and play a critical role in SADC and the African Union whose 50th anniversary the whole continent is celebrating this month.

For this continent to gain true freedom and economic prosperity, we believe as a party that we must break the barriers to movement and trade which are represented by the demarcated borders.

Through this policy programme, we are saying we need to be in government alone to implement our vision, unimpeded by uncooperative and retrogressive coalition partners.

Our experience has taught us that we need policies that are friendly to the people and relevant to their circumstances. Policies for posterity that are pragmatic and people-oriented will go a long way in mitigating the challenges we face as a nation, challenges we have to overcome to ensure that we provide for the people and that we rejoin the family of nations once again.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my singular honour and pleasure to declare this policy conference officially open and to thank those who have worked hard to ensure we are where we are today.

By unveiling this policy programme, we are sending clear and loud message that Yes, we are ready to govern. And true, we have a vision for a new better Zimbabwe!

I Thank You

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