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UPM will push for radical overhaul

Ray Matikinye

THE United People’s Movement (UPM) says it will push for a broad-based constitution in its first 100 days in office to undo the damage that the ruling Zanu PF has inflicted on ordinary Zi

mbabweans since it took office in 1980.

In a position paper published recently and being distributed selectively, UPM promises a radical shift from Zanu PF policies to restore property rights, enfranchise Zimbabweans abroad and break the stranglehold on tribal chiefs that Zanu PF has maintained.

The position paper assumes UPM will benefit from the divided loyalties of disgruntled members from the MDC and Zanu PF by offering a policy shift.

UPM promises to de-politicise the Central Intelligence Organisation, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army and remove them from direct political control by a sitting president.

Current UPM focal person, Pearson Mbalekwa, said his movement will not launch itself at a press conference like other parties have done.

“We know the risks involved,” Mbalekwa, who sent his resignation letter from Zanu PF to the party headquarters along Rotten Row through his gardener, said last Friday.

“As a movement we have been mobilising in secret because we know who we are dealing with.”

Mbalekwa resigned from Zanu PF to protest the widely condemned slum clearance scheme, Operation Murambatsvina.

Mbalekwa, a former CIO officer, resigned in April.

He refused to name other members but the UPM position paper gives pointers that the movement has drawn support from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

“While the leadership in Zanu PF is now deadwood, the same is not true of the bulk of its membership which is part of UPM,” it says.

Unlike Zanu PF which has remained wedded to the politics of liberation, UPM says it will reverse the marginalisation of young people by ensuring they play a pivotal role in national politics and the economy.

It says its ideological position “seeks a radical revision of democracy and public institutions, not only as a response to the failed Zanu PF’s one-party project but as a response to the push down effects of globalisation below and above the level of the state”.

This will be achieved through decentralisation and devolution of political power to produce what constitutes public or national interest.

Once the UPM is in government, it will embark on a rationalisation of land reform and institutionalise a freehold land tenure system to promote effective land utilisation and eliminate abuse by the ruling elite.

UPM will abolish presidential appointments for MPs and provincial governors to ensure anyone holding political office is directly elected by the people.

“UPM believes in representative leadership, not in leaders who are not elected by the people or leaders without followers who have no mandate beyond their personal interests,” the position paper says.

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