MDC has clear political manifesto

WHILE I agree with some of the observations raised by your publisher Trevor Ncube (Publisher’s memo, Independent, July 4), I disagree with him when he says “the MDC has no capacity to deliver that change yet”.

NT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>In that same paragraph, he says the MDC was swept to power by people’s anger against Zanu PF, not because it had a better political manifesto. Wrong!

The MDC has a better political manifesto. It has consistently advocated a return to the rule of law. It has called for and promised an environment in which freedom of expression and assembly are respected. The MDC’s health, education and land policies speak of a better life for all Zimbabweans. It is only the MDC’s economic policy that needs to be re-worked, especially taking into consideration the social havoc that has been caused by international financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.

In fact, before the presidential election in 2002, a supplement was carried in your paper explaining the MDC’s policies. I am surprised when you say the MDC has no better political manifesto. You only need to visit Zanu PF’s website and you will be shocked at the shallowness of its political programme.

You also say during Morgan Tsvangirai’s two weeks’ detention there was calm because he has failed to raise political passions. What yardstick do you use for arriving at this conclusion? For how many years was the great Nelson Mandela imprisoned? Can you then argue that because he was in prison for over two decades he therefore did not raise people’s passion?

I believe it is naïve for you to think that a political party with the kind of following that the MDC has can secretly organise mass demonstrations. In any case, it does not matter how secret you are, Zanu PF’s hoodlums will always be on the streets ready to pounce on anyone who dares express opposition to Robert Mugabe. I would rather the police are aware of any demonstrations so that they come out, so that those who intend to demonstrate do not have any illusions about the task at hand. This is far better than being ambushed in the middle of nowhere.

Zimbabwe’s current defective constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression and assembly. There is no reason why demonstrations should be clandestine – they are legal, no matter what Ben Hlatshwayo says. Is it not a tragedy that 23 years after Independence we are talking about having secret demonstrations? Has this regime so cowed us that we dare not express ourselves lest we anger Mugabe and he unleashes his army on us?

You also accuse the MDC of raising the stakes by calling their action the “final push”. The stakes are already high, and if you don’t appreciate that then I don’t know which planet you are living on.

I agree with your suggestion that the way forward is for Robert Mugabe to accept unconditional talks with the MDC. That, by the way, is also the MDC’s position, a party led by a man that you derogatively call “pedestrian”.

The major problem confronting us as Zimbabweans is that we have too many analysts. Most of these analysts are content to follow people’s struggles on their DStvs only to emerge when the battle has been lost or won to give “insightful” analysis.

Allow me to end by quoting Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

Josephine Ndebele,