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MDC to launch election manifesto

Constantine Chimakure

THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC formation has come up with its 2008 harmonised elections manifesto in which it promises to restructure the functions

of the central bank and the Finance ministry.

The policy programme will be unveiled at the launch of its campaign in Mutare on February 23.

The MDC said its government would face a daunting task as it would inherit not only a collapsed economy, failing infrastructure and a massive humanitarian crisis, but also a civil service that would be highly politicised and decimated by the loss of both skills and experience.

“The MDC will, therefore, initiate a six-month (economic) stabilisation programme immediately upon taking over the reins of government. This will take the form of re-establishing the correct economic and administrative relationship between the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve bank,” reads the policy document. “New leadership in the form of a new Minister of Finance and governor of the Reserve Bank will be appointed, and a technical assistance team of experienced international specialists brought in to assist both the ministry and the bank with the programme.”

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson, yesterday confirmed that the party now had the presidential, legislative and council elections manifesto plus a detailed policy programme.

“We have finalised the manifesto and the policy programme document,” Chamisa said. “The manifesto outlines in short what our party will deliver to the people of Zimbabwe once elected, while the policy programme document reveals how our policies will be implemented.”

The Kuwadzana lawmaker said the manifesto and the policy programme document were now with the printers and would be unveiled when Tsvangirai launched the MDC election campaign next Saturday.

A copy of the policy programme leaked to the Zimbabwe Independent this week revealed that the MDC had come up with various policies to address the country’s political crisis that have left over 70% of the people wallowing in poverty.

The programme covers governance, the economy, social issues and the state of the country’s infrastructure and how to rehabilitate it.

The MDC said there would be a complete restructuring of the government that will see the reduction of ministries to 15.

In addition, the structuring of the government would be streamlined to ensure that state expenditure is justified and managed effectively.

The party proposed to form a National Social and Economic Council to ensure that the MDC government consults stakeholders.

“The goal of the stabilisation programme will be to bring inflation down to treble-digit very quickly and to double-digit figures as soon as possible and to restore confidence in interest-rate and exchange-rate policy,” reads the policy document. “Both will be anchored on market principles and unified. The present system of multiple interest and exchange rates will be eliminated immediately.”

On land and agrarian reform, the MDC said it had always recognised the need for land reform, but rejects the manner in which the Zanu PF government has pursued land redistribution since 2000.

It said the government’s land reform had compounded rather than resolve the land issue and at the same time destroyed the core of the national economy and its food system.

“When the MDC forms the next government in Zimbabwe, it will accept neither the status quo that existed prior to 2000 nor the position it will inherit after eight years of mayhem and destruction by a criminal elite,” the policy document reads.

“The MDC is fully committed to righting the historical imbalance in land distribution. An MDC government will bring the land crisis to closure through a democratic and participatory process that achieves equitable, transparent, just, lawful and economically efficient distribution and use of land, both for agricultural and other purposes.”

The party said it would establish a Land Commission under an Act of Parliament to oversee the land reform process. The commission’s first task would be to conduct a physical and legal audit of land occupation and ownership in the country.

“On the basis of the outcome of this audit, the commission will determine the status and future of all existing settlement, the status of those holding title, and a method of regularising the situation without further dislocating farm output or disturbing those in productive occupation of farm land,” the MDC said.

The party also outlined its policies on health, education, labour and social security.

Meanwhile, independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni on Wednesday unveiled his manifesto in the capital and pledged that once elected he would embark on national reengagement and dialogue for economic, social and political revival.

Makoni said he would undertake immediate and urgent tasks to resolve the food, power and fuel, water and sanitation problems facing the nation.

The former Zanu PF deputy secretary for finance in the politburo said he would develop a policy framework for economic and social renewal, in the short, medium and long term.

“I will re-engage key national constituencies, namely youth, women, workers, students, employers, rural and urban people, with the state in national development,” Makoni said. “I will implement gender policies to ensure equal rights and opportunities for both men and women.”

Makoni said land reform in the country was necessary and if elected, he would ensure transparent and equitable process of reform.

“I will review the current land tenure systems as a means of rationalising and refining the land reform and stimulating productivity. I will also revive agricultural production through programmes to ensure that agricultural inputs and other resources are available,” Makoni said.

He said a new people-driven national constitution will be crafted after full consultation.

Makoni added that he already had comprehensive policies on industrialisation, empowerment and employment creation.

Makoni was expelled from Zanu PF on Monday for announcing that he would contest the presidential election.

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