The MDC-T faction led by former vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe, has released its manifesto for the 2018 harmonised elections, in which it promises to eradicate poverty across the country through a raft of economic reforms.
Dr Khupe, who broke ranks with the other faction led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa, launched her manifesto last week.
The manifesto reiterates the issues pertaining to constitutionalism, which she has consistently raised since losing the leadership wrangle of the party to Adv Chamisa.
Adv Chamisa hastily marshalled party organs after the death of founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai, who died of colon cancer and got installed as the new leader.
However, Dr Khupe claims Adv Chamisa’s ascension was unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
This has seen Dr Khupe’s faction reaffirming in its manifesto the need to return to “constitutionalism”.
Dr Khupe said once elected into power, she will deliver transformation in the country cutting several sectors but mainly the economy.
In the foreword, Dr Khupe said the manifesto “reaffirms its covenant with the people of Zimbabwe to deliver a genuine and people-driven change in our country”.
“Building an Economy to Support Transformation (BEST) of people’s lives is our main goal for 2018 to 2023. This desire for change in both the political and economic governance of our country inspired the formation of our Movement for Democratic Change in 1999.
“A vote for MDC-T is a vote for change for a better Zimbabwe for all. Constitutionalism, which is our distinguishing principle, is itself inspired by Zimbabweans’ desire for justice, respect for the rule of law and accountability.
“We go into the 2018 elections having achieved constitutional reforms in 2013 but, still facing challenges in constitutional compliance. A vote for MDC-T is therefore a vote for constitutionalism,” said Dr Khupe in the preamble.
Dr Khupe said an MDC-T government would prioritise economic rejuvenation through rapid re-industrialisation and creation of decent jobs for all.
She wants the country to migrate from being an exporter of raw materials, especially minerals, agricultural produce and timber, to start exporting value added products.
This is already being done by Government under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, which is calling on value addition and beneficiation of products to create more jobs and generate more foreign currency for the country.
Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired), told delegates during the International Business Conference, which ran concurrently with the 59th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) that by 2025, the country won’t export anything that has not been beneficiated.
Dr Khupe believes her party has what it takes to revolutionise the economy given their history during the inclusive government of 2009 to 2013.
Both factions of the MDC-T claim the glory of economic stabilisation during the period despite indications by economic analysts that it was the adoption of the multiple currency regime, which was announced almost two weeks before the consummation of the inclusive government that arrested the economic challenges of 2008.
Dr Khupe says this year’s polls offer Zimbabweans an opportunity to “maintain the status quo of false promises and continued suffering or you vote the BEST and restore decent lives and prosperity for all”.
The party’s vision is to see a “peaceful and prosperous” Zimbabwe where citizens have equal access to decent jobs, basic health care, education, housing, clean water, adequate transport and safe environment.
The economic plan
Dr Khupe’s MDC-T says its economic plan for Building an Economy that Supports Transformation of people’s livelihoods is rooted on the promotion of social democratic principles and responding to the prevailing socio-economic conditions where millions of Zimbabweans are facing challenges which include unemployment.
The party says it believes in a strong democratic, developmental State to facilitate in the uplifting of the majority out of poverty through decent jobs and remuneration; creating an enabling environment for economic growth and job creation and rehabilitating infrastructure.
Further, the party says it will promote labour rights and labour justice while at the same time promoting entrepreneurial skills and business development.
The manifesto also says an MDC-T government shall promote large-scale investments in domestic manufacturing and agriculture to ensure the economy grows at a rate of between 2 percent and 2,5 percent in the first two years.
In the last three years of an MDC-T government, the economy is expected to grow by between 2,5 percent and 5 percent.
The MDC-T claims many citizens live in “abject poverty”. It also says there are disparities in accessing basic social services in favour of those in urban areas.
This is despite the fact that the majority of people — 67 percent — live in the rural areas.
Dr Khupe’s faction says it will ensure that social welfare systems are resuscitated to take care of the aged, widows, orphans and the vulnerable.
It also promises functioning basic health delivery system, introduction of a patient centred approach in the delivery of health services; adequate budgetary allocation and disbursement to the health sector in line with the Abuja Declaration.
In terms of education, the party says it will set up at least a primary school within five kilometre reach; compulsory and subsidised primary education; improving the pass rate in schools and establishing a science laboratory at every secondary school.
It also intends to offer loans and grants to all tertiary education students; promotion of e-learning and smart learning; access to WIFI at all schools in phases and supporting school feeding schemes countrywide, among others.
Regards the housing sector, the MDC-T government plans to ensure “a rights based approach” to the development and management of domestic housing projects.
Zimbabwe has a national housing backlog of 1,2 million units and the MDC-T wants ensure residential developments for at least 50 percent of the citizens on the housing waiting list in the first five years of governance.
Once elected into office, the MDC-T also intends to offer affordable energy to the public, promote solar and biogas use in rural households and generally advance the adoption and use of environmentally friendly energy sources.
The MDC-T says it acknowledges the centrality of community participation in local development and consequently decision-making.
The party says it was responsible for the inclusion of a devolved system of provincial and local authorities in the national Constitution.
It therefore plans to fully implement devolution of power as enshrined in Chapter 14 of the national Constitution and allocate the mandatory 5 percent of the budget to provinces as stipulated in the Constitution.
Dr Khupe’s party also says it will ensure provincial and metropolitan councils are functional and shall promote policies for fiscal devolution; facilitate locals to benefit from mining, logging, fishing, wildlife, tourism on their land and empower communities to manage royalties properly for themselves and future generations, among other issues.
The party also pledges to promote women empowerment and gender parity.
There are also plans to support vulnerable communities such as child-headed households, widows, the elderly, orphans, the terminally ill and some of those living with disabilities and albinism.
The MDC-T wants a Zimbabwe that contributes to regional and world peace anchored on the promotion and protection of the country’s interests.
In that regard, if the party wins the polls, it shall promote economic integration of Sadc and Comesa for increased trade and commerce as well as free movement of people. It also plans to promote Zimbabweans’ integration as global citizens through arts, sports, culture, science and tourism within the principles of solidarity with the oppressed, justice and good neighbourliness.
The MDC-T also intends to promote peaceful and gender-sensitive resolution of conflicts as provided by international protocols and the responsible multinational organisations such as the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN).