MDC Alliance has said the “escalation of authoritarianism, increasing human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests” in the country are a clear indication that the ZANU PF regime is in pre-election panic mode. This observation was made when the party’s National Standing Committee met on the 11th of May. We present the MDC Alliance National Standing Committee meeting communique below.
On the 11th of May 2021, the National Standing Committee of the MDC Alliance met in accordance with the party’s constitution. The Standing Committee received the reports of the President and the Secretary-General. The following matters were deliberated upon:
A. Governance and Human Rights Crisis.
1. Constitutional Crisis: The people’s leadership is deeply concerned at the deteriorating situation in the country as the nation gravitates towards a constitutional crisis, which is compounded by an already existing legitimacy crisis that flows from the disputed 2018 election. The constitutional crisis finds expression in the recent move by ZANU PF and its proxies to tear apart the Constitution that was agreed to after a nationwide referendum. This latest repressive act betrays the regime’s toxic desire to usurp the will of the people, entrench dictatorship and concentrate power in the hands of one person. We call upon all citizens, civic society, workers, the women’s movement, youth organizations and all progressive forces to join hands to resist this dictatorship.
2. Rising Authoritarianism: We note the escalation of authoritarianism, increasing human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests including that of our National Youth Chairperson — Obey Sithole, the weaponization of the bail application process to ensure citizens are unjustly incarcerated and the regime’s unrelenting abuse of the courts to silence dissent. The illegal recalls of people’s elected representatives were designed to shore up support for ZANU PF in its quest to amend the Constitution, as it did not have the required two-thirds majority to do so alone. They have also established a youth militia that is designed to entrench fear and cause violence ahead of election season and have illegally rolled out compulsory ZANU PF ideological training for bureaucrats and senior staff of local authorities. The regime is in pre-election panic mode as it seeks to introduce a Patriotic Bill to legislate against free speech and outlaw the conduct of demanding a better society. Consistent with our Agenda 2021, we urge citizens to peacefully resist the attempt to entrench one-party rule.
3. Economic Challenges: It was highlighted that, despite the regime’s propaganda and attempt to paint a false picture of economic improvement, people’s livelihoods remain under threat with teachers, doctors and other civil servants earning slave wages, increasing food insecurity, triple-digit inflation rendering basic necessities out of reach for the common person and the informal economy struggling following the Covid-19 lockdown that paralyzed small, medium and big businesses alike. The agricultural sector has not been spared as the good rainy season was not accompanied by any serious attempt by the regime to provide adequate inputs and mechanization for farmers. Citizens, especially the poor, are bearing the brunt of the rising cost of living and basic services. We reiterate our call for the implementation of economic policies that are pro-poor.
4. Corruption Crisis: The corruption crisis continues unabated as more cases of illicit gold smuggling. cronyism and looting emerge with no accountability or intervention by ZACC to bring those responsible to book. Corruption is killing us. We demand that the individuals implicated be held accountable.
B. Zimbabwe Agenda 2021
1. Electoral Reforms Roadmap: We reiterate the urgent need to implement systemic electoral reforms, including the need for transparency, independence and professionalism in the implementation of the delimitation and census processes. We are calling for a convergence of all stakeholders and political parties to agree on a reforms roadmap and a pre-election pact on the nature of the election we want to hold and take into account the recommendations of observer missions. It is important for citizens, particularly the young, to be engaged in these processes as they determine our collective fate.
2. Gender Parity: The party resolved to embark on a gender parity drive to ensure that there is 50% representation of women in the party and in all upcoming electoral process. To this end, the party has embarked on a capacity-building program to ensure maximum women participation n the political space. It was resolved to establish a Gender Taskforce that will spearhead the drive in all provinces.
3. Convergence Momentum: We note the enthusiasm of citizens in both rural and urban areas as the convergence agenda gathers momentum. It was resolved that no citizen should be left behind in our Agenda 2021 which speaks to the improvement of people’s livelihoods and the need for the national economy to work for the many and not the few. The party remains focused on crystallizing the implementation and rollout of the convergence agenda. We continue to encourage the citizens to remain engaged and play their role as we build a new consensus to take Zimbabwe forward.