Renewal Team undertakes to assist communities
Over the past three months, the MDC Renewal Team has been travelling across Zimbabwe; interacting with the general populace at all levels and hearing their views on how best the country can move ahead following the grand theft of the people’s vote in 2013.
By Elton Mangoma
Our rejuvenation journey has taken us to the township community halls in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Kwekwe, rural areas in Chinhoyi, Lupane, Chihota, Murewa, Masvingo and the crusade on a similar mission to the other regions continues.
We have met with the ordinary man and woman, farmer, villager, small-scale miner, cross border trader, student, church leader and traditional leader among many others.
What the Renewal Team in its engaging meetings with the masses has discovered and heard are heart-wrenching and unbelievable stories in a country where its citizens should be living and enjoying better lives after the major battles that have been fought by its citizens to attain independence and other milestone processes like a new constitution.
Instead, what we have discovered in our meetings is that we have a nation that has deep emotional and physical scars received from over three decades of brutality from the Zanu PF regime. We have heard harrowing stories that should be tales of the past in a modern society like Zimbabwe.
During our recent visit to Lupane in Matabeleland North, it was clear that the wounds of atrocities from the Zanu PF government in Matabeleland and Midlands regions in the 1980s are still open and unhealed as thousands of families are still living broken and tormented lives 30 years on.
In the 1980s era, the Zanu PF administration, instead of creating bread winners, chose to execute thousands of innocent civilians and in the process destroyed well knit family communities and created orphans.
The massacres led to another offspring of thousands of innocent children who have as a result failed to further their education and have access to certain services as they have no birth certificates, identity documents and are being treated by the same state which murdered their parents as stateless citizens.
What is happening in the Matabeleland region is definitely not the life that our struggle heroes fought for, or what our constitution promises us and it cannot be the life that we must leave for our children considering all the suffering and loss of life that was experienced to free Zimbabwe from colonial bondage.
Similar harrowing tales have been heard in other parts of the country with families still failing to cope with the effects of the 2005’s Operation Murambatsvina period and the most recent 2008 political violence instigated by the Zanu PF government against MDC supporters that saw over 500 people losing their lives. Most of the children left behind are failing to continue with their education as the sole bread winners were wiped out in the Zanu PF violence.
These sad accounts have made the Renewal Team come up with a position that there should be national healing in the country and that all the victims of any form of political violence be compensated by the state. We know that the current government has no capacity to do so as they are the perpetrators of what took place in the past and is clueless on how the country can move forward.
What has come out from the Renewal Team’s engagement with the people is that the Zanu PF government has failed them and the country is on autopilot going nowhere; and that the people should find other alternatives for survival.
The Renewal Team has made an undertaking to make use of provisions in the country’s new constitution and other legal instruments to ensure that the thousands of unregistered citizens in areas such as the Matabeleland region are able to enjoy their rights as the other nationals and children are able to attend class.
It is therefore one of the Renewal Team’s commitments that the government of the day should compensate all victims of political violence and if it fails, we will fulfil this obligation when we form the next government.
Although we cannot bring back those who lost their lives in their fight for bringing change in Zimbabwe, we must make certain that there is never a repeat of the tragic and painful incidents by state and non-state actors that we have experienced in the past.
The MDC Renewal Team has concluded that Zimbabwe is faced with a serious socio-economic crisis that is threatening the livelihoods of millions of its citizens as companies continue to close or downsize and thousands of people lose their jobs and are left with no other source of income.
This dire situation has been compounded by the absence of a government that has a commitment and vision to get the country out of the crisis.
In honouring the legacy of our dear departed comrades and continuing on the journey bringing about full democracy and freedom to Zimbabwe and a better life for all, the MDC Renewal Team is embarking on several small projects to ensure that the people are able to get better livelihoods.
We have committed ourselves to do the little that we can by paying school fees and buying uniforms for children in school and where possible, assist families whose houses were destroyed due to political violence through the provision of basic housing materials.As a social democratic party, we cannot continue feeling pity and expressing sympathy with the affected but we must be able to help in every way possible. Our project is a short-term measure as our position is that, it is the state that must take full responsibility, by compensating all the victims and providing all social commitments that are enshrined in the people’s constitution.
With the support for small livelihood projects such as chicken, pig and vegetable farming, most communities will be able to look after their families.
As we mobilise our structures and party operations so as to prevent a repeat of the grand theft of the 2013 elections, in the next elections; the Renewal Team’s concerns are that the people should have some form of decent living through small income generating projects and the party leadership is fully seized with this task.
We have started by identifying communities where we can move in and assist with income generating projects as it is evident that Zanu PF’s 2013 election promise of availing 2,2 million jobs among other promises is only a pie in the sky.
Our promises resonate with the Renewal Team’s pro-poor policies of upliftment. The party’s policies are aimed at reducing poverty and creating jobs with the goal to promote socio economic development for all Zimbabweans.
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