MDC's roadmap remains on course

HARARE - On March 16, 2006, thousands of people from all walks of life across the country converged at the City Sports Centre in Harare for the MDC first post-split Congress.

The four-day event would turn out to be a watershed Congress for the MDC as it came when the party had virtually no resources to meet the needs of the thousands of delegates attending due to the split which had occurred the previous year on October 12.

This was after a renegade group of leaders led by Welshman Ncube walked away to form a splinter political formation.

However, the delegates were undeterred and many from the rural areas had to sell their chickens and goats in order to make it to the City Sports Centre.

Most of the delegates had to endure four days of sleeping on the hard floor at the venue.

The situation was not made any easy by the State media, which as usual, was working on behalf of Zanu PF as its propaganda machinery.

This particular section of the media preached that the Congress would be a flop, even claiming that the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was finished as a brand and therefore, no one would attend the Congress.

On the final count over 5 000 people attended.

However, ignoring Zanu PF’s propaganda, what was of importance during those four days was that a new leadership with Tsvangirai as the President was voted peacefully into office much to the disappointment, frustration and regret of Zanu PF and its propaganda machinery.

Another milestone produced during the Congress was that several far-reaching resolutions were prepared and endorsed.

These 2006 resolutions were to change the future of MDC and Zimbabwe.

Part of the resolutions passed were the MDC’s commitment in establishing democratic change through peaceful and democratic means as well as solving the serious economic crisis, high unemployment and inflation, collapsed industrial and agricultural output, huge budget deficit and collapsing social service.

A roadmap with clear signposts was also adopted and the newly elected MDC leadership was given a mandate by the delegates to negotiate for a transitional government that will pave way for democratic elections under a new, people driven Constitution.

On January 17, 2013 nearly seven years after the MDC 2006 Congress, the draft Constitution was finally approved by the three political principals of the transitional government.

Although some might view the period of endorsing and achieving the new constitution as long, for the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe the January 17 endorsement is a milestone which should be celebrated.

Another achievement, which cannot be ignored from the 2006 Congress resolutions, is the transitional government formed in 2009 and is currently in place.

It is therefore, important to note that MDC is on course with its 2006 Congress signposts on the roadmap of delivering real change and giving the people of Zimbabwe hope despite serious challenges that have been faced by the party and the people of Zimbabwe along the way.

The MDC has had its own fair share of hundreds of heroes of men and women who have paid the ultimate price for their beliefs of delivering real change to the people of Zimbabwe.

However, the mandate of the MDC March 2006 Congress, as reinforced by the roadmap, was the pursuit of alternative non-election ways and means of achieving democracy in Zimbabwe, which the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe are celebrating today following the completion of the draft constitution on January 17, 2013 and the formation of the transitional government in 2009.

The referendum on the new constitution will eventually pave way for a new election which will guarantee transfer of power to democratic forces.

It is worth noting that MDC has faithfully and unwaveringly adhered to its watershed 2006 Congress resolutions and roadmap.

The people’s party of excellence is now on the verge of completing its roadmap endorsed at the 2006 Congress.

Zanu PF had grossly underestimated the MDC’s capacity and the strength of its chemistry with the people of Zimbabwe.

Put differently, Zanu PF and its leader Robert Mugabe ignored the fact that the MDC was indeed the people’s project and that it has three key resources: A comprehensive plan and policies, the people on its side and Morgan Tsvangirai, the undisputed leader and face of this struggle for real change.

With these three key assets and under extremely difficult circumstances, that is why MDC won the March 2008 elections and Zanu PF found itself in a dilemma.

Sensing defeat, Zanu PF through Thabo Mbeki, the then Sadc facilitator, called a Sadc summit on Zimbabwe on April 12, 2008 as a way of putting brakes to the people’s victory and to do one thing and one thing alone — reverse the people’s conquest by claiming that there was no clear winner on March 29 and therefore, there had to be a run-off.

The Zanu PF strategy was that Mugabe would win the run-off at any cost.

But since Mugabe did not have the time, the people and a brand on his side, he had to unleash violence to coerce the people into voting for him but the MDC national council saw through this and on June 22, 2008, pulled out of the poll with the result that the June 27 event was a sham condemned world over, which led to the formation of the transitional government in 2009.

However, as the MDC pushes in the last mile towards real transformation, the party continues to promise the people decent jobs, equal distribution of resources and equality for all, transparency, solidarity and justice.

These are the issues that are enshrined in the new constitution that MDC has been pushing for since 2006.
MDC remains the logical continuation and conclusion of the full realisation of the rights of the ordinary men and women in Zimbabwe.

Through the March 2006 roadmap signposts, the MDC has drawn together all these forces that are united on one key principle; to establish a free and democratic Zimbabwe in which the national government is accountable to the people through the devolution of power and the values of solidarity, justice, equality, transparent and a humble and obedient leadership.

Through its great achievements since its formation in 1999, the MDC has been vindicated by the myth peddled in Zanu PF circles that the party is a creation of white farmers or even more crassly, that it was an offspring of British machinations.

In January 2013, MDC still finds itself in the position it was in September 1999; that is, a movement which is still aiming to achieve democratic change in Zimbabwe while Zanu PF propaganda has proved to be a sheer lunacy without any foundation or basis.

In short, the current dispensation of the inclusive government and the draft constitution were mothered solely, and solely by the MDC at its March 2006 Congress.

This shows that the MDC is a party that has a great vision of where it wants to take the country and its people to.

As Zimbabwe prepares for the referendum on the new constitution and the holding of free, fair and non-disputable elections, MDC will continue to seek to give hope to the people of Zimbabwe, to bring respite to the economy and lay the foundation for a new and democratic Zimbabwe.

In the next government, MDC will create an arena where the democratic movement will give the people of Zimbabwe the much needed respite, a fresh chance and opportunity for national rebirth and renewal.

With its message: “The last mile: Towards real transformation”, the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe under astute leadership should prepare and get ready for real change and a new Zimbabwe.

MDC has made history and is the future. - Lawrence Paganga

*Paganga works in the MDC Information Department

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