Interim MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora says he is willing to work with both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his former ally-turned rival, Nelson Chamisa, to help end Zimbabwe’s myriad and decades long challenges.
Launching his presidential bid for the country’s main opposition party last week, Mwonzora also said if he wins the elections in the next month’s extra-ordinary congress, he would work hard to end Zimbabwe’s deep-seated polarisation.
Below is the full speech by Douglas Togaraseyi Mwonzora at launch of his campaign for Presidency of the MDC-T.
MY loving spouse and long time friend Muchaneta Mwonzora, Members of the National Executive Committee and National Council of the Party.
Members of the Provincial and district Executive Committees here present.
The Chairman of the Harare Provincial Executive, Hon. Hove and your leadership.
Members of the Mwonzora Campaign Team, the Donkeys.
All democracy loving Zimbabweans within and outside Zimbabwe.
On the 11th of September, 1999 our forbearers heeded the national call and founded this great Movement. Its leadership was drawn from the Labour, Constitution and Student Movements and its mandate was to deliver Zimbabwe from the political, social and economic morass and quagmire that it had been consigned following long periods of national irresponsibility.
The long cherished ideals of the liberation struggle, for which thousands of our gallant brothers and sisters paid the ultimate price had long been forgotten. In place thereof totalitarianism, tyranny, pestilent corruption, inequality, deprivation, paternalism, clientism, regionalism, tribalism and sexism had taken root in our national body politic.
The projected economic development was substituted by mass poverty and want. Instead of long cherished peace was great strife and violence pitting kith against kin.
We therefore, state it without equivocation that the Movement for Democratic Change was formed to complete the unfinished business of the Liberation Struggle.
The great Movement was predicated upon timeless and indelible values of freedom, justice, equality, constitutionalism and the respect for the rule of law. The leadership of this movement was conferred on merit and not on the basis of rank favouritism and friendship. It was not attained for personal glory or self-aggrandisement but on the basis of the need for service and sacrifice. To our founding fathers and mothers, it was the attainment of the common good that was paramount.
Germaine to our struggle was the best interests of the Zimbabwean masses and not individual leaders.
The initial stages of the democratic struggle saw us posting impressive and historic victories against our opponents. These include the historic NO vote in the 2000 referendum, the great parliamentary election campaign of 2000, the great presidential campaign of 2002 and the total electoral annihilation of Zanu-PF in the historic 2008 Harmonised Elections. In that 2008 election we won the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.
Out of the love of the Zimbabwean masses above himself, our iconic leader, Morgan Tsvangirai signed the Global Political Agreement that ushered in the Government of National Unity. That development saw the lives of the common Zimbabwean change for the better. This selflessness on the part of our leaders spoke of the centrality of our timeless founding values.
Unfortunately, as the people of Zimbabwe were beginning to warm up to the possibility of a future MDC government disaster struck. Greed, avarice, impatience and political corruption saw our party needlessly split in 2014. In February, 2018 our founding president Morgan Tsvangirai breathed his last.
The party was immediately treated to an embarrassing power grab and violence. Democracy and constitutionalism were sacrificed on the altar of convenience and opportunism. Once again favouritism, avarice, hate, propaganda and criminalisation of competition took centre stage thus consigned our great movement to a new low.
However, through the legal victory by Elias Mashavira in the Supreme Court our party was given a chance to retrace its steps and go back to constitutionalism and our founding values.
We cannot afford to squander this historic opportunity. We now have another chance of positing the Party as a credible change agent once more. For that reason, immediately our party must go back to the practice where all leaders at all levels are democratically elected by the people.
It is the membership of the party and not the leadership who must rank supreme in our party. Secondly, at all times the party must always exercise collective leadership and democratic decision making. In other words, decision making power must lie in the organs of the party and not with individual leaders.
Any major decision must be made after consultation with the grassroots. It is these who must instruct the leadership and not the other way round.
Third, candidates must be selected following a democratic process. This means credible free and fair primary elections must be a new way of life for the MDC. Regarding all party candidates to be chosen under proportional representation, these must be chosen using an objective and fair process.
We should practice the 50:50 gender representation principle as contained in both our party constitution and the national constitution without fail. We need more women in decision making positions.
It is wrong to say that the youth are leaders of tomorrow. No! They are leaders of today. We therefore have to make sure that we implement the agreed Youth Quota without fail.
In line with our principle of Zero Tolerance to corruption we will deal decisively with any of our officials who are involved in corruption.
Violence as a means of resolving both external and internal disputes can never be tolerated and those who practice this barbarism have no place in our great Movement.
Sexism, regionalism, tribalism, favouritism have no place in our movement. They are anathema to our founding values.
Our party must be prepared to play its part in the economic, social and political development of Zimbabwe.
We will play our part in ensuring that there is love, peace and harmony in our great nation. To that end we will work hard to change the politics of Zimbabwe. We have to throw away the politics of intolerance, hate, rancour, acrimony and violence and substitute it with the politics of rational disputation and tolerance.
Zimbabweans must be free to make political choice without fear of any form of reprisals.
Our belief and commitment to dialogue is total. We believe that all dialogue should be genuine, inclusive and unconditional. We will therefore pursue dialogue as a principal means of resolving the national question
Further, we will play our role in trying to end Zimbabwe’s international isolation. The present state of affairs is hurting the common man and woman. We will play our part in fighting corruption at all levels.
Our party will continue to fight for equality and equal access to national resources on the party of all Zimbabweans. We will press for full compensation of all victims of political violence including the victims of Gukurahukndi and the 2008 violence.
Most importantly our party will work hard to achieve the unity of the opposition following periods of acrimony within the opposition. This unity should be predicated upon clear values and principles.
I believe that we are operating in a period where the party is faced with many challenges which include the growing scepticism from the Zimbabwean people following long periods of unproductive bickering within the opposition. For that reason, we need a new leadership.
The new leader must have proven knowledge of the politics of Zimbabwe and the world. He or she must have proven strategic thinking skills. He or she must have proven skills in negotiating and dialogue with political opponents.
Our party is on the rise. This is the time to reclaim our party and win Zimbabwe. Victory is certain.
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