By Morgan Tsvangirai
In terms of Section 276 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, “a local authority has the right to govern, on its own initiative, the local affairs of the people within the area for which it has been established, and has all the powers necessary for it to do so.”
The utterances by Ignatius Chombo demanding that all local authorities should forcibly remove vendors from the streets are therefore unconstitutional. Local authorities are urged to reject any unconstitutional directives issued by the Zanu PF regime.
The MDC is extremely disturbed and concerned by the announcement that was made yesterday by Zanu PF’s Ignatius Chombo to use the Zimbabwe National Army to remove vendors from the streets of the cities, towns and growth points throughout Zimbabwe. The Zanu PF regime must not abuse the National Army to cover for its failures.
The Zanu PF regime’s modus operandi is reminiscent of previous operations like Murambatsvina that took place in May 2005 and the Gukurahundi genocide of the early to mid – 1980s.
It is totally unfair for the corrupt and chaotic Zanu PF regime to unleash the whole might of the military on innocent citizens struggling to eke out a living in the face of a crumbling and collapsing economy that has been brought about by years of misrule and corruption by the same regime.
The Zanu PF regime created the problem of joblessness by failing to properly and efficiently run the economy. The regime can, therefore, not seek to punish the vendors for a problem that the government created.
The regime must take full responsibility for the suffering that the people are going through after it failed to fulfil its election promises of creating 2 million jobs.
The issue of the people on the streets is symptomatic of the ZanuPF regime’s failure to run the country. No less than 55,000 workers have lost their jobs over the past three years after more than 610 companies closed shop countrywide. The trend is continuing with companies closing almost on a daily basis throwing millions of people onto the streets.Against the background of a comatose economy and unfulfilled electoral promises, the Zanu PF regime must instead resign in shame rather than unleash the army on innocent citizens struggling to eke out a decent living.
The army must refuse to be used against their brothers, sisters and even their wives and husbands who are trying to salvage an honest living from vending under the prevailing difficult circumstances. The MDC would like to strongly warn the Zanu PF regime to exercise restraint and to be wary of a restive and hungry population.
The MDC will hold Robert Mugabe and his regime to account for any casualties that might be suffered in the ill – conceived brutal plan.
The MDC challenges the Zanu PF regime to come up with an alternative plan for the people’s survival rather than brutally curtailing their means of survival in this very difficult economic environment.
It is now very evident that the corrupt Zanu PF regime has totally failed to meet the essential needs of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe who are living in abject poverty and destitution.
In view of this, the MDC has developed a genuine and sustainable plan to create a developmental state which will move beyond rhetoric and begin calculating “genuine progress,” in a way that takes seriously ecological and social values.
In this plan, people’s livelihoods will be improved, starting with food security, decent jobs, affordable primary health care and education, access to clean water, sanitation and adequate shelter.
The social and economic rights are indivisible and the MDC advocated for them to be enshrined in the recently completed new Constitution of Zimbabwe. According to the MDC plan, the greatest social and economic upliftment of citizens will be achieved through wealth creation associated with investment and the creation of gainful employment.
At the epicentre of the MDC’s upliftment model is the creation of an enabling environment for entrepreneurship to flourish and extend the right of citizens to own property and claim the protection of the State for their civil, socio -economic and property rights.
Morgan Tsvangirai is the president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)