Zimbabweans go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a president and a parliament in an election that many fear will not be free or fair. President Robert Mugabe, leader of Zanu-PF, is seeking to extend his 33-year grip on power. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Movement for Democratic Change, is hoping to unseat him. What do the two parties stand for? And what do they promise if they win? By Kate Wilkinson and Julian Rademeyer for AFRICA CHECK.
The Zanu-PF manifesto: “Taking back the economy”
“Zanu PF understands that for the people’s goals to be won and defended, everybody must be part of the great team that liberated Zimbabwe and brought freedom and democracy that everyone enjoys today; the team that enabled Zimbabwe to take back its land; the team that has protected and enshrined Zimbabwe’s gains of the liberation struggle and defended Zimbabwe’s traditional and religious values against such evils as homosexuality in the New Constitution; and the team that is the home of the youths who are taking the baton to defend Zimbabwe’s natural resources. That team is #Team Zanu PF 2013.”
Economic empowerment – At the heart of the Zanu-PF manifesto lie plans to “indigenise” foreign companies and strip “idle assets” from parastatals and local authorities. The party says it will “recapitalise and capacitate all sectors of the national economy using value unlocked from idle assets”. Over the next five years, Zanu-PF plans to intensify the implementation of its “indigenisation and people’s empowerment policy” to create wealth from the country’s natural resources.
Under the auspices of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, at least 51% of controlling equity in foreign-owned businesses will be transferred to local entities. Ultimately the plan is “to empower indigenous entities to hold 100% of equity to start up or take over strategic enterprises across the economy, especially in key sectors such as mining, tourism and agriculture.”
The party plans to create value of US$7.3-billion from the “indigenisation” of 1,138 companies across 14 key sectors of the economy. This, it says, will enable national development banks to “finance the rehabilitation of key economic enablers and social infrastructure to create employment and economic prosperity for all Zimbabweans”.
It says it will “broaden” and “deepen” its “indigenisation” plans by exploiting US$1.8-billion in “unlocked” mineral reserves and stripping parastatals of a “dowry of idle assets” worth US$7.6-billion. A “reservoir of idle assets” belonging to local authorities will be used to “finance the creation of employment”.
Zanu-PF claims that “so-called well-connected individuals or political elites” will not benefit “directly” from the indigenisation policy. “What this means is that individuals, including those who are well-connected or who are political elites can only benefit indirectly,” the manifesto states.
Zanu-PF promises that the “indigenisation and people’s empowerment” initiatives will create 2,265 jobs over the next five years. It says it will ensure that the country’s economy maintains a GDP growth rate of not less than 6%. By 2018 the country’s projected GDP growth rate will be 9%. Zanu-PF wants a significant portion of its estimated US$10-billion debt cancelled. It will finance the repayment of the remainder of the debt by mobilising domestic resources from the Indigenisation and economic empowerment programme.
The party intends to establish a stock exchange in Harare, which will include a platform called IndigeNex for exclusive participation by “indigenous individuals” and indigenous companies to generate incomes and create employment.
Presidential initiatives – Zanu-PF intends to launch a number of new presidential initiatives to be overseen by Mugabe. These include a US$5.9-million National Presidential Youth Initiative, a US$19.5-million Presidential Scholarship Programme, a US$300,000 Presidential Agricultural Input Support Scheme and a Presidential Support Programme for Chiefs.
The latter will see US$27.2-million distributed to 272 chiefs over five years. According to the manifesto: “As the custodian of our culture, tradition and values, the Chiefs play an important role in national development… In recognition of this historical fact, President Mugabe will launch a policy initiative to capacitate and empower all chiefs in the country’s eight administrative provinces to implement local development projects that improve community livelihoods. The projects will include maintenance and rehabilitation of local physical and social infrastructure such as roads, clinics, boreholes, milling facilities and schools. Under the policy initiative, each chief will be allocated a Presidential Support fund of US$20,000 per year over five years to complement development efforts in the chieftainship”.
Corruption – Zanu-PF states that it will “continue” to have zero-tolerance for corruption and promises to “restore sanity and eliminate corruption, particularly in urban councils”.
Land – After the elections Zanu-PF will prioritise offering security of tenure to urban beneficiaries of the land reform programme. “As such urban voters – especially those on the growing housing waiting lists – have a clear and urgent reason to vote for Zanu-PF to ensure that they benefit from the success of the indigenisation of land from peri-urban farms that have been earmarked for massive housing development.”
Mining – Zanu-PF says it will institute measures to legalise artisanal mining.
Infrastructure – A five year, US$3-billion economic infrastructure programme is proposed to address Zimbabwe’s infrastructure challenges. According to Zanu-PF, this programme will rehabilitate the country’s physical infrastructure including the energy, roads, railway, tourism and ICT sectors. This will include the rehabilitation of the existing national power grid, the addition of new generation capacity and the development of a national communications grid based on a fibre optic network.
Social services – A five year, US$2-billion investment in social infrastructure will address the challenges in the country’s health, education, housing, water, sanitation and security and safety sectors. The programme’s projected output includes the construction of 300 schools, 310 clinics, 250,000 low income houses, five new parliament complexes and 2,500 new shell factories, flea and vendor markets. Zanu-PF claims it will rehabilitate 300 urban water and sewage reticulation systems and 12,500 rural boreholes and water supply systems. Over five years it intends to build 400 new police stations.
Gender and women empowerment – Zanu-PF will consolidate programmes to economically empower women. However, it still considers homosexuality to be “evil”.
Youth – Zanu-PF plans to establishment a 25% quota as a threshold for youth participation across all sectors of the State and economy.
Food security – After the elections, Zanu-PF says it will launch a targeted national programme to spearhead, coordinate and promote production, processing, marketing and utilisation of food for urban and rural communities. Expertise and resources will be mobilised to support farmers.
International affairs and cooperation – Zanu-PF says it is ready to “open a new page of mutually respectful re-engagement” with other countries. It intends to call on Britain, the European Union, the United States and their “White Commonwealth allies” to unconditionally lift “illegal sanctions, stop their sustained regime-change onslaught and normalise relations with Zimbabwe”.
Diaspora – Zanu-PF says it will “repatriate Zimbabwe’s sanctions-bled human capital from the diaspora”.
Languages – It will give national languages the same status as English in accordance with the new constitution.
#Team Zanu-PF has something for everyone – The manifesto states that the “majority of Zimbabweans are voting Zanu-PF in 2013”. This, it claims, is because the party’s indigenisation and people’s empowerment policies “are informed by the legacy of the liberation struggle and are therefore so comprehensive and so practical as to have something for everyone”.
The Movement for Democratic Change manifesto: “A New Zimbabwe – The time is now!”
“The Movement for Democratic Change has a comprehensive plan to give your children back their future. We will unite the people and govern responsibly. We will re-engage in the international community and bring back investment and create 1 million jobs by 2018. We will ensure all Zimbabweans benefit from the country’s natural resources. We will invest in infrastructure so you can build your business. We will rebuild our schools and hospitals to ensure your children have a brighter and healthier future. We will remove the people’s fear from government and security services and the guarantee the protection of the rights of every citizen by committing to defend your Constitution and Bill of Rights Together, we can accomplish these goals and realise our vision for a better Zimbabwe. We ask for your vote for Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC to bring HOPE back to Zimbabwe.”
The JUICE plan – The MDC’s economic proposals are encapsulated in the “JUICE plan” – an acronym for “jobs, upliftment, investment capital and the environment”. The party promises that the plan will create one million new jobs by 2018, economic growth of 8% per annum, low inflation, transparent natural resource management, “decent wages” for government workers, more electricity, rebuilt infrastructure, international investment and normalised international relations.
Finance and economic affairs – To address the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe, the MDC plans to pursue a “social market economy”. Access to credit will be increased, the use of multiple currencies will be maintained through 2018, companies and entities “with potential to provide jobs” will be “resuscitated”, exports will be increased and entrepreneurship will be fostered.
Minerals and mines – The MDC says mining development is a crucial element of its economic strategy. Under Zanu-PF, the country’s mining revenues have been diverted by corruption, mismanagement and political patronage. The MDC promises to create a sovereign wealth fund – essentially a state-owned investment fund – and an equalisation fund. The funds are intended to “broaden citizens’ economic participation and ensure all citizens benefit from the responsible management of our natural resources”.
Land – The MDC promises a “fair and equitable land policy to cultivate an efficient, just and people-driven agro-economy”. To do this, the party says it will ensure equitable access to land for all, provide security of tenure to all land-owners, restore title deeds, establish a Land Commission in terms of the constitution, enforce a “one household, one farm policy”, ensure access to credit for farmers, provide full and adequate compensation for land acquisition and enforce a viable land tax system.
Housing – Zimbabwe’s 1.3-million housing shortage will be addressed by increased credit access, private sector investment in housing, an automated national housing waiting list, urban renewal projects and the setting aside of two million hectares of state land for housing.
Agriculture – The MDC promises to restore Zimbabwe to its “breadbasket status”. It promises to establish a well-capitalised agricultural bank, invest in research and development of seed varieties, establish a meteorological early warning system for flooding and droughts, develop drip irrigation systems and decentralise markets through an Agriculture Commodity Exchange.
Food security – Zimbabwe currently imports large amounts of food despite its abundant natural resources, the MDC says. The party promises to ensure fair agricultural prices which are free of government manipulation and provide incentives for farmers. It says it will depoliticise the agricultural sector and ensure access to external markets. It also intends to ensure compliance with World Trade Organisation agreements.
Industry and commerce – To create industrial growth, the MDC promises to expand access to credit opportunities for entrepreneurs, to review and modernise business laws, to reintegrate Zimbabwe into the “regional and international value chain and economic systems”, to embark on industrial renewal projects in key cities and to provide incentives for small to medium enterprises. The latter will include increased access to finance for entrepreneurs and small enterprises, apprenticeship and work placement opportunities, strengthened ties between small businesses and training institutions and streamlined business registration systems.
Information technology – The MDC intends to “aggressively” expand the country’s lagging information and communications technology infrastructure and to transition to an “e-government to improve efficiency in public service provision”.
Tourism – The MDC supports renewed tourism development through private sector partnerships and tax incentives.
International affairs – The MDC promises to end Zimbabwe’s political and economic isolation and reposition the country as “ready for business”. To “re-engage into the global community”, the MDC will renew relations with the international financial community, demonstrate respect for international law, double existing electricity generation to end outages across the country, expand the power grid to cover rural communities and invest in sustainable energy sources.
Transportation – Zimbabwe’s road network is in “desperate need of repair and expansion”. Through a range of public private partnerships, the MDC will rehabilitate existing roads and expand paved roads into rural areas, introduce a national road development and maintenance plan, establish a reliable and safe public transport system, rehabilitate the national railway, revamp and modernise the national airline and re-establish Zimbabwe as a hub of international air transport.
Water and sanitation – The collapse of the agriculture sector and increased urban migration has placed immense pressure on water and sanitation infrastructure. To address this, the MDC plans to improve drainage and sewerage networks, ensure local communities have the authority and resources to meet their needs and finalise the Mtshabezi and Zambezi water projects.
Health – The health system in Zimbabwe has “suffered a complete collapse with citizens having no access to medicines, [a] shortage of doctors and nurses due to the ‘brain drain’ effect…and severely dilapidated hospitals and medical equipment”. The MDC promises to introduce a national healthcare and insurance system, ensure universal maternal healthcare, provide free anti-retroviral and malaria medicines, hire nurses, provide incentives to Zimbabwean medical professionals to return to the country, strengthen medical training and launch public awareness campaigns on non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Education – The MDC promises to provide free basic education to all citizens, review the working conditions and salaries of teachers, restore “professional status and dignity” to the teaching profession, improve vocational education training, reintroduce grants and loans for disadvantaged students, invest in sport development and establish a national policy to recognise indigenous languages in schools.
Social security – Many Zimbabweans lost their pensions and savings during the country’s economic meltdown. The MDC says it will establish a social grant to compensate pensioners for lost savings, reform the National Social Security Authority and tackle mismanagement, corruption and abuse, create an employment benefit system, create a programme to assist the disabled, the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable groups and demonetise savings lost during the hyper-inflation era.
Local government – The MDC plans to improve service delivery by creating a “zero-tolerance environment” for corruption in local government, introducing proper legislation outlining local government authority and powers and ensuring that legislation complies with the new constitution. It will appoint executive mayors and reintroduce strict guidelines and standards on city and town planning.
Labour – To ensure better employment conditions, the MDC promises to establish a “social contract” between employers and employees. The government will act as an arbiter in dispute resolution. The MDC says it will provide equal opportunities, treatment and pay for all, harmonise labour laws in line with the constitution, protect the right to strike, protect collective bargaining rights, introduce a simplified dispute resolution system, improve workplace health and safety, establish an unemployment insurance fund and create a pension fund for civil servants.
National healing – The MDC will establish a National Peace and Reconciliation commission to deal with past human rights atrocities and state-sponsored violence under President Robert Mugabe. Survivors of atrocities and the families of victims will be able to claim compensation. The MDC intends to launch a “respectful victim identification and reburial programme”, construct a national monument in memory of those who were killed and establish a “Conflict Prevention Committee”.
Constitution, parliament, justice and legal affairs – The MDC promises to govern transparently and in accordance with the law. It plans to review the justice system, modernise parliament and establish a National Prosecuting Authority and an Independent Complaints Commission.
Gender issues – The MDC will establish an independent Gender Commission, ensure that women have “equal representation in all institutions and agencies of government” with the aim of achieving a “50-50” representation. It will enforce labour laws promoting equality in the workplace, strengthen laws that punish offenders who commit gender-based violent crimes and ensure that “all laws, customs, traditions and cultural practices” that infringe upon women’s rights are eradicated.
Youth development – Zimbabwe’s youth comprise 53% of the country’s population, the MDC says. In order to ensure that they play an active role in the economy, the MDC plans to implement business development support programmes for young entrepreneurs, improve vocational training institutions, rehabilitate youths who were involved in political violence, strengthen youth participation in community and civic decision-making and support youth leadership programmes. It says it will “depoliticise” the Zimbabwe Youth Council and Youth Development Fund.
Diaspora reintegration – The MDC estimates that about 4-million Zimbabweans have left the country as a result of its political and economic turmoil. To encourage them to return, the MDC says it will promote investment in the country, protect dual citizenship rights, facilitate money and technology transfers and promote the return of skilled people.
Security services – The MDC promises to provide members of the country’s security services with adequate training and instill within them a respect for human rights and the rights of citizens. It will offer them “reliable and competitive salaries”. It will ensure that there is parliamentary oversight over the country’s notorious Central Intelligence Organisation, establish a national security council, require and enforce a code of conduct in the security services and introduce a “citizen protection law”. DM
* This article is re-published with kind permission from Africa Check.
Photo: Election campaign posters are pictured near Zimbabweans walking on a street blocked by uncollected garbage in Harare July 17, 2013. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
"The soul is known by its acts" ~ Thomas Aquinas