By Farai Chirimumimba
Promising rejuvenation of the economy, MDC Alliance made its case on Thursday for voters to back its move to the left and throw out ZANU-PF out at next month’s election. Nelson Chamisa, the leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC Alliance, a grouping of seven political parties, said the manifesto was “what the people have been waiting for…”. The MDC Alliance that themed the manifesto: “Behold the New Change that Delivers”, said it was the only party that would make the economy work for ordinary people because the current government “has too much appetite but no will to deliver,” he noted. “Behold the new change that delivers is today’s theme. I represent that new brand. The best change is speaking to you right now,” he said.
The MDC Alliance wants to fight President Emmerson Mnangagwa on domestic policies particularly on issues of unemployment, health delivery and cash shortages at the 30 July general election, which, if the polls giving ZANU-PF a runaway lead are right, could reshape the political landscape for years to come. Mr. Chamisa promised to improve the welfare of civil servants who for a long time have faced many hardships that he current government has failed to address.
The MDC Alliance leader also took time to embrace war veterans associated with the ruling ZANU-PF stating that the alliance will be a government for everyone, war veterans, the disabled, and all races. He said God is their plan, “God is in it”. “I will be the President of former President Mugabe and outgoing President Mnangagwa because God is in it….” he continued.
Before Mr. Chamisa came to the podium, former finance minister and one of the MDC principals presented an economic plan to be implemented by the alliance once they assume power. Mr. Biti spoke of the making of a US$100 billion economy in the short to medium term. He said that by 2023 the Zimbabwean economy would have attracted US$46.2 billion of capital.
After Mr. Biti presentation, MDC-T’s shadow finance minister Tendai Mashakada elaborated on trade and investment plan accusing ZANU-PF of closing Zimbabwe for business. He spoke of enhancing trade agreements with Britain so as to increase exports. Mr. Mashakada’s presentation that centred on re-engagement with richer western countries was further reinforced by Mr. Chamisa who saw the need to reopen the Israeli Embassy in Harare that was closed a few years ago due to strained relations as Zimbabwe supported the Palestinian cause. The Jews are known to be the richest people in the world hence re-opening the Israel embassy would be a show of goodwill that may translate to investments.
Although the manifesto is a very good document, I believe one of the criticisms of the manifesto is that it comes late considering the alliance is already near 50 rallies throughout the country and with less than two months to election, it would come at a better time way before the cross country rallies or early in the project. Chamisa, Biti and Mashakada presenting the manifesto didn’t show how the rural airports to transport farmers produce and spaghetti roads to ease traffic congestion are account for in terms of cost. I assume they will probably utilised the US46.2 billion expected capital inflows by 2023 and accused ZANU-PF for lacking people’s confidence to deliver on promises. There is no doubt that the MDC Alliance manifesto was well crafted and offers an alternative to the ZANU-PF narrative that have been tested over and over again in good blueprints that fail on implementation.