20 February 2013

Zimbabwe: MDC to Give People Decent Jobs - Biti

press release

The MDC has set up a policy to solve the country's biggest crisis of unemployment and ensure that every citizen has a decent job by 2018, the party's Secretary General and Finance Minister, Hon. Tendai Biti has said. He said this while addressing thousands of MDC supporters from Harare East at Mukandabhutsu and Runniville shops at the weekend.

"As the MDC, we came up with Juice, which means Jobs, Upliftment, Investment Capital and the Environment, because we want to create a minimum of one million jobs between now and 2018.

"Everyone knows that a job will take away poverty from their homes while domestic violence will decrease. Without the psychological stability of jobs, we will not have peace in the country," Hon. Biti who is also the Harare East MP said.

He said due to unemployment, Zimbabwe now had the highest per capita divorce rate in the world because there is no money in the homes.

"The issue of unemployment has created serious dislocation in our nation," he said.

Hon. Biti said that Zanu PF's biggest failure was that of economic mismanagement and lack of love. He added that if the sunset party had love and listened to the cries of the people of Zimbabwe, they would have invested in infrastructure that would see all the people benefitting.

"In the last four years, I was in the cockpit as the Finance Minister and I discovered that it's not difficult to run an economy, but you need the correct ingredients. When managing the economy, the first ingredient is love. You must love your people. You must know your priority. The people are saying we want schools and you buy arms of war, which is a wrong order. When you buy vehicles and build stadiums when people need housing then you are offside,' he said.

He said that if one has love, they listen to what the people want and do exactly that.

Further, Hon. Biti said the first step towards creating the one million jobs was to have foreign direct investment (FDI), which encourages investors to capitalise our industries.

"FDI does not come from China alone. As MDC, we have friends the world over, and we are proud of having all these friends. Some say Look East, others say Look West but as MDC we look forward. We want every foreign investor to come into our beautiful country," he said.

He added that the Zanu PF indigenisation policy is an elitist programme. Agreements signed by Zimplats, Mimosa, Unki mines have exposed how only a few people connected to Zanu PF are benefiting from the policy.

"The MDC is clear. The Party of Excellence will revisit and review all clandestine and incestuous agreements made at night and in secret. We will not legitimise such agreements.

"The MDC wants to know how many jobs each company will create. We want value addition on our raw materials thus creating jobs. Let platinum be used to make cars in our country, so that our children will have jobs in here.

"Right now, we do not know what is happening to our diamonds. We are going to audit all the diamond income, to trace where the money came from and went to. We are watching these things. The people of Zimbabwe are watching. White collar crimes will cannot be hidden because there will always be an audit trail," he said.

Furthermore, Hon. Biti said the issue of housing was of concern to him and the MDC, as the majority of people are lodgers. Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe has not allowed people to work and acquire houses and the MDC will not accept that.

"At least 65 percent of Zimbabweans are lodgers. Is that fair on our people? A lot of people have no security of tenure because the majority of people are lodgers," he said.

Speaking on rural development as one of the main thrusts of the next MDC government, Hon. Biti said Zimbabwe was still underdeveloped and the people are still fetching water from boreholes that were drilled a long time ago.

The roads have not been expanded, neither have there been improvements on any of the roads available.

He said if there was need to make a difference in people's lives, the government should undertake an exercise for rural transformation.

"We want people to have electricity because electricity is transformative. We want clean, running water in the rural areas. It doesn't cost a lot of money. We want toilets that can be flushed in the rural areas," he said.

He said nearly 33 years after independence, 48 percent of the people are still using the bush toilet system, something which was unacceptable.

"To sink a borehole alone costs US$2 000. To put an electricity transmitter, you need US$1 000. So out of a million dollars, how much can be done? If Mugabe had love, all this could have been done over the last three decades," he said.

"So the MDC government will ensure that there are proper roads in the country, that people have clean, safe water and better toilets for all," he said.

Turning to the new Constitution, Hon. Biti encouraged the people of Zimbabwe to vote yes in the referendum. He said the new constitution has dealt with the issue of citizenship where the so called aliens are now citizens of the country, by birth and will be allowed to vote.

He said the new charter has an expanded Bill of Rights, which gave every Zimbabwean democratic rights, even when in prison.

'Now, you have a right to know why you were arrested. Once arrested, one has a right to make phone calls to their family, lawyer, doctor and pastor at the expense of the State. One will have the right to be visited while in prison, unlike a scenario we have where we need a letter from the Ministry of Justice. The new Constitution says one has a right to a hygienic environment not the current state of our jails where a section meant for 35 people is now being occupied by over 400 people.

He added that when arrested, one has a right to appear before a magistrate within 48 hours. When this does not happen, Hon. Biti said, the arresting officer is liable to pay the damages.

Speaking on the same issue, Senator for Chisipite and Deputy Justice Minister, Hon. Obert Gutu said the new Constitution allowed for two five-year terms for those seeking for higher offices.

"The president can only lead the nation for 10 years, after that they are not legible to participate. It is now in the Constitution that those who carry public offices like the president, permanent secretaries, and service chiefs will have limited terms of office," he said.

Senator Gutu said in the new Constitution, there are commissions that give power to the people including the Gender Commission, Peace and Reconciliation Commission among others that empower the people to be the sole decision makers on national issues.

He encouraged the people of Zimbabwe to register to vote as the nation gears for the watershed elections this year. He said unless the two million residents of Harare register to vote, that number will remain a statistic and will be insignificant in terms of decision making.

"Harare is the most populated city with more than two million people. These numbers will not mean anything if people do not vote. That's why the MDC leadership of Harare Province is encouraging at least a million people to register to vote," he said.

He said the people's vote was their ammunition to determine the future they desired.

'Let us encourage the 18 year olds, the first time voters to register to vote. This is the first time when we have an opportunity to bring change to our country. Most people grew up under the ruler ship of Mugabe. He was in power since he was 56 years old, now he is close to 90 and still at the helm of national politics, this is time to change.

Rhino Mashaya, a representative of the Harare Youth Assembly said the youth should step in, register to vote and defend the people's vote.

"In previous elections, as youth we were unable to defend our vote. Now it is important that we all vote yes for the constitution, then vote for President Tsvangirai in the presidential race and the MDC for the next government," he said.

He paid tribute to all the gallant sons and daughters who walked the real change journey and were murdered by Zanu PF over the last 14 years.

A New Constitution: A New Zimbabwe. Vote YES!!

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