New Zimbabwe (London)

1 August 2014

Zimbabwe: Grace Spectre Spells Doom for Zimbabwe - Opposition

ONE year after last year's elections, Zimbabwe remains a nation in despair, struggling with uncertainty and leadership failure, a faction of the MDC-T agitating for leadership change said Friday.

In a statement marking one year following the harmonised elections whose outcome triggered the current leadership wrangle in the opposition party, the faction said the entry of President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace into politics spells doom for the country.

"The Zanu PF leadership is enmeshed in deep-seated factional battles as the succession battles approache calamitous levels, sadly leaving the country without leadership," said the group now going by the name MDC-Renewal.

"The ascendancy of Grace Mugabe to the politburo spells doom for Zimbabwe as the country strides towards the creation of a dynasty, much to the reversal of democracy."

The First Lady last weekend emerged from her husband's shadows when she was nominated to be the Zanu PF Women's League chairperson. She is expected to be confirmed at the party's congress in December.

Fronted by Elton Mangoma and Tendai Biti, the Renewal Team said the move by Zanu PF constitutes a reversal of the gains of the liberation struggle "as Zanu PF's lower structures are being railroaded to endorse a foisted appointment".

"Zimbabwe needs jobs, prosperity, inclusion, and equality of opportunities, social security and to pursue happiness. Yet Zanu PF is offering despair, inequality and poverty," the statement read.

The group demanded reforms to ensure future elections are not contested or compromised including a new voters' roll and an untainted secretariat to run the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

It poured cold water on government's economic blueprint saying there is a policy disconnect in government and lack of consensus on implementation.

"The so-called Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Sustainable Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) has turned to be a 'ZimLiability', anchored on increasing poverty and deprivation, joblessness, collapsing service delivery, inequality and lack of transformation.

"We demand that media reforms be addressed with immediate effect. This includes freeing up of the airwaves to allow more actors, licensing of community radio stations to ensure a more localised discourse including on developmental issues."

The Renewal Team said the government was in breach of the constitution after failing to constitute Provincial Councils as required by the country's constitution.

"The government, as the source of the problem, must offer rescue packages to local authorities to reactivate basic service delivery in the communities.

"Resettled farmers continue to be held hostage by the regime due to lack of security of tenure and inability to access farming finance.

"We also demand that title be given to every beneficiary of the land reform to ensure security of tenure and bankability of farming enterprises thereby ensuring that the private financial sector is able to support the resettled farmers."

The party also reiterated its position that the land reform programme undertaken by Mugabe using veterans of the liberation struggle was irreversible and that resettled farmers must be supported in the financing and marketing of their produce.

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