The Movement for Democratic Change congress which met yesterday and today gave more powers to its president Morgan Tsvangirai by stripping away the powers of the secretary-general and vesting them with the president.
According to one of the resolutions passed by the congress, the party said it will amend its constitution to make Tsvangirai “the custodian of the party name, custodian of all party assets, to supervise all in the leadership, to be the party’s chief fundraiser and to suspend National Standing Committee members through the National Council for breach of the party constitution”.
It said that the secretary-general shall no longer be responsible for all party affairs in the national secretariat and shall report to the party president.
The two previous secretary-generals of the party have been responsible for party splits, Welshman Ncube masterminding the 2005 split and Tendai Biti, the 2014 split.
The expulsion of Biti, Elton Mangoma and Solomon Madzore was ratified by congress today.
Party elections were still on at the time of writing, but Obert Gutu had been elected party spokesman after Douglas Mwonzora decided to contest the post of secretary-general
The full resolutions:
Saturday, 01 November 2014
MDC T 4th National Congress Resolutions
The Movement for Democratic Change (T) held its 4th national congress in Harare Province at City Sports centre from 31 October to 1 November 2014. The congress was held under the theme ‘Towards National Convergence: A Solution to the National Crisis.’ Delegates to the Congress were drawn from the level of Branch upwards, from each of the Party’s 12 Provinces. Also in attendance were representatives of MDC T’s external branches. The Congress received solidarity messages from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) and the Internal Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) represented by Wellington Chibhebhe. This overview provides internal resolutions, external resolutions and policy resolutions based on the congress’s adoption of the four thematic committees namely organizational transformation, constitutional review, policy review and the roadmap to elections.
Congress noted that the institutional and structural design of the party has contributed to the ‘split’ of the party in the past and lack of party cohesion which is essential to realize the objectives of the party. The party also noted that the current institutional design might lead to destructive functions in the party and another split.
Congress resolved to amend the constitution to allow the President to be the custodian of the party name, custodian of all party assets, to supervise all in the leadership, to be the party’s chief fundraiser and to suspend National Standing Committee members through the National Council for breach of the party constitution. In this regard the Secretary General shall no longer be responsible ‘for all party affairs in the National Secretariat’ and shall report to the President.
Congress resolved to ratify the recommendation of national council to expand the members of the National Standing Committee to include the secretary for elections who shall be appointed by the President.
Congress resolved that the party sets up an Arbiter General’s office that cascades to all levels to speedily deal with the key issues of discipline in the party, cognisant of the fact that people are disciplined not for their views but for their constitutional conduct.
Congress resolved that deputies of officers of congress except the vice president and the vice chairperson shall not be elected from the next congress but will be appointed by the President from a pool of national executive members elected from the provinces.
Congress resolved that deputies of officers of congress except the vice president and the vice chairperson elected from this 4th party national congress will not sit in the standing committee.
Congress resolved that all national standing committee members shall work under the supervision and the authority of the President.
Congress resolved to reinstate the following external assemblies that is UK, South Africa and United States of America as party provinces.
Congress resolved that internal elections of the party shall be run by an independent electoral body established and or appointed by the national council.
Congress therefore resolved to extend the voting rights in all primary elections to all party members and not limit them only to party structures that hold positions in the party. This means an expansion of the Electoral College, whereby all members of party members in a legitimate membership roll of its party in a particular district are eligible to vote in a primary election for their parliamentary candidate and all registered members in a particular ward are eligible to vote for a councilor.
Congress resolved to ensure gender parity in all organs of the party and respect the principle of 50/50 gender representation.
Congress resolved that local authorities should work with the party, report and be accountable to the party.
Congress resolved to set up a Political Party Institute that will operate as a think-tank. The Congress also resolved to build structures and embark on a cadreship development program and leadership training programs and introducing an evaluation and performance management system for the leaders at all levels.
Position on rebels
Congress resolved to ratify the decision of the National Council to expel Tendai Biti, Elton Mangoma, Solomon Madzore and all the renegades who have transformed themselves into MDC Renewal. The MDC renewal must forthwith cease to use the party’s name and symbols as they did with party colors.
Congress noted the shortcomings and imperfections of the July 2013 general elections as acknowledged by SADC, the African Union and the international community, particularly the shambolic voters roll and failure to provide an electronic voters roll as required by the law.
Congress therefore ratified the National Council position not to participate in any election, including by-elections, and even the next elections whenever they are held, until and unless all agreed reforms are implemented to the letter and spirit, including the provision of a biometric voters roll in a way that protects the will of the people and return the country to legitimacy.
Congress noted that the new constitution allows citizens to peacefully demonstrate and petition the State on any grievance. Congress therefore resolved that the party will embark on peaceful and constitutional demonstrations and other forms of expression around the issues to force the regime of Robert Mugabe to accept the need for reforms in the following but not limited to the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), media, security sector, implementation of the Constitution in its letter and spirit.
Congress envisaged that the constitutional and peaceful demonstrations will force the government of Robert Mugabe to the negotiating table and build consensus on the need for a timetable towards a free and fair election and return to legitimacy.
Big Tent – Expansion of social base
Congress noted the need to expand its social and political base. Congress therefore resolved to welcome all members of other political parties and even former rebels to come and join the party in order to strengthen the base to fight for a new, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe.
Congress noted that the party needed to strengthen its organic links with other organizations, civic groups, labour, the informal sector, students, church, traditional leaders, progressive political parties, women organizations and the youth in order to entrench the grassroots support and reinvigorate the mass-based approach.
Congress therefore resolved to call for a national convergence conference from all groups and political parties to identify and agree on the national grievances and map the way forward for the country.
Congress noted the deepening economic crisis bedeviling the country and its ramifications on the poor. Congress therefore resolved that there is need to create a stable, sustainable and rapidly expanding economy with opportunities for all.
Congress resolved that the MDC T stands for creating a social market economy, with a strong social bias towards the poor and marginalized, underpinned by expanded production in all key sectors of the economy.
The priority will be to create a balanced national budget biased in favor of socio-economic development, reduction in overall taxation to 25 per cent of GDP with progressive taxes on incomes and competitive tax rates on all private sector activity, maintain the use of the US dollar as the primary means of exchange and facilitate the full recovery of the Reserve Bank as the leader of last resort and the supervisory agency responsible for Bank and Financial supervision.
Land and agriculture
Congress noted the disorder in the land sector, rising food insecurity and the partisan nature of land redistribution.
Congress therefore resolved that the MDC T supports land redistribution to the people and not to ZANU PF chefs. The MDC T believes in undertaking a comprehensive national land audit of all land in Zimbabwe. In this regard, the MDC T supports the need to appoint a professional land commission that will look into issues of non-partisan access to land, compensation, land tenure and agricultural production.
People living with disabilities
Congress noted with concern the plight of people living with disabilities and resolved to set up a Disability board to advise the party on issues of disability.
Congress noted that there is no transparency in the remittance of mineral revenues to the treasury and support for local communities.
Congress therefore resolved to promote policies that will foster transparency in mineral revenues and the sustainable growth of the mining industry. The MDC T supports the distribution of a percentage of proceeds from the mining sector to the local communities for their development.
Congress noted with concern the country’s isolation by other nations and its pariah state which negatively affects tourism. Congress therefore resolved that the MDC T supports the development and good management of a tourist industry that will provide a safe, world class infrastructure and make Zimbabwe a prime market destination for all tourists.
Industry and commerce
Congress noted with concern the dilapidation of industries and the failure to generate new jobs. Congress therefore resolved that the MDC T’s policy is to make sure that industry and commerce is revived through the provision of low cost, financial facilities for distressed key industries to jump start production and bring their output to world standards and create jobs.
Congress noted with sadness the ZANU PF government’s moves towards labour market flexibility at the expense of the ordinary worker. Congress therefore resolved that the MDC T does not support labour flexibility. The party stands for fair remuneration and respect for workers’ rights. In this regard, minimum wages should be enforced for all sectors and he strengthening of the National Economic Consultative Forum.
Congress noted the decline in education standards and the ever rising cost of education in Zimbabwe. Congress therefore resolved that the MDC T supports that every Zimbabwean should have free access to quality education. In this regard, primary education will be free, the Ministry of education will allocate a minimum of 20 per cent of the national budget to basic education and grants for disadvantaged children in tertiary institutions.
Congress also resolved that the MDC T government will restore the standards of university education and research to a level comparable with the best in Southern Africa. This will be anchored on supporting curriculum review, professional management of institutions, depoliticisation of institutions of learning and improvement of staff remuneration.
Congress noted that the new constitution provides for universal access to quality healthcare for all yet most ordinary Zimbabweans still fail to gain access to quality healthcare. Congress therefore resolved that all citizens must have access to quality healthcare, with emphasis on the social determinants of health, health promotion and diseases prevention.
Congress resolved that every citizen should live within 5 kilometers of a health institution and this will entail construction of hundreds of new clinics in the neglected resettlement areas and many rural areas.
For funding the MDC T will establish a National Health Insurance scheme financed through ear marked taxes. In this regard, the MDC T will support health workers and ensure that they are well remunerated, motivated and happy.
Energy and Water
Congress noted with concern the the lack of implementation of key water projects that would improve the lives of Zimbabweans and the shortage of power generation due to long years of neglect in energy investment by ZANU PF. Congress therefore resolved that there should be speedy implementation of the Matabeleland Zambezi water project (MZWP) and the Kunzwi dam and to invest in alternative sources of energy, ensure professional management of energy institutions and ensure energy is available for all, including in the rural areas and in indigent households.
Congress noted the poor services offered by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the difficulties ordinary citizens have in gaining access to registry services. Congress therefore resolved to have a devolved system of essential personal registrations services.
Registration services should be made available at all district offices for a minimum fee and applications should be processed within 24 hours.
Congress resolved that all children should be given a passport number and national ID at birth. This should lead to automatic voter rights on the attainment of the age of 18 years.
Police and Defence services
Congress noted with deep concern the continued politicization of state security forces in Zimbabwe that priorities safeguarding power for ZANU PF rather than servicing the citizens. Congress therefore resolved the need for a police service that is efficient and responsive so that the majority of citizens feel secure and are able to trust the police.
Congress also resolved that the MDC will maintain an efficient, lean and effective national defence capable of defending Zimbabwe’s interests locally and abroad.
Congress noted the reconfiguration of the national economy leading to massive informalisation due to ZANU PF’s failure to govern.
Congress therefore resolved that informal traders, farmers, miners and business persons should enjoy the protection of the state and get assistance in growing their activities with the objective of entering the formal sector and improving their precarious livelihoods.
Congress noted with concern the continued exclusion of the diaspora in the affairs of the country by the ZANU PF government which is driven by exclusive nationalism.
Congress therefore resolved that the diaspora should be afforded an opportunity to contribute to the economic, political and social life of the country. In particular the diaspora must be given their constitutional right to vote in elections.
Congress noted with concern the continued ZANU PF centralization policy on local government which is ultra vires the new constitution and deprives citizens of their rights. Congress therefore resolved that there should be immediate implementation of devolution with an objective to attain a democratic-developmental local state.
Congress resolved that all local authorities should be given control of the services to residents in their areas of jurisdiction and the principles of devolution of power are respected and supported with central government resources.
Congress also resolved that local authorities and police should immediately halt demolitions of people’s houses and rather seek the regularization of such. In addition, all residents should be given security of title over the land or property that they occupy for accommodation purposes and the provision of family based accommodation should be a priority.
Congress also resolved that local authorities should establish local residents associations with an acceptable constitution and leadership elected annually at meetings of the association conducted in each ward.
Congress noted with concern the growing marginalization of war veterans marked by the decline in their social welfare and the politicization of the war veterans. Congress therefore resolved to support the constitutional rights of genuine war veterans as enshrined in the new constitution and to ensure that they get assistance for rehabilitation, education, health and pension rights among others.
Congress noted with sadness the entrenched patriarchal nature of society which has perpetuated the marginalization of women and girl child under the government of ZANU PF. Congress therefore resolved to bring women in the mainstream of opportunities. All institutions are encouraged to achieve equity in all positions involving the development of policy as enshrined in the new constitution. The MDC T will support and cooperate with the Gender Commission and safeguard against its politicization.
Congress noted with concern the politicization of traditional leaders for purposes of attaining and retaining state power by ZANU PF. Congress therefore resolved that the conduct of traditional leaders should be regulated by the new constitution.
Congress resolved that the MDC T respect traditional leaders as custodians of our culture, language, and history.
Congress noted with concern Zimbabwe’s isolation by key strategic nations and its pariah status as a country. Congress resolved to establish normal relations with all countries and multinational organizations that are beneficial to Zimbabwe’s strategic interests. The MDC T will therefore work to have Zimbabwe readmitted into the family of nations.
Congress noted with concern the deep seated mistrust in communities, the tensions and pain induced as a result of political violence which is largely state sponsored by the ruling ZANU PF party. Congress therefore resolved to support the establishment of a National Reconciliation, Justice and Peace commission to deal with violations of human rights since 1980. Every victim of human rights abuse since 1980 should be permitted access to the Commission in order to seek information about what happened, identify the perpetrators, seek a sense of justice and be considered for compensation by the State.
Congress noted with deep concern Zimbabwe’s balooing debt which is an albatross to meaningful economic development that can transform the ordinary people’s livelihoods.
Congress therefore resolved that the party commits to servicing of the national debt. An MDC T government will engage creditors to make a payment plan for the national debt. Where possible the party will approach creditors to secure either debt cancellation or rescheduling. This will make the country eligible for loan facilities from multilateral institutions and friendly countries.