Change is all around us. Barriers to free expression are being brought down. Today, I am rightly criticized, questioned and certainly satirized. So, too, are politicians on all sides and those in positions of authority — as indeed we all should be — at a volume few, myself included, could have predicted reaching so soon.
At the centre of this nationwide debate, the party I now lead is reaching out across communities with policies both credible and capable of building on changes we have instituted in just eight months: Revealing plans for 99-year farm leases — tackling the issue of access to, and stewardship of, our nation’s land — to resolve racial and economic divisions; extending dialogue directly to all minority groups; and unveiling opportunities for women’s economic empowerment through a newly launched venture capital fund.
Step-by-step we continue to explain our agenda for lasting change in these final (days) before Zimbabwe’s historic general election. And we will continue right up to polling day.
Then it will be for the citizens of Zimbabwe to decide: Have my party and I convinced the voters that real change only comes when we move forward together? Or will they choose another path?
The choice before the country next week is stark. This election is making clear that my opponents have a very different understanding and meaning of the word “change”.
Up until the untimely passing of the opposition MDC-T’s admirable principal — Morgan Tsvangirai — the change that party proffered held clarity. At its root was democracy that is both sustainable and certified.
All political parties and candidates should have equal opportunity to put their agendas to the nation under not just the law as written, but through those laws as practiced. A future that can be sustained rests on this very foundation.
Yet the opportunity a free and fair election offers does not ensure every party seizes it. In that regard, the new opposition leadership has surprised: they have campaigned across all corners of the country and reached out and into districts few might have expected them before.
But their prospects seem wasted when they talk so much of the past, rather than promoting a cogent platform for the future. When they have presented their plans, they are replete with high-speed bullet trains, vast motorway networks, and villages transformed into cities overnight; all complete — they insist — in the next five years.
Of course, it is not my place to question such vaulting ambition — even when the identities of those who may address the practicalities, or provide the funding, are yet to be revealed.
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