By Sij Ncube
MASVINGO, November 16,2015 – TENDAI Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has vowed to take President Robert Mugabe to task over devolution the party says is long overdue since the country adopted a new constitution nearly three years ago.
PDP Masvingo provincial chairperson Harrison Mudzuri delegates to the party’s strategic planning meeting Mugabe should not be allowed to disregard the supreme law of the land.
“We cannot wait anymore…the Constitution is very clear; devolution is now long overdue. Come 2016 we will take Mugabe and his party head on; Masvingo’s development cannot continue to lag behind when devolution has been guaranteed in the constitution,” charged Mudzuri.
The PDP Masvingo province strategic planning process over the weekend sought to map the direction towards the implementation of the party’s national congress resolutions held last September and the party’s key policy documents, the Holistic Programme for Economic Transformation (HOPE) and the Agenda for Restoration and Rehabilitation of Electoral Sustainability (ARREST).
The Provincial Working Committee (PWC) strategic planning meeting, which was attended by top party officials, was held from13 to 15 November at Zuma Lodge in Zaka district and it brought together 50 participants from provincial party structures covering the 26 party districts in Masvingo province.
At the meeting, participant after participant decried the underdevelopment, hunger and poverty confronting Masvingo province.
“It is very sad that after 35 years of independence, hunger and poverty has become a permanent feature of daily life in Masvingo. And Zanu PF wants us to believe it is a government?” quipped one of the participants from Masvingo urban district.
Presenting a paper on party values, ideology and ethics National Chairperson, Lucia Matibenga, pointed out that the PDP was guided by the ideology of social democracy, guided by values of respect, honesty, integrity and solidarity.
“As the PDP, we are the only true social democratic party in Zimbabwe. And social democracy is about growing the economy while ensuring social redistribution of wealth, upholding human and workers’ rights, respecting the Social Contract and ensuring future sustainability. In short social democracy is about people power,” she said.
The party’s Secretary for Elections, Settlement Chikwinya, pointed out to the delegates why it was critical for the party to prepare for 2018 while at the same time pushing for electoral reforms.
“We must always prepare for the future elections because that is the route we have chosen to use in effecting political change in Zimbabwe. However, we are not naive and blind as to how Zanu PF has tilted the electoral field in its favour. Thus we have a programme of action under ARREST to push for reforms via the Constitutional Court as well as peaceful protests” he said.
Delegates were also informed on the party’s Constitution by the Deputy Secretary General, Tongai Matutu, who emphasised that the Mandel Declaration was a point of departure for the PDP from other political parties.
“It must be understood that our experience and history in the MDC-T must shape our going forward…we left because of violence, personification of the struggle, debauchery and patronage. This is what PDP will never become and we must always remember that” he said.
Delegates were given an in-depth unpacking of HOPE and undertook various exercises to be able to understand it better. After the process, provincial spokesperson, Moses Mare, expressed the province’s enthusiasm at fully understanding HOPE.
“HOPE is the best policy document ever produced in this country and as it shows us how Masvingo will benefit from its tollgates and taxes while solving key problems of hunger by ensuring solar powered low cost irrigation schemes…this is in addition to an intensive public works programme that will create jobs for our youths and women. As Masvingo, we will spread the gospel of HOPE to all corners of the Province. Indeed there is prosperity in the name of HOPE” he enunciated much to the delight of the delegates.
The meeting closed with a brief from the secretary of international relations, Wllias Madzimure, who informed the delegates on the various initiatives towards engaging the region and international community around Zimbabwe’s deepening political, economic and social crisis.
The Masvingo strategic planning meeting was the first for the party’s provinces and in the next 60 days the party will undertake the same in all other provinces before cascading down to districts, wards and eventually branches.