Innocent Ruwende and Zvamaida Murwira
The opposition MDC Alliance launched its election manifesto yesterday which political analysts said lacked originality as it largely plagiarised Zanu-PF policies since 2013. The manifesto is titled the “New Zimbabwe Pledge for a Sustainable and Modernisation Agenda for Real Transformation” (SMART) and was launched at Jubilee Centre in Harare.
SMART is anchored on five pillars, namely smart governance, nation-building and the consensus state, smart sustainable, shared and inclusive economy, smart citizen rights, interests and protection, smart social justice and delivery and smart reconstruction and remodelling of the country’s infrastructure.
The alliance has chosen Mr Nelson Chamisa as its presidential candidate.
Analysts yesterday said most of the items in the manifesto were plagiarised from Zanu-PF’s Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) and its manifesto for the July 30 harmonised elections.
Political analyst Mr Richard Mahomva said the MDC Alliance blueprint was a mimic of Zanu-PF policies since 2013.
“The idea of SMART is problematic because it speaks of the agenda of transformation, which is synonymous with Zanu-PF’s blueprint, the Zim-Asset. So it is a regurgitation of what scaled Zanu-PF into power” (in 2013), he said.
“When you read the Zanu PF manifesto, it takes you into a gallery of renaissance. In SMART there is a mimic of the Zanu-PF prospectus which came much earlier. The MDC Alliance’s late release was convenient and strategic.”
He said the voter and sharp analytical minds would have expected Mr Chamisa’s manifesto to be entrenched in generational renewal in line with the rhetoric of generational consensus.
Mr Mahomva said Mr Chamisa, like the Zanu-PF G40 cabal, tried to use the youth demographic to ascend to power.
Another political analyst, Mr Alexander Rusero, said the MDC Alliance manifesto showed that the opposition had run out of ideas after the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa filled the gaps that they historically capitalised on.
“Their mantra had been that ‘Mugabe must go’, and he has gone. They were saying the country should join the international community, and the new administration has re-engaged and they have actually invited the European Union and other Western countries to observe the elections. They have been outmanoeuvred. So what the MDC-T is doing is to resort to scale their issues by making unrealistic promises,” said Mr Rusero.
Mr Tawanda Mugwadi, another analyst, also said the MDC Alliance manifesto regurgitated Zanu PF’s ZimAsset economic recovery blueprint.
“The manifesto is an attempt to regurgitate Zim Asset with a slight variation in terminology and figures, which shows lack of creativity in the MDC Alliance. Fundamentally, how does the creation of a $100 billion economy become possible yet they doubt that a middle income economy promised by Zanu-PF can be achieved by 2030?” he said.
Mr Mugwadi also said the MDC-T had no moral ground to speak against corruption when they had failed to rein in their councillors, who had failed to provide basic services in all urban local authorities they control.
“Moreso, the MDC factions launched their manifesto on the backdrop of intra-party violence marred by regrettable levels of intolerance at the hands of the so-called Vanguard. That means they should be the last to talk about political freedoms,” said Mr Mugwadi.
Political analyst Mr Goodwine Mureriwa said renaming of provinces was a peripheral issue at the moment.
“This is the same party which was spearheading devolution and supporting the creation of a Ndebele State. They are just furthering the interests of pressure groups such as the Bulawayo Agenda and Mthwakazi as well as a Western perspective to divide Zimbabwe for purposes of creating ethnic conflicts,” he said.
“Diving the country results in unnecessary ethnic conflicts which they want to use to justify Western intervention and regime change.”
He said if the MDC Alliance was genuine in stabilising the currency they would instead of joining the Rand Union ytalk of re-introduce the Zimbabwe dollar because joining the Rand Union was no different from the current multi-currency system.
“The party is desperate. They are looking for loopholes in the Zanu PF manifesto which they can’t find. They realised that the new dispensation had introduced the necessary reforms to get the country on its feet agai,” he said.
Speaking at the manifesto launch, Mr Chamisa, who was confident of winning the elections, said he would rename the country to Great Zimbabwe if elected.
Through SMART, the MDC Alliance pledged to trim the size of Cabinet to no more than 15 ministers.
Other policies include renaming of provinces, designating cities as Harare (commercial), Gweru (capital, administrative), Bulawayo (industrial) and Mutare (tourism).
The party said it would also introduce a flat corporate tax of 15 percent, remove bond notes and join the Rand Union as well as have a $46 billion economy by 2023 and $100 billion by 2029.
Mr Chamisa said his government would look neither east or west but “ follow the dollar”. He said they would immediately recognise the state of Israel and invite it to open an embassy in Harare.