THE breakaway MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe yesterday launched its election manifesto with devolution of power and a pledge to fight corruption topping the list of priorities, once elected into government.
The manifesto — titled, Building an Economy to Support Economic Transformation (BEST) — was launched at the Amphitheatre in Bulawayo at an event attended by several thousands of the party’s supporters.
Khupe, who has been endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate, said once elected into office, the MDC-T would resuscitate social services such as education and health, deal with corruption, resuscitate the agricultural and mining sectors, revive industries, restore normalcy to the financial sector and offer free internet for all, among other promises.
“A vote for MDC-T is a vote for devolution,” Khupe said in her address, adding devolution was necessary to address historical inequalities, social and economic exclusion of other provinces.
“In their infinite wisdom drawn from practical experience, Zimbabweans opted for a devolved system of local government and included it in the country’s constitution.
“Five years later, Zimbabweans have not enjoyed the benefits of devolution as the present government of Zanu PF has yet again denied the people their constitutional right.”
The constitution, under chapter 14, guarantees devolution of power, but little or nothing has been done to operationalise the decentralisation of government. Instead, government has appointed provincial ministers of state.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa once said government did not have money to implement devolution of power despite the state blowing millions on several other projects such as buying top-of-the-range vehicles.
Khupe pledged to tackle corruption, blaming it for the widespread economic destruction and poverty, adding her party would craft tough anti-corruption laws, jail offenders while also forfeiting to the state identified looted assets.
“Since grand political corruption and poor socio-economic policies are partly responsible for economic destruction, and massive poverty, the MDC-T government will strengthen measures to curb corruption and recover looted public assets. Strict anti-corruption laws shall be enforced in order to cultivate an ethic of honesty, integrity, hard work and selfless service,” Khupe said.
“Proceeds of corruption and all other criminal and illicit activities must be forfeited to the state without fear or favour.
“All persons who would have been convicted of any acts of corruption will be severely punished and the punishment will be commensurate with the level of seriousness of the acts of corruption for which they would have been convicted of after due process by a competent court of law.”
Zimbabwe has been ranked top on corruption, with former president Robert Mugabe and his successor often pledging to fight the vice.