Joseph Madzimure: THE INTERVIEW
Zanu-PF has since last year been reinvigorating itself after romping to a landslide victory in the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections. This has seen the party maintaining its dominance over the opposition in by-elections that have been held since then. Here, our Senior Reporter Joseph Madzimure (JM) speaks to Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo (SKM) on developments taking place in the ruling party, how some challenges facing the country can be addressed and how corruption can be tackled.
JM: Can you take us through how the party is functioning under the New Dispensation?
SKM: It is one year since our harmonised elections and Zanu-PF won these elections resoundingly. We were excited by the response of the people because it was clear that they accepted our manifesto. Our manifesto was based on our theme “Unite, Fight Corruption, Develop, Re-engage and Create jobs”. The task at hand now is to deliver what we had promised the people. We must also remember that Government is a product of the party because without it, no Government can be formed. The responsibility of the Government is to implement the policies of the party, but we do this together in a good relationship. I say so because we do not work at cross purposes.
JM: Do you think Government has done enough so far to deliver on the promises in the manifesto?
SKM: As you are aware, President Mnangagwa is the First Secretary of the party and Head of State and Government, so there must be no misunderstanding in terms of our vision. Then coming to the New Dispensation, our vision is to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle income economy by 2030 and as often said by the President, Zimbabwe is Open for Business, but you can only be open for business if you are a country in tranquillity.
We live also by our motto of Unity, Peace and Development because without these, it will be very difficult to invest in a country where there is turmoil.
JM: Do you think the party has the capacity to win the coming by-elections considering the economic challenges facing the country?
SKM: Yes, of course. We appeal to the people by our manifestos and policies. So far we have had a few by-elections both council and constituency, and we have won all except one. We have no fear, but we will appeal to people and not force people.
JM: I understand Zanu-PF will host the former Liberation Movement Summit next month. Do you relate well with other revolutionary parties?
SKM: Yes, there will be a summit in September for former liberation movements in Victoria Falls. We have a lot in common, we have been in the trenches together, we were being attacked together and we must protect each other and work together and not allow anyone to divide us. Our preparations are going on well. Some Heads of State and Government from our sister parties will attend the summit.
JM: MDC-A is mobilising people to abandon Zanu-PF’s empowerment drive, especially the bread making initiative. What’s your take on that?
SKM: The party is committed to ensuring each and every household has access to food. We have the business community who are increasing prices on a daily basis at the expense of the people. So, as a party we are coming up with strategies to mitigate food shortages in the country. That bread is not compulsory, if you don’t want to eat it, leave it alone.
JM: Some party secretaries have been deployed at the party headquarters on full time basis. What are you doing to make sure party policies are implemented in Government?
SKM: The party is supreme and we are here to ensure party policies are implemented. Government is not above the party, but it is the party which forms the Government, so whatever happens in Government we discuss it here as a party.
We work in a symbiotic form, we work as a family and we are saying the promises we made during the campaign period must be implemented by Government, so we are interacting with Government to see how far we have gone. It is important to have senior full-time members working at the party headquarters.
JM: The Youth League has been at the forefront denouncing corruption, but some are saying the persecution of those allegedly involved in corruption is being done on factional lines. What is your take on that?
SKM: We have to speak on corruption until our tongues hang out. Those involved in corruption know where they belong. There is free accommodation and food in prisons and we don’t mind them staying there for as long as possible because corruption has destroyed the fabric of the economy. People are talking of millions being abused and we are saying corruption must be dealt with without fear or favour both in the private and public sector.
We must fight corruption. I am happy that we have new commissioners at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and from what I can see, they have done more in a short space of time than what the other commission did in years and that gives me hope that nobody will hide, so we are hoping that ZACC has enough teeth to bite and bite hard.
As a party we are saying the whistle-blowers must come forward to ZACC to report and there must be rewards for whistle blowers. We do not want to hear about factionalism or tribalism or regionalism, all these are corrupt tendencies, because corruption is not just about money, but also creating discord.
JM: Zimbabwe is facing economic challenges. As a ruling party which forms the Government, how do you intend to address those challenges?
SKM: As a country we are also aware that we are generally an agricultural based economy and our emphasis has always been on food security and production. The more surplus we get from production the more we can export and the more foreign currency we can get. The centrality has been on Command Agriculture where we have assisted a lot of people with inputs and expertise to improve their products.
JM: The opposition MDC-A is blaming the Government, saying it has failed to run the country. What is your response?
SKM: We did well in the last two years, unfortunately Zanu-PF is not in control of the weather. We have got drought as we speak and that will compel us to import food. This drought has affected our focus on agriculture, but we are doing all we can to improve on irrigation. We were earlier on hit hard by Cyclone Idai which devastated a lot of infrastructure in some parts of our country, particularly Manicaland and some parts of Masvingo, hence the resources earmarked for development had to be diverted to sustain the lives of the people in the affected areas, especially the issue of infrastructure such as bridges, schools, hospitals, roads rehabilitation, among others.
Fortunately, our friends came to our aid, not only our friends in the region, but those beyond including China, United Arab Emirates, India and many others including some in Europe, so we are very grateful to those who came to assist us.
A lot of funds were diverted to this cause, funds which we hoped would resuscitate the manufacturing industry to create the necessary jobs. As the ruling party we understand the high rate of unemployment, but we have not given up, we are a very resilient people. We are working on addressing the challenge. We must stand firm, but it calls for the unity of our people, we must be a united people.
We are continuing with our efforts on infrastructural development, to improve our transport system, to improve our airports to make lives for our people easy in terms of transport.
The Government is also focusing naturally on the energy sector because of the drought, and the country receives little rains, forcing water levels at Kariba Dam to decline.
We are aware that our friends in the region have been very sympathetic with us and we might see some improvements in that sector because without energy there is not much we can do. As the ruling party that is why we are saying let’s not just rely on hydro, there is need to invest in solar, wind and thermal power.
We remain grateful to our neighbours South Africa and Mozambique for their deep understanding. There are efforts to improve infrastructure on energy, you are aware of Kariba South which was commissioned by the President. With the commitment shown between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Batoka Gorge hydro power station will also come up and it will help the two countries to get enough power.