Let us seize the time and reclaim our humanity.
6th February 2007; Harare, Zimbabwe
Confronting the National Crisis
Fellow citizens, there comes a time in the history and life of a nation when a revolutionary call has to be made. The conditions obtaining in Zimbabwe define and demand such a moment. We are suffering untold hardships. Every Zimbabwean is crying out for salvation from hunger, poverty, destitution, HIV/AIDS, escalating cost of living, unprecedented unemployment, and meaningless wages. There are chronic shortages of basic commodities, fuel, electricity, clean water, transport, and medicinal drugs. We cannot afford to send our children to school, and the quality of education has been eroded. All this is compounded by political repression and oppression at the hands of an illegitimate regime. Consequently, we are living in abject poverty, while our existence is now characterized by fear and uncertainty.
People of Zimbabwe, we have a duty and obligation to confront our plight as a nation. We have to deliver change. We owe this responsibility to posterity. History will never absolve us if we equivocate.
Our national socio-economic difficulties are inextricably linked to the political crisis of legitimacy and governance. The socio-economic crisis is beyond redress unless we resolve our political challenges.
As we recall the history of the success of the constitutional referendum, we note that the success was dependent on the ability of Zimbabweans to speak in unison and send a clear message to the ZANU(PF) regime. It was based on the strength of operating with critical mass while expressing commonly held positions. Our view is that there is absolutely no alternative to working together as the people of Zimbabwe in a struggle to regain our freedoms and liberties. This is a precondition to our collective economic salvation and prosperity.
It is within this context of giving back the voice to the people of Zimbabwe that the MDC outlines the following program aimed at restoring the people’s power to decide our destiny and preserving our dignity in the face of continued attacks by ZANU(PF).
Fellow Zimbabweans, the hour has come for us to seize the time and reclaim our humanity.
The MDC Defiance Campaign
The MDC Defiance Campaign is about saying NO to the postponement of the 2008 Presidential election. It is about saying NO to unfree and unfair elections. It is about demanding, mobilizing, organizing and collectively engaging in resistance for the restoration of democracy, political freedoms and our dignity as a people. It is about a campaign for a new people-driven democratic national constitution by all for all. It is to force the repeal of a whole raft of repressive legislation, such as AIPPA and POSA. The Defiance Campaign is non- violent and is aimed at building confidence in the people in their ability to stand up for their freedoms and rights. It is about the people of Zimbabwe speaking out on the issues that affect them on a day to day basis and offering solutions to the national crisis. It is about people taking charge of their lives.
The Defiance Campaign is about Zimbabweans uniting to confront our challenges and organizing to resist our continued subjugation by the ZANU(PF) government. The campaign is about saying NO to continued suffering and hardships. It is about reclaiming the people’s power by saying NO to corruption, mismanagement and social breakdown under ZANU(PF). We are saying NO to ZANU(PF) illegitimacy and misrule; NO to ZANU(PF) incompetence and patronage; NO to the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. It is about speaking with one voice and saying NO! Enough is enough! We cannot accept any further abuse and denigration.
Fellow citizens, just say NO to Robert Mugabe; just say NO to ZANU(PF).
Why the Defiance Campaign?
The MDC takes cognizance of the fact that the primary responsibility of extricating the people from the current crisis lies with the people themselves. It further acknowledges that for the people of Zimbabwe to achieve emancipation they need to have a voice. We need to employ strategies that work in order to preserve our nationhood for posterity. We must realize that a strong people stand up for themselves, while a stronger people stand up for each other. In beginning to participate in non-violent defiance actions wherever they are, in whatever numbers, as individuals and as groups, the people will rediscover their voice and power to build a critical mass to face their challenges, and confront the dictatorship. The Defiance Campaign will unite the people of Zimbabwe around issues common to them. It will provide restoration of the people’s voice.
The Roll Out
The Defiance Campaign is launched around the twin issues of saying NO to the postponement of the 2008 Presidential election and saying NO to the holding of elections under the current constitutional and legal arrangements. These two issues are at the very core of the resolution of the current crisis. The people’s right to elect political leaders is not an issue that ZANU(PF) can unilaterally postpone on behalf of the Zimbabwean people. The very proposal is indicative of the disdain with which ZANU(PF) views the people of Zimbabwe and its complete rejection of our voices and right to elect leaders of our choice. It represents an uncouth attempt at continuing the rule of a regime without due regard to people’s wishes. The people of Zimbabwe through the Defiance Campaign will defy all attempts at continued non-sanctioned subjugation.
The current constitutional arrangements continue to allow for undemocratic rule and preserve the existence of the ZANU(PF) regime. It is imperative that any election be preceded by a new constitution which is the product of a people driven process that ensures the guarantee of fundamental freedoms and protects the democratic aspirations and values of the people. The people of Zimbabwe through the Defiance Campaign should therefore say NO to the holding of elections under the current constitution which will make our vote an exercise in futility.
While the two issues identified will form the launch pad for the Defiance Campaign, the MDC will in due course announce a series of defiance activities throughout the country around key issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe in their day to day existence. Campaigns will be organized around socio-economic, bread and butter issues directly affecting our people. The voice and agency of the people will be restored so that we can reclaim our power and decide our destiny for the sake of posterity.
The power is within us, to stand up and be counted. We must be masters of our own destiny. Lets all participate in the Defiance Campaign. Be a player, not an observer. Let us seek to regain our voice so painfully taken away by ZANU(PF). There is no activity or contribution that is insignificant. 2007 is the year of Defiance. It is the year of national action, leading to people driven political and economic change in Zimbabwe. We must restore our sense of duty and national pride. Our circumstances demand action.
Say No to the 2010 Presidential extension.
Say No to Elections under the current constitution.
Say No to Robert Mugabe and ZANU(PF).
There will be no compromise, retreat, or surrender.
It is defiance or death. It is confrontation or capitulation.
We choose to defy and confront.
Arthur G.O. Mutambara