By Daniel Chigundu
The country’s biggest opposition party MDC-T has dismissed the State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa describing it as hopeless and lacking in detail.
MDC-T said the SONA was unnecessarily long on promises but short on detail as to how the new administration will tackle the various challenges obtaining in the economy.
In a statement, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said the opposition party was unimpressed by the brief and half-hearted commitment to solving the country’s problem by the government.
“The SONA was very brief and it hopelessly lacked details on how, exactly, the new administration was going to deal with pressing national issues such as the collapsed public health delivery system, the financial and other challenges being faced by tertiary students in institutions of higher learning, rehabilitation of collapsed infrastructure such as public roads and the national railway system.
“The MDC is thoroughly unimpressed with the half-hearted commitment that the Mnangagwa administration has so far shown towards opening up the State-owned print and electronic media.
“The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) radio stations and the sole television station remain virtually closed to all other political parties except the ruling Zanu PF party. Surely, it doesn’t take much effort in simply instructing the powers that be at the ZBC to ensure that they give access to other political parties and not just to the ruling party. As it is, the ZBC is continuing with its usual biased and one-sided coverage in favour of the ruling party,” said the former legislator.
According to Gutu, while MDC-T welcomes the administration’s public pledge to combat corruption, it is however worried by the fact that only members of G40 are being targeted for arrest and prosecution.
MDC-T said it is a public secret that there are several high level “crooks and criminals who are still occupying lofty positions in the Mnangagwa administration but these individuals remain scot – free.
“Thus, there is a perception that the anti-corruption crusade is being executed on factional lines. The MDC is on record calling for the arrest and prosecution of all criminals regardless of their factional and political affiliation.
“It is only when the anti-corruption fight is impartial and holistic will the generality of the people of Zimbabwe start to believe that the new government’s much-touted zero tolerance towards corruption is genuine and not just meant to settle political scores,” he said.
Gutu said his party was also disappointed by the fact that SONA did give details on how the government will deal with the prevailing liquidity crunch, long queues, skyrocketing prices of basic goods and commodities.
The MDC-T spokesperson said mere promises and threats are not good enough to restore sanity within the business sector, adding that only concrete measures and steps have to be immediately put in place in order to protect the vulnerable groups of society from the ravages of skyrocketing prices.
With regards to 2018 elections MDC-T said while Mnangagwa promised free and fair elections, they are however alarmed by reckless statements made by some senior members of the establishment, especially Christopher Mutsvangwa.
Gutu said MDC-T will take comfort from a state of affairs whereby the newly appointed Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Philip Valerio Sibanda, would publicly announce that the army is not going to take part in campaigning for any political party and also that the army will accept the results of a free and free election regardless of who is the winner of the Presidential election.