The United Movement for Devolution (UMD), has launched its 2023 election manifesto grounded on a promise to implement devolution in order to spearhead political stability and economic growth in the country.
UDM launched its manifesto in Njube Saturday under the theme: A transformative Agenda for total reconstruction of State power,” becoming the first party in the country’s political landscape to do so ahead of the 2023 elections.
UMD was formed on 7 April 2018 and performed dismally in the general elections that year where all its parliamentary and council candidates lost.
Led by former Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, UMD pointed out that when fully implemented, devolution will reduce marginalisation, underdevelopment, inequality and injustice perpetuated by a centralised system under Zanu PF rule.
“We are contesting in the 2023 elections and we will start knocking on doors to inform people what we are doing. Our preparation for the elections starts now and the focus is on building branches,” Moyo said while addressing party structures.
“As a party, we have declared our intentions to be part of the electoral process as we prepare for the next elections. We are making our views public in terms, sharing our policies, as we work towards building a new prosperous and inclusive Zimbabwe. A Zimbabwe where all will find it comfortable to live in without being discriminated against, unlike Zanu PF’s rule where people are identified by the political organisations they belong to.”
Moyo said devolution started with the grassroots and urged party structures that to gain power they must win council seats.
“We need councillors, that’s where we must occupy political space. Devolution does not start with an MP or the president,” he noted.
Moyo said his party had graduated from politics of calling for change but pushed for substance.
“We don’t just want change or remove individuals for the sake of replacing them. We seek politics that brings a developmental programme to empower people. Our focus is on devolved power, not power that resides in one place with one person. That is dangerous,” he warned, also noting a culture of removing and replacing individuals without a clear strategy was wrong.
“We can remove Zanu PF but what happens after that? We have spent 42 years learning that and we as UMD will not be part of mob psychology politics but want politics of substance.”
Moyo emphasised that a devolved system empowered locals to control resources, developmental plans and leadership.
He disclosed how some time ago when the MDC-T was led by late leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, the party wanted to appoint him as a Harare mayor but he declined.
“I declined because I was not from that place. I indicated there is nothing that attaches me to that place except that Harare is my capital city. You see, we have to understand how crucial it is to serve communities and a place whose culture you identify with. How can you lead people without knowing their culture?”
The former speaker also declared that the crisis in Zimbabwe emanated from a lack of leadership and governance, a situation which was common in most African states.
“Africa has failed to rise to the occasion because of a lack of leadership. Instead, we have position holders who have no love for the people. There is no leadership in Africa and this challenge is worse in Matabeleland as we have relegated leaders to the periphery,” he said.
Moyo lamented it was sad that when people from Matabeleland stood up to call for devolution, they were accused of tribalism.
“Is it a crime to yearn for devolution? What is tribalism about wanting to control your own economics and politics,” he said, noting how Zanu PF has created class-based society where ruling party relatives and friends continued with “the unabated act of primitive accumulation of wealth at the expense of the ordinary people.”
“Zanu PF has failed to accommodate and employ people. It is not surprising that Zanu PF is quiet because they know they are the problem.”
The UDM leader added he grew “angry and troubled when people expressed fear in confronting such issues.”
“That must stop,” he said. “Zimbabwe is in a state of paralysis. Things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold. It is an indisputable fact that Zanu PF is the cause of the political, social and economic quagmire. In our fear, we also help them perpetuate the system.”
UMD National Chairperson, Martin Moyo, a former Bulawayo mayor, stated that their party may have been born in Bulawayo, under the Matabeleland region but it was a national party, “not regional.”
“Devolution is not regional but national,” he said.
The manifesto launch was attended by structures from Matabeleland South – Bulilima East, who came from Kekete, Ntoli, Mbembeswane, Malaba, Mzinyathini in Esigodini, Tsholotsho including local Bulawayo suburbs.