The Sunday Mail
MDC-T leader and one of the four female presidential candidates in the forthcoming harmonised elections, Dr Thokozani Khupe, has promised to end all forms of violence if elected into office.
The 54-year-old Dr Khupe, who was battling Mr Nelson Chamisa for the control of MDC-T, found herself on the receiving end of intra-party violence in the opposition party’s game of thrones.
In the July 30 harmonised elections, her party will be contesting under the banner of the MDC-T, which, for her, is a victory of sorts.
Dr Khupe told The Sunday Mail last week that violence is a weapon of cowards and her government will have zero tolerance to the practice.
Violence, she said, paints a bad picture for the country’s democracy and the electorate must shun politicians with violent tendencies.
“My view is that political violence in whatever form or category is a choice weapon of cowards who have nothing to place on the table for nation building and development.
“My government will have zero tolerance for all forms of violence, including political violence. I advise the electorate not to waste their time with politicians who use poor souls as instruments of unleashing violence on their competitors,” said Dr Khupe.
“It certainly does not paint a good picture for our democracy that even a woman who has been in the highest political corridors for three decades like myself cannot escape being subjected to misogyny, violence and humiliation as has been seen in recent times.
“Such violence is the reason why our women representation in political offices remains very far from the minimum thresholds,” she said.
She also promised to cultivate an environment that affords equal opportunities for Zimbabweans.
“My vision is for a Zimbabwe which offers equal opportunities for all its citizens in all the political, economic, social, political, and cultural spheres.
“Equal opportunities in these spheres means that all Zimbabweans must have access to the best jobs with good working conditions and remuneration, the best healthcare, the best education, the best clean water, food, and the best delivery of all social services.”
Devolution of power, she added, could help unshackle the economy and create conditions for economic growth.
“Centralisation of the economy has meant that failure of the central economy through Government interference has always translated to failure of all economic activities in the various provinces of the country.
“Failure of the centralised economy created the highly informalised economy that now exists.
“My first step will be to fully implement devolution of power as a way of building provincial economies, which are fully insulated from the vagaries of what happens in central Government.”
“Strong provincial economies will create equal opportunities for all people in Zimbabwe by localising jobs and retaining a huge share of gains from their local resources for local development,” she said.
The MDC-T leader intends to deal with cash shortages through producing and exporting as a means to earn foreign currency.
Continued Dr Khupe: “My understanding of the cash crisis is that it is a symptom indicative of a failing centralised economy, and this problem will naturally resolve itself once our provincial economies begin to produce and export and the country earns new money into the economy. Any other cash shortage solution that can be proffered will be a stop-gap measure incapable of permanently resolving this crisis.”
Dr Khupe, who is confident of victory at the July 30 polls, said she hopes the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will deliver free, fair and credible elections.
“While we continue to pray for ZEC to fully comply with Section 239 of our country’s Constitution in ensuring a free, fair and credible election, we are readying ourselves for this election because we will not concede a penalty for Zanu-PF to score an easy electoral victory.
“The electoral field has never been free and fair ever since my party broke onto the political scene, and this time around this problem has been amplified by the fact that we are using a biometric voting system for the first time.
“I encourage our supporters to mobilise for a huge turnout even as we continue to implore ZEC to comply with all the technical and administrative requirements they are to abide with as prescribed by our current electoral law, something which is surely within their means,” she said.