The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe and President of the Movement for Democratic Change, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, Mrs Tsvangirai, party leaders, invited guests and fellow members of Society, ladies and gentleman. All Protocols observed.

It is our singular honour to be able to give this message of solidarity with the Movement for Democratic Change, on the occasion of its 13th anniversary. This Anniversary is commemorated at an opportune time for all of us as Zimbabweans, and is aptly themed in a manner that shows that while we celebrate and commemorate - the final destination that masses of Zimbabweans embarked on through the formation of the MDC in 1999 is yet to be completed. The journey over the last 13 years has been long and arduous, with many impediments in the path of people's progress and the democratisation project. The very fact that we can be able to commemorate the existence of the MDC-T at this point is a point worth celebrating, and the leadership that has made this possible, is worth saluting. For we know that as we celebrate, there are thousands who have been unable to do so, after falling victim to the militarised electoral authoritarian regime that the MDC was specifically formed to confront.   Some have paid the ultimate price of their lives in pursuit of the noble goals of democratising the country through their support to the MDC-T, while others like Youth Assembly Chairperson Solomon Madzore and his 28 comrades, have been turned into Prisoners of Conscience, incarcerated, now for over a year, not for any substantive crimes they have perpetrated, but because of their association, leadership of and pursuit of the noble ends of the Party. As the party commemorates and celebrates its 13 years of existence, it needs to reflect on and ensure that these sacrifices that many others have made (both leaders and cadres) are not in vain, by completing the change process, and finishing executing the agenda that was established at formation 13 years ago.


As we stand in solidarity with the MDC-T, we acknowledge the theme that has been chosen for this year's commemoration, "The last mile, towards real transformation €, and caution that transformation is not easy. It is harder than just change. While we salute the ambition as stated in the theme, we also warn the Movement, that the last mile may not be 1 kilometre, it may be longer, and as such the party and its supporters need to pull themselves up, dust themselves and prepare for the long process of democratisation and transformation. A feat that is not only achieved through entry into government, or indeed through winning elections, but a process that entails credible reforms and transformation of the way that politics and governing are done in this country. We encourage the party and its leadership to embrace the notion that democratisation is not an event, it is a process beyond elections, and that transformation is about radical and dramatic change.


To that end, the MDC-T as the people's alternative that was established 13 years ago, must always present itself as that alternative that is radical, different and dramatic, from what the people have consistently said no to since 1999. During the time that the MDC-T has been in the inclusive government, there have been times when people have failed to distinguish between the MDC and those that they are supposed to be different from. The MDC-T needs to show in deeds and action that they are indeed an alternative, and accept that the destination of a free, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe governed by a people's government elected and given the mandate by the people, is yet to be reached.

Delivered at White City Stadium, Bulawayo, on the 29th of September 2012

To achieve the foregoing, the MDC-T should continue to be in solidarity with the ordinary masses that have sacrificed so much for them to reach the stage of the struggle that we are at. The MDC-T must be a sensitive party, which identifies and sympathises with the suffering working class poor. Fidelity to the principles of 1999 when the party was formed is paramount, and of necessity entails empathy for the issues of ordinary people. Outside of power plays and the broad struggle for democratisation, the MDC-T must be aware and show in action, that they understand that Water supply is an outstanding issue to the people of Zimbabwe. That Education is an unresolved question of paramount importance to the people of Zimbabwe. That Power supply is a thorn in the flesh of the ordinary people of Zimbabwe. Poor Health Delivery is a disease afflicting the majority of our population. And that Unemployment is a scourge and a curse on our people. Empathising, sympathising and acting to deal with these issues will ensure continued support for the MDC, because these are the issues of the people that the MDC not only represents but also leads, and will count on for continued support.


As the party, and indeed the nation moves towards the last mile, towards real transformation, it has to be recognised that part of this process is delivering a new democratic charter for our country and Free and Fair elections that reflect the will of the people. To achieve this, the MDC-T must realise that transformation, far from being a far flung objective that occurs somewhere in the future, is a process that starts today, and starts with credible reforms ahead of elections and facilitating a process that actually makes it possible for people to vote in peace and for their vote to count.


We congratulate the MDC-T on this milestone that they have reached. Where we are coming from is definitely further than where we are going, we just need to be weary of breaking the water pot when we are so close to arriving. We may not always agree, but the MDC-T can always count on our solidarity, if it remains true to the founding objectives of pursuing, freedom and prosperity for the people of Zimbabwe.

Congratulations, and may the lord forever guide your hands, and sweep the paths that you trod, towards a new Zimbabwe.



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