ZIMBABWE – It is with great pleasure that we gather here today at the re-launch of the party publication, The Real Change Times.
Today’s event is an indictment on the media industry in this country, particularly the public media which has a constitutional role to cover the diverse opinions in the country.
We pay tribute to the private media in this country for striving to tell the true story of Zimbabwe, particularly the opinion of the broad democratic movement that is never covered by the public media that have a constitutional obligation to carry the diverse opinions of the people of this country.
The public media has belittled itself by choosing to play servitude to the narrow and partisan interests of Zanu PF, in brazen violation of the national Constitution. Today’s re-launch of our newspaper is our own puny effort to tell our own story to the people of Zimbabwe through a publication that we will be giving to Zimbabweans in all provinces for free.
The reforms we want.
There is emerging national convergence on the need for far-reaching reforms to create a country with the proper environment conducive to free and legitimate expression by the people of Zimbabwe.
Our convergence is not only limited to the demands for broad and deep-seated reforms. Very soon, we will be converging in our diversity to announce to the nation a united way forward as a broad democratic movement. At least we owe it to the nation.
At our Congress in October 2014, one of our resolutions was that as a party, we would not participate in any election in the absence of reforms. We have stuck to that position but the good news is that there is emerging convergence that we were right.
The shenanigans we witnessed in the by-elections held early this year, the violence in Hurungwe West, the recent violence against MDC by Zanu PF thugs in the presence of the police all point to a poisoned environment that needs to be addressed if the people are to be allowed to fully express themselves at the next election, whenever it will be held.
Among the reforms that the diversity of political parties and ordinary Zimbabweans are yearning are media reforms, which were at the heart of the dysfunctionality and disagreements in the inclusive government.
These reforms have always been a demand, not only by the people of Zimbabwe, but by SADC and the AU who insisted in Maputo in 2013 that we had to implement all these reforms before holding any election.
Suffice to say media reforms are no longer a subject for conjecture. They are now clearly stipulated in our national Constitution.
Chapter Four of the Zimbabwe Constitution deals with the Bill of Rights. One of those sacred rights and freedoms is the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
The Constitution clearly places on the public media the responsibility to ensure that all voices in the country are heard.
The Constitution obligates the public media “to be impartial and to afford opportunity for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions.”
This has not happened as all the diverse voices, particularly the voice of the MDC, have been sorely missing in the public media, in violation of the country’s Constitution.
So today, we are happy as we re-launch the people’s medium in which we will tell our own story. I want to pay tribute to the party’s communications department for their resilience in pushing for the resuscitation of this people’s paper.
I want to thank the party’s administration and treasury for assisting in funding the work-plan of our communications department. For the foreseeable future, the people of this country will have access to this medium, The Real Change Times, where the MDC will be telling its own story.
It is my pleasure to re-launch the first issue of The Real Change Times.
I thank you