By Stanford T. Nyatsanza
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party on Tuesday, 8 August 2023 launched its election manifesto titled “A New Great Zimbabwe Blueprint for Everyone.” To CCC, its manifesto is “a statement of intent to the people of Zimbabwe on how the CCC plans to transform the country into a prosperous, democratic, and inclusive nation.”
Of interest to note is the commitment of the CCC manifesto to promote the 3 Ps of policy sustainability in a modern developmental state: (i) environmental sustainability (Planet), (ii) social sustainability (People) and (iii) economic sustainability (Profit).
The launch of this manifesto comes as the country nears the 2023 elections slated for 23 August 2023. By their nature, election manifestos, just like any other policy blueprint, ought to outline courses of action aimed at addressing societal problems.
Therefore, the suitability of an election manifesto should be dissected at two key levels. First is the level of its responsiveness to political and socio-economic problems bedeviling the country. Second is the implementability of courses of actions outlined in the manifesto.
Although the CCC manifesto attempts to address Zimbabwe’s current political and socio-economic challenges, it is critically important to note that the manifesto has its own limitations as elucidated more in the foregoing analysis. It is against this backdrop that this analysis dissects the CCC 2023 election manifesto.
Context and suitability/relevance of CCC 2023 Election Manifesto
Zimbabwe is currently facing a dual economic and political crisis happening simultaneously and the corruption and decomposition of the political. From an economic perspective, the country has the world’s highest hyperinflationary rate that stands at 801% (Hanke, 2023).
Politically, Zimbabwe has serious human rights abuses whose score by Freedom House (2022) on political rights and civil liberties in 2022 stood at 28/100 and the country was classified as not free.
In response to this dual political and economic crisis, the CCC manifesto covers a number of aspects of development such as economic growth, social services, governance, human rights, peace and security, environmental sustainability, and regional and international cooperation.
It also provides specific targets and indicators to measure the progress and impact of the proposed policies and programs.
On economic growth, the CCC party promises to restore macroeconomic stability, revive productive sectors, create jobs, support small and medium enterprises, promote value addition and industrialization, invest in infrastructure and energy, and foster innovation and digitalization.
The manifesto also pledges to implement comprehensive reforms to address corruption, debt, fiscal deficits, monetary policy, exchange rate management, and public sector efficiency.
In terms of social services, the CCC commits to improving the quality and accessibility of health care, education, social protection, food security, water and sanitation, and housing for all Zimbabweans.
The manifesto also emphasizes the need to protect and empower vulnerable groups, such as women, youth, children, elderly, persons with disabilities, and minorities.
The manifesto also vows to respect and promote human rights, democracy, rule of law, constitutionalism, media freedom, and civic participation.
The CCC proposes to undertake political and institutional reforms to enhance accountability, transparency, inclusivity, and responsiveness of the government.
The manifesto also advocates for devolution of power and resources to local authorities, strengthening of anti-corruption mechanisms, reforming of security sector and electoral system, and engaging in dialogue and reconciliation with all stakeholders.
Peace and Security
The CCC affirms its commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the country and region. The manifesto also expresses its support for regional integration and cooperation through bodies such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU).
The manifesto also recognizes the role of Zimbabwe in contributing to global peace and security through multilateral platforms such as UN and AU.
The CCC acknowledges the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation to the country’s development.
The manifesto also proposes to adopt green policies and practices that promote renewable energy, conservation of natural resources, biodiversity protection, waste management, and disaster risk reduction.
By and large, the CCC 2023 election manifesto makes bold attempts to address some of the current challenges faced by Zimbabwe such as economic recession, humanitarian crisis, social service delivery gaps, human rights violations, political instability, corruption, climate change impacts, and COVID-19 pandemic.
CCC 2013 election manifesto limitations
Notwithstanding the attempts by the CCC 2023 election manifesto to address challenges bedeviling Zimbabwe and its promotion of 3Ps of policy sustainability, this manifesto has some limitations and risks that may affect its feasibility and effectiveness. Some of these are: (i) resource constraints, (ii) implementation capacity, (iii) fiscal feasibility and (iv) external uncertainty. In terms of resource constraints, the manifesto does not provide a clear estimate of the cost and financing sources of its policies and programs.
Given the tight public finances and limited external financing options for Zimbabwe, it may be difficult to mobilize adequate resources to implement the manifesto without compromising fiscal sustainability or increasing debt burden.
On implementation capacity, the manifesto in not clear in terms of the institutional arrangements or mechanisms that will ensure effective coordination, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of its policies and programs.
Given the weak capacity and performance of some public institutions in Zimbabwe, it may be challenging to deliver quality services or achieve desired outcomes without strengthening accountability frameworks or management information systems.
In terms of political feasibility, the manifesto does not address how it will overcome potential resistance or opposition from some vested interests or groups that may benefit from the status quo or fear losing power or privileges under a new dispensation.
In view of the polarized political environment and history of violence in Zimbabwe, it may be risky to pursue radical reforms or changes without building consensus or trust among all parties.
Last but not least, the manifesto does not account for how it will cope with external shocks or uncertainties that may affect its plans or assumptions.
Given the global contagion and impact of COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other potential threats or opportunities in the regional or international arena, it may be necessary to adapt or adjust the manifesto according to changing circumstances or realities.
In conclusion, the CCC 2023 election manifesto is a comprehensive document that presents a vision for a new Zimbabwe that is prosperous, democratic, inclusive for everyone against a background of a dual political and economic crisis that Zimbabwe is currently suffering from.
Most importantly, the manifesto meets the policy sustainability test of environmental sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. It also attempts to address some of the current challenges faced by Zimbabwe in various domains of development.
However, the manifesto faces some limitations and risks that may affect its feasibility and effectiveness. Therefore, it will require careful planning, resource mobilization, implementation capacity, political feasibility, and external flexibility to translate its promises into realities.
Stanford T. Nyatsanza is an independent political and public policy researcher. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Governance from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).
He is much into results-based management systems. As such, he also holds a qualification in Programmes and Projects Monitoring and Evaluation from the same institution.
He’s currently working as a researcher at one of the leading public policy think tanks in Harare, Zimbabwe. He can be contacted on +263 776 566 565 or email: [email protected].