After reading the People First manifesto and the comments posted by the MDC-T and Zanu (PF), I found myself having a re-look at the values and objectives as enshrined in Zunde’s Constitution.
I did not see any material difference between our key messages and what People First, the MDCs and other opposition movements are saying. In other words, there is resonance between our individual aspirations. We are all advocating for the same democratic dispensation.
However, MDC-T has made a rather strange claim to ownership of the ideas contained in the People First manifesto. But surely values, aspirations, and ideas, good or bad, cannot be owned by anyone. What is prohibited is plagiarising them in contravention of copyright and other intellectual property rights. For the MDC-T to claim ownership of democratic values and ideas, especially those that guarantee democracy and good governance, sounds bizarre.
There are obvious things that anybody fighting or yearning for democracy in Zimbabwe would say – especially given the protracted nature of our crisis. If somebody shouts on the street today “Zanu (PF) is corrupt or Mugabe has failed,” does this become an idea stolen from the MDC-T?
Which Zimbabwean doesn’t agree or at least know that leadership failure, lawlessness, corruption, haphazard land reform, the poorly-crafted indigenisation law amongst others, have caused our economy to crumble? Do we have to go and ask for permission from Harvest House before we can say this?
Finally coming together
If anything, we are comforted by the knowledge that after all the years of pain and torture at the hands of a regime of which People First were part of, the nation is finally coming together against a crumbling dictatorship. When a ship is sinking the only sane thing to do is to jump out of it and reach out to others for comfort and solace. National convergence seems to be happening on its own. Even some who have been stuck in Zanu (PF) for 35 years are beginning to share the same vision with those who don’t know anything else other than the pain in fighting for democracy.
Joice Mujuru has finally joined the people’s struggle by formally announcing her entry into the ever-expanding ranks of the opposition movement. If she is genuine and doing this with good intentions, we see no reason why the opposition shouldn’t welcome her.
Anything that weakens Zanu (PF) is good for Zimbabwe. Granted, Joice Mujuru has a lot of baggage from her past as a senior leader of the oppressive regime. If she has decided to put on her gloves and fearlessly challenge Zanu (PF) in the ring without ever looking back, then she can only be applauded for doing so. We hope many more in Zanu (PF) will see sense and follow her example and join those who want to see good triumph over evil.
This is the time to put aside individual egos and focus on the big picture, which is restoring the dignity and democratic rights of our people. Those players within the opposition who think they are big must take heed. Removal of Zanu (PF) from power by any means necessary is a step towards achieving democracy. For a long time, the party has been in a self-destructive mode.
The latest development is just one of the consequences. When we formed Zunde in October 2013, our focus was on politics based on values – including those values that we knew from our participation in the armed struggle.
We can only smile when we see another player join the legion of those who embrace everything that we have been fighting for. It is in this context that we should applaud Joice Mujuru and her team for joining the good fight for democracy.
Zunde’s vision is to create a democratic, peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe. From the start our mission has been to bring together all progressive forces fighting for democracy in confronting the dictatorship, irrespective of whom or where they are. Our goal is to reclaim our dignity, freedom and humanity. It makes us proud when we hear Mujuru repeating these ideas and statements in her manifesto. It demonstrates that she now appreciates that Zanu (PF) has totally lost its way and that we haven’t been making empty noises, after all.
In the past, Mujuru has not seriously questioned where our diamonds went to. This time she must join us in doing so. The Marange mass theft of our resources must stop. The Chinese are not our people to be allowed to have exclusive access to our wealth. We hope she will join us earnestly in challenging and ultimately ending this grand theft.
Good governance is the epicentre of our agenda. We yearn for social justice, we must eradicate poverty, and we need to create a society that enjoys freedom, equality and prosperity. Of course, we don’t claim ownership of these ideas and aspirations. Rather, we would like to share them widely with like-minded cadres and everyone including those who have just seen their Damascene moment such as Joice Mujuru.
We must provide hope to Zimbabweans scattered in the Diaspora and those at home. Over the years, families have been broken apart by a regime that lost its moral compass many years ago.
There is need to reunite and rebuild those families. Zimbabwe is too beautiful to let its sons and daughters wander all over the world in search of livelihoods.
The only way to dislodge the dictatorship that has cursed Zimbabwe and prepare for a democratic people’s government is for all opposition forces that are genuinely fighting for democracy to bury our petty differences, rise above our egos and join hands to fight the common enemy, while preparing our youths for future roles in government and other institutions.
The liberation struggle was a collective effort. Largely, it was the ordinary masses that fought the war. Those who want to claim private ownership of the struggle are not different from those who think they have the monopoly of democratic ideas. This big brother syndrome must end. We fought together during the struggle; we can combine our efforts again today and dislodge the cruel dictatorship. Our social services which Zanu (PF) has systematically destroyed over the years must work again.
We must aim to establish institutions of good governance based on modern public management systems, principles and models that are in step with worldwide developments.
We believe in a public management system that is efficient, effective and totally accountable to the people it serves and is free from corrupt practices. It is encouraging to note that Mujuru has started seeing the national crisis from our viewpoint.
National convergence now seems to be a natural phenomenon. 2018 must and shall be different. – Ben Paradza is Zunde Vice President. Email: email@example.com or visit: www.zunde.org