Justice Paradza: The future we want

By: 
Justice Benjamin Paradza

ZIMBABWEANS United for Democracy (ZUNDE) hopes that Zimbabweans across the globe are striving today to create the future we want and deserve. Each of us can help shape our future by 2018 and beyond.

The number of multitudes opposed to Zanu PF and the Mugabe regime is growing by the day. Some of those have recently risen from within Zanu PF itself. Evidently, Zanu PF never intended from the beginning to govern for the success of our people. Sadly, most in the opposition, are concerned more about who shall govern us post-Mugabe and Zanu PF rather than how we shall govern ourselves. Will we live with the idea of someone else other than ourselves moving the country forward? Political parties should and must address this question as a matter of urgency. This is no longer a time for individuals. Rather, it is a time for Zimbabwe.

Zunde Interim Secretary General, Moses Chamboko, recently shared an incisive opinion of what it is to be a leader or member of Zanu PF. He reminded us that Zanu PF’s late Vice President, Simon Muzenda, boldly boasted that Zanu PF supporters are expected to be foolish enough to vote for anything, even a baboon, (well, not literally), but a moron whose leadership inabilities have no precedent .

The prospect of Grace Mugabe being the next dictator after Mugabe is no surprise. Lots of Zanu PF morons are already singing slogans confirming that stupidity. It is not surprising to see people like Philip Chiyangwa parading themselves on social media parroting despicable praises for Grace.

Fortunately, I am not a Zanu PF moron nor donkey. By their very nature, donkeys are so stupid that if they were human beings, they would vote for Zanu PF baboons in 2018. Our future must not be that of donkeys and baboons. Let our collective approach to the noble idea of a grand coalition differentiate us from other animal species, we are well-meaning human beings.

After coming across something on social media that read “sometimes people with the worst pasts end up creating the best futures”, some of us were forced to reflect, seriously. We have had good and bad times in our past, sometimes costing our people dearly in different spheres of life. The best we can do is to show that we owe our people our own lives since we are what we are because of their incredible love and support.

Some political parties that have been around much longer than others, should evaluate their history, count our losses and the political damage we have caused and stop being obsessed with the big brother mentality. We do not need big-for-nothing brothers. We need brothers who can look after us, listen to us and share genuine aspirations with the entire family of Zimbabweans.

To create the best future we want, we must get it right from the beginning. Our past as a nation is littered with injustice, pain, hurt, hatred, humiliation and suffering. It is as if 35 years of political batter at the hands of a cartel of gangsters has taken its absolute toll on our lives.

We are a depressed nation that has lost its sense of self-worth, self-respect and dignity. We have come full cycle to be able to understand that our victory will be achieved when we stop playing the power games but instead, aim to achieve a society where we, as people, can fully express ourselves and realise our full potential. A large number of us are in pursuit of political power at any cost.

We have seen almost every opposition party going through some leadership crisis. Power has primarily been at the centre of most of these crises. Unless we accept the stubborn reality that in the power games as we know them today, only one political party or a coalition of some sort, will prevail and govern, we shall one day wake up to a world driven by war and strife.  So what is it that we actually want to achieve in our lifetime? I hope it is freedom, peace, equality and prosperity.

At Zunde, we want to see the will of the people respected. If people elect a party they want to run the affairs of government, so be it. I also want to have a voice to speak for the people I represent. Freedom of association must be sacrosanct. Freedom to speak and to be heard in matters of governance is what I cherish most. I want to see the people’s fundamental rights and freedoms respected.

Above all, I want to see respect for the rule of law as well as institutional and individual independence of judges. In short, I would be happy if we achieve a functional democracy free of encumbrances and fetters on the rights of our people. These are the values that must guide us above all things, including who runs government. Creation of another Mugabe must not be our major preoccupation.

I do not want to see a society that is intolerant, a society that is at war with itself and its citizens. We have seen war and our loved ones butchered for allegedly belonging to one political movement or affiliation. Gukurahundi, the 2008 presidential runoff, Murambatsvina, Mavhotera papi, the infamous land reform and many others, have come and gone. We have seen abductions and disappearances starting way back with Rashiwe Guzha, Captain Edwin Nleya, Nabanyama and more recently, Itai Dzamara.

We have seen the brutal slaughter of Talent Mabika and Tendai Chiminya. We have seen worse oppression than we ever imagined when we were fighting for our freedom from colonial bondage. We have seen citizens of different ethnic races victimised because of the colour of their skins. We saw our wealth being plundered when some of our people could not afford a single meal a day. This should teach us who we should not allow to govern us and who not to vote for in the next election.

We must go into politics for good reasons. If all that you want is political power, it means you are in there for the wrong reasons. You are the kind of person who would start a war when you lose an election; who would plunder and steal from the people once you have access to people’s wealth. We saw it with Zanu PF. They were preparing for war when all others were waiting for the results of the 1980 elections. I was in an Assembly Point in Buhera then, I know what I am talking about.

In the opposition ranks, some political parties are big and some are small. The big must reach out to the smaller parties in order to harness the full strength of the pro-democracy movement. Talking to one of the senior leaders in the MDC, I got the impression that despite the obvious complacency that they are big, no one was doing anything to reach out to their “little” brothers and sisters.

They would see more value to reach out to unpredictable mutations of Zanu PF than those who have been in the trenches with them for a very long time. While politics is a game of numbers, those numbers, without entrenched values, are a recipe for disaster. Above all, we need to be genuine in what we want to achieve. The days of bad politics must be gone in a new Zimbabwe.

Zunde sees politics as an activity for humble, moderate and genuine men and women who love freedom, prosperity and development. The engine for all this is good governance; creating institutions that channel wealth back to our people in a well-managed social welfare system that uplifts the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans. We believe in the rule of law, in its totality.

We also have to accept that we cannot all be leaders; more precisely we cannot all aspire to be the country’s next president. We in Zunde accept that. All we want to achieve are guarantees of our democratic right to participate in the affairs, especially reconstruction of our potentially great nation. While we are quibbling and calling each other names, Zanu PF is busy fooling our people into thinking their next baboon deserves their vote.

Zanu PF taught us to hate each other. They taught us that we cannot differ without calling each other names and looking at each other as enemies. If we want to see democracy happen in our lifetime, we have to learn that democracy is about being able to differ with dignity and respect.

Zunde was formed to bridge the gap between cross-generational Zimbabweans whose aspiration is a better Zimbabwe. We have only one enemy, Mugabe’s dictatorship and his Zanu PF that has ruined us and brought hate among our people. In our good fight for democracy, let us put national interests ahead of our own. The cake is big, the person failing to equitably share it is the one at fault!

We must not underestimate our power as a people. With democracy in place, we will be able to change governments by the power of our vote. We will be able to demand more accountability and we will force our politicians to excel and to ensure that they advance the interests of the people. Therefore, let us seek democracy first and everything else shall be given unto us.

I believe that sometimes, regardless of our past and regardless of how bad it may be, it is always possible for us to create a future that outshines our past. Let us know that sometimes people with the worst past end up creating the best future. However, that cannot happen automatically. We have to make collective effort to create a better future for Zimbabwe.

Justice Benjamin Paradza is ZUNDE’s Interim Vice President

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