Zimbabwe seemingly becomes a sad story that just gets sadder with every passing day. Once a wealthy county with a currency stronger than the British Pound, once more the country faces an economic crisis. When Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa took over power in the country in 2017, brief hopes for a better future quickly faded. Now, a new player emerges on the political scene; The Patriotic Front Zimbabwe (TPF).
Zimbabwe: Room for new political players like the Patriotic Front?
South Africa currently experiences a lot of hatred toward Zimbabweans in their country. Years of turmoil and economic failure saw many of them flee to their neighbouring country. There, they raise the ire of many South Africans. Many of them apparently join criminal gangs to make a living. Those who get jobs often work for lower pay. That means unemployed South Africans would love to see the back of them.
However, until drastic changes take place in Zimbabwe, the number of Zimbabweans in South Africa keeps rising. Those who remain in Zimbabwe currently experience “Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis in more than a decade,” according to Economist.com. The outlet explains that inflation nears 1,000 percent. People lucky enough to hold a job get by on only about US$30 per month. While the government blames COVD-19, many opposition members believe poor fiscal policy and corruption broke the economy…again.
With the somewhat fractured Movement for Democratic Change Alliance already voicing a storm of opposition, is there anything new that The Patriotic Front brings to the party? We asked some questions and a spokesperson responded to us.
Patriotic Front Q&A
SAns Newsfeed (SN): Why you think you offer something the MCD didn’t already propose?
The Patriotic Front Zimbabwe (TPF): Our organization hopes to break the Zimbabwean political culture of focussing on the retention of power and acquisition of power at all costs. We don’t believe anyone achieves much by labouring the wrongs to the Zimbabwean people.
After all, they already know what’s wrong because they live during the crisis. And, they lived that way for the last 40 years. Political polarization in the country makes people weary. So, TPF hopes to work with them across race, ethnic extraction and religion in healing that division. We promote multiracial, multiethnic unity and inclusiveness. That would galvanize the people of Zimbabwe towards reclaiming their self-worth, self-dignity, self-pride, and patriotism.
The way forward includes the rebuilding of Zimbabweans at individual, community and national level. Finding solutions through productive progressive politics as opposed to reactionary politics is the way forward. We say no to politics that divide people and grabs power at all costs. Nor should fellow Zimbabweans be branded as enemies of the country.
Cartels and the Chinese in Zimbabwe
SN: Your founding statement says that the government of Zimbabwe “placed the nation’s economy in the hands of cartels, the army and the Chinese. Do you propose to chase out the Chinese?
TPF: We are not preaching getting rid of anyone. However, we simply believe that local, regional, continental and international contracts should aim at benefitting the people. In other words, not a few individuals in power in the ruling party or cartels. The nationality of those who land contracts doesn’t matter. But, any such contract must benefit the ordinary Zimbabweans, not enslave them.
The resources belong to the people of Zimbabwe. Our Foreign Policy document clearly states that we appreciate China for its practical solidarity during our war of liberation and during our tough times after independence. Therefore, saying we would get rid of them would be an overstatement. Historical contracts that don’t benefit Zimbabweans can be blamed more on us rather than those who come from elsewhere.
The Separation of government and the governing party
SN: You have an entire generation of people in positions in government service. They seemingly loot and bribe from the top to bottom. How do you change that? Would you take the approach of John Magafuli in Tanzania?
TPF: The people in government belong to a system built and maintained over many years. Without getting rid of, or reforming the system, whoever comes in will perpetuate the same ills. We propose a reformation of the system. We propose bringing in a culture of separation between the governing party and government.
Government by the vote of the people should mean that those tasked with governing are just directors employed by the people. They merely handle the affairs of the body corporate which is Zimbabwe, on behalf of the shareholders who are the people. Those governing must serve the interests of the shareholders, not their own.
Zimbabweans, (shareholders) should fire them for poor performance. While Magufuli may be doing many things worth praising and emulating, TPF seeks to govern the TPF way, not anybody else’s way.
Police and the judiciary
SN: Your police force seems rotten to the core and the judiciary captured by the state. How do you intend to fix that problem?
TPF: The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) forms part of the broader uniformed services and security services clusters. Meanwhile, the judiciary is part of our judicial services system. They both need rebranding for them to serve the people with integrity. However, a cautious approach is recommended. Both arenas need to move away from weakness and the resultant hatred by the people.
Weakening them will only weaken the country. The people who serve in our security services must feel proud of the job they do when protecting the country and its citizens. This means their work conditions require improvement. Salaries should be commensurate with the good job they perform in service to their country.
Instead of retiring with little money and seeking work in private security, they should enjoy their years of leisure. A population who appreciate the security and good services provided produces love and respect. Right now, they get viewed as enemies while benefiting little in the long run.
Broken economy, basic human rights and the MDC
SN: People want food, health, shelter and employment. The country is broke. Where do you intend raising the funds to provide those basics?
TPF: Zimbabwe is endowed with vast natural resources, productive land, a dedicated population and a skilled and trustworthy workforce. Those coupled with local and international respect and investor confidence are the only necessary ingredients any democratic country needs to turn its economic fortunes around. Once we sort our politics and governance issues, we’ll be in a good way.
SN: The MDC splits, squabbles and repeatedly fails to make much difference. What makes you think you won’t fail?
TPF: We are not in a beauty contest with the MDC. But, we believe the first step towards success is uniting the people of Zimbabwe. Let them regain their self-worth and then let them unite around that which makes them unique people. Once that is achieved, they will stop viewing one another through political, racial and tribal lenses. They’ll stop treating each other as enemies or second-class citizens. Then they can agree to unite towards that which makes them better individuals, communities and ultimately, a better nation.
Election ambitions in Zimbabwe and State Security apparatus
SN: Are you just a movement, or do you plan on running for election?
TPF: Yes, we’ll run for election, beginning in 2023.
SN: How do you propose to stay out of jail? It is well known that opposition quickly becomes infiltrated by state agents, who allegedly manufacture charges of treason.
TPF: We are not a terrorist organisation and none of the things we preach or do warrant any arrest or harassment by anyone. Whoever infiltrates us will find nothing on us. We merely battle to unite the people of Zimbabwe towards becoming better and rebuilding their country. Whoever hates peaceful change in Zimbabwe hates their own people.
SN: Realistically, is Zimbabwe salvageable?
TPF: Zimbabwe is a diamond lying hidden in the rubble, waiting to be found and polished. We believe the country is totally salvageable.
What do you think about the new player in the Zimbabwean political scene? Do they bring more high hopes and dreams or realistically achievable ambitions? Sound off in the comments below.
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