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Article 03 July 2016

We welcome Zimbabwe People First but…

by Ben Paradza (Exiled Judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe) Team ZUNDE

Anyone contemplating jumping into bed with Mai Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First had better take some precautions. They should ensure that they have an ironclad marriage contract to guarantee that theirs is no marriage of convenience and they must exact a hefty amount of lobola to forceBen Paradza the union to last.

Zim PF comes with natural baggage. They cannot ignore their relationship with that other member of the PF family. Anyone marrying into that family must enter into their union with eyes wide open, completely aware of the PF family lineage, beliefs and tradition.

All principals in Zim PF are former longstanding members of ZANU PF. As such they are complicit in the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy, the crimes and injustices of Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina, and the violence surrounding the 2008 elections. They have profited from the rape of Zimbabwe’s resources and the confiscation of white-owned farms.

Mai Mujuru and her group of ex-ZANU PF chefs cannot pretend that their expulsion from a faction-riven ZANU PF means that they can be automatically reincarnated as innocent participants in Zimbabwe politics. They are naïve to seek political legitimacy through an alliance with other opposition parties without being questioned. They have a lot of cleansing to do. If they are to be taken seriously, they must acknowledge the pain they have caused to our people. They will have to work hard to earn the people’s trust.

What marriage price should be exacted for agreeing to enter into a union with Zim PF? In an official letter written by ZUNDE to Zim PF, we set the bride price in four essential instalments:

1. They must issue a formal public apology for their involvement in past transgressions committed by ZANU PF, especially the violence of 2008 which is still fresh in people’s minds. Their principals must publicly express their willingness to stand before a truth and reconciliation commission to account for their collaboration in ZANU PF misrule.

2. They must commit that they will unreservedly condemn and fight against corruption, lawlessness and violence. They must disavow any form of impunity and entitlement.

3. They must commit that they will embrace, champion and defend the politics of values where democracy, good governance, rule of law, freedom, equality and the wellbeing of the Zimbabwean people are paramount.

4. They must commit that they will not re-join ZANU PF under any circumstances.

We welcomed Zimbabwe People First into the ranks of the opposition in a previous article but we also reminded them they were coming into the democratic family with excess baggage that they needed to offload in order to be convincing. I notice that they seem to have reflected on what we said and they have removed some of their notorious characters from public prominence. We commend them for this. However, we believe they need to do a lot more, and the sooner the better.

ZUNDE is a unifying political movement. We are in dialogue with political parties and we are in competition with none. Since before Zim PF was even officially launched, ZUNDE has been having some very frank discussions with Mai Mujuru’s senior representatives. We are neither ashamed nor afraid to point out the weaknesses or strengths of our colleagues in the democratic struggle but we only do so in order to build a united alternative government. By being open and honest with each other, we can march forward together with trust.

All those who are genuine about the future of Zimbabwe must find each other at this crucial juncture. They must come together and chart the way forward guided not by self-interest but by values and the willingness to serve, not seeking to be served.

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