|Day 1 Workshop & Door to Door Campaign Old Luveve|
Brief Background History
I knew from the moment I accepted the invitation to join a new political party in 2010 that the journey was not going to be an easy and straight forward one. Many of us did not realise that trying to build a political platform without sufficient resources hoping that sympathetic donors will come to our aid was very ambitious. What made it even more complex is that we had to work as Zimbabweans from diverse backgrounds scattered across the globe and only making contributions on a voluntary basis around our day to day working schedules which only made the whole process extremely slow, resulting in some members silently dropping out and focusing on their personal pursuits.
In spite of those evident challenges, the passion and will power that most team members had ensured the work of building 'Freedom Justice Coalition Zimbabwe Party' would continue at snails pace for the next eight years. During that time the party had two other Interim Presidents of the party, the first who was responsible for research and policy formulation, followed by two others who were responsible for the administrative structuring and finally myself who was nominated and elected to lead the political structuring phase at the end of 2014.
The interim party leadership realised that the lack of funds to spearhead the party's vision and mission objectives forward if not addressed would eventually lead to the party shutting down. It was then that a decision was taken to engage other opposition parties with the intent of forming coalitions or having mergers in an attempt to consolidate the limited resources by grouping together all smaller political parties. Sadly our efforts to build progressive partnerships were met with hostility and in some cases silent diplomacy that did not produce and final outcomes. It seems most leaders within those parties were only interested in protecting their positions with the larger political parties wanting to dictate rather than negotiate a way forward.
|Banana 4 Luveve Campaign Team 2018|
Campaigning was never going to be easy especially taking into account the inherent culture by older political parties of giving out free regalia to potential voters during the campaign trial. This was made worse by the already difficult economic conditions where unemployment is very high and there was no cash in the banks which left most voters vulnerable to vote buying strategies. I think the unlevel playing field influenced by lack of fair access to political funding was quite evident for all to see as the better resourced political parties were visible because their resource advantage in terms of party campaign materials and mobilisation.
To top it up access to media sources like Radio and T.V. all came at a costs only affordable to the better resourced candidates and only the media favored candidates were given coverage on both print and online media sources.TIt became clear that the election had become a two way contest between Zanu PF and MDC Alliance and it's break aways.
Both Local and International Media focused a lot on the Presidential campaign with little or nothing done to share Information about other candidates at local government and National Assembly.
The ballot list of candidates was long and unclear so the easiest choice for most voters especially the elderly was to chose between the popular parties and not necessarily the best candidates hence many new entrants were denied the opportunity to bring in new ideas as the main message of the elections by largest opposition was transformed from "Mugabe must go" to "Zanu PF must go".
Conclusively those elected won not because they ran good campaigns and were the best candidates but because of the "political party labels" more than the credibility and track record of prospective candidates. Even most of the candidates fielded by the MDC Alliance were negotiated rather than elected through a democratic process (imposition), so technically they were not chosen by the voters but the party leadership.
My hope is that those elected in these elections will learn from our shared campaign messages and take on board some of the good ideas shared to help improve on service delivery standards and also demand accountability and transparency from the Zanu PF government in the next 5 years.
What does the future look like?
I do not intend contesting to be a Member of Parliament in the next election, but will continue to work in my target community with the winning MP and Councillors to contribute to growing the local economy and creating opportunities for residents to fully unlock their potential. I believe our focus as citizens of one nation should be more on coming up with economic empowering solutions that can help us eradicate poverty.
I believe financial independence will make democracy work as it will become more difficult to bribe voters during election time with free handouts and food as they will be able to afford them on their own.
I believe there is a serious need for social engineering, citizen information campaigns that can help them understand their rights and the responsibilities of elected leaders and how to hold them to account for their election promises and decisions that have a negative impact on their lives.
Newly Appointed Cabinet
The recently announced Zimbabwe Cabinet is certainly a step in the right direction that has given many of us a glimmer of hope as this is something that has not happened to this scale since 1980. Change from what was to what ought to be is a process that will take time. I'm optimistic.
The Corruption, Human rights violations and partisan politics have made most of us a very bitter people blinded from appreciating any good by the hatred of the current system of government. The frustration is so deep to an extent we always looking to discredit even anything promising that the Zanu government try to introduce as solutions.
I think there is a serious need for a mindset change and this process of change will take time and probably be influenced by the very performance of the new cabinet in meeting election campaign promises and citizen expectations.
I would personally wish to see a more competitive type of politics that moves away from empty campaign rhetoric and confrontational strategies that do not lead to positive outcomes to a politics that offers practical alternative solutions that contribute to national development now and not based on a future that can never guaranteed.
Let's all remember that we are Zimbabweans first before we belong to political parties. So nationalism must come before partisan loyalty. Personally I would like to see more transparency and accountability from all our leaders. I believe these are the key pillars for driving socio-economic and political change in our country.