Brief Background Profile

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Luveve, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Easy to socialise with, don't like too much repetition, very energetic, very passionate about my work and friends. Very open minded but opinionated. Principled and believe in honesty..saying it like it is..

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Reflections from my 2018 Political Campaign in Luveve Constituency

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.

Coalition/Merger Negotiations


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.


Election Campaign


Banana 4 Luveve Campaign Team 2018
As a result of all the negative outcomes of these efforts the party was forced to let individual candidates try and self-fund their campaigns using the party branding and policies. We also decided because of the lack of resources to build national structures and hold Congress the party would not field any Presidential Candidate.

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.

Media Bias


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.

Ballot paper

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".


Conclusion

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 shall continue the work of building the party and also continue exploring working partnerships with other political parties in Zimbabwe including the party in government. I believe as people belonging we actually have far more in common than that which divides us. It's quite clear for me that the divide and rule culture of politics has created a very divided nation based on opposition politics, which seems blind to working to achieve national objectives. This clearly does not inspire hope as we spend too much time complaining about our situation rather than also coming up with practical competitive alternative ideas that can help transform people's lives today and not only when there is a change in government.

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.

Mindset Change

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.



Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Being in Politics is not an 'Entitlement' but an opportunity to serve Society.




Tough Choices in 2018


My decision not to contest in 2018 has been met with a lot of mixed feelings and naturally some disgruntlement and departure by a few members of our party. It was something expected when people hopes are dashed, i wish i could perform miracles, that way everything I wished for would go according to plan. The good thing though is most are in for the long haul which is very motivating and encouraging.

In some instances I was even called a coward and told I do not know anything about Zimbabwe politics just because of the difficult choice I made after my field assessment of the political terrain and economic conditions in Zimbabwe. With current poor economic conditions our political environment is very ripe for vote buying and if truth be told the better resourced participants will be the winners in 2018 elections, be it Councillor, MP or Presidential candidates.

What I have learnt since accepting the interim role to lead Freedom Justice Coalition Zimbabwe Party is most people join political parties expecting the party to somehow get a windfall of donations to fund the party's activities. In some cases I suspect a few presumed that as a person who is linked to a prominent name in history i must have some serious wealthy connections out there that would offer our party the financial resources to implement its vision, mission, principles and values.

Sadly I am just an ordinary citizen who is also struggling in my own corner and who works hard to make a living just like everybody else.

When my father's generation left Rhodesia and went into exile, they too did not willingly just leave the country but were forced by circumstances beyond their control. Some of them used the opportunity to pursue higher education, whilst others sought work to send money back to feed their families and fund the liberation struggle.

The liberation movements were fortunate to have sympathetic partners from China, Cuba, Libya, Zambia, Mozambique and many others to train their fighters and technocrats in preparation for an independent majority ruled nation that they were all committed to working to accomplish.

Today new political parties and leaders are facing a completely different enemy which appears in all kinds of deceiving forms. the game of chess has become a reality with the same pieces (leaders) being used to play the game. Perhaps our only hope for this game to end is for those pieces to ware out and be thrown away into the dustbins of history.

Yes i am talking about corruption, entitlement, hero worshiping, recycling, prosperity gospel preachers which have all become variations of dictatorship that some seem to be happy to continue entertaining.

The truth is not all of us will cross the finish line in the time that we expect or is expected of us. That said it should not be reason to stop believing in what we have set out to achieve. Some struggles take a few years, some are accomplished over-night but in truth our struggles as human are a life time experience.

Today we have people who want to dismiss Zimbabweans coming from the Diaspora and offering to serve our country, yet they seem to not know our history, that some of our past and current leaders also came from the Diaspora to serve their country. Is it now wrong for any citizen to leave the country seek ways to fully unleash their potential? Don't those citizens deserve equal recognition as they also made sacrifices in order to empower themselves with knowledge and skills that have the potential to contribute to a more progressive society?

I am yet to come across someone or an entity that was formed and they started big. Kumhanya hakuzi kusvika, ukugijima kayiskho ukufika.

There is an African Proverb saying "if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together". I will expand on that and say but don't just go with individuals who keep bringing you down, always explore different routes and you will be exposed to new learning experiences.

We cannot expect to do important things in a short period of time. We must do what we can and leave room for others to continue where we left off until its Uhuru.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

What are your expectations of the 2018 Election?


Zimbabwe's fast growing political party sector

Zimbabweans must gear up for a prolonged struggle..2018 is not a game changer

I decided to cut my planned six month field assessment trip to Zimbabwe after coming face to face with some of the complex challenges faced by ordinary citizens and the generality of the Zimbabwean population struggling in various sectors of our society.
Besides having a taster of what one can expect when they return home I also needed some time to reflect on my political pursuits in Zimbabwe and the work I'm involved in with individuals from diverse professionals working and resident in South Africa from motherland. 


Nathan meeting Zimbabweans on the ground
As a new political party it's unfortunate that our entry has also been over shadowed by the break away formations from MDC-T and Zanu PF who naturally have the advantage of being known political brands and as such have somehow been able to dominate our public information sources. 

The increase in the number of new political formations has also put a dent in our chances of sharing our vision and principles more effectively as a credible alternative to the current political environment. A new national chorus by some Zimbabweans dismissing our entry as that of 'splitting votes' or being agents of the regime has become the propaganda tool to try promote the relevance of the so called 'Big tent' as larger opposition party supporters wanting their party to stay relevant in spite of a visible track record of failing to remove Zanu PF and some of their officials being caught up in corruption scandals at local government levels.
Rural Water Community Investment Partnership

During my trip I also approached a number of Zimbabwe based business owners to share our vision and try and entice them to fund our activities.Though most of them showed admiration for our principles and vision they were quick to come up with reason why it would be a risk for them to invest in our political party. Most hid behind the psychologically induced fear of being vindicated by the current system for opposing them and rather suggested that we explore  marriages of convenience (Coalitions) with those they saw as more established players in the arena. 


A lack of a more modernised Political party funding Act is one of the reasons the political playing field will remain dominated by a few political parties. The invisibility of most new parties is because they are not as well resourced to reach out to Zimbabweans across the country as the older and more established political entities. That is something that will take a radical shift in policy and attitudes if ever new ideas are to rise in our current political environment.


Luveve Community Under 14 Team
My trip was not just focused on my political goals but I also got a chance to visit some of my community investment projects that I initiated last year, the first done with the partnership of family members resident and working in the Diaspora working with those on the ground in Rural Zimbabwe to drill and install solar power pump that would benefit the whole village. The second was a piggery project that I am working on nearer to the city centre in partnership with a young aspiring businessman and the third and final a Community organisation that I am helping set-up for my target constituency in Luveve with focus on Youth activities. I facilitated the donation of football kits for an under 14 team and are still to distribute some board games to youth clubs and old people's homes. These are just extensions of work in philanthropy and business that I have always pursued.

I do appreciate that politics is indeed about numbers but let's not forget that the so called 'Big Parties' were also small parties at some point and not brush every new entity with the same brush. I do appreciate the need for unity of purpose but it is something that needs to be negotiated based on all sides seeing value in each other and not as a means to secure individual position and advantage in any such partnership. I never chose to become a politician, it's something that was persuaded into by fellow citizens and something that I personally felt should be supported by strong institutional foundations.


#ThisFlag Campaign
I personally welcome the emergence of social movements like #ThisFlag campaign and others to try and empower citizen's with knowledge about their rights to hold leaders accountable for their actions and decisions. I do hope that they will play a significant role in voter education not because we have an upcoming election but because it is an important pursuit in ensuring citizens have access to information that can help us shape our society and elect more responsible leaders into office.


FJCZ Cardboard Campaign
This is one reason you will note that Freedom Justice Coalition Zimbabwe Party campaigns are more focused on sharing our principles and values more than the party presidents image to the general public. The personalisation of political parties so they are branded around individual leaders is part reason we have not had many political parties with leadership renewal. I believe if there was leadership renewal from our liberation political parties we would not have so many break away factions and new political parties in Zimbabwe. 

With leadership renewal new ideas can be born helping create an environment that promotes shared responsibility in terms of working to accomplish key national objectives beyond partisan based politics.


It's important for citizens to register and vote in 2018

I am yet to see a political entity that transforms it's election promises to visible outcomes that change the lives of a greater number of people. 

I have had a few citizens asking me why is your party not part of CODE or NERA or any of the current planned coalitions. Well first it's not my personal property and in democracy there are certain processes that need to followed in order to arrive at a collective agreement. Second we are still busy with our political structuring exercise which will end when we hold our first Elective Congress and nominate and elect party officials that will represent the party in 2018 elections. It therefore does not make any sense to negotiate with any party for any coalition without first having a political structure with democratically elected candidates at party level. Last the decision to enter into any coalitions will be decided by our members at our elective congress though our doors will remain open to those who see value in our party being party any coalition arrangement as we progress.


Meeting our members in Cape Town
As a citizen what do you expect from an election victory, what do you expect from your Ward councillor, your Member of Parliament, your President? Are their promises realistic or just lucrative sounding statements that give you hope that they will deliver on those promises? How many chances are you willing to give someone that never fulfills your promise?

As I see it our political environment is based on a culture of entitlement and hero worshiping individual leaders, until we appreciate the importance of building strong institutions over strong individuals we may remain with the same culture of recycling and reshuffling the same political players who belong to the same school of thought in terms of defining a way forward for our beloved nation. I will continue my journey into politics and do what ever I can with the time and resources at my disposal. Building an effective and results oriented team to accomplish our collective objectives is one of my greatest challenges as an aspiring leader. 

I hope time will help us leave good visible examples for future generations.





Thursday, 12 January 2017

Transformative Politics: Freedom Justice Coalition Zimbabwe Party





We have many who are skeptical about the increase in political party formations in Zimbabwe and the first thing they ask is “what is different about your party from other political parties?” I think it’s important for us to clarify one very important fact about Freedom Justice Coalition Zimbabwe party, that is it was formed in August 2010 and shared its principles of TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, INCLUSIVITY, SERVITUDE and RESPECT from that year on wards. From that point on wards, some of those same principles have now been embraced and shared by all other new political formations that are now also claiming they want to embrace the same values. This is a clear indicator that the ideas FJCZ brings to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic and political environment are admired not only by citizens but new political parties across the political divide.

Unlike most opposition parties in Zimbabwe, Freedom Justice Coalition Zimbabwe party distinguishes its self by being a progressive party versus the opposition approach that focuses on opposing everything that the current Zanu PF led government is doing rather than offering competitive alternative solutions that citizens can begin to appreciate now rather than when the party wins’ power through general elections. We are not saying that we will not highlight the wrongs by the Zanu PF led government but do so by also offering alternative practical deliverable’s.

Freedom Justice Coalition Zimbabwe party’s Community Investment Partnerships is a revolutionary concept that seeks to empower communities by linking them to potential investors be it Zimbabwe Diaspora professionals or any other investor seeking to pursue sustainable business activities in Zimbabwe. We believe as a party we must be able to attract investment that has a direct positive impact on communities’ moving away from the culture of dependency on government and NGO’s for solutions to the challenges faced by our people. Just like our principles and values have been embraced by many other political parties, we would like to encourage them to also embrace this revolutionary concept that we believe is a good blue print for the whole of Africa and the world.


Our own interim President Nathan Banana (visit his Face Book Page) has already successfully implemented this concept in his rural homestead through coordinating investment capital with members of his family resident in the diaspora working with those on the ground in Zimbabwe to drill a bore hole and install a solar powered pump that now supply water to the whole village. The project will create employment through a planned rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation technics.

What Zimbabwe needs right now is not so much just a change in political leadership alone but a change in people’s way of thinking (mind-sets), and that requires a political party that brings new ideas that are not just policy positions but are transformed to visible outcomes that add value to national development. We believe Zimbabweans need to rise above partisan politics and work together for a greater good of our people and nation beyond party politics. We do not believe that being an opposition party is an excuse to oppose for the sake of being seen to be in disagreement with a sitting government.

Let’s not gamble with the lives of our people by supporting political labels that are failing to transform people’s lives now, but embrace a new kind of leadership that believes in transformation based on bringing on board visible alternatives. We are not saying this will be an easy alternative but a working alternative that will transform our nation to its greatness once again.

Together we can build one great nation.
“Tisu vanhu vacho! Yithi abantu bakhona! We are the people!


FreedomJustice Coalition Zimbabwe Media & Information Department.(Email:info@freedomjusticecoalitionzimbabwe.org)