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Unity in struggle: what Zimbabwe needs
Jethro Mpofu
September 26, 2007

AS I write, the Zimbabwean political and economic atmosphere is heavily pregnant with important possibilities. Like any other pregnancy, there is the much prayed for possibility that a new bouncing baby Zimbabwe will be born when a new constitutional and political order is realised.

There is also the rude possibility of an abortion or the uninvited disappointing miscarriage.

Yet, it remains the task before all serious Zimbabweans to work over time to ensure that this historic opportunity to reinvent Zimbabwe is not again squandered.

Prosperity might forever charge us with the capital sin of constitutional, economic and political negligence if we once again miss this opportunity to restore to normalcy the legal, economic and political workings of our country through sober debate, serious dialogue and free and fair elections.

The national troubles that Zimbabweans from all classes and all walks have endured during the violence, food shortages, water shortages, high cost of living and collapse of law and order should naturally condition all of us to sobriety, seriousness and concrete resolve to unite and navigate our country out of the angry seas of economic and political chaos that currently punctuate the condition of our country -- reducing it to the status of a colony of hell on earth.

At this stage, it is as obvious as the sky that all Zimbabweans, in the ruling party, in opposition ranks and in the church and general civic society can sense and also see the urgent need for a new constitutional, political and economic order in our land. The questions are what must be done, who must do it and how must it be done?

I must state at this point that I am humbly and politely addressing myself to the honour, the courage, patriotism, commitment and the sacrificial spirit of the men and women of Zimbabwe who so far have risked life and limb, tempted fate and diced with death himself by leading opposition political parties, civic groups, churches, student organisations and other societies that have for so long been struggling and negotiating for a new Zimbabwe.

I must also state that I am applying myself to those Zimbabweans who are still operating within the leadership ranks of the ruling party, but have the preparedness to work together with all other Zimbabweans in the grand historic project of delivering Zimbabwe back to glory and progress.

I must also emphasise that I wish to salute the collective heroism, courage, endurance and patience of the ordinary and common Zimbabwean citizens who have seen it all at its worst in Zimbabwe. These are the populations and communities of Zimbabwe who have for so longer than life chosen peace under economic and political conditions that have long clearly justified war.

I also wish, finally, to observe the essence of, and the concern, interest and commitment sometimes rightly and sometimes very wrongly of the global community of other nations and countries who must have above all other interests seen the light that the economic, constitutional and economic recovery of Zimbabwe will be a giant contribution to the prosperity of humanity under the sun.

"The fly that does not listen to advice", the Masai of East Africa say, "will follow the corpse to the grave and end its young life."

I hereby seek to politely offer my humble personal advisory words to the comrades and friends who populate and drive the engines of opposition politics in Zimbabwe. They include Cde Morgan Tsvangirai, Professor Jonathan Moyo, Professor Aurthur Mutambara and many other luminaries who have taken a generational stand that a new Zimbabwe must be born.

To these men and women of courage, I wish to repeat these words of the late revolutionary Amilcar Cabral that "Unity In Struggle" is what we need in Zimbabwe. As our elders also have said, "no matter how big your hand is, it unfortunately cannot cover the sky."

We have arrived at a historical corner of our country-s condition where no opposition leader is either too small or too big for these demanding political exigencies in our country. The stubborn reality before us comrades and friends is that we will be challenging common sense and contradicting common political wisdom if we ever imagine that a single opposition grouping will single-handedly unseat Zanu PF and sentence Mugabe to the dustbins of history.

There is an inevitable need for unity of purpose and strategy comrades. To concentrate on coining clever insults about each other, to invest our energies and efforts in phrasing hurtful labels against each other and to waste words describing and defaming each other is but to major on minor issues and to minor on major issues like the proverbial villager who burnt down the whole village to fix a troublesome rat.

I wish to forward the point comrades, that if Zanu PF is to be consigned to its rightful place as the vanquished in the impending elections in the year 2008, there is need for opposition political parties in Zimbabwe to come up with a strategic alliance formula that will ensure that opposition candidates do not contest each other in all constituencies in the country. Any move otherwise will donate unexpected victory to Zanu PF.

It is also said by our elders that "those who spit at the sky will only soil their own faces," which donates to us the wisdom that whilst criticism amongst opposition political parties and other groupings is healthy and democratic, jealousy and malice, inspired condemnation and criticism of each other will only work hard to protect the status quo and reduce us to the status of "enemies of the people and opponents of progress."

It is not an exaggeration that when brothers fight over a field it is a stranger who will reap the harvest. We need to unite and solidify into a deadly force that will engineer a revolutionary conspiracy that will make victory a must for Zimbabwe.

There are also the brothers and sisters who occupy positions within the functions of the current government. It is so easy to bundle them into one black bag of condemnation and blame and label them traitors, criminals, killers and other labels, but what happens in the history and life of all nations is that there are some among the ruling clique who we can talk to and work with openly and covertly to achieve the goods for our country.

To ignore their presence, to minimise their experience, to forget their abilities can as well indicate that we are like the innocent mechanic who chooses not to know the efficiency of used spare parts. There are valuable eyes, brains and bones of Zimbabwe that we need to liberate from the history of Zanu PF and invest in the future of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is also very rich with civic organisations of serious cause and concern. The NCAs of our country, the WOZAs of our country, the MISAs of our country, the Crisis Coalitions of our country, Bulawayo Dialogue, Bulawayo Agenda, NYDT and others are all organisations that can help shepherd the hearts and minds of the populations of Zimbabwe to register as voters and to seek election as candidates in the coming elections.

To be angry with Zanu PF alone, to shout angry slogans and march down the streets in protest when one is not a registered voter is not only to work for the status quo but it is also clearly comparable to pelting an elephant with pebbles and to threaten a mountain with a needle. It is our civic organisations that must act as watchful touts of the vehicles of liberty in our land.

Talking about the masses, it is important for us in the opposition political parties and civic society organisations to remember that while we are proud of the wealth of professors and other elites in our ranks, it is the peasants who own history and are the water that we swim in as we pursue our varied goals in the process of seeking a new Zimbabwe.

The campaign for "unity in struggle", voter registration and unity of purpose must be taken out of the comfort of hotels, boardrooms and halls to the rural areas where the devil has made it a habit to conceal his ugly self plotting unwanted and retrogressive victories for the common enemy.

The role of the international community in influencing what happens in the economy and politics of Zimbabwe cannot be ignored although it should not be exaggerated. Zimbabwe is indeed a global economic and political player, but in the interests of our sovereignty and dignity as an African people, it is important that we realise that democracy for us will not be donated from anywhere or imported from any foreign capital but will be produced here in Zimbabwe for the consumption of the Zimbabweans.

In conclusion, I wish to put it before Zimbabweans and all others around the globe who value humanity and wish Zimbabweans well in their pursuit of economic and political happiness that a new Zimbabwe is indeed possible. A new constitutional and political order in Zimbabwe is feasible and opportunities for the creation of the same are abundant.

It is important however for Zimbabweans in opposition political parties and those in the civic society to understand that only a broad united front of politicians from all formations in the Zimbabwean political landscape will unseat the ruling regime. If we approach the coming elections as fragmented entities we will surely be sleep-walking our country into doom.

Jethro Mpofu is Bulawayo based political activist and advocate for a United Opposition Political Front.

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