The people come first!


Those who were expelled from Zanu (Patriotic Front) have now chosen to brand themselves as hugely concerned about us and now claim that they shall now put people first. I guess the proof of the pudding shall be in the eating.

Vince Musewe

My main concern with this is their history, integrity and authenticity. We must remember that they never voluntarily left Zanu Patriotic Front based on utter disgust and principles. They were expelled from it because they sought to attain the highest positions within an organisation that has really done more harm than good to the ideals of the liberation struggle.

Because their ambitions were thwarted, they have the audacity to now claim that they abhor the organisation from which they benefited immensely and exploited Zimbabweans. Now they want us to believe that they have the interests of the very people they exploited at heart. That is preposterous and disingenuous.

In my opinion, it would be dangerous for us to jump to the conclusion that they have suddenly seen the light and have repented from their sins of commission and omission during their heyday. Trust is earned and not given. Simply because of a change of brand or name we cannot now be excited at the prospects of their return to politics. We must be cautious lest we are duped once more that we the people really matter to them.

However, having said the above, I truly believe that we must look at the price of freedom and cherish it more than anything else. Anyone who therefore accelerates our attainment of it must be welcome, but that welcome must be measured and conditional. They must sincerely repent and ask the millions of Zimbabweans they seek to now put first for forgiveness with remorse. They cannot expect to be catapulted back into power based on their word alone.

I always tell my colleagues who criticise me when I change my position on issues, that I have the right to do so. By the same token, the likes of Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa and Joice Mujuru also have the right to change their minds at any given time and if that change is positive for the attainment of social justice and equity, then I think that we must give them a chance. After all, the apostle St Paul was a murderer.

History is important yes, for whether we like it or not, it has the tendency to shape who we become. Our problem in Zimbabwe is that our history has become everything and has therefore limited the emergence of a new trajectory. It has arrested our movement forward as a country like an albatross around our necks.

I must be clear that I do not think old men and women can create the Zimbabwe we want. I do not think it will be easy for them to change their paradigm. I do not support the recycling of the same personalities in our politics where we clearly need fresh minds and new ideas of who we can become.

However, I think that the emergence of Zanu People First is a good development to create a platform in the future for coalition politics so that we may get the politics of compromise and consensus. We must move away from leadership through centralised power and a dictatorship. That is the only positive thing I see out of this.

It is unimaginable that the likes of Mujuru et al can truly represent the Zimbabwe we want, but they can be the bridge to the future just as FW de Klerk of the National Party was a bridge to the future for South Africa.

We must, however, make it clear that we no longer accept politicians who are non-accountable and corrupt. We cannot allow them to dish out patronage favours as they did in the past. We must never create the space for them to abuse our vote as has happened in the past.

Let those who want an end to tyranny stand up and be counted and we shall not care much about your past, but about the future of Zimbabwe. Every nation that has come out of a dictatorship has had to accommodate its past in some sort of political settlement for the sake of progress. We may be forced to do that.

Our choice is to forgive them as “forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it”. (Mark Twain) It is a difficult thing to do, but our future depends on it. We all want to move away from our broken and painful past and that will require some compromise from us.
I truly believe that for Zimbabwe, the best is yet to come. Our best future can indeed emerge from the brokenness and pain of the past and from those we least expect to lead us into it.
Nothing is impossible.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on


  1. As an old man who lived in Rhodesia, I can truly tell you Vince that a leopard does not change its colors even if it wants to and this is manifest by the use of the name Zanu by these “people first” misfits? The world over, I have noticed, new businesses, new and effective political leaders are in their fourties? Anything with the name ZANU X is ZANU just like anything with the name MDC X is MDC and they have all failed dismally at what they set out to do with respect to delivering the Zimbabwe that Vince wants!!!!!

    So Vince, why do you not challenge the 40 year old Zimbabweans who are neither ZANU nor MDC to lead us to the Zimbabwe you want, which will come when I am gone, but in which my children will live in total happiness?

  2. Anyone has a right to change their mind if circumstances change or if convinced otherwise. But we have to distinguish between changing one’s mind and seeking revenge. Those people were fired and they appealed that the firing was unconstitutional siting their seniority in the organisation, non of them accused their former employer of corruption during/after their hearing. Their goal was to retain their employment and continue where they left, when that was denied they want to use you and I to achieve that. Believe me they have no interest in the masses, they are grieving for their pay checks and mind you they are unproductive and have no clue of how they will survive from now on. The best that private media can do is perhaps have a political column where they can post their experiences once a week and expose how corrupt they have been, that will help, at least they will have a job.

  3. People First are ZANU PF functionaries out to divide the vote and steal a people’s victory. They are like Moyo who returned to ZANU PF after winning his seat as an independent

Comments are closed.