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.
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 email@example.com