SOCCER legend Peter Ndlovu was recently named as leader of a newly formed opposition party, All People’s Party (APP).
However, Ndlovu, who is currently based in South Africa where he is team manager at Mamelodi Sundowns FC, has not yet come out of his shell to address or to meet the electorate in Zimbabwe to outline his new path in politics.
His deputy Sabastian Mubvumbi, however, says APP is real and will contest the 2023 general elections. NewsDay (ND) senior reporter Miriam Mangwaya caught up with APP vice-president Mubvumbi (SM) to explain the state of affairs at the party. Below are excerpts of the interview.
ND: Why did you decide to name the party All People’s Party?
SM: We came up with the name All Peoples Party (APP) to show that it is an all-encompassing party. Our party is inclusive as it does not discriminate on gender, race, tribe, religious preferences or sexual orientation.
The party’s official emblem sums it all on inclusivity. It is a rainbow with jointed palms underneath it. The rainbow shows the degree of inclusivity, and the joined palms represent unity. It is premised on the ethos of ubuntu; of us, by us, and I am because we are. There is no greater person than the other as we are all equal.
ND: What prompted you to form the party?
SM: The call for the need of a vibrant political party came from various sectors of the Zimbabwean community who felt that they needed a political home that would cater for their views. There is a wish to build Zimbabwe and it is the work of a lifetime that needs commitment and we feel up to the task as we have the capacity from the crop of party members and other progressive people.
This was also borne out of the realisation that the current leadership has laid waste the gains of the liberation struggle and become the bourgeoisie who have run the country to the ground, leaving it at rock bottom. It is apparent that we are run by a kleptocratic government that is not interested in our well-being as citizens as witnessed by the various disastrous decisions from the 1980s.
We want to be counted in history as the ones who stood up and took up the mettle to rebuild Zimbabwe.
ND: When did you form the party?
SM: APP was formed in 2019. It was then registered with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission the same year on October 31, 2019. We, however, deferred our launch due to COVID-19. Peter Ndlovu was unanimously chosen as the leader of the party.
ND: Why has Peter Ndlovu as APP president remained mum and has instead let you assume the leadership role as the acting president? People want him to come out of his shell, into the open and to meet party supporters or the electorate?
SM: We have to appreciate the unique times we are in due to the COVID-19 pandemic as this has hampered any plans we may have had to hit the ground running as envisaged. We are interested in solidifying our grassroot structures.
A response from the president (Ndlovu) will come at a time deemed appropriate as he is currently inundated with other commitments. Rest assured that he is abreast with all that is taking place within the party structures and is willing to be a torch bearer of a change for the better.
ND: How do you see your political future?
SM: APP is the party of the future that is progressive and has solutions to the many ills that bedevil us as a country. This, therefore, means that we are here for the coming generations as we are here for the long haul.
APP looks forward to a party and government leadership that earns respect, not hero-worshipped or idolised. We are patriotic to the country and its people. We will not wish and speak ill of our country and will not seek political mileage and relevance from the suffering of fellow Zimbabweans. It is immoral and even cruel for a political party to want to gain votes through the suffering of the masses.
ND: What are your predictions for the 2023 elections?
SM: We are romping to victory because we are a people’s party. Our target is three million votes for Peter Ndlovu. That will take him to State House. On Members of Parliament, we will have two-thirds, the other political parties will share the remaining third. Council seats will be a walk over.
Our candidates will be people of good standing, honesty and not in it for enrichment, but serving the people. The 2023 elections will usher in a new administration. The people are going to vote in large numbers. Rigging is impossible or embarrassingly obvious where large numbers of voters are involved.
ND: What do you say on the issue of electoral reforms which other opposition parties are pushing for?
SM: I think it would be naïve for us as a party not to support this noble cause. We will push for that although it has now turned out to be a tired discourse. The ruling party is not willing to have the reforms done. We should be seized with voter registration.
Our biggest challenge is voter apathy. The majority of Zimbabweans do not have a citizen mentality. They simply do not vote. All in all, the ruling party and opposition political parties share about five million voters. That leaves at least five million potential voters. As APP, we are mobilising this number to vote. Disgruntled voters from other political parties will be an added advantage.
ND: Since the launch of your party, what can you say are your achievements so far?
SM: We have brought a breath of fresh air. Our grassroot structures are taking shape at an alarming rate, although the environment is not conducive for political activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one that came from the depths of hell. We are using other means to reach out to our members.
ND: Some say APP is a Zanu PF project aimed at dividing the majority support of one opposition party. What do you say?
SM: We cannot respond to every little allegation that people make. Why give the issue prominence? APP was formed out of principle and conviction.
However, it is normal in a society to experience the denial syndrome. There are people who do not accept reality as it is. Do they mean to say every other political party is a Zanu PF project except for the opposition party they are referring to? Does it mean that every person who is anti-Zanu PF is a member of that party? Or alternatively, does it mean that everyone who is anti-that party is Zanu PF? That is tragic and regrettable and would be tantamount to the sense of entitlement Zanu PF has over the country.
- Follow Miriam on Twitter @FloMangwaya