“Each generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it,” wrote Frantz Fanon in his book, “The Wretched of the Earth”.
Zimbabwe is currently at the confluence of three generations; the “Rhodesians” generation, the “war veterans”generation and the so-called “born-frees” generation – our generation. The first two generations found their purpose, scored victories and made their errors. Now that they areintheir late 60s and above and may be rested by nature within the next couple of decades, our generation should therefore, consider itself lucky to have at some point lived with both.
For years, many have been asking questions about what our generation hopes to be remembered for. Our country is in a multifaceted crisis right now, mainly because those who took over governance in 1980 – the war veterans, have failed, or rather refused, to involve the other two generations in managing the country’s affairs. It is now up to our generation to pick up the pieces, glue them together and build a prosperous country from the ramshackle that it has become since 1980. We are where we are because we have refused to learn from our past mistakes. We have seen how each of the first two generations above tried but failed to run the country on racial exclusivity and thus, should draw serious lessons from that.
Our ability to not only learn from the mistakes of the past, but to also correct them, can make ours a generation that lays a good foundation on which to build a better and beautiful Zimbabwe for this and several other generations. And in that way, we can change Africa’s politics – and fortunes, for good.
Racial imbalances of the pre-1980 period led our country to a serious war which for years cut us out of the international community, brought business to a standstill and cost human lives, while on the debris of political intolerance and reverse racism of our post-1980 era liemass graves of Gukurahundi victims, toxic politics, serious tribal division and economic ruin.
Instead of looking back with anger and regret over the historical truths and fallacies, our generation should draw lessons on how inequality, disunity, disempowerment and discord along the lines of race and tribe can pull a country to its knees.
Far from judging the two generations that came before ours, our generation must strive to be the glue that binds everyone together, forming the united force for good and welcome change that Zimbabwe – and Zimbabweans, have yearned for during the past few decades. It is high time we built a united front for positive change, and high time we ventured into positive politics for the good of Zimbabwe and her citizens.
It is for that reason that a multiracial group of patriots came together to form The Patriotic Front as a vehicle for Zimbabwean inclusivity, Zimbabwean pride, Zimbabwean progress and Zimbabwean unity in diversity. TPF is a party whose main aim is not to react to the racial, tribal and or political conflicts that divide us, but to highlight the many positives that make us stronger together and use them to build ourselves into a better people and construct a cohesive society whose main focus is to rebuild Zimbabwe out of the ruins that we currently stand on.
TPF–The Third Way, is a political party whose main thrust is to unite the people of Zimbabwe from across all three generations, so that they can bury their hatchet and accept that – judging by history and current evidence, none of us can do without the other. It is the loud voice of unity calling on all Zimbabweans – the “Rhodesians” hounded out of their home country decades ago, ware veterans feeling entitlement over everything Zimbabwean and the “born-free” generation drawing more shame than pride from their being Zimbabwean, to come together and work towards progress as one united nation.
It is TPF’s belief that we will not be able to rebuild our country if we do not warm up to the fact that each of our three generations has a role to play in rebuilding the nation we want, if not for ourselves, for our children and their children. Yes, the way we first met, be it racially or ethnically, was a source of several conflicts, some of them leading to bloodshed, but it is our ability to rise above those that will make us a better people.
If God did not want us to live together, He would not have made us come to contact in the first place and had He not wanted us to live harmoniously with each other, He would not have shown us the failures of racial exclusivity and inequality we have experienced in both pre-independence and post-independence Zimbabwe. It is because of this glaring evidence that we must come together as Rhodesians and Zimbabweans of different generations, admit that our attempts to live without the other failed and create a new, harmonious society. And it is up to our generation to bring the other two into our efforts, hence TPF’s resolution to bring the two together.
TPF believes in its heart of hearts that Rhodesians, war veterans and born-frees – should we throw away our past experiences in the hands of one another, rememberthat we are all Zimbabweans, respect that we are Zimbabweans before we can be anything else and value the fact that our being Zimbabwean makes us unique from any other nation, will all admit that there is one duty to be done and one end to achieve – building a better and more prosperous country.
We know that pre-independence generation suffered racial injustices in the hands of the colonial government; we know that post-independence, the people of Matabeleland were butchered with impunity, called foreigners and sidelined from a number of national programmes in their home country; we know that Rhodesians and white Zimbabweans have been on the receiving end of racial injustices in Zimbabwe – they have been attacked, killed, dispossessed, disempowered and hounded out of their country of birth; we are also not unmindful of the fact that because of their political choices, several people from Mashonaland survived gory operations under the hands of the ruling elite since the turn of the millennium. It is because of those past experiences we have gone through that our politics has become so toxic and centered on the fight for positions and state power, while our economy has been failing, throwing many into abject poverty.
We however, also believe that instead of continuing to hold grudges, instead of continuing to trample on one another’s rights and instead of continuing to spew toxic bile at one another – that “us” and “them” attitude, it is high time we came together as a people, discussed and found solutions for each other’s bad experiences in a manner that will make it possible for us to join hands and build a better society, a better Zimbabwe and a better future.
It is high time every Zimbabwean rose up to claim their true national identity, drew pride from it and used it to fight to establish a diverse and better nation in which people will be judged and rewarded according to their deeds, not their race, tribe or creed.
We believe that those who want to run the country and share its resources on grounds of racial and tribal exclusivity have no place in the new Zimbabwe we are building and as Jean-Paul Sarte once wrote, “…no one has the power nor the right to give anything to anybody; for each of them has every right, and the right to everything”.
Believing that our strength is in our diversity and that we are stronger together, The Patriotic Front, which is built on the ideology of Ubuntu Social Democracy, is seized with redirecting the Zimbabwean struggle towards the establishment of a racially and culturally diverse, yet inclusive, united, peaceful and progressive society and nation.
We seek to lead Zimbabwe towards productive politics, whose tenets include delivering the economic emancipation, political freedom, religious independence and cultural recognition of all Zimbabweans and transforming Zimbabwe to a democratic developmental state, governed by a God-fearing leadership, which respects the rights of all citizens, observes personal freedoms and the sanctity of human life.
As our Founding Document clearly states, we intend to establish a nation whose citizens have equal claim to citizenship regardless of their ancestral origin, race or creed; a nation whose government and citizens are focused on building the future with unity and hope than looking backwards with anger and regret and a united Zimbabwe anchored on a clearly laid-down vision and strategy, driven by multiracial unity, shared values, shared resources, servant leadership and shared responsibility in the political, economic, public administration and social spheres of the country.
We are not less Zimbabwean because we are white, not less Zimbabwean because we are war veterans, and certainly not less Zimbabwean because we are born frees.
TPF steadfastly stands against the populist politics of disempowerment and steadfastly asserts that everyone – blacks, whites, coloureds and Asians born in Zimbabwe from generations back are equally and unconditionally sons and daughters of the soil and that like the mountains and the trees, they are there, will always be there and must be recognised along with their different cultures. They shall also each and severally have the right to not only participate in, but also to lead, the country’s political, economic and political discourse, no matter how robust those may be, without having to be apologetic about things of the past, and that their participation shall not be at the discretion of anybody but themselves.
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