On May 25 1963, African governments met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to launch the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which in 2002 metamorphosed to the present-day African Union (AU).
The driving vision of Africa’s Founding Fathers who represented the 32 nations that founded the organisation, including Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, was the need to foster pan-African cooperation, encourage political and economic integration among member states and to eradicate colonialism and neo-colonialism from the African continent.
Decades later, many African countries, including our very own Zimbabwe, cannot stand on mountaintops and claim to have followed to the letter and spirit that vision, as the AU has seemingly failed to transform the lives of the ordinary African man, woman and child. If anything, the current state of affairs in Africa flies in the face of what President Nkrumah wrote in his January 1963 letter to all the presidents of all independent states, as a proposal for the formation of the Union of African States.
In his letter, he highlighted the need for Africa to have a Common foreign policy and diplomacy, punctuated by a process of political socialization that would “enable us to speak with one voice” in the fora of the world; Common continental planning for economic and industrial development of “building up a common market of a united Africa” that would bring about the material conditions we need to improve our collective quality of life in the global economy; Common currency a monetary zone and a central bank of issue which he viewed as necessary to “orientate the economy of Africa and place it beyond the reach of foreign control” to be able to implement our social economy and a Common defence system in which “one over-all (land, sea and air) Defence Command for Africa is needed to defend the social economy we create”.
Exactly 57 years later, many an ordinary African citizen feels let down by the African government bodies, including the AU, as Africa remains ravaged by political schism, armed conflict, bad governance, corruption, hunger and famine, neocolonialism among several tribulations.
The situation is nowhere near any better in Zimbabwe. The 2020 Africa Day could not have found citizens in any worse situation. Total breaches of political and personal freedoms, lack of media freedom, human rights abuses, a failed economy that has gone into auto-cruise, as witnessed by perennial power outages, a spiraling inflation rate, exorbitant and ever-rising prices of basic commodities, dormant industries, a serious brain drain, unparalleled levels of unemployment and a torn social fabric are among the many ills that Zimbabweans have to grapple with.
Added to the above evils, we have racial discrimination, tribalism and political polarization, all of which have further divided our people, planted hate in their minds and thus, worked against the development of the individual, the community and the nation.
Instead of being an ideological contestation of how to best advance the interests of Zimbabweans, our politics has been reduced to a gloves-off fight to attain state power at all costs, from which the job-seeker on the streets of our cities, the subsistence farmer in our communal lands and the expatriate in foreign lands stand to benefit nothing.
There can be no gainsaying the fact that what is happening in Zimbabwe’s current political landscape is a minefield of half-truths and flat out lies from both the ruling Zanu (PF) and the MDC Alliance.
We support calls that to end Zimbabwe’s political logjam, help should come from the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC), the broader African Union (AU) and international organisations, but The Patriotic Front (TPF) notes that the current disarray and lack of direction, clarity and reforms demonstrated by both the MDC Alliance and Zanu PF can and will cast doubt on both the cause and result of the engagements if only the two antagonistic parties are consulted, thereby leaving the people of Zimbabwe with no real or truthful conviction of the outcome.
It is against this background that TPF was formed – to be a true representative of the Zimbabwean people, fighting to ensure that our people rediscover and claim their national identity, as well as draw pride, ownership and benefit from their being Zimbabwean.
As an inclusive party blind to race, ethnicity and religion and seeking to unite the people of Zimbabwe towards one common goal of making their country productive, TPF is committed to a free, fair and just Zimbabwe and is working hard across cultural and ethnic boundaries to provide an inclusive voice of reason to the political chaos that reigns in our beloved country.
We believe that regional, continental and international leaders cannot commit their good conscience and that of their governments and organisations they represent to any plan that involves parties like the MDC Alliance or Zanu PF, who do not have long and lasting solutions to Zimbabwe’s economic, demographic and political problems. And this is understandable. This is exactly why the patriotic front was born. To be that voice of the people, and offer an alternative solution not only to the people of Zimbabwe, but also to the international community, namely foreign government institutes and creditors.
For the AU or SA, or any other government to intervene in Zimbabwe today without an unbiased, solid political ally would not only result in catastrophic results in Zimbabwe, but would also tarnish the reputation and non-partisan position of the said governments and institutions.
TPF wholeheartedly agrees that intervention in Zimbabwe is badly needed, but this intervention cannot be more of the same. A new approach with clearly defined goals and measurable results needs to be set in place.
These should be:
- SADC and AU intervention in Zimbabwe to arrest non-respect of the rule of law
- Intervention in the political domain through mediation and consultation of all of Zimbabwe’s political parties.
- Aid and health assistance due to Zimbabwe’s current inability to provide for her citizens
- Implementation of a fair, open and just roadmap through consultations to either snap elections (depending on the severity of decline in law and human rights abuses) or the 2023 elections.
- Measurable results but be examined through the consultative process and established in line with international standards.
Zimbabweans have been subjected to too much suffering, especially politically and economically, to continue in this state for any time longer. Instead of being divided along racial and ethnic lines, our people need unity of purpose for them to see and act towards achieving the common goal of seizing control of their local and national resources for their economic emancipation, community development and rebuilding their country in peace.
TPF therefore, comes to work with the people in their communities all over the country, to help them reap the benefits of inclusiveness, equality, peace, unity and being Zimbabwean and united.
Department of Communication and Marketing
The Patriotic Front