By Darryl Collet
The past weeks brought up some concerning red flags in our country, as well as some encouraging news.
For this reason, I have decided that it is time to address you all with this message.
May I begin by pointing out to you that life is all about decision making. Decisions are made in our personal capacity every hour of every day. We make them in leadership capacities, that being heads of households, heads of groups, heads of parties – political and non-political, as Governments and as Presidents.
That being so, it cannot be expected that every decision that is made in any of the categories stated above, is going to prove to be a good or a correct decision. Either way, the good and the bad decisions impact on generations.
Leadership’s wisdom is born out of recognizing the good and the bad: Living with the good and correcting the bad. Therein, lies wisdom.
An example of a bad decision which will affect the lives of many for a long time is the shooting of two soldiers in Chivhu on Saturday the 5th of September.
The information at hand is that two men, dressed in civilian clothing and armed with a pistol, shot two soldiers and fled with the soldiers’ AK47 rifles. Members of the public assisted the police in carrying the wounded to hospital. Sadly, one of the soldiers was pronounced dead and the other is in a critical condition. The two who perpetrated the deadly violence have since been shot dead as well.
The decision by the two is a decision that will have the most severe consequences and that will impact on their families and their friends. The death of the soldier will have severe consequences on his family and friends. We, The Patriotic Front, join them in their sorrow. Our prayers are with you in your mourning.
In the strongest terms possible, The Patriotic Front distances itself from all sorts of violence from whatever source. We are a democracy. We are given the opportunity in due time to vote for change if change is necessary.
In the meantime, we have elected our members to parliament. These are our MP’s, our voices in government. No matter their political affiliation, they remain our voice in Parliament. Use them to convey your thoughts to Government. Summon them to meetings, write them letters. Let them know what needs to be known.
Good news is the Press freedom advocates’ announcement of the news on the release on bail of a reporter who is charged with stoking anti-government violence. Many have been praying for justice to prevail in this release of Hopewell Chin’ono. A court in Harare granted Chin’ono bail late, after four failed attempts and more than a month behind bars. We convey our gratitude to the court for making this decision. An injustice has been reversed.
Freedom of speech is everything. We note with grave concern that this public freedom is being curtailed even in countries across the world. The latest news of this curtailment comes out of Australia and the United Kingdom. These sorts of decisions, made by the leaders of the people, does not encourage Patriotism, where Patriotism enshrines love and respect of leaders and them for the people they lead.
It is said that one should never discuss religion and politics, for these subjects encourage dissension. They are the two most important topics. Certainly, as citizens, shareholders and voters of and in any country, politics should be discussed on every platform and freedom to do so is one’s constitutional right.
Getting back to decisions made and how they impact on generations for the good and for the bad: it has been said that “Instead of moving forward, we continue to relive political and social struggles of the past. In this context Zimbabwe has become a political tsunami, ‘a hot mess divorced from power’; reeled with confusion and incompetence.”
It was further said that “Our government needs to satisfy popular expectations in education, health, employment and basic human rights.”
All this has been said in the context of the apparent inability of the government to provide social services, eliminate systemic corruption and rising repression.
Were these quoted reasons not THE reason for the fall of the Mugabe regime?
Things were so bad then that when it fell the people gathered in the streets with rejoice in their hearts.
That things have not changed and in some instances have been seen to get worse under the new administration, in the short few years that they have been in office, and subsequent to the decision that at the time was seen to be right for a change, is probably due to the impossibility of the task and born of the frustration mounting out of the impossibility.
It is heartening to see that it has been recognized that a decision made 20 years ago to destroy the best Agricultural economy in the world and what was then the bread basket of Africa, was indeed a decision made in haste, with unforeseen consequences, which would have the severest impact on the nation in every way possible.
That this acceptance of that decision as being retrogressive may well be due to the Citizens activism which has been a cry for help: more so, when they have been told that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
That Zimbabwe is in a crisis, a political crisis that has enhanced an economic crisis, that has raised social instabilities; a crisis that has risen threats to national unity, peace and stability, cannot be denied.
The crisis is manifest in the government crossing swords with even messengers of God for simply stating that people are hungry and afraid: For simply stating that the situation we are in needs collective effort: for simply calling for national dialogue: and for simply calling for a return to peace and tranquility.
Our government’s collective effort with The Commercial Farmers Union, Valuation Consortium, and others in reaching a compensation agreement acceptable to ex- Rhodesian farmers is the first of the good steps in reconciliation.
In a JOINT STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT AND THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT the following topics were covered SECURITY OF TENURE FOR FORMER FARM OWNERS STILL FARMING, ENTITLEMENT TO COMPENSATION FOR BOTH LAND AND IMPROVEMENTS, FARM DOWNSIZING PRIORITIES, PROHIBITION OF ILLEGAL OCCUPATION OF PRODUCTIVE FARMS
What is most heartening is the decision by the War veterans to throw their weight behind President Mnangagwa over the move to compensate white farmers for improvements they had made on farms they lost during the land reform programme and returning farms that were protected under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements.
This as reported in the Sunday-Mail.com on Sunday 06 September 2020 Under the heading “WAR veterans have thrown their weight behind President Mnangagwa”.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairman Mr. Christopher Mutsvangwa reportedly told Sunday News that it was time to mend relations and regularise some of the problems that resulted from the land reform decision.
“We strongly support the initiative because we are doing it for goodwill,” he said.
Earlier on while addressing the meeting, Mr. Mutsvangwa said the liberation struggle was waged against a colonial system not against the white race.
Mr. Musvangwa concluded his statement by saying: “We fought a non-racial war against a racial system. It’s been 40 years after independence. The white people who remained in Zimbabwe are now Zimbabweans. We should not stigmatise them and do racial discrimination in the country. President Mnangagwa wants a united nation regardless of race, creed, religion and gender. We did not fight a racial war. We were supported by some white people during the war. Let us not recycle racism in the country.”
This decision by the war veteran leaders may well have a positive impact on future generations and a revival of confidence nationally and internationally.
Certainly, a revival of our agricultural sector will impact heavily on our national economy and therefore on the lives of our people.
Further good news is the decision of The Cabinet to approve the decision to open the Tourism sector so that all activities pertaining can resume.
However, in amongst the good decisions, there is the news that the Zimbabwean Government is reportedly handing out mining concessions to miners to develop new coal mines in conservation areas. Conservationists in Hwange say that two Chinese companies have already been granted concessions allowing them to explore for coal inside the Hwange National Park, the country’s biggest game reserve.
On a follow up on this it was discovered that the Government has allocated two coal mining concessions in the middle of Sinamatella and Robins camp. The mining concessions are Special Grants which apparently can only be issued by the President, and both been granted to Chinese companies.
This can be considered a bad decision yet to be recognised by those who made the decision as its long-term impact rests on the shoulders of generations to come.
A petition by villagers in Lukosi in Hwange to the Hwange Rural District Council earlier this year raised issues of air and water pollution by the mining companies.
Respected journalist Brezhnev Malaba has criticised the government’s decision to grant Chinese companies mining concessions to explore coal in Hwange National Park upstream of Deka River which has led to massive environmental degradation.
Malaba has called for human rights lawyers to take up the case to protect villagers in Hwange who are losing cattle, goats and aquatic life due to toxins being released into the river.
Rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs and other endangered species face a new threat in Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park: What few people realise is that all of nature, that is humans, animals in all their species, birds in all their species, trees in all their species along with plants in all their species and fish in the oceans, rivers and dams in all their species, vibrate a common frequency which makes our planet a LIVING PLANET.
As the human species grows and its growth impacts on the rest of nature so the earth gets closer to a dead planet status such as what has been achieved on Mars.
A recent video published by one Blessing Farai Munyinyiwa was a humble plea to our President to rescind the concession he has granted to the Chinese companies. An excellent plea in which he speaks for concerned Zimbabweans.
The Patriotic Front raises its voice in unison with him, and the voice of other concerned organisations and individuals in urging our President, His excellency E. Mnangagwa, to give urgent consideration to the reversal of this decision.
When graduates that line up on street corners to sell airtime, have regained their hope in a better life: When the people who have left their country in millions to take up menial jobs in foreign lands, regain faith in the productivity of their motherland and return: When our leaders in Government know that through their good decisions and their recognition of the bad decisions made in the past and the rectification thereof: when they have begun to win the love of their people, all is beginning to come right.
A good leader will always strive to achieve good for God’s people: A true leader knows that instead of harassment and threats, Zimbabweans need love and a listening ear: A true leader is an ambassador: spearheading the initiative of nation building while breaking the codes of racism, ethnicity of any form with the aim of promoting unity and equality: A true leader knows that the situation we are in needs addressing.
TPF stands against confrontational politics. We stand against the “us” and “them” attitude. There is no Zimbabwe for “us” and no Zimbabwe for “them”: There is one Zimbabwe for all its citizens.
Let us join hands now and work towards the betterment of ourselves, our communities and our country.
Let’s not reserve our ideas and ability to change events for tomorrow, for it starts now as we all have a duty in creating a better Zimbabwe, a better continent and a better world.
Zimbabwe needs you. Your Country Needs YOU!
Darryl Collet is President of The Patriotic Front (TPF), a newly-formed Zimbabwean opposition political party.