The March to Transform Zimbabwe


“Confrontation is one of the toughest tasks of leadership. It is also one of the most courageous and important things a leader can do,” wrote the Catholic Bishops, who were speaking of the prophets Micah and Jeremiah. They could also have been speaking of Jacob Ngarivhume, who spoke truth to power and had the courage of his convictions – leading the 31st July march of the people against our corrupt leaders. Nor was he deterred by the ominous threats of a repressive regime steeped in brutality against its own citizens. He knew the risks all too well, but was prepared to make the sacrifice to bring attention to the suffering of us all and the need for everyone to be treated with dignity.

Speaking of the prophets, the Bishops defined the attribute of great servant leaders:

“Servant leaders place the interests and needs of their followers ahead of their self-interests and needs,” they wrote. “They value the well-being and development of their followers, building their communities, acting authentically, and sharing power.” They note that the most effective and influential leaders are those who strive to serve others; continually thinking about the people over whose lives they have power. “Servant leaders,” they add, “will value the worth of every person. The organisation or nation they build will honour the importance of every individual.” Such leaders “have a compelling sense of what is right. Deep-seated values guide them. Their principles are at the core of their decision-making process.”

Again, they could have been referring to Jacob Ngarivhume. With a deep faith, firmly rooted in Christianity, he is the embodiment of a committed servant leader with the wisdom and integrity to uplift the lives of all. It seems no coincidence that the Bishops imagine national transformation and that Jacob is the President of Transform Zimbabwe. While he has received international attention as an opposition politician, it is instructive to describe the Five Pillars of Transformation that not only lie at the core of the party that he leads, but reflects, as the leader of Transform Zimbabwe, his spirit and vision.

The Five Pillars

1. A New Culture of Politics
Democracy begins with a Constitution and the peaceful transfer of power to the winners of free and fair elections. The transformation to a new culture of politics, however, requires a more profound kind of democracy: one that is written in the hearts and minds of the people so that it that becomes a way of thinking and behaving. It means acting with integrity and fairness, respecting the rights and opinions of others, as well as the rules governing electoral processes and outcomes. A new culture of politics is only possible by electing strong and principled leaders, whose commitment to democracy and our core human values never falters or waivers.

2. Good Governance
Restoring the independence and trust in our state institutions requires that we dismantle the patronage system, and insist that public servants are rewarded only for their professional duties. The military will no longer exploit our mineral wealth, but serve to protect our territorial integrity. Police officers will no longer abuse our citizens, but be duty-bound to protect them. Judges will no longer compromise justice, but make rulings that all can respect and uphold. A corrupt and wasteful patronage system will be transformed into professional institutions that are dedicated to prudent public financial management and the effective delivery of services to all citizens, equally and impartially.

3. A Competitive Economy
Building a competitive economy means transforming an inefficient and debt-ridden state-controlled economy based on political patronage and corruption into a vibrant market economy based on strong property rights and driven by an entrepreneurial private sector. It is a transformation from state ownership of resources on behalf of the people, to the direct ownership of productive resources by the people. Transform Zimbabwe is therefore committed to building an open, export-oriented and competitive economy which will attract the investment, technology and skills that are essential to drive inclusive economic growth that creates decent jobs and viable livelihoods for all Zimbabweans.

4. A Just Society
Our Constitution and laws are the cornerstones of a just society. They must therefore be founded on our obligations under international conventions, treaties, and international law governing human rights and natural justice. But no Constitution and no law, however principled and just, can deliver justice without the Rule of Law. Transform Zimbabwe is therefore committed to ending impunity for gross human rights abuses, corruption, and the illegal seizure of property. We propose a transitional justice mechanism to determine the truth; hold the accused to account in impartial, competent and independent courts of law; compensate victims; and initiate a process of reconciliation to heal the fabric of our society.

5. Empowerment
By empowerment we mean the expansion of people’s capabilities, their access to opportunities, and their freedom to choose. It is the ability of every person to realise their full human potential. It means better health for every family and proper schooling for every child. It means having access to productive resources and well-functioning markets, as well as secure and transferrable rights over their property. It means the opportunity to earn a decent livelihood to care for one’s family, and to live the kind of life they value – with dignity and respect. It means creating a more equal society by caring and providing for those most in need with effective safety nets to ease their burden and soothe their suffering.

The problem for the Zimbabwe government is that the longer they deny Jacob justice and liberty, the greater his resolve. He believes, as Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!” The march to transform Zimbabwe has just begun.

Source: Dale Doré

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