In life you get to make choices - many of which are not really
some that will change your life and circumstances for a long time. You
not choose where you are born and raised - that is your parent's
thereafter those sorts of choices will come up from time to time for
I chose a career in agriculture and economics - not a real hard
me as I had always wanted to work in agriculture - did not have the
farm so did the next best thing and became an economist and a commodity
specialist. I must say I have enjoyed working in this field and it has
me well. I worked internationally and had several opportunities to
country and work abroad. In 1976 I thought that Ian Smith would never
in and that we faced a future where the small white community would be
beaten into the ground and the country burned and destroyed by a war we
could not win.
Many friends said to me that it was OK for me to choose to stay - but
about our children? They did not have that choice - we were making it
them. We decided to look at a job abroad and to do so we took a family
holiday in Europe. After this trip we came home and talked it through
decided that Zimbabwe was home and we would stay. We are Christians and
wife and I had prayed about the choice and both felt very strongly that
leading was to remain in the country and tough it out.
Now we all have another choice to make - its decision time again for
adult Zimbabweans who live here. We have several choices this time -
main ones are the status quo (Mugabe and Zanu PF), Tsvangirai and the
and now the 'Third Force' that has got everyone so excited and is
made up of
a really motley crew - led by Simba Makoni with the backing of Ibo
Jonathan Moyo, Mujuru, Zinovashe and Mutambara!
Simba is an old friend and is one of the more decent and reasonable of
Zanu PF stable of leadership. He has a nice smile, looks young although
is well into his 50's and has been in the leadership of Zanu PF since
Independence. He does not have a very productive CV. He was fired twice
Minister, unusual for Mugabe, and was Secretary General of the SADC for
years during which not a great deal was achieved and he succeeded in
remaining silent while genocide was being committed at home.
The singular contribution that Makoni has made is to break the myth of
PF solidarity and hegemony. Since his nomination, Zanu has been is a
of shock and disarray. It has broken the whole electoral process wide
and nothing will be quite the same again. But is he really a choice?
Neither Makoni nor Mutambara offer a real alternative that can form a
government and this is the central issue confronting all voters. Do we
with what we have, or do we choose change? The answer is obvious, but
somehow the personalities involved and the media who all punt their own
of the future and the choices we must make, confuse the debate.
Makoni is obviously a front for powerful interests in the Zanu PF camp.
Mutambara has decided to throw his weight behind him is a mystery to
would now seem as if Mutambara is not going to run as a Presidential
hopeful, a wise decision, but the decision to back Makoni makes no
terms of the fundamentals and smacks of opportunism.
The MDC under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai will run as the MDC
(Tsvangirai) and this will be shown on all our documents and ballot
We will put up candidates in all seats (I hope by Friday we will have
RDC seats covered) and next week we will unveil our policies for a new
Zimbabwe. Team change is in place and is flat out in the campaign and
getting ready for the most crucial election since 1980.
We face an uphill battle - the regime has carefully gerrymandered the
constituencies - 70 per cent are in the rural areas where there is
per cent of the population, 24 per cent are urban seats where there is
per cent of the population and 6 per cent are mixed urban and rural.
have manipulated voting rights by maintaining a voters roll that has 50
cent 'ghost' voters and disenfranchised many hundreds of thousands
any normal democracy, would be voters.
There is no press freedom and they jam incoming foreign radio stations.
international media is allowed and we will have no credible poll
from abroad. The ZEC has been staffed from the Registrar Generals
is loaded with security apparatchiks and others. Urban voters will have
difficulty casting their votes - remember the long queues in 2000 and
and the security forces will again vote under supervision behind closed
doors. Food and all traditional leaders will be closely controlled and
to support Zanu PF in the elections.
Mugabe feels supremely confident that he has done enough to win this
contest; at least that is what he says. I personally feel that we would
have the opportunity of an election if he did not feel so confident.
question is - is he right in this assessment?
The great risk and threat for the MDC is apathy and a sense that voting
waste of time. Makoni has helped and given the whole process greater
credibility. People now think that we may have a real choice at long
think they are right. I think that the security establishment has now
accepted that we can no longer travel the road that Zanu PF has put us
think the majority now want change - the question is who can deliver
how? Only the MDC has offered that information. In a detailed and
comprehensive review it sets out its policies developed over the past
months by teams of experts and activists. It gives a clear alternative
present policies that have failed to deliver what they promised.
Is Tsvangirai the man who can deliver? He is the only man with the
the people and with their true interests at heart. He is not a front
you see is what you get. He is a man of integrity and principle, has a
wife and family. He is self educated, intelligent and well read. Quite
frankly I have had enough of a government that is made up of PhD
with few principles and no ethics. We have no future under the present
who are totally corrupt and live only for themselves. On Sunday I
with pride as our future Members of Parliament and the Senate came into
hall in Harare from every quarter of the country. Many ordinary farmers
small business persons. All had to pay their own way, many had left
homes early in the morning and had not eaten. They came, they heard the
briefing and made their commitment to a new Zimbabwe and then returned
home - we could not even give them lunch and they now have to fund
They are committed to this struggle, whatever it costs; they have and
sacrificing everything they have to give the country a chance for real
change. What a privilege to be part of that in a secular and cynical
Bulawayo, 12th February 2008