Byo Congress – is this the turning point?



:place> – Congress was astounding in many ways. The current inflation and food and fuel shortages made it very difficult to organise a meeting of this magnitude and I don’t think anyone anticipated the huge interest and response of the grassroots structures countrywide to participate.

People came from every corner of the country – Mash East and Binga, Harare and Chipinge – they were there, old and young, men and women, some with babies. Sadly, and short-sightedly, the food shortages were the main focus of news reports.

Members of the diplomatic community attended as observers, along with civic society groups who delivered solidarity messages from student representatives, Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform Initiative, NCA and the South African-based Zimbabwe Solidarity Group. After they left we went into lengthy closed session to consider resolutions and constitutional issues.

The Congress then went into the election of office bearers, for which the diplomatic and civic society observers were invited back in. Each Province nominated candidates for the National Council, which will later select who will attend to the various portfolios.

The election of the National Executive was next. Tremendous excitement built as provincial nominations were announced for each position with the final nomination of Arthur Mutambara as President. The roof nearly came off as the whole gathering erupted in joy – was this the turning point we have all longed for?

Mutambara has an energy and dynamism we have not seen for some time. The man has matured from the student leader of the 1980s but he means business. He sees the first task clearly as being to remove Zanu (PF).

In his acceptance speech, he gracefully acknowledged the enormous contribution made by Morgan Tsvangarai in our struggle against tyranny, but offered himself ready to contest should there be opportunity for reunification of the party.

He is ready to engage African leaders and the AU and to jolt them into dealing with an errant dictator. Mutambara vigorously reclaims the values of the liberation struggle for every Zimbabwean – no longer to be monopolised by Mugabe. He is also clear about seeking equity in international relations, ready to challenge superpowers over aggressive foreign policy. “Do I look like a puppet?” he challenged.

Mutambara seeks to break the habits of a political culture defined by Zanu (PF) since 1980, where violence and intimidation are seen as inevitable strategies. We cannot continue in a culture of violence, whereby we all end up as “little Mugabes”; we need new values and a new society, which includes attention to the dire situation of women in Zimbabwe. The Diaspora will be engaged; if they are contributing to the economy so should they participate in the decision-making, i.e. voting rights for citizens abroad.

In combative mode, Mutambara says “No turning back, No retreat and No defeat”.

This is a new beginning, a new opportunity for all of us whether pro- or anti-Senate. Can we afford to miss the turning of the tide? I think not. Zanu (PF) are on the ropes, financially and diplomatically, yet never to be underestimated. We cannot afford to ignore this new infusion of energy and vision. We need to support it in every way we can, if we ever want our country back.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *