THE pursuit of happiness, democracy and freedom defines the character of all struggles, ours here in Zimbabwe included.
On Saturday, September 10, 2011, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) celebrates 12 years of survival, resilience, single mind and good health at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare.
The National Working People’s Convention held in Harare on February 26-28, 1999, gathered patriotic people of Zimbabwe from all walks of life to identify problems bedeviling the nation and to sculpture and fashion a way out, locating exit points to the crisis gripping our country.
This epoch-making gathering was host to over 40 civic organisations which included trade unions, students, women, the disabled, the unemployed, professionals, academics, business people, residents’ associations, human rights watchdogs, war veterans, peasants and informal traders. Vital to note is the fact that 40 % of the participants were women.
The people’s party of excellence was born at the post-convention meeting held in Harare, May 7-9, 1999.The Party was then launched before a bumper crowd of over 15,000 at Rufaro Stadium on September 11, 1999.
The MDC is a united and indomitable front of all peace-loving Zimbabweans representing various interests and organisations coming together to pursue common objectives and principles that advance the interests of our motherland Zimbabwe. Ours is a strong, democratic, popular-driven and organised party carrying a mandate of uniting all Zimbabweans for real political change -- the ancestry of our movement.
The MDC stands for government decisions and policies that are in the interest of the people from whom sovereignty and legitimacy is derived. The fight for the democratisation of all institutions and processes defines the character of this great and glorious people’s movement.
The MDC stands for the supremacy of the nation and its people, and rejects systems that prioritise the defence of leadership interests at the expense of the defence of the people’s interests. The MDC advances the participation of citizens and civil society in nation building through organs of participatory democracy that complement the existing forms of representative democracy within parliament and the executive.
Freedom of expression and after expression is the lifeblood of the society we seek to build. We believe in free-running conversations on the Zimbabwe we want to inspire fresh departures, changing of the rules of engagement and the operating values.
The MDC signifies development policies that invest and develop the capabilities and opportunities of all Zimbabweans, their national resources and infrastructure towards real sustainable long-term growth. Our key goal is to govern differently and democratically. Our principal task is to keep the hope and deliver real change to the peaceful and peace-loving people of Zimbabwe.
Through our yet to be published strategic New Zimbabwe blueprint Vision 2030, our vision is to build a country and people of a global leadership position in all the various fields of endeavour—in business, education, health, tourism, technology and sport. Yes, an unbeatable national team in football and cricket to mention but a few!
It is in the context of this background that the people’s party of excellence is celebrating 12 years of working people’s struggles in pursuit of real change. While celebrating the journey so far travelled, we are mindful of the leadership burden we carry to complete the struggle as we finish the last and final mile to a New Zimbabwe.
We are also fully aware that if you can’t carry the cross, you can’t lift the crown. The last mile is full of snares, hurdles and replete with landmines of risks and dangers to life. We are ready for the mission. Peace never fears any weapon, we are under heavenly protection.
True, the journey so far covered has been painful. Bodies were harmed and maimed, ailments suffered, property destroyed, tears shed, sweat oozed and blood lost in the search for a lasting solution to the problems bleeding our one and only beautiful Zimbabwe.
True, we lost great comrades, young and old. Names such as Gibson Sibanda, Isaac Matongo, Learnmore Jongwe,Tonderai Ndira, Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika and Getrude Mthombeni to mention but a few, come into mind. The movement lost some of the finest and most gifted sons and daughters our land has ever known. We dare not disappoint these beloved departed cadres.
Indeed, it has been a dozen years of joy and sorrow, pains and gains, ups and downs, the denied victories, deprived wins and stolen successes. The people and party were cheated in 2002 but recovered, robbed in 2005 but survived and divided in October but renewed and strengthened with the 2006 Congress to deliver a sucker punch to Zanu PF in March 2008.
We are bigger, better, stronger and wiser. We have learnt our lessons. A helicopter assessment and survey of our journey gives testimony to the fact that we have together built a party of excellence, a party of choice and a party people are proud to call home and theirs. A 21st century party with grassroots energy and national footprint –the MDC is ubiquitously present in every home, village, street, office and farm within the land between Zambezi and Limpopo.
Internationally, the mere mention of the name Zimbabwe invites the thought of the name MDC to the people’s mind. Our struggle is now a global struggle to stop the violence and decay to save Zimbabwe.
Thanks to the able and wise stewardship in the MDC cockpit where the people’s president Morgan Tsvangirai and the leadership at all levels are at the controls. The story is incomplete without the due mention and acknowledgement of the courage, tenacity and resilience of the people of Zimbabwe which has been a major ingredient in the building of the foundation and walls of the people’s party of excellence. MDC is a team winning together.
The celebration of 12 years of courage, hope and sacrifice is such a significant milestone in our journey to the great promise of a New Zimbabwe. The number 12 has a great symbolism and is pregnant with meaning from the context of the bible and arena of governance. Twelve symbolises a turning point.
From my survey of literature and established wisdom, the number 12 signifys authority, strength, conviction, absoluteness and finality. The struggle for real change is entering its final phase -- the home stretch. The people’s party of excellence has demonstrated its strength through the resilience of the people by relegating Zanu PF to a second best position in the March 2008 elections.
The beating, harassment and embarrassment of the people’s president Morgan Tsvangirai, other MDC leaders, party members and members of the civic society clearly stand as a statement and testament to the conviction of the actors in the struggle for real change in Zimbabwe.
In the bible and Christianity, the number 12 is so powerfully significant. There were 12 patriarchs from Seth to Noah and his family, from Shem to Jacob. Remember 12 spies sent (including Joshua and Caleb) to gather intelligence on the new land the Israelites were to settle, the 12 sons of Ishmael, the 12 sons of Esau and the 12 sons of Jacob. Not forgetting the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 gates and foundations of the Holy city, the 12 foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem, the 12 fruits of the spirit and of course the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ.
Twelve is a perfect number of signifying perfection of government. It is precisely for this reason that 2012 is attached with the transformation of the world as per the Mayan Calendar. Back home and in the context of the MDC, the 12th anniversary this weekend marks the perfection, purification and chlorination of the systems and processes for an effective delivery in a New Zimbabwe, for an effective new beginning and the achievement of real change in people’s lives.
In Judaism, there are 12 letters of Hebrew Alphabet. A girl in Judaism, becomes mature at the age of 12. There were 12 tribes of Israel and remember the 12 oxen of Solomon’s temple.
In Islam, 12 Imams succeeded prophet Muhammad. Even the star signs are divided in 12 sun signs and as per Semitic beliefs there are 12 days of duel between chaos and cosmos.
Our biology and the day and night basic logic evince the self –evident presence of human heart chakras which are 12 in number. Twelve noon is the descent of the sun.Twelve midnight is the ascent marking the turn of events. The sun which rules the day and stars which govern the night do so by their passage through the 12 signs of the Zodiac which completes the great circle of the heavens of 360 (12 by 30) degrees or divisions, thus govern the year.
At 12 we have built a solid party of excellence. Although we often get excoriated and chided for various omissions and commissions, we are students in national service, we are learning. We have our own frailties. We remain vigilant and assiduous. No single human being is perfect. We draw comfort from the knowledge that excellence is a magnet to conspiracies, slander and vilification. We are ready for it all the way through.
At 12, we make the clarion call to all Zimbabweans above 18 years to take charge of our collective destiny by doing something during our life-time. The nation perishes when good citizens do nothing when the bad ones are in charge.
This Saturday is a significant turning point for our country and its struggles as we seek to refine our thrust for the final lap on this glorious yet painful journey.
Nelson Chamisa is the MDC-T organising secretary and Information Communication Technology Minister