Businessman Mutumwa Mawere’s statement on why he is endorsing MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai for President in this month’s key elections.
ON 27 June 2013, following a constitutional court order of 26 June 2013 ordering the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, to issue me with a national identity registration document (“ID”), I proceeded to register as a voter.
It is significant that this election will provide me with my first opportunity to vote as is the fact that I have never been a member of any Zimbabwean political party. So my decision to establish my citizenship and the motivation thereof will always be a subject of speculation as are many things in Zimbabwe.
Over the past 33 years, there have been moments when citizens have held their breath and looked to Zanu PF and its leadership for the next big move.
After carefully reading the party’s manifesto as well as the events of the last few months that have catapulted Jealousy Mawarire into a significant historical figure and the consequential approach and decisions of the judiciary, I have chosen a different lens to consider my choice on 31 July 2013 not as a member of any party but as a new citizen informed by what the country needs at this critical juncture in its history and development.
Like many voters, I have watched the performance of the inclusive government and if there was any doubt about who is the problem, the proclamation of the nomination and election dates has fortified my belief that Zimbabwe needs a new face to inspire hope.
In 1980, President Mugabe was truly not prepared to assume the job that many may claim requires experience.
What I know today is that were it not for the determination and courage of people like Tsvangirai, I would not be a beneficiary of dual citizenship for the prohibition of dual citizenship was sanctioned by Zanu PF and continues to be enforced even after the enactment of amendment number 20 of the Constitution.
Tsvangirai has met challenge after challenge, and there is no doubt that he has grown as a leader that should be equal to the myriad of challenges that the economy faces.
The promise of hope and change needs real flesh and brand ambassadors and although President Mugabe is an honest, principled and courageous man, it cannot be said that his re-election will bring the kind of change that the people of Zimbabwe need and deserve.Advertisement
Zanu PF has retreated to gutter politics, running a campaign on partisan division, racial warfare, and class antagonism.
President Mugabe’s policies and worldview are deeply mired in the past.
We all know that government cannot solve all the challenges that the nation faces but what we all know is that something must change to restore the stolen faith in the state and its role in the development process.
Zimbabwe is economically battered and continues to drift without a defined flight path and destination and President Mugabe cannot escape culpability notwithstanding the fact that it will be wrong to attribute all the failure solely to him.
The nation’s future truly hangs in the balance and what is required is not a messiah or genius in statehouse but a person who understands that the future is only secure when it is underpinned by the actions and choices of free people.
Zimbabwe is poised on the cusp of a new dawn and once again Africa and the world in general are watching.
Who is equal to these challenges that to some extent emanate from wrong ideas and values? Who will lead the nation that is critical to the development of SADC? My choice: Tsvangirai.
President Mugabe is a man of integrity, honour and decency. He belongs to a class of liberators whose contribution is well established but whose continued hegemony over the state is counterproductive.
But on balance, I believe that the country is calling for a new face, new whispers in state offices, and an empowered citizenry. Regrettably, President Mugabe has obviously refused to run on his record choosing to run on the shortcomings of his political adversaries.
The SMM Holdings family knows better than believing that another five years of Zanu PF rule will bring back the lost jobs, incomes and opportunities.
The image of Zimbabwe in Africa and abroad has suffered largely as a result of choices made by people who have nothing new to offer than leaning backwards for relevance.
I have no doubt that a new leader could help restore the reputation of Zimbabwe as a nation of possibilities and opportunities.
The elections provide all of us with the chance to seize the opportunity and retire old ideas through a peaceful electoral process.
Tsvangirai must be rest assured that he does not need to repay me for my vote. It is a free vote, albeit, I had to pay lawyers to assert it.
I am eternally grateful to all who voted for the adoption of the new constitution without which I would not be able to vote.
In making this choice public, I am acutely aware that there are many who will be disappointed that my name is not on the ballot paper.
Indeed, my name has been linked with a new party, United Movement for Democracy (“UMD”), creating the perception that my quest for citizenship was purely motivated by a desire for political relevance and power.
The truth is that I am not a member of the party and could not have been even if I wanted. I was a non-resident alien in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe and, therefore, to any rational person it would have been ridiculous for me to head a party in a country in which I am considered a foreigner.
Notwithstanding, after the nomination on 28 June, I received a call from more a group of more than 20 people who had qualified for nomination as candidates in the election informing me that they had only done so because they believe in me.
While this was flattering, I told the people that their legitimacy must not be based on me but must derive from the free will of the people they want to represent.
I have chosen to write this note for the benefit of all who may look up to me and believe that I have some relevance to the future of the country.
I honestly believe that real change must begin where it has the possibility of lasting.
By declaring my choice for the office of the President, I do hope that the people who purport to support me can take a cue on what to do on the Election Day.
It would be wrong to be indifferent on the question of the election of the President. We all know how the office has been used during the last 33 years.
It is important that the head of the fish changes and flowing from this all else can change.
Given the limited time available, I intend to meet all the people who have chosen to join UMD also to be independent that they should follow my example.
To this end, I will hold a press conference on Friday, 12 July 2013 at Meikles Hotel at 11:00 to explain why I have come to this conclusion.
I also intend to be part of the political community by adding my voice and face to the change that I want to see.
We all wish Tsvangirai was a saint or better person but we know that the country will be in better hands if he is given a chance to represent the country.
If this election were merely a referendum on the personality and leadership of Tsvangirai endorsing him would be risky.
He has often been absent where leadership was needed and more significantly too timid in the face of reckless indigenisation politics.
But elections cannot be decided in a vacuum for they represent a choice between alternatives and in this light, it is clear that Tsvangirai is the better choice.
Despite his known and imagined weaknesses, he has endured and was humble enough to accept the post of Prime Minister in a government led by his political nemesis.
After reading the Zanu PF manifesto, I am more than confused about what the party stands for. I do not want to take the chance of enduring another five years to try to find out what I already know.
I am of the firm belief that access to the opportunities that Zimbabwe offers must be open to every Zimbabwean regardless of race, ethnicity or class.
This has not been possible in the last 33 years and a risk exists that this will continue unabated if the status quo ante is retained in office.
The record of MDC formations in government has not been perfect but the buck must stop at the President who after all is the Head of State and Government.
In conclusion, I believe that unless we squarely face our challenge as Zimbabweans, we risk losing permanently the priceless heritage bestowed on us by the struggles and sacrifices of our forbearers.
I have realised that unless I take the lead, the people who may look up to me will be rudderless and this election is too important for all of us to divert our attention from the real price.