On the 9th of February 2008 at least 3500 self conscious Zimbabweans met and discussed the state of affairs of their country. The gathering known as the People’s Convention conceived a document which was a Zimbabwe people’s projection of their country free of oppression, an expression of their wishes and aspirations –the People’s Charter. It was an epoch making event that served to consolidate and unify the different civic organizations into a principled alliance based on a coherent political philosophy and a shared vision of an alternative and radically different socio-eco-political arrangement.
This year ,we the people of Zimbabwe shall mark four years after crafting and signing this so important document. It is thus imperative that we seek to locate the significance of those pledges we made to one another and make them a bar of reason upon which our current political realities can be put to test and justify themselves especially now that our unity of purpose seem so fragmented yet the demands of the historic people’s convention have not been met even half way.
A number of events which directly intersect with the our demands, these include the 2008 elections, the creation of the current GNU, the constitutional reform etc have taken place and continue taking place yet often we have failed to locate ourselves and make a collective and concrete response. The one thing that we have failed to reflect on is that the enemy is neither withholding his offenses nor getting weaker because of our fragmentation or negation of principle, he is actually getting stronger by the day nor as result our struggle’s victory continues to be deferred.
It is of essence that we remind each other that the purpose of that gathering was to affirm our conviction of wants based on the belief that our struggle was and is not against a group of individuals but against a system of administration and all its machinations, it is a struggle aimed at ushering in a new political culture of accountability, liberty, equality, tolerance, etc. It is statement of truth that our demands have not been met hence the charter should still shape our struggle
As we mark the four year anniversary lets remind each other of the great tasks ahead of us: that the mere knowledge or craving for democratic rule should not make us content , far more important should be a principled program for its creation and actions are shaped by the shared common belief.
Because of this, the struggle should not be fought wholly as responses to the actions of the regime rather we the people should seek to set the pace for the establishment, as the danger in following an adversary’s actions lays in the creation of politics of expedience characterized by deals not principles.
The fundamentals of such a struggle include among other things not just an alerted mass of individuals but a politically mass conscious citizenry which is able to unpack, understand and implement an abstract political idea into reality on the ground. This way the political ideas not the prevailing circumstances shapes the individual’s political conduct and leaders become accountable for their actions. Such is the political terrain that is established when thousands of individuals gather to craft a document projecting a future as the one envisioned by the Zimbabwe People’s Charter. In a sense these shared ideals becomes the mind of a nation in a struggle.
It is vital that we realize that political parties are inclined to compromises even at the cost of fundamentals but principles do not .We must not expect the architects of the present set up who are after all beneficiaries of the decay to arrive at their own accord at a change of orientation out of their own free will to modify their present attitude but we should act to impel them do so, for the one reason that it is our country too.