Severe challenge for the new political party
By Sydney Kawadza
In American politics there is something called the Test of Political Courage, an initiative intended to increase transparency in the grueling struggle to lead the American people.
Formerly known as the National Political Awareness Test (NPAT), the test is part of the candidate information program of voter education organization Project Vote Smart.
The test aims to elicit responses from election candidates, outlining their respective positions on a variety of popular issues in American politics.
This information is then made available to voters in a standardized, selection-oriented format.
The Project Vote Smart website says the test asks candidates a central question: “Are you prepared to tell citizens your positions on the issues you are most likely to face on their behalf?”
The test of political courage comes to mind as another political party was launched in Harare with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission indicating that the country now has over 200 parties.
With the number of political parties in Zimbabwe being an issue for another day, the NewsDay this week posed the same question to Freshman Rodger Gwasira-Makoni after he launched the People’s Progressive Party in Harare.
Coming from the Chingaira lineage in Makoni district, Manicaland province, Gwasira-Makoni answered the question with an emphatic “yes” which one could only cherish the prospect of taking him to task for his answer.
The next question was obviously his decision to launch another party when the six million registered voters out of Zimbabwe’s 15 million people are territory for the well-established Zanu PF and the exciting Citizens Coalition for Change.
“I’m hearing this (over 200 political parties) for the first time, but it doesn’t shock me, it’s a reflection of the situation in Zimbabwe.
“It is a sign of pain and a vote of no confidence in the current government. The difference is obvious and everyone can see that young people have been neglected for so long and no one thinks of us until today.
“Those who talk about young people, they do so for selfish reasons, to use us to advance their interests and continue to amass wealth for themselves and their families,” he said.
Gwasira-Makoni added: “I am very aware of the consequences of having a different point of view from that of a few elites. But there is no freedom without paying a price.
“Our ancestors paid a supreme price during the liberation struggle. We too, even for me; it would be an honor to pay the price on behalf of the Zimbabwean nation.
Born to the late Benjamin and Dorcas Gwasira, the 40-year-old politician said he was not new to seeking leadership positions.
“I have been a church leader since I was 19, serving God through his people as an apostle. In my work, I have interacted with many political leaders on levels one can never think of. while assisting in advisory and consultancy services in several parts of Africa.
“In 2010, a Woman of God; Pastor Cooper, whom I was meeting for the first time in my life, told me that she received a Word from God after we finished a conference and said, “I had served enough in the ‘Church, it was time to focus fully on politics”. ‘
“As if that weren’t enough: In January 2018, I visited The SCOAN to meet the Chief and General Overseer, Prophet TB Joshua, immediately the Word of God came to me – ‘this (policy) would be my focus, lead the people in politics.”
Gwasira-Makoni said he has been preparing for this task since the meetings, adding that now is the time to start this journey.
“Beyond the contradiction, we know and it is a well proven fact that leaders are anointed and appointed by God. We are banking our support on all masses of the people of Zimbabwe, especially the youth of our 10 provinces.
“It is their party that seeks to serve Zimbabweans through modern means, latest technology and inclusiveness with deep and prolific ideal methods of equality among Zimbabwean citizens,” he said.
Faced with the mammoth task of taking on Zanu PF strongman and Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa and charismatic CCC leader Neslon Chamisa, Gwasira-Makoni acknowledged the battle ahead.
“Yes they have been in this battle for too long, all the more reason for them all to retire and pave the way for a vibrant grassroots movement – the PPP or both of them considering being in opposition “, did he declare.
“People are tired of listening to the politics of cynicism and violence. They are hungry for; peace, tolerance, progress and development on Zimbabwean soil.
“They are eager to hear and experience the battle of ideas. In the end, that’s what political politics is.
He said in PPP research it has been found that Zimbabweans are enthusiastic and ready to support new ideas that meet the needs of the people.
“I may be a leader on the front line. But it is a movement: of the people, by the people, for the people.
“Therefore, this move came after extensive consultation with Zimbabweans, it’s safe to say it’s a product of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
One would wonder why Gwasira-Makoni decided to go it alone instead of joining the established political parties in Zimbabwe.
“As I said, it’s the choice of the people, so joining other parties would deprive the people of hope for the change they long for and so badly need.” I think it will not be fair to the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Gwasira-Makoni said the solutions to Zimbabwe’s problems lie with Zimbabweans and working with the PPP will be key to unlocking solutions to the problems.
“But I would like to reiterate that politics is more of a game of well-communicated, vibrant, realistic ideas. Ideas applicable to the challenges on the ground. I think that if those ideas are not projected or properly presented to people, they are unlikely to be not convinced,” he said.
Gwasira-Makoni said he works with seasoned politicians and technocrats who fully support his vision.
“We have been in consultation with some high ranking politicians and many technocrats who you will start to see soon.
“We advise our supporters to register to vote. I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone here now to go and register to vote.
He rejected suggestions that he was in politics for personal gain.
“Well, I really can’t change people’s beliefs. But it is the true essence and benefits of a democratic society that we aspire to inspire.
“But as for me, I am in politics for my social responsibility and my obligation. More; ‘what can I do for my country, kind of spirit?’
“I attribute to the intellect that if you are not happy with something; Do something to change it. Therefore, to anyone out there, whether you are inland or across our borders, please I beg you now to come and register to vote.
“Remember the process may require your patience and sacrifice, but please don’t give up…Make sure you’re signed up, let’s all vote in the millions next year.”
He said his vision is for Zimbabwe to regain its status as a continental leader in all areas.
“I want to see Zimbabwe become the best in Africa – back to its former glory. The best in: health, education, agriculture, industry, mining, innovation and infrastructure development .
“I want to see us build tall buildings, our minerals feeding our people, providing free education, providing free health care and meeting our basic needs like clean water in their homes.
“I want a Zimbabwe where our workers receive meaningful wages. I want Zimbabwe to be a proud nation.
“When they show up, they have to say quickly; “I am from Zimbabwe”, without stigma or low self-esteem. Zimbabwe must be home to a blessed people, with all other nations coming here to Zimbabwe for their holidays.
He said the PPP has many ideas to transform Zimbabwe to its true potential.
“First and foremost, we must restore the confidence of all our citizens in their government, their systems of government – judicial, monetary, tax and an education system that is tailor-made for Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole.”
He said his party would also focus on unleashing Zimbabwean energy.
“Zimbabweans have become discouraged with little or no enthusiasm to work and develop their communities and country in general because of long lost hope.
“Third, we will privatize most parastatals and state enterprises while also working on the currency issue by backing the Central Bank with real gold and enough gold and other minerals.
“But of course we would have gotten rid of all kinds of corruption and corrupt people in the systems whose interests and intentions are now selfish, not serving the national interest and purpose.”
As Gwasira-Makoni spoke of her dreams for Zimbabwe, it also became apparent that the country’s predicament continues to affect so many.
So many people interested in the rebirth of this forgotten and crumbly giant which, in a good moment, could rise like a Phoenix.
Finally, Zimbabwe has 200 political parties with more to come, what an exciting journey ahead of the harmonized elections in 2023.