The Christmas Reunion

by Dambudzo Marechera

I had never killed a goat before. But it was Christmas. And father who had always done it was dead. He had been dead for seven years. My sister, Ruth, could not possibly be expected to kill the goat. It was supposed to be a man’s job. And mother was dead too. There was the two of us in the house, Ruth and I. I was on sabbatical from the university and Christmas would, I had hoped, be a break from the book I was writing. But there had to be a goat to spoil everything. Actually it was Christmas Eve, and that was the time of killing and skinning the goat. Everybody in the township would be killing their own family goat. While I tried to find an excuse to get out of having to kill the goat myself, I reminded Ruth that a goat was a passionate creature beloved of Pan and how could I kill that beast in me? I was, I said, myself a hardy, lively, wanton, horned and bearded ruminant quadruped — if not in fact, at least in spirit. I had always been wicked. I was up there in the sky with Capricorn, I said. If all this isn’t convincing, I said, what about that all important Tropic of Capricorn which seemed to make those who lived close to it vicious, nasty, spoilt, bloody Boers, and in short to kill the goat would be to disrespect a substantial part of the human extremities and interiorities. Besides, I added, you know I can’t eat what I have killed. Also I was mere goat’s wool in the general fabric of this great fiction we call life and could not logically be capable of such monstrosity as murdering a poor old goat. Imagine a large assembly of bloodthirsty Germans shouting ‘𝐺𝑒𝑖𝑠𝑡’ at a terrified little Jewish boy. All this mass-extermination of perfectly harmless but god-created goats seem to me to be nothing but a distortion of what Christmas was really about. Which was? Which was? Well, we’re Africans anyway and all this nonsense about Christmas was merely a sordid distraction. After all I said, aren’t whites and blacks skinning each other now ready for the Christmas pot, lugging each other by the heels into the universal kitchen to dress each one up with chillies and mustard and black pepper and ‘chips and afterwards everybody would pat their stomachs and belch gently and scratch their bellies in which the feeling of Freedom and Christmas was being slowly digested. The whole business of expressing Christian glee by cutting the throats of much-maligned goats was indeed sickening, not to mention the so-called domestication of goats in concentration-camp-style kraals when what could be more majestic and courageous and rugged than pure mountain goats? I could not for the life of me see anything but inhumanity in buying a goat for a few shillings and tethering it to an old barbed-wire fence and having babies watch its throat and guts being cut up. Besides, I was not a real killer at all. Perhaps sometimes I inadvertently stepped on a beetle that was not watching where it was going, and of course I did murder all those damned mosquitoes that were plaguing my rooms at the university, and that nasty fat fly which so maddened me that I took a swipe at it with a hardback 𝐶𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑡𝑒 𝑆ℎ𝑎𝑘𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑒. I think I only grazed its compound eyes and chucked it into the waste-paper basket and then the crafty insect played so hard at being dead it actually died. I agree that snake which was skulking around in the apple tree when you were looking longingly at the red-ripest one probably did not deserve to be scared to death by my shotgun. And every self-respecting pimply boy had a rubber sling to stone birds to death. And fighting is not a different business: you raise your fist at somebody and at once you are a potential killer — there is nothing manly in that. This business about ‘being a real man’ is what is driving all of us crazy. I’ll have none of it. There is nothing different between you and me except what is hanging between our legs. And if you want goat meat, kill it yourself. If I’m supposed to become a ‘real man’ in the twinkling of an eye by cutting the human throats of these human goats, then I don’t see why you shouldn’t suddenly become a ‘real woman’ by the same horrible atrocity. How can you ever possibly look any living thing in the eye after becoming a grown-up by cutting the throat of a living being? What I mean is, my mind is such a mess because every step eats up the step before it and where will this grand staircase of everything eating everything else lead us to? Who wants to be the first step and who will be the last all eating step? God? I know that goat has probably exterminated a lot of cowering grass, and the grass itself ate up the salt and water in the earth, and the salt and the water probably came from stinking corpses in the ground, and the corpses probably ate up something else — I mean, what the hell! At least we have got that within us which does not kill when all the bloody world is out there killing. Look, you’re my sister, so don’t rush me — at least give me a chance. This is not a guerrilla band from which a man cannot desert alive. It isn’t Smith’s army either. It’s me. Me. And I’m just a goat’s wool that nobody can see. The way the goat is staring at me is making me nervous. But that’s natural; how would you stare at people who were, in your presence, openly discussing the subject of doing away with you, skinning you and dressing you up so that you’d not be even a corpse but something good to eat, which would an hour later come out of their arses and be flushed away into a labyrinth of sewers? I know we can’t eat air or stone or fire, but we can at any rate drink water. But why do we have to eat and drink at all? Whoever created us had a nasty mind! How would you feel if somebody skinned you and then hung out your skin to dry and made a pair of shoes out of it? I mean, there’s people out there who’d boil your very bones to make fertiliser — and if your bones are not good enough, they boil them again and make glue out of them and give it to little school kids to paste up their paperdolls and stick them on a time chart that’s supposed to explain how human civilisation worked out from the Neanderthal to the man of today who is supposed to see things like a camera lens looks at you just before the shutter falls. I refuse to see things this way! They look at you like you want me to look at that goat. They look at you like a potential meal, and they digest your innards and fart you out and call it progress. It terrifies me the way we are capable of imprisoning whole populations of pigs, cattle, poultry, goats and sheep and fatten them up and then herd them into gas chambers and when they are dead strip them of their flesh and bones and brains and gold teeth and marriage rings and spectacles-strip them of everything and call it what, intensive farming, modern progress. And we call it everything else but exactly what it is. The world was not created to serve for a meal for us. If it was, then god help the likes of me. God? It’s his Christmas and in 1915 and 1916 on the western front they took a break from shooting each other up and pushed a football about and then soon as his holy birthday was over they began blasting the tonsils out of each other again. One of the bloody Germans was a clown with a goldfish. I don’t want to be a goldfish in somebody’s idea of a cosmic farce. The goat doesn’t want to be either. And that poor archbishop in Uganda probably did not want to be a goldfish in Amin’s head, either. And probably the goldfish would prefer it if I left its name out of this.
Heavens! It’s so late already. What time is supper? What do you mean, I’ll have to kill the goat if I want any supper? I want my supper. This is the first time I’ve been able to come home in seven years, and would you deny me a humble repast? The goat? Him? He is really the humble repast, is he? Then — god help me — I’ll … Let’s give him to those starving Makonis. They probably haven’t had anything again today. Hey — look out! it’s broken its tether. See how it runs, like Pan himself, or like a scapegoat, or like me when I was younger. It’s burst through that crowd! It’s in the forest! Well, good luck to you, Pan. Don’t look so offended, Ruth, because we are eating out. I’ve reserved the table already. At that posh place, Brett’s. My wife will be joining us there in — let’s see — five minutes. You two have got a lot to talk about — it’s been seven years, you know. I just hope I won’t be booked for speeding.

(From The House of Hunger.)

Dorothy Counts

On the morning of September 4, 1957, fifteen-year-old Dorothy Counts set out on a harrowing path toward Harding High, where-as the first African American to attend the all-white school – she was greeted by a jeering swarm of boys who spat, threw trash, and yelled epithets at her as she entered the building.

Charlotte Observer photographer Don Sturkey captured the ugly incident on film, and in the days that followed, the searing image appeared not just in the local paper but in newspapers around the world.

People everywhere were transfixed by the girl in the photograph who stood tall, her five-foot-ten-inch frame towering nobly above the mob that trailed her. There, in black and white, was evidence of the brutality of racism, a sinister force that had led children to torment another child while adults stood by.

While the images display a lot of evils: prejudice, ignorance, racism, sexism, inequality, it also captures true strength, determination, courage and inspiration.

Dorothy Counts

Here she is, age 70, still absolutely elegant and poised.

What the God of Spinoza Would Say

What the God of Spinoza Would Say

Albert Einstein with his student at princeton in the early 1930s

When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was:
– Do you believe in God?
And he always answered:
– I believe in the God of Spinoza.

Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy, along with Descartes.

(Spinoza) : God would say:

Stop praying.
What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve made for you.

Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That’s where I live and there I express my love for you.

Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don’t blame me for everything they made you believe.

Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can’t read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son’s eyes… ➤ you will find me in no book!
Stop asking me “will you tell me how to do my job?” Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.

Stop asking for forgiveness, there’s nothing to forgive. If I made you… I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies… free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are, if I’m the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of god would do that?

Respect your peers and don’t do what you don’t want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is your guide.

My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now and it is all you need.

I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record.
You are absolutely free to create in your life. Heaven or hell.

➤ I can’t tell you if there’s anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.

So, if there’s nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won’t ask if you behaved right or wrong, I’ll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?…

Stop believing in me; believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don’t want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea.

Stop praising me, what kind of egomaniac God do you think I am?

I’m bored being praised. I’m tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! That’s the way to praise me.

Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you’ve been taught about me.

What do you need more miracles for? So many explanations?

The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.

– Spinoza

Lets say Mugabe was right..

Mugabe has to be fair on his people by not trying to be the one & only champion of his country’s fate and destiny. The evolution of a nation is a multi generational responsibility. Some discover the ground or site upon which the nation is built. Some lay the foundations. Some build the walls and pillars, some the roofs. Some lay the insulation and plumbing. No single generation can take on everything by itself without putting unrealistic expectations and burden on the legacy of its leader or leaders. Mugabe and ZanuPf are trying to force that sitiation upon Zimbabwe.

Now, let us say Mugabe was was “right” as some placards in NY say, about land and the redistribution of it in Zimbabwe, about the neocolonial ambitions of the west in Africa and all the developing world: Why then, at 93, won’t he allow his people, the “educated” population of Zimbabwe, to take on the burden of proving him right? Why is there a need for him, and ONLY HIM, to stand up year in year out, at world gatherings, to plead his righteousness over and over like Castro? Why does he make enemies for our country for the sake of impressing his eloquence & “vision”? How can it be right that Zimbabwe as a self determining country, gets to have only one man determining its course in history?

Zimbabweans are not naive or foolish. They will not reverse the so called land reform but we will perfect it. We actually will bring back home the wealth stashed overseas by him, his family and hangers-on.  Why not just give us a chance to get on with it, to build the future of our great nation and not be distracted by the sing-song surrounding his name and personal legacy?
Zimbabweans, even a large part of ZPF itself know that Mugabe is not indispensable. 

He is not Zimbabwe

Are Survey Results Telling You That You Have a Nostalgic Affection for Mugabe?

So, the season of surveys is upon us and some results are already coming in showing that Zimbabweans, despite their hardships under the ZPF regime, DO actually love and trust Mugabe more than they love and trust the leadership of the opposition. A lot is being written and spoken about this development on social media and out there in conversations among Zimbabweans.

Some commentators, see the screenshots above, have argued that Zimbabweans have a sort of nostalgic affection for Robert Mugabe. That they love the man and not what he represents. No doubt some people share this belief, but I dont, and below is my reason why

Growing up in the 80s and early 90s, ​I recall that it used to be convinient for many young men and women , boys and girls in want of political and cultural icons to admire, to explain away the rot in Zim by ascribing the blame away from Mugabe, the individual, and putting it squarely on the shoulders of “those around him”. That was mainly influenced by our admiration of the man’s eloquence and the way he always put the greedy white people in their place whenever and wherever he got the chance and platform to speak at world forums. Indeed we chose to believe that the country was going to the dogs because of govt officials being greedy and corrupt while running rings around the old man who we refused to accept that he knew what was going on at all.

Today, with what Zimbabweans have come to know of Mugabe personally through his choice of new wife after Sally, public utterances of the First Lady, through Mugabe’s own choices of where he spends his holiday time or seeks medical treatment, the conduct and privileges that his family flaunts daily and the stubborn determination in his stride after each of his many falls, we, Zimbabweans now know that the source of the rot of this country is without a doubt in the Head (The Dear Leader).

Speaking for myself I have zero nostalgic affection for the man. ZERO. Zilch. Hameno vamwe!

What if my government doesn’t care about the economic cost of #InternetShutdowns?

Internet shut down in Zimbabwe. She can see it coming. Do you?
I see it, and worse. Zimbabwe govt has no economy to care about. Our leaders only care about their mantions and other wealth for which internet is no necessity. So long vachikwanisa kuenda kuminda yavo yeJambaja with a braai stand and some cold bears in the whitemen’s former farmhouses, zvavo zvirikufaya.



After close to three months without Internet access, last week the Anglophone regions of Cameroon finally saw the lifting of an Internet ban that was imposed in January in response to anti-government protests in that country. It is estimated that Cameroon realised close to US $5 million in economic loses attributable to the shutdown. Cameroon is just the latest victim of what’s becoming a real scourge particularly on the African continent. We have learnt that in 2016 alone, there were at least 56 documented Internet shutdowns, and the number keeps growing.

That any government can get away with such a move amidst campaigns to #KeepItOn and #BringBackOurInternet is an indicator of how far we still have to go in terms of locating effective methodologies for stopping intentional state-sanctioned internet disruptions.

There have been various campaigns calling on governments to respect freedom of expression and leave the Internet alone. The…

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I wouldnt Dismiss Noah Manyika’s Build Zim Allience Just Yet

I am increasingly finding myself liking what the Build Zimbabwe Allience is doing, how it is presenting itself, the material it is churning out and the model of political decorum that it is fashioning. As someone far removed from events on the ground but with exposure to some of the neatest and most dignified campaign approaches in the world, I can safely say this Dr Noah Manyika has got something going in our country, something many never saw coming, yet something also that others wish was coming from the veteran Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T.

In his opening remarks to the press conference recorded below, he trumpets some serious and honest points of order to us all and to the regime in Harare. Have a listen, but if you are not patient for that, see a few quotes from the speech below the video.

In introduction he says he is “honoured to be part of Zimbabwe’s great awakening”

Indeed. Aren’t we all?

He says “none of us can insulate ourselves from our country’s brokenness”.

We are all affected one way or the other, directly or indirectly by the misrule of Robert Mugabe and the intransigencies of his party.

“The cost of our leaders preoccupation with fighting the shadows of colonialism and imaginary enemies of our sovereignty is too high to accept.”

We anly have to look around at the state of our public services and infrastructure across the country to see his point. Even ZPF itself no longer fronts the santions excuse as often and as forcefully as it used to, because even they realise that the people of Zimbabwe have indeed had an awakening and the sanctions card just does not work any more

“We delegitimise the liberation struggle when we accept the mindless nationalism that suggests that our potential should be suppressed and our promise should be suppressed, and insists that we must accept the brokenness of our nation as normal” he says.

Now I dont know how this “Allience” as he calls it is currently fitting in with the rest of the oppositional matrix on the ground but I would encourage all who are genuinely interested in a more sober approach to the construction of the alternative we all crave for Zimbabwe to not dismis this outfit lightly. At least not yet.

Morgan Tsvangirai Statement on Current National Issues & Feedback from his Listening Tour


The party’s national executive has just met, amid the context of a worsening national crisis and Zanu PF’s attempt to steal the next election, even before that election is held.
I will appraise you on these and other key issues that we have deliberated upon in the national executive, including the people’s views that I gathered during my one-and-half months’ tour of the country’s provinces since the end of January this year. Some of the people’s inputs during my tour were strategic, some informed party policy while others were exclusively internal advice to the party and I hope you will understand if I do not give you the full bouquet of the people’s views.
However, we have mainly called this press briefing to highlight some of the important national issues that are pre-occupying the party and its organs, including the national executive that has just met.
1. The brazen attempt to steal the next election

A fortnight ago, the nation was startled to hear that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, a supposedly independent Commission, had allowed the Zanu PF government to hijack the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise, in the process casting fresh doubts on the prospect for a free, fair and credible election in 2018.
Given our history of stolen elections, everyone was confident with the process in which the United Nations was involved through the UNDP. 
Elections are about confidence and credibility and the involvement of the respected world body had given everyone reason to believe in the freeness, fairness and credibility of the process leading to the 2018 elections.
The government, as currently composed, constitutes of one political party. It is pertinent to note that when a government so-constituted hijacks an important process, it means simply that Zanu PF, an interested party, has unilaterally taken over the work of an independent Commission ahead of a watershed poll. This should be cause for national alarm, given how Zanu PF has in the past used violence and dubious companies such as Nikuv International Projects to steal the people’s vote. 
No political party that should be allowed to unilaterally superintend an electoral process as that can only imperil or endanger the people’s will.
We are hearing more disturbing reports about what this government is doing to subvert the will of the people in the next election.For instance, we are aware of teams that have been working and training under the tutelage of a spy agency of a country that shall remain nameless for now. There is also a ploy to have NIKUV International Projects get registered under surrogate names in an attempt to enable the company to win the tender to supply the BVR kits. 
If Zimbabwe proceeds to use the BVR system, which Zanu PF is not keen to do, we are also aware of plans to have Nikuv International Projects work with some named Indian companies in hacking or engaging in cyber attacks on the whole electoral system once it becomes clear that the results are not going in Zanu PF’s favour. 
We are aware therefore that plans are afoot to either control or derail the BVR process, frustrate voter registration and the actual voting in perceived opposition strongholds. We know as well that there are plans to tamper with silver nitrate and other inks such as UV ink that may be used in order to fudge the result of the next election.
As a party, together with our colleagues in the broader democratic movement, we take great umbrage at the brazen hostile take-over of the electoral process by a political party when such work is solely reposed in an independent Commission. The party’s national executive has just met and I wish to restate its resolution that as a party, we will utilize all legitimate and constitutionally permissible avenues at our disposal to stop this daylight theft. Whether in the courts or in the streets, we shall fight all attempts to steal the next election and we fully endorse the resolution that we took with others under the banner of NERA to mobilize Zimbabweans for a public protest on the 22nd of March!


Indeed, come hail come high water, we will do all we can to stem the subversion of the people’s will. 


As MDC, together with our colleagues in the NERA and others in the broader democratic movement, we will continue to demand from ZEC that it takes urgent steps to chlorinate the electoral process and restore national confidence.


Our demands include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. A credible voters’ roll

A credible voters’ roll is mandatory and if there is continued dithering and subversion of the biometric voter registration process, then we can ensure that prospective voters simply produce their IDs, as happened in the election of 1980.
2. Civil servants and traditional leaders to stick to their constitutional roles

There is need to redefine the role of bureaucrats and other civil servants during elections in line with the dictates of the Constitution. Those whose roles should be aligned include the police, the army and intelligence services some of whom have been stuffed into the ZEC secretariat. Apart from civil servants, it is important to re-emphasize the apolitical role of chiefs and headmen as defined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. I heard sad stories from the chiefs themselves of how they are being politicized, including making them chairpersons of the Zanu PF cell structure to make them frog-march people to influence the vote at rural polling stations.
3. Stern action on vote-buying 

Vote-buying by any means should be made a serious, punishable offence. We have seen key government actors associated with Zanu PF overtly buying votes with rice and ZIMRA-confiscated items, among other vote-buying gimmicks. We saw these antics in Norton and Bikita West, as well as in Buhera where ZIMRA goods were donated at the same time when the nation was being threatened with a corpse as a Presidential candidate.  Apart from being a punishable offence, vote-buying should be a basis for disqualification, even before the election is held.
4. Chlorinating the ZEC secretariat

There is urgent need to chlorinate the ZEC secretariat for it to be truly professional. The ZEC secretariat should be de-militarized and de-securotized as it is now common cause that it is heavily stuffed with members of the army, the police and the CIO. This is a key issue and even the 10 provincial officers of ZEC must be professional and must inspire confidence in all the political players.
5. Guaranteed access to the public media by all parties. 

This is now a requirement in the Constitution, even where there are no elections. Media reforms remain a key electoral matter that continues to suffer from non-implementation, even where the Constitution is clear and unequivocal as stipulated in section 61 of the supreme law of the land. 
6. Agreement on the printing of voting material

There is need for agreement by all parties on who is printing the ballot papers and other voting material. We have seen happening in other countries in the SADC as in the elections held in Namibia and Zambia. There is also need for a forensic testing and examination of ballot papers and other voting material before and after voting.
7. Presence of polling agents from all political parties at polling stations
Every political party must have polling agents at every polling station during the voting process. 
8. Safety of candidates

All political candidates must be given the opportunity t campaign freely without fear, coercion or intimidation. Related to this, Zanu PF must disband youth officers, who mainly political agents doing party work in the wards at the expense of the State. This is highly anomalous and illegal as the taxpayer cannot be liable for agents directly carrying out Zanu PF work as is currently obtaining. 
9. Diaspora Vote

It is now constitutional for every Zimbabwean to exercise his/her right to vote. The ZEC must ensure that it puts in place administrative and other mechanisms in place to ensure that every Zimbabwean, regardless of their physical location, exercises this Constitutional right.
10.  Observers

If we really have nothing to hide, we must ensure that our polls are observed by all and sundry without preconditions—and without exclusionary tendencies towards certain observers. All observers without exception must be allowed to observe both before and after the election.
As the nation converges on a common agenda for progress, growth and development and for democracy to take hold, I wish to applaud war veterans for joining the rest of the country in making the same demands for which they fought a brutal but legitimate armed struggle against racism and repression.
We salute the ex-combatants for converging with the rest of the nation in making key national demands. 


Not only are they calling for President Mugabe to step down in the interest of the country, but they have now joined the rest of the nation in the sonorous cry for democracy and for the protection of the right to vote, for which they fought and for which so many paid the ultimate price.
A message to our liberation war icons
On behalf of the party I lead, the broad democratic movement and on my own behalf, I want to assure the war veterans, ex-detainees and restrictees that Zimbabweans sincerely welcome their joining the legitimate national demand for the institution of democracy, beyond mere liberation and political independence. We sincerely welcome their withdrawal of support from the notion of one-man-rule and one-centre-of power which were never the objective of the brutal and protracted liberation struggle.
Together, let us confront those who have betrayed the ethos of that sacred war. Together, we can all complete the unfinished business of the liberation struggle. Indeed, our war veterans, with the support of the generality of our citizens, did not only fight for independence. They also fought for democracy and it was always going to be inadequate to assume the struggle was over merely upon the attainment of independence.
I promise the nation and our war veterans that some of us remain sticklers to the solemn commitments we collectively made in the Constitution, especially on the sanctity of our land and that the land reform programme is irreversible. 
Fellow Zimbabweans should heed our assurance that we have no intention of stripping anyone of their land; save only to address issues of inequality in distribution and productivity on the land that genuinely belongs to us as Zimbabweans. 
Some of us believe in giving beneficiaries the right to land so that this land, for which so many died, can be both an asset and a legacy that can be passed on to future generations. True, there will be rationalization in the allocation of land without any reversal of the sacred principle that Zimbabweans must own their land.
The Constitution is clear on the value we must attach to the liberation struggle and the war veterans who brought us independence through a brutal and protracted war. Their welfare and their plight are matters that we value and hold in sanctity.
Everything that is happening in our country today, including this despicable attempt to steal the next election, is a divergence from the core values and principles of the liberation struggle.
Our brothers and sisters went to war, not only to liberate the country but also to democratize it. As a nation, we have always placed a premium on the right to vote, then referred to as one-man-one-vote, itself one of the reasons the heroic people of Zimbabwe went to war. Any attack or subversion of the right to a credible vote is an assault on the ethos of the liberation struggle.
I want to assure Zimbabweans that we will do everything we can to protect their vote, even though we cannot do it alone. We appeal to all Zimbabweans to work together in the patriotic quest for this nation to hold free, fair and credible elections.


Indeed, I am encouraged by the growing national convergence in this regard, as well as the current efforts to rally all Zimbabweans beyond political parties to forge an alliance that will inspire the people and assure everyone of a new dispensation, come 2018.
My tour of the provinces

In the past one-and half months, I have been touring the country and listening to community leaders outside the party I lead. I am encouraged by the growing national convergence about what should be done in the interest of the citizens and the future generations. Indeed, I have realized that everyone and ever sector has got a genuine grievance against this regime and I know we are all agreed that 2018 provides us with a perfect opportunity to defeat the authors of this debilitating national crisis by ushering in a new, democratic dispensation. 
Since January, I have traversed the length and breadth of this country. For f six weeks, I sat under trees, in village huts and in urban town-halls listening to our pastors, civic leaders and traditional healers. I have had very enriching engagements with our chiefs, headmen, village heads, civil servants, commuter bus drivers, rank marshals and ordinary villagers.


I spent hours with students, vendors, artisanal miners and the unemployed and derived comfort in the national consensus that 2018 is a watershed year for all of us, but more importantly for future generations.
Indeed, everyone and every sector have a genuine grievance against Zanu PF.
I listened to the wise words from my fellow countrymen and countrywomen. I  agree to the clarion call that we must all make for the sake of our country; the call never to allow a 94-year old to mismanage our affairs once again. I heard the appeal from across all sectors, that it would be tantamount to high treason to allow a 94-year old another five years, with some even suggesting they will field him as a corpse. It would be an insult to the people of this country to give this man and this party another five years.
Yes, Mugabe may lead his party but he must not be allowed to lead this country solely on the basis of age and past performance!
I am heartened by my fellow citizens and the effort we are collectively investing in ensuring that the country delivers a free, fair and credible poll in 2018. I am humbled by our fruitful engagements across political parties, across religions, across social classes, across religions, across gender and across artificial barriers—all for the sake of this dear country that we all love.
I listened to the people on the issue of political alliances and that as a party we must exercise due diligence on who we work with as some of these political parties do not have proper structures and membership while others are surrogates of Zanu PF.
I heard the cries of our chiefs, headmen and village heads, who are abused by Zanu PF; being forced to frog-march people and to engage in partisan food distribution. They said for all this abuse, they were paid a measly allowance of $25, which is now several months in arrears.
They also told me that Zanu PF had already begun to violate the Constitution, subsuming village heads into Zanu PF structures as cell chairpersons in a desperate attempt to control the environment around polling station by illegally creating dual role for village heads.  
I heard the cry of the minorities that how they do not feel they are part of the country. The Venda, the Ndebele, the Kalanga, the Ndau, the Tonga and the Shangaan all told me sad stories of abuse that confirm the ignominy of the tyranny of the majority. There is a legitimate concern about exclusion and domination by those that feel they are the majority tribes in our country. 
This is shameful, considering that this is the brave 21st century. We certainly cannot afford, in this day and age, to have people with a sense of entitlement by virtue of the fact that they come from a tribe they subjectively regard as a majority tribe. 


It was an enriching experience. I will not forget the concerns, the advice and the genuine expectation from across the provinces that in 2018, we will hold a genuinely free, fair and credible poll. Zimbabweans out there expect their vote to count and their will to be respected so that even the skeptics can enjoy comfort and security under a new dispensation.
A message to the change skeptics

The next election holds a key to the future of our country. We will rise or fall as a nation by the choice we make in the ballot.
I have a message to those who have in the past resisted change and who remain keen to subvert the people’s will because of their uncertainty the prospect of political change in the country.
I wish to assure everyone that there is nothing to fear in the change that we seek. We have no intention to engage in retribution and we are only driven by the genuine patriotic spirit to ensure peace, stability and growth. Change will be good for everyone. Change will allow every one of us to pursue and live their dreams under the protection of the State.

In 2008, a large part of our fellow citizens in State institutions were reticent and suspicious about the prospect of change. The people won the election but there was no transfer of power because of the skeptics of change; those whose reticence about a new Zimbabwe cost this country the opportunity to set a new political direction.
I want to say there will be space for every one in the new Zimbabwe that I envision. There will be neither vengeance nor retribution against anyone. There is certainly nothing to fear about a free and fair election and the new political and economic order that it will engender in our country. 

This country belongs to all of us and there will be neither retribution nor vengeance against any of our citizens. No one should have any reason neither to fear change nor to be suspicious and uncertain of the new dispensation that is now upon us.

Lastly, I urge fellow Zimbabweans to support the efforts for free and fair elections with our assurance that we do not wish to harm or engage in vengeance against anyone. All we seek is a peaceful country poised for growth, development and democracy.
I am confident that collectively we will not fail the nation and the future generations to whom we must bequeath a stable, prosperous and democratic country underpinned by growth and opportunities for all.
The year 2018 presents us with a perfect opportunity to start afresh and lay the foundation for a prosperous country. We must leave our footprints on the sands of history so that in future, we will be able to boldly stare history in the face and say in 2018, we charted a new direction for our country!

Together, we can do it.
I thank you