A political battle is in the air in Zimbabwe as the 2018 presidential election gets closer. A new political party, Zimbabwe United Democratic Alliance (ZUDA), was launched on the 9th of September 2017 in Midrand, South Africa, assuring to offer “a fresh and clean option” to the people of Zimbabwe ahead of the 2018 election.
Addressing a press briefing with some of the members of the Interim Executive Committee of the newly formed Political Party, Tinashe Dandadzi the Interim President said, “Finally, the real people’s Party has landed. The future is ZUDA and ZUDA is the future”.
He touted that the Party will be a catalyst for action by offering themselves as the only political party in Zimbabwe that has a credible plan to implement evidence based, innovative, and practical solutions to challenges that Zimbabwe faces today. Their Party emblem is a hand shake which they say is one of the highest forms of symbolic currency with the power to unite, to bring people together and work towards common goals.
He confidently proclaimed “This will undoubtedly be a tomorrow government driven by a tolerant, democratic, unifying, pragmatic and a futuristic team. After 37 years of Independence, the country is in economic crisis, bitterly divided along tribal and regional lines and there is no unity of purpose across the political landscape.”
He also said ZUDA Party will be positioned to the right of centre of the political spectrum, with policies that are described as pro-enterprise, pro-business and geared towards entrepreneurship, but with an emphasis on compassionate social policies.
The Party President took a swipe at the Zimbabwean personality style of politics, where parties form and re-form around leaders without ever articulating a coherent ideology. He alleges that most Parties have created semi deities, semi gods, and gullible followers chant the mantra “John chete chete” or “munhu wese kuna John”. He declared that ZUDA will be a Party of IDEAS and will not abandon ideology and platforms for “political leaders marketing”. They will turn their Party into a long-lived brand, a lasting political institution able to represent voters in parliament and government.
He further asserts that ZUDA will have to rely on the strength of its liberal ideas, not its personalities, to inspire voters and win their support. ZUDA’s platform outlines three core principles: openness and accountability, financial transparency and collective leadership. This last principle is particularly important because of the absence of big names headlining the Party. The Party President is quoted saying “for organic and comprehensive change, the effort and vivacity of one man are not enough. For that we need a team — partners and allies, united by common goals.”
ZUDA seems to be positioning itself as the transparency and anti-corruption Party. However, the President said “The fight against corruption per se has become a surrogate for ideology: Party’s promise to punish “corruptioners” in order to win votes. However, ZUDA claims it will properly address the roots of corruption, which lie at the foundation of Zimbabwe’s political economy.
The Party President hinted that they would soon be unveiling their political and economic programme, which will be predicated on non-compromising as well as non-negotiable core values. These values are not just good words but an inviolable basis and a genuine guide for any decisions and actions. The 7 core values, which taken together, consistently with one another, will constitute a balance in their policies. These are individual freedoms, sustainable economic development, social justice, respect for civil society, democracy and politics, strengthening links with Zimbabwean diaspora, and intergenerational equity (IE).
The Party President said “We are proud to introduce the unprecedented principle of Intergenerational Equity. This principle requires decision-makers to devise public policies with a forward-looking, sustainable and innovative perspective, so that the next generation will not suffer the economic, social and environmental impact of decisions taken by its predecessors. The ruling ZANU PF Party inherited the “Jewel of Africa” in 1980 and the future appeared incandescent, but just after 37 years it is bequeathing to us the young generation a nation which is a shell of its former self. ZUDA has taken up the role of being guardian to represent posterity’s interests.”
On the question of joining existing coalitions, the Party President said, “We have not discussed anything on pre-election or post-election alliance as our objective is to win elections. We will assess to see if there is any sincerity in the actions of other party’s or they have simply forged opportunistic alliances lacking a common thread to win the impending election”
Replying to a question on funding, Party President said that although ZUDA would accept funds from one and all. “Presently, we are functioning with the money paid by the founder members of the Party.”
The Party Interim Chairman, Tavengwa Muchini said ZUDA’s membership is growing every day and he put out an open invitation to all Zimbabweans in the country and in the diaspora to join ZUDA. “We have accepted the challenge to build a new Party but we cannot do it on our own. The unpalatable truth is that politics is too important to be left to the politicians. If the electorate wants better politics they will have to become more engaged in the political process. An informed and interested electorate is essential for democracy to prevail and Zimbabwe to prosper.” He said
The Chairman also avowed that Zimbabwe needs political victory. “We need a victory over ZANU PF, we need victory over corruption, we need victory over poverty, hopelessness, apathy and disbelief in society. We believe in this victory. We know that it will be. And we are ready to unite the efforts of all non-indifferent citizens in order to achieve this Great Goal.”, he said