‘Coalition not panacea to national challenges’

PRESIDENT of one of the country’s over 100 political parties, Patriotic Zimbabweans Party, Charles Muchineripi Mutama says a coalition of the opposition is not the main panacea to the country’s challenges.

The United States of America-based Mutama told the Daily News Political Editor Blessings Mashaya that dialogue is crucial, but the church and civil society cannot mediate because they are captured.

Below are the excerpts of the interview.

Q: What is PZP’s position regarding formation of a coalition of opposition parties to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF in next year’s elections?

A: Whereas the principle of a coalition is noble and looks quite fruitful, it cannot be seen as the panacea to the national problem.

What is needed is an overall change in the national democratic struggle to ensure equity and fair play in reshaping the electoral field and governance.

As a strategic move to attain this objective, a coalition is noble. However, certain fundamentals that guide our future goals must be taken into consideration as we move towards a coalition.

The overall objective will be to create an administrative and democratic political culture that will persevere in the national discourse. It shouldn’t be a coalition of elites, but must primarily be able to take the electorate into the process.

Q: In your view, who in the opposition should lead the coalition and why?

A: The leadership of the coalition can come out of a negotiated settlement or through a process agreed by the negotiating teams.

Q: What is the position of your party on those pushing for an all-inclusive national dialogue to resolve the country’s decades-long political and economic crises?

A: As a political party, we are willing to work with other political parties, as we would work with them if we are in government. Democratic process means working with those who may have ideas different from yours.

Unfortunately, most people miss out on this fundamental pillar of democracy and become caustic in their dealing with other political parties.

Once a party has engaged in the political process of elections, that party has in principle agreed to work together with other political parties.

Q: If you agree to dialogue, who should mediate it and why?

A: The mediator comes out of a process. This task is best left to the process. The church and civil society can play an intermediary role, but currently in Zimbabwe today most of these institutions are captured in one way or another.

Q: What can be done for the country to hold free and fair polls next year?

A: It’s unfortunate that we are in an environment that is caustic and poisoned. We need to ensure fair play and trust in the process by:

ν Disbanding the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as presently constituted and coming up with another team agreed upon by all contesting parties.

ν Making security forces accountable and adhere to a set code of conduct.

ν The media uphold a certain fundamental code of conduct that resonates with fair democratic practice.

ν The ending of all forms of political violence. And the creation of an independent elections court to judge cases using a peer system.

ν Negotiations must begin now in Parliament and all other forums.

ν  The Diaspora must be given the vote.

Q: What is your take on those calling for an election sabbatical, formation of a transitional authority and then polls after 10 years?

A: Calling for an electoral sabbatical is putting one’s head in the sand and wishing that the problem will go away. Zimbabwe is a democratic country and we must learn to solve our problems in a democratic fashion. That our process is flawed is an indication of the electorate and political parties inability to solve them. A party that calls for postponing an election is a clear and present danger to democracy.

Q. Who are you and what does your party stand for?

A: We’re Patriotic Zimbabweans Party and our party is premised on our love for our country.

Mutama is a student of our forebears such as Morgan Richard Tsvangirai and Joshua Nkomo who bequeathed to us the virtue of selflessness and unity in diversity as principles of nation building.

As a protege of Tsvangirai, I am an individual who is on a quest to facilitate the hierarchical needs of our people following Abraham Maslow’s model of human development.

Ideologically, I am centre right and view investment and business growth as drivers of economic growth for individual citizens and the nation at large.

I am also a member of the Universal Negro League (UNIA-UCL Barca-Clarke) and a student of Marcus Garvey’s philosophy which promotes black separatism, economic independence and political self-determination of all black people throughout the world.

The black man ought to have one government, one army, one economy, and one God. Our traditional leaders should be at the apex of our political system because they are the custodians of our values, culture, and mores.

Our traditional leadership system has withstood the stand of time and has neither prevaricated nor equivocated when it comes to authority and governance over its people.