Trevor Ncube
Trevor Ncube

Simba Makoni: A glimpse of hope

I am excited about the hope that springs out of Dr Simba Makoni’s bold and brave decision to stand up and be counted. This is by far the best prospect for change that Zimbabweans have been presented with in a very long time. It would be catastrophic if we let this opportunity slip again.

Until Makoni’s decision on Tuesday I had made up my mind that for the first time since 1980 I was not going to vote in the forthcoming elections. The choice between the MDC and Zanu-PF under the current circumstances is no choice at all. This was indeed Hobson’s choice. Now things have changed and I will be voting, for I suddenly have a real choice.

Makoni’s decision to stand as a presidential candidate in the elections at the end of March is a huge personal sacrifice that now must be supported by all Zimbabweans who desire peaceful change. The first giant step has been made but it would be naive to assume that the job will be easy. Already the attacks from the state media have been vicious, but I am sure Makoni must have anticipated this. Some have even gone so far as to claim that this is a CIO hoax and Makoni is a tool of the state. Only the extremely gullible would believe this. He will need great determination to withstand what the Zanu-PF and state machinery are going to unleash on him.

The burden that Makoni has taken upon himself on behalf of us all will be made that much easier if progressive Zimbabweans liberated themselves from fear and made it known to all that he is not alone in this journey. Zimbabweans from all across the country have been decrying the dearth of high-calibre leadership and now that Makoni has stepped to the plank, those wanting change from within Zanu-PF, the opposition, civil society, business and the church must rally around him.

Coming so soon after the failure of the two MDC factions to unite, Makoni’s initiative provides a credible home and leadership for all those in opposition who desire genuine change and not self-aggrandisement. The MDC’s weakness has always been its pedestrian leadership, which should now join hands with Makoni to form a formidable coalition of forces opposed to all that Mugabe represents. On his part, Makoni will need to reach out to all and construct a movement that is accommodating to the diverse voices that have been calling for change.

I must confess that I don’t exactly know what Makoni’s programme is or what his manifesto holds. But one thing I am sure of is that I would be proud to call him my president any day. He is intelligent, very articulate, smart and well educated, and his decision to resign as finance minister a few years ago tells me he is a principled man. I think he cares and I am sure we can trust him. And I have never heard any hint or caught a whiff that he is a corrupt man.

My criticism of Makoni is that he is aloof and tends to come across as arrogant and condescending. I have also heard it said that he holds strong views and he can’t work with others. But then there are very few angels in Zimbabwe. His weaknesses must pale into insignificance when considering the dehumanising circumstances that we desperately need to liberate ourselves from.

Zimbabwe is in a desperate situation and we can ill afford the luxury of a wait-and-see attitude or fence-sitting as far as the prospect offered by Makoni is concerned. Those in the MDC need to go back to the days when they cared more about the people than their narrow, selfish interests and throw their lot behind Makoni. Those inside Zanu-PF must realise that there will never be another chance to break away from Mugabe’s suffocating clutches and that it is imperative that they also collectively answer the call by Zimbabweans for change. They must realise that Makoni offers them an opportunity to make right their sins of commission and omission. Will they grab this chance to reject corruption, murder, patronage and abuse of power, or will they choose to stand on the side of Mugabe and the ruin and pain that he has inflicted on Zimbabweans?

Within the context of Zimbabwean politics, I was the first one to write about the “Third Way” as an essential prerequisite for a fresh start for Zimbabweans. My thinking was and still is that under Zanu-PF our society has collapsed and we need a new beginning that rejects Zanu-PF corruption, oppression, arrogance and mismanagement and offers Zimbabweans an opportunity to dream again. The Third Way, to me, is a way of thinking that rejects the mediocrity offered by the MDC and seeks to define who we are and restructure our institutions and Constitution, and touch base with our norms and values in line with our aspirations. I believe Makoni gives Zimbabweans an opportunity to dream and live again.

While it will be near impossible for anybody to perform worse than Mugabe, for Makoni to make a difference he will have to be a democrat who values human rights and is committed to the rule of law. His manifesto must make an undertaking to involve Zimbabweans in crafting a new rights-based constitution. He will have to be a leader who listens and takes advice and one who is tolerant of views and opinions different from his.

Apart from Mugabe and his entire arsenal, perhaps the biggest challenge that Makoni faces is time. There simply isn’t enough time considering the work that needs to be done to realise the hopes raised by that noble decision he announced on Tuesday. But I believe that the task is made easier by the disaster that Zimbabwe is at the moment. People have been waiting for change for too long and this is the trigger they needed to liberate themselves from the current poverty, suffering and a less-than-human existent.

To a large extent, Makoni has done his bit and the ball is now in the court of all Zimbabweans. As US Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama said on Tuesday “We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

  • Belle

    100% with Bonga’s theory: this is likely a plot hatched up by Mugabe, with his old friend Simba, to (a) further split opposition votes and (b) give Mugabe’s rigged election some credibility.

    The real tragedy in Zimbabwe (and throughout most of our continent) is that, because of a shortage of talented leaders, tainted men step into the vacuum and are welcomed by those, such as Trevor, who are starved of good governance.

    If Zimbabweans were brave enough to learn from the Yanks and seek leaders beyond their own colour-defined limits they will find greater men than Makoni or Morgan, waiting in the wings to rebuild their shattered nation. David Coltart and Roy Bennet come to mind here … what a pity their leadership talents are unacceptable because their skin colour is unacceptable.

  • http://www.baobabcomrades.com Bonga

    The pragmatic reasoning from many here seems to be that if we don’t vote for Simba the stability of the country will be jeapordised because Zanu (Not just Mugabe would not accept the outcome). These are the bullying tactics of Zanu over the last 2 decades or so.

    I don’t think we can ever be too paranoid about Zanu. Just look at their track record. Even someone as powerful as Trevor Ncube is living in exile in out of fearing the CIOs and ruined economy.

    Anyone who was eating with Mr Mugabe cannot be allowed to disown him 52 days before an election.
    Others have fought Zanu PF mentality for 10 years. Of course their image is damaged by the Zanu propaganda machine. These people have been beaten, jailed and even risked assination. Anyone who sticks around while all that is happening should not be so easily trusted. This guy was on the Zanu politburo until a week ago when they decided he could not compete for the Makoni Central palimentary seat as the Zanu candidate.

  • Paul Whelan

    @Taxman

    After WWII Germany and Japan were administered and put back on their feet by US money, resources and military.

    ‘Failed’ or ‘defeated’ – your words – my point is who is going to help Zim back on theirs, even if Makoni is all patriots hope he will be.

  • gus mkandla

    Simba has his shortcomings but Zimabwebe is bereft of leadership and this election was going to end up as a contest between Mugabe a despot and Morgan Tvangirai a despot wannabe. The way he has run his party shows his tue qualities. Although the D in MDC stands for democratic- Tvangirai has no intention of being one. He has stuffed the party with his kitchen cabinet cronies and side kicks.
    Mugabe would have won the forthcoming elections if he was contesting against Tvangirai because people dont trust Tvangirai anymore.
    Simba gives the people a chance to get rid of Mugabe then insist on Democracy . In short Tsvangirai has no chance of winning especially since he spurned the chance to team up with the other MDC an ha spurned again the opportunity to team up with Simba Makoni. Zimbabweans have now to deal with a
    1) Mugabe victory and more of th same
    2)simba makoni nothing reallt known about him.

  • Clay

    My brother Mr Peter Mbudzi you say Makoni is part of the problem has it ever crossed your mind that Tsvangirai is part of the problem too. The guy has presided over 3 failed election so what makes you think this time he is going to get it right? For proof that Tsvangirai is not the solution to Zimbabwe go to New Zimbabwe and you get to see and no why the MDC could not unite. People are using the MDC as a source of employment so we are stuck with a situation where greed comes first (just as Zanu). Makoni can be Zanu but that does not make him Mugabe. If u dont believe Makoni might give us the way out then dont vote for him. But i will because he has given me hope that i lost in 2002.

  • http://www.baobabcomrades.com Bonga

    Herbert Chitepo had a dream that was Zimbabwe… What we have had for some time now is not it.

    There is a good reason why Makoni has not promised to democratise Zimbabwe. It is because he cannot do it. He cannot end the rampant corruption or restore freedom of press or rule of law because those that are allegedly backing him are responsible. The only reason Simba Makoni could have raised his head at this time is that he is back by army generals not the people. Where is the promise for a new constitution?

    I think if he wants to “fix” the Zanu PF he should do it while in opposition. Just because “they fought in the war” does not give them the right to rule over us forever. I am not a fan of Tsvangirayi but at least he is not backed by military men. Like many people I do not entirely trust Tsvangirayi so I am sure good people like Trevor Ncube will always hold him to account and keep him in check. He will have to deliver the new constitution and do some thing about the corruption. People have to be held accountable for their actions including Simba Makoni.

  • Tebogo L.

    Why didn’t Makoni come out a long time ago? Did he just finally find his voice within Zanu-PF? The reason is that he feels it’s his time to plunder what’s left of Zim.

  • leonard Musiwa

    I think anything other than Mugabe and Tsvangirai would do. Mugabe failed us all, but Morgan did his party by asking for sactions from Western Countries, who is being affected by these Sactions.Is it Mugabe or the majority who must vote for him?Yes he wants to be in power but we are saying he also contributed one way or the other to the sitution in Zim right now. Simba was a Zanu PF member before he was fired but who was not in Zanu.
    Most people were in either Zanu or Zanu PF but are now opposition including him Tswangirai. He was given the ticket to stand as Secretary General of ZCTU by the same Zanu PF. Lets not conderm Simba before we see and hear what he have for the nation, we need a change in Zim and to me this is the rape opportunity. Zimbabweans its time we make a true change in Zimbabwe and the change is Simba.
    MUSIWA L.

  • Chipo

    Ron, are you for real????

  • genqulamagula

    Tswangirai was Zanu PF whilst the Ndebele people were being killed and all the chefs staffing their pockets.He never uttered a word.He was in ZCTU on a Zanu PF ticket.The man has been stupid enough to receive cheques from the white farmers in front of televesion cameras,he has travelled the breath of the world calling for sanctions against his own people.I have never seen someone so much consumed by power(except Mugabe),his only solution to the problem is that he becomes the president of the country.Come on guys we can do better that this opportunist who is riding on peoples desperation he has no clue, no direction, no depth in him.Yes he was beaten up (maybe he deserved it for all the suffering that he has brought upon the people of zimbabwe through his uneducated policies) but what about those who have lost family members in his name.left us no jump from the firing pan into the fire.

  • http://www.afri-news.blogspot.com Sibangilizwe Dlamini

    ABC dialectical materialism. What Lenin would have said: “Analysis must begin with cognising the contradictory elements since everything is a unity of opposites. And where there is a culture of domination..inevitably there will be an equal measure of resistance. Oppressive regimes have their own seeds of destruction (opposites) inherent within them. At the appropriate moment, when the material socio-economic conditions are ripe, there will be an overcome of the dominant by the opposite. It is not up to the demagogys and agitators but the material socio-economic conditions. The task of the revolutionary vanguard therefore is simply to author an alternative blueprint,or in other words, the political and economic content necessary to harness the invitable revolt. And as always, every epoch will have its own leadership. Easy…neh

  • http://SimbaMakoni:Aglimpseofhope sekamdudu

    at the end of the day i believe that if we are to run a reform race then simba is the answer. i concur with genqulamagula that tsvangson is out of depth here and my main worry is his failure to command a national impact. change must not be for the sake of change and this is where our mdc guys are losing the plot. i would vote for makoni anyday on one condition : sir on your first day in the office please fire gideon gono and exile him to muzarabani for a month so he can feel how it is to live bereft of basic conditions when the money mint at rbz churns out trillions everyday to finance million men marches !

  • Gondo

    Genqulamagula I double, did he (Tsvangirai) say that what happened in Kenya would transpire in Zimbabwe if he loses the elections? That makes him a power hungry dictator, he would rather have the people killed and ethnically split for the sake of him getting into power? If that is not the echoes of a dictator in the making hten I don’t think I fully understand the tem ‘dictator’. He is a disgrace, frankly between Him and hte old foolish geriatric Mugabe, I chose none is whether to head the nation.

  • http://Nik.amagama.com Nicholas

    I am not a great fan of hope i always feel that hope is the last refuge of the loser and where Zimbabwe, or Rumbabwe as i prefer to call it, we are in such despair at the gratuitous destruction of a State which until only a few short years ago was one of the most promising on the continent. I would agree with Peter Mbudzi that Makoni’s motyives are probably suspect and motivated by the same instanct that draws an emerging elephant to challenge the old Bull. Most of those who have tried it die mysteriously in motor car accidents
    and he might too. The fact that he hasn’t almost condemms him as a stooge.

    Anyway it makes no odds regrettably i must also agree with Taxman [notwithstanding his angry racially slantedand sub-texted latent rage] simply as an old economist with a bent to economic history particularly of the modern era, i have noted that getting off the floor is hugely problematic, and as a failed State Rumbabwe will take two to three generations with luck to even begin to come back to where the place was before the madman set fire to it in 2000.

    Probably their best hope of improvement will be to sell the country to some transnational agricultural corporation like Monsanto and allow themselves to be recolonised for a while again [only a profit seeking corpration or the Chinese would be dumb or ruthless enough to try their hand again.]

    Other than that it is the hard way; and in all probability MAkoni would simply turn out to be just another fascist living as feudal overlords have done since the dawn of civil life.

    As someone else said we just shouldnt waste our time with chosen failure and focus instead on those places that are successful.

  • Dr Ernest Maigurira

    Dr Simba Makoni is the right candidate let us all support him. I want to high light and support that now that we have an alternative to MDC and ZANU. Viva Makoni. It is good that my favourite paper the Mail & Guardian is supporting Dr Simba Makoni. Viva to Dr Simba Makoni.

  • http://ThoughtLeader TK Vee

    you commemts are so good and very progressive. I hope more understands what you are saying. Please can you use your infuence to spread this gospel of Simba Power before Diasporans spoil it.

  • nhla.com

    Many are arguing that Makoni was in Zanu PF ,so what , Morgan was there and so what , they decided to change that.But i must say even if Makoni was still Zanu PF and standing for presidency then surely i would vote for him just to get rid oour of Granpa . This is the BEST option out .Um not gonna say a lot about his credentials ,for me he is the difference that i have been longing for for a very very long time…”To be thus is nothing but to be safely thus” and safely i am voting for dr makoni and the rest is history… Did you see him on E Tv the other day .Now thats a man with a plan………..

  • toddkidd

    If Mr. “Simba” becomes president it will go down in history as the worst day for Zimbabwe. Simba is a traitor for the revolution which was fought to free Zimbabweans from domination from their colonial master Britain. Simba is representing big business from Britain and AMerica who want to reestablish white supremacy in Zimbawe.
    I’m black American and I have never stepped foot on African soil but I support Presient Mugabe 200%. Long live Mugabe! black american in New Orleans.

  • Ratogo Kanyi

    Well it would appear zimbaweans have lost an opportunity for change. Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai are eternal enermies. As long as there are there as president and opposotion leader, there will never be peace in this country. What we needed was a third force. It is quite unfortunate that zimbabwean elections are always about personalities. For this reason some people who where much needed in our parliament (Welshman Ncube and Misihairambwi) could not make it just because of personalities. It would appear the majority of us zimbabweans still await enlightment.