Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Government’s New Inclusiveness in Landrover Discovery Vehicles.



GSI do not know what goes on in the Cabinet meetings of our inclusive government. Save for video clips of government ministers awarding themselves computers on state television. In any event, it is now public knowledge that the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity issued what can only be considered a ‘threat’ to all editors who publish ‘leaked’ information about cabinet proceedings. Even though I am not an editor, and I have no ‘cabinet sources’ I am personally persuaded that that there must have been some cabinet decision to purchase luxury vehicles for ministers. Whether it was by consensus, vote or decree, we might never know. But we can at least verify the purchase of these ‘beasts of the road’ by seeing our erstwhile ministers riding around in them (especially the  doubting Thomases). Their true cost to the government, the nature of the awarding of the tender to supply them is probably something protected from publication  under the Official Secrets Act, though the fact that they are being driven is not so ‘secret’.
Neither is the fact that there has been no official explanation as to why the vehicles were purchased in the first place ever since the story appeared in the media. The Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti was reported to have told a journalist from the Daily News that he should ask the Minister of Transport and Communications, Nicholas Goche about the cars. And then he was reported later to have said that in fact,  money to purchase government cars was within the 2010 budget allocation. This money comes to a total of US$1,5 million but was not utilized in the same period. He did not however explain the cost and source of funds for the vehicles that our ministers are now utilizing, assumedly for government business.
Now because I do not have ‘sources’ in Cabinet, I do not know why the procurement component of government opted to not re-allocate the money to other essential services of our national economy particularly health and education. In fact the money might could have been simply added to this year’s allocation for the Basic Education Assistance Model (BEAM). But the government probably feels this is not a priority even though it’s a priority for many of our country’s poor.
I also assume that perhaps the lack of an official statement from Cabinet on this issue might be indicative of government’s assumption that any expressions of concern over this unnecessary expenditure will probably fizzle out from public debate or mainstream media. Well, I know that Landrover Discovery vehicles do not just fizzle out. In fact, they are extremely durable and so is their status symbol. Indeed the official descprition of these ‘beasts of the road’ from the manufacturer states, ‘The Discovery 4 GS is the perfect combination of style and capability, equipped with seating for up to seven adults, four-corner air suspension and Land Rover's unique Terrain Response® as standard. Other advanced features include automatic climate control, a harman/kardon® nine-speaker audio system and Bluetooth® telephone connectivity. There is a superb 3.0 litre, 180kW diesel engine with technically advanced parallel sequential turbochargers and six-speed adaptive automatic transmission. http://www.landrover.com/gb/en/lr/discovery-4/explore/gs/
Now if this descprition does not fit that of a vehicle for the wealthy of an already wealthy society, I do not know what else will.  Except that Zimbabwe is a poor country, with poor people. A country saddled with a government that treats its ministers like multi-national company corporate executives and its people like muted audiences in the theater of opulence.
And should you take the individual ministers to task on this matter you might be accused of undermining the inclusive government. God forbid that you are not charged with treason by Cabinet itself for daring to ask for a comparison between their luxurious vehicles and their performance in government. But then again, I wonder if anyone is watching their performance? Civil society remains muted, with only one organization, the Committee of the Peoples Charter asking questions of these distasteful spending sprees by the inclusive government.
Even though the government thinks this will go away, or at least not be a public issue for a prolonged period of time, at least it has been said. And when the Ministers drive or are driven in their vehicles, they should at least know that the people are watching. Some with envy, but the majority with serious disappointment at this display of the ‘politics of the belly’.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dzino, Rex and the legacy of the Zimbabwe Peoples Army (ZIPA)


The last week in Zimbabwe saw all of us come to terms with the history of our country’s war of liberation. On Monday 15 August, Wilfred Mhanda (Chimurenga name Dzinashe Machingura) launched his memoirs titled  Dzino. Memories of a Freedom Fighter. The celebrated deputy political commissar of the Zimbabwe Peoples Army (ZIPA) had finally put his experiences on paper. In the early hours of Tuesday 16 August the even more celebrated  former Commander of ZIPA and first black commander of our country’s Defence Forces, Solomon Mujuru (Chimurenga name Rex Mujuru) passed away in the most tragic of circumstances at his farm in Beatrice. He had however not yet put his liberation war experiences to pen and paper. Others however, have done so, and will continue to do so for various reasons and their attendant biases. Such is the nature of the writing/recording of history.
Be that as it may, the two legends of our war for liberation, in the last week and in different circumstances made us remember our brave history. And it is a history that is well worth remembering.
In my own remembrance however, I am aware that I only experienced the struggle from my mother’s back. And so I write this article not with the benefit of hindsight because I do not personally remember the struggle. That does not however make me any less Zimbabwean or any less patriotic. I know of the struggle from the tales told to me by my parents, my war veteran relatives, my teachers, in the books that have been written by many academics and of late in the memoirs written by Fay Chung, Edgar Tekere and Wilfred Mhanda. In all of these tales and texts I have discerned that an objective history of our liberation war struggle is well nigh impossible. Everyone has their own version of the facts except perhaps for the dates of particular events. But as to who really made what happen, and why, that is always in dispute from one narrative or the other.
I will however dwell on the lives of the two men, Dzinashe Machingura and Rex Nhongo. These two men as legend has it were key to the resumption of the liberation war after the Lusaka Unity Accord of 1975. The death of Herbert Chitepo in the same year had led to the arrest of Josiah Tongogara by President Kaunda of Zambia. This had led to a serious leadership vacuum for Zanu and Zanla in exile. Further to this, the failure of the Lusaka Unity Accord did not diminish the insistence by the Frontline States on the unification of all the liberation movements and parties including their military wings.
It was however to be the differences between the guerillas and the political leadership under Ndabaningi Sithole that led to the now famous but not so celebrated Mgagao Declaration of  which Dzinashe Machingura was a key architect. The authors of this declaration also sought the permission of Tongogara who was in prison to continue with the war of liberation. They then proceeded to seek audience with Samora Machel of Mozambique as to the futility of the Lusaka Accord (Rex Nhongo and Dzinashe Machingura were part of this delegation). ZIPA was then formed in 1976 and had in its initial leadership Rex Nhongo as the overall commander, Nikita Mangena as political commissar and Dzinashe Machingura as deputy political commissar.
It is from ZIPA that the liberation war was reorganized in the aftermath of d├ętente. And this is of particular importance if one is to understand the role of the guerillas in the war, because they had, through ZIPA, undertaken a political role which some would refer to as revolutionary.  ZIPA under Mujuru’s command, filled in the political vacuum of arrested political leaders as well as the military task of remobilizing for the war. This was a feat that the political leaders had failed to achieve, and this is why, after the Mgagao Decalaration, it was also the ZANLA component of ZIPA that decided to position Robert Mugabe as Ndabaningi Sithole’s replacement with the specific permission of the imprisoned Josiah Tongogara and the Zanla High Command.
That ZIPA has generally been erased from our remembrance of history is an issue that should make us all seek to understand it better. The eventual imprisonment of Dzinashe Machingura and his colleagues as well as the disbandment of ZIPA does not take away their historical role in the liberation of our country. Neither does it take away the significance of the pragmatic nature of the intervention of ZIPA under Rex Nhongo, Nikita Mangena and Dzinashe Machingura amongst others to pursue the revolutionary path. It does however ask questions of those that claim war veteran status today, who continually refer to war when there is no military war to be fought in contemporary Zimbabwe. On the contrary, unlike in the circumstances that necessitated the formation of ZIPA, the only battle we have today is that for the democratic pursuit of the people’s interests, not by soldiers, but by civilians. As Cde. Rex and Cde. Dzino would have it, it is the gun that follows the politics not the politics that follows the gun.
`*Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The inclusive government’s new politics of the belly.


The inclusive government’s politics of the belly.
By Takura Zhangazha.*
A friend of mine who comes from Rusape, upon reading the Daily News on Sunday, 14 August 2011,  phoned me to express his anger at the story of government ministers who had been given new luxury vehicles. He explained that his anger was not simply about the fact that politicians at the highest level in a country where the majority of the people are poor had decided to demonstrate their affinity for the elusive ‘good life’. His anger was also stemming from the fact that only that morning, he had taken his father to Rusape General Hospital for treatment for a diabetic ailment and he had been told that the hospital had no drips. In order to get one, he had to go and purchase it at a pharmacy for about US$ 12. Given the state of his father he had no option but to do so. After his father had been treated, he got a copy of the Daily News and to his great dismay and anger, read the headline story on how the government had decided to purchase special utility vehicles (SUVs) at an estimated cost of US$20 million dollars to the fiscus. He asked what sort of priorities does the inclusive government have and I couldn’t answer as I too was at a loss for words.
The general impression, in most instances, is that governments that demonstrate such appetites are governments that are extremely comfortable with themselves to the extent that they show no remorse when queried about such distasteful displays of opulence.
And I am certain that the Zimbabwean inclusive government is viewing the story broken by the Daily News on Sunday  as a storm that it can easily ride. This is because its various political party components will bring out their party faithful in support of the SUVs as a necessity and in seeking to drown out voices of dissent at such unnecessary state expenditure.  Because our Parliament and local government have been conveniently placated by either being given lower rung SUVs and access to local council land or some other such privileges, they will also not raise their heads in protest. And all the parties in the inclusive government are not expecting too much resistance from each other on this matter. Their new mantra is probably, ‘we are all in this now, so no one will challenge our collective profligacy’. It is a mantra that borders on being contemptuous of the electorate, however divided, and a mantra that indicates a culture of self aggrandizement that is beyond belief.
It is however a culture that is premised on a number of truths about the realities that all Zimbabweans must begin to think about when it comes to how they view their inclusive government.  An initial evident truth is that all cabinet ministers probably have a serious sense of entitlement to state sanctioned ‘reward’ , regardless of the electoral promises they made to the people of Zimbabwe. And particularly so if they feel they ‘campaigned’ (read arrest etc) hard to get to where they are. And the same is true for members of Parliament, and in most cases for members of our local councils. It is almost as though they are functioning on the oft repeated ‘arrival syndrome’ without knowing that every ‘arrival lounge’ is always mirrored by a departure one. For cabinet ministers, members of Parliament (MPs) to seek to justify the acceptance of such expensive vehicles and numerous other privileges on the basis of the state of roads that they should be repairing is as ridiculous as it is obscene with the levels of poverty in and around us as a country.
The second reality is that the recipients of these vehicles are probably firmly aware of the short tenure that they may serve either as ministers, MPs or councilors. They are most likely firmly intent on feathering their own nests before they either fall out of favour or lose an election. Such a potential attitude of government ministers is extremely dangerous for the country seeing as they will be functioning on a clock watch and will be consistently checking the weight of their kitty over time left before an election or a cabinet re-shuffle. This is the stuff that the politics of the belly can only be made of.
In the circumstances of these displays of wealth via proximity to political power, our country is in a deeper crisis than one would have previously thought. We have leaders that are probably not as focused as they should be on resolving the economic crisis, let alone the poverty and lack of social service delivery that is evident across the country. Every time they ride the Land Rover Discoveries, the Toyota Prados, they bring a depressing meaning to our country’s politics. A meaning that, like the last line in Orwells epic satirical novel, Animal Farm, “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
*Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

The SADC season is upon us, again.


The SADC  season is upon us, again.
By Takura Zhangazha.
A few days before the 31st Ordinary SADC Summit of heads of state and government in Luanda, Angola on 16 August 2011, Zimbabwe and its government leaders are preparing themselves for their almost quarterly slanging match in another country which is not theirs. Now there are assumedly many pragmatic reasons for why this is so. SADC being the guarantor of what is known as the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) has a mandate to review progress of the same, even though it has stressed that being ‘guarantor’ does not imply ownership of the agreement. The GPA is in fact owned by the political parties that now comprise the inclusive government. The general impression given by party statements and media reports is that at this latest scheduled summit, when it comes to Zimbabwe, matters relating to the electoral roadmap, media reform, sanctions, security services reform and constitutional reform will be tabled by the three principals. Once again SADC will look to the facilitator, President Zuma for a collective way forward on these matters. And once again, we will be told to ‘finalise’ all outstanding issues before the next SADC Troika meeting.  This is not before Zanu Pf tries to get summit to replace President Zuma as facilitator on the basis that he is the incoming SADC Troika Chairperson, who if precedence is considered is the initial port of call for any complainants about the facilitation of the GPA. It is highly unlikely that this will be successful, save for causing an increase in political tension between the ANC and Zanu Pf parties.
I could try and predict further developments at the summit but that would be stretching it, and in any event, there shall be numerous other colleagues, analysts who shall be quoted in the media as to the likely outcome of the summit. So the purpose of this article is instead, to place into context the what can only be described as the embarrassing quarterly event of having the Zimbabwean government explaining itself, not to its citizens but to the leaders of other people.
Because our leaders in the inclusive government, though they may not be our individually preferred ones, have to be made to account to us before they ‘jet’ off to try and outwit each other before their own peers it is necessary to place into perspective what issues they have not fully explained to us, the people of Zimbabwe.
In the first instance, the inclusive government has not publicly explained to us the full functions of the not so new National Security Council (NSC) and why the latter does not meet regularly let alone why it does not publicly explain its role. Neither has the President nor the Prime Minister indicated what structural issues must be addressed by the NSC. Instead what we have had via press reports are slanging matches either in defense or reprimand of individual army personnel. It is rather mysterious as to why a mere general can cause either the President to begin to speak on behalf of the entirety of the defence forces or the Prime Minister to address him directly, when there is the NSC and the Ministry of Defence. But these are issues that the inclusive government has decided to take to SADC.
In the second instance, the inclusive government has been politicizing the COPAC process which is supposed to effectively become the electoral road map. The current narrative of COPAC is fundamentally about money for various processes that the public has little knowledge of, while at the same time others in the inclusive government are literally indicating that after all is said and done, a new constitution will be negotiated by the now four political parties in the inclusive government. And where all political principals to the GPA indicate that they are not happy with the pace of COPAC they have not demonstrated any urgency on resolving the time-costing disputes. All that is continually referred to is the vague process of ‘uploading’ one thing or the other to a disputed database.
In the third instance, there is continued lack of clarity on the issues of media reform, the human rights commission, electoral reform, not for SADC, but to the people of Zimbabwe. At first the arguments in all of the three mentioned reform areas were about personalities and their assumed political affiliation. Then the arguments were about which ministry controls what, and now it is disputation around the contents of proposed bills particularly with regards to the Human Rights Bill. Indeed in most of the disagreements there is the argument of the old against the new, and normally this is personified in the two main protagonists, Zanu PF and MDC T. Either way, there has been no clear explanations from the Ministries responsible in each of these areas as to the nature of progress on the issues at hand and the meaning of that progress to the Zimbabwean public. Each party to the inclusive government is now increasingly seeking the easier alternative, which is partisan, competitive and characterized by waiting to fawn before SADC and get their way at the expense of the other.
In the final instance, in all of this, the much vaunted ‘government oversight and accountability role’ of the Parliament of Zimbabwe is nowhere near being people/constituency centered when it comes to critical national issues such as constitutional reform, the National Security Council, electoral reform and media reforms. Of course our Honourable Parliamentarians will inform us that they have held public hearings and public meetings under the auspices of either COPAC or another relevant portfolio committee. This is well and good, but is thoroughly inadequate if Parliament is to play its oversight role. It rarely sits for full sessions. Where it does, motions are couched in the partisan language of respective political parties and principals and not in the public interest.
So, as it is, the SADC season is upon us. Our leaders will go to Angola, make their cases and come back with an answer that, as in the aftermath of previous summits, encourages them to run their country, our country, Zimbabwe. Except that after Angola, I am certain, the people of Zimbabwe will tell them, ‘ask us first! It’s our country too!’ 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Tribute to Professor Mukonoweshuro.

Tribute to Professor Mukonoweshuro.
By Takura Zhangazha.
I first encountered Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro in 1997 in the office of the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe. I knew nothing of the University then, save for what my brother Witness Zhangazha had taught and told me. And I was thoroughly intimidated by anyone who had the title Dr, let alone Professor before their names. As it was, it was the duty of the dean of the faculty to sign an admission form for undergraduates before they went to get their university identity cards ( we didn’t have to wear them around our necks like they do these days). His office was smoke-filled, and I could hardly see him as he asked me my name and the programme that I was trying to sign up for. When I told him BSc. Political and Administrative Studies, he grunted, and said it was a good degree programme. It was the first time I had heard anyone say that about my intended degree, let alone a professor. What I did not know however was that the Professor was also a senior lecturer in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the same university but I was too intimidated to ask him anything. My papers duly signed, I went to join the hustle and bustle that was the university identity card queue at the Great Hall.
It would be almost two year later that I would directly encounter Professor Mukonoweshuro in a meeting of the Senate of the University of Zimbabwe, albeit not as a mere undergraduate student but as a Students Executive Council (SEC) President. This is not to say that the Professor had been absent from university life in between, but that he was no longer teaching undergraduate courses in the department of Political and Administrative Studies. But the Senate encounter with the Professor has stuck in my mind because, under the Graham Hill administration, the university was becoming extremely repressive and academic freedom was being severely curtailed. As an ex-officio member of the Senate, I had asked for time to speak about academic freedom, the notorious use of ‘green bombers’ and the threat of the arbitrary closure of the university . Professor Graham Hill was trying to have none of it but Professor Mukonoweshuro insisted that the ‘student leader’ be permitted to have his say and have ‘my say’ I did.
After university I never expected a formal or informal encounter with the Professor until I heard that he was running for Member of Parliament on an MDC T ticket. I was pleasantly surprised by that because I had never made the Professor out as a politician. He didn’t win the first time he ran, due to factors that would include what the late Professor Masipula Sithole called the ‘margin of terror’’ . Regardless, I began to meet  Professor Mukonoweshuro at public meetings or in meetings where we would try and impress upon politicians the significance of media freedom amongst other issues.  These were bit part meetings and we had little time to either reminisce or share new ideas.
It was not until towards the end of 2008 that I began to encounter the Professor much more regularly. This was after he had become an MP for Gutu South and was secretary for international relations in the MDC T.  Incidentally he had also become the chairperson of the Department of Political Science as it was now called. We met on odd days discussing some documents that he had asked me to go through and edit  and I was trying to lobby him to ensure media reforms would be included in the negotiations that were being mediated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki ( Professor Mukonoweshuro was part of the technical team to the MDC T negotiators). Needless to say I was not successful in getting the sort of media reforms I sought in the Global Political Agreement.
The last time I had a one to one conversation with the Professor was a month or so before the signing of the GPA in September 2008. We were outside Mr. Mangoma’s office in Milton Park and were discussing the whole process surrounding President Mbeki’s mediation and whether the MDC would get what it wanted. I gave some analysis as to what was most likely to happen and the Professor calmly nodded, while smoking his cigarette and said either way, things can only turn out for the better. And then he asked, very casually as it were, why I didn’t consider working for the MDC T. I politely refused to answer the question and we left it at that.
In March of the following year (2009), I was not surprised to learn that he had been appointed a cabinet minister in the inclusive government. That he had the public service as his portfolio was something I did not expect but I knew that he would be up to the challenge. When he had a public spat with the Finance Minister, I got a bit worried but as it turns out, it was just a public spat. I always considered his eventual disagreements with some of the civil service unions as ‘work in progress’ because the Professor was one of the most conscientious men I knew. I knew he was negotiating with the comrades. We will never know how all of this would have turned out under his stewardship.
But after all is said and done, the country has lost a good man, a good intellectual, a good democrat, and a committed citizen. May his ancestors and  God accept him, and may  his soul rest in peace. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Letter to the People of Zimbabwe on the Occasion of our National Heroes Commemorations August 2011

Theme: We are all heroes of our country and our own time.
1. Introduction.
In the thirty one years since our national independence, our country, Zimbabwe, has correctly so, annually remembered citizens who heroically sacrificed not only life and limb but also time, material resources and families in pursuit of freedom from colonial bondage, disenfranchisement and socio-economic injustice. In the commemorations that are occurring in 2011, thirty one years after our national independence, we remain conscious of the truth that national heroism in the political entity that we call Zimbabwe spans across political affiliation and above all, across time.
1.1 Since the first struggles against colonial domination in the late 19th century as realized via the First Chimurenga, through to the  1960s-1980 Second Chimurenga and to the late 20th  century, Zimbabweans have demonstrated a unique resoluteness in pursuit of freedom for all, regardless of the  epoch or peculiar circumstances. We, as citizens of this great country, have taken to arms, taken to the vote, taken to the streets, taken to Africa and the world with a firm belief that our ideals for a democratic and just society are possible to achieve.
1.3 It is this same purpose and belief that speaks to us today, in the year 2011. It is the same conviction of those that have gone before us, and as sure as the sun rises, the conviction of those that will come after us that guides this, our letter to the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
1.4 This letter takes cognizance of the fact that the national debate around heroism, around those that claim hero status for themselves and others, has been imbued with a particular political partisanship that is reflective more of political interests that are neither national nor committed to the attainment of freedom from the bondages of dictatorship, poverty and socio-economic injustice.  This is particularly so in relation to the definitions and processes outlined by the three main political parties that comprise the inclusive government on what it is to be a national hero. Contestations by components of the inclusive government as to who is a hero are not only more partisan than they are nationalist but betray an unfortunate pre-occupation by our leaders with self over and above country.
1.5 Indeed, no one can self righteously claim to be the most heroic Zimbabwean of all. It is the people of the country that decide so, by way of popular consent and recognition of heroism, be it in politics, the national economy, arts and culture, sport, academia and invention. As such, our annual Heroes Day commemorations should not be about individuals alone, but about the country’s passage from bondage, to freedom not only in relation to past or present day politics but in relation to all aspects of what has come to progressively define us as Zimbabwean. In this light the selfless and significant contribution made by the masses should never be downplayed.  There are those who provided food, information and even shelter to the comrades, their role should be never be forgotten.

2. The Challenges of the Country and the Necessity of a New Heroism.
2.1 Fellow citizens, the purpose of this letter is not intended to be about the partisan blame games on the definition of heroes, or heroism as viewed by any of the country’s political parties in the inclusive government or any other political party that has since laid claim to fame.  This letter is intended to set a new path for all Zimbabweans to begin to view themselves outside of the narrow parameters that are increasingly being set by the political leaders of today. 
2.2 There is therefore the necessity of re-thinking and challenging contemporary party narratives of heroes/heroines and heroism, by taking the present circumstances of the country into account. This is because the country, at this moment in our time, stands on the precipice of either remaining true to the intentions of our illustrious history in its pursuit of people centered democracy, social and economic justice as well as a better life for all.  Or alternatively departing from these values and embarking on a path that makes it a country that is devoid of an historical understanding of the reasons why it exists.
2.3 We are aware that there are those that have besieged the state in the name of history and heroism. They have arrogated themselves an historical permanence that conveniently ignores the truth that they have been historical actors in bringing  the country to its knees, whether passively or actively. These include components of war veterans, who in pursuing what they have deemed their ‘due’ for fighting for the liberation of the country, have exhibited unpatriotic amnesia by forgetting that the country does not belong to their generation alone, but also to those that came before them, and those that have arrived after them.
3. Challenging the myth of heroism as embedded in militarism.
3.1 Of late, members of war veterans associations and some members of our armed forces have been declaring that they will defend the sovereignty and independence of our country. This would be a fair point if the country were facing a direct physical threat to its existence from anyone outside or inside of its borders or at its embassies worldwide.
3.2 As it is, what has emerged in Zimbabwe is increasingly a battle of ideas and not guns, public legitimacy and not legitimacy by coercion. And this should be instructive to those that are laying claim to the gun as the final arbiter of our sovereignty when our country is nowhere near being at war. Where war veterans threaten to go back to the bush, they must be duly informed of the very experience of the liberation struggle and its mantra of the ‘gun must always follow the politics’ and not vice versa.
3.4 In contemporary Zimbabwe, members of the war veterans associations, members of our national defence forces must be reminded, again and again, that it is the ideas, the politics that determine the purpose of the ‘gun’ and not vice versa. Heroism is worthless if it is not tied to democratic ideals; war is useless if it does not intend to establish a democratic and free society.
4. We will all be Zimbabwean heroes/heroines of our time.
It is the revolutionary Franz Fanon who coined the phrase, ‘Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity." We claim no better disposition to become national heroes, neither do we dismiss the heroism in various spheres of Zimbabweans who may have passed on or remain alive. We are however conscious of the passage of time and the necessity of not repeating history as though time stood still.
4.1 Those that lead us today have continually defined and redefined heroism within specifically narrow precepts and primarily out of contestations for power between each other. We are intent on moving away from this practice and tradition.
4.2 It is therefore imperative that all Zimbabweans begin to look for heroic placement within the context of our time, a time that respects and values the role of our liberation war heroes and leaders but at the same time being a time that is not beholden to a past (recent or older) that is without relevance to democratic principles, values and practice.
4.3 In urging all Zimbabweans to be heroes of their time we will pursue the democratic path envisioned in the liberation struggle, the social and economic justice agenda that is still outstanding in relation to the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe. We will bring the inclusive government, political parties and political actors to account for their actions in relation to the liberation struggles values, the post independence aspirations and the democratic ideals of our society in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War.
4.4 This, the 31st year of our national independence and with it the annual Heroes Day commemorations on August 8th 2011, is a year for all Zimbabweans to begin to challenge those that lead the country and those that insist on imprisoning our national consciousness in their versions of heroism and history. It is time for those that care for our country and its future to depart from the personalized politics that have come to represent the inclusive government and our major political players and start espousing the necessary ideas to make our society a better and democratic one, as has been articulated in the Zimbabwe Peoples Charter, a Charter agreed to by over 3500 representative delegates to the 9 February 2008 Peoples Convention, committing  all present to the continued pursuit of a democratic, people-centered and social democratic state.
Ends.
Signed: The Committee of the Peoples Charter (CPC).