Zimbabwe is not a choir where everyone must sing to one tune, Gweru legislator Brian Dube told Parliament on Tuesday. People must, however, all agree that Zimbabwe is the only home that they have.
He said this during the debate on the motion calling for the barring of those advocating for sanctions to be barred from holding public office.
“The main challenge that we have in Zimbabwe is that a majority of Zimbabweans especially politicians love their political parties more than the country Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The people that I have seen in my political journey love their political leaders and their presidents at political party levels more than they love their country so that even if that person is wrong and messing up, they will not be in a position to say yes or no.
“So the problem that we have cannot actually be regulated through the Patriotic Bill because patriotism is not a concept that you can regulate through legal processes. It is an attitude that one has towards their country. How do you cement patriotism, make everyone feel that Zimbabwe is their home?
“Allow everyone to enjoy even when people come for Independence Day celebrations, acknowledge me as an MDC person when I come there. Accept that Zimbabwe has ZANU PF which is present at the Heroes Acre every time when you are burying a hero. Also acknowledge that Brian Dube can come there as a member of the MDC and still is a member of Zimbabwe. Accept when you see Happymore Chidziva coming there and say this person is from CCC and is here and a Zimbabwean. That way, you would not need to then regulate anyone.”
HON. B. DUBE: (Part of speech not recorded due to power outage.) Madam Speaker, I am sure we are having a connectivity challenge and I do not know whether we will wait for it to connect?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have to wait for the connection for the benefit of those who are on virtual. You can now continue Hon. Dube.
HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I am sure I am now connected.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, you are connected.
HON. B. DUBE: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I love the first part of the reading of this motion that it is acknowledging that Zimbabwe is a multiparty democracy that accommodates divergent views of all parties in the country. What this implies is that we must understand that Zimbabwe is not a choir where everyone must sing to one tune. We must understand that the nation is made up of different people who have different views but at the end of the day, what we must all agree is that Zimbabwe is the only home that we have especially for some of us. I do not have any other country that I wish to belong to except Zimbabwe. I assume that every other Zimbabwean has that same belief that Zimbabwe is the only home that they have.
If we agree on that, the point then becomes how we administer our politics. Our politics must be administered with tolerance, which means that we must be able to tolerate different political views and political parties as a starting point. If we agree on that, it means we have a shared view. What is the problem in Zimbabwe currently is that there is no nation that was built since 1980. After1980, we managed to build a country and we managed to define boundaries, but we did not manage to build a nation based on values and principles, which is why our politics has a lot of violence. Our politics has a lot of hate speech as even my Chief Whip was indicating and someone was clapping hands and celebrating that an MP was ignored and denied a chair during a national function of the burial of a hero.
If you are doing that, at what point do you expect that same person to cooperate with you when you do not regard them as human beings like you and a national leader like an MP cannot be acknowledged at national events and cannot be respected by anyone. The main challenge that we have in Zimbabwe is a majority of Zimbabweans especially politicians. They love their political parties more than the country Zimbabwe. The people that I have seen in my political journey love their political leaders and their Presidents at political party levels more than they love their country so that even if that person is wrong and messing up, they will not be in a position to say yes or no. So the problem that we have cannot actually be regulated through the Patriotic Bill because patriotism is not a concept that you can regulate through legal processes. It is an attitude that one has towards their country. How do you cement patriotism, make everyone feel that Zimbabwe is their home? Allow everyone to enjoy even when people come for Independence Day celebrations, acknowledge me as an MDC person when I come there. Accept that Zimbabwe has ZANU PF which is present at the Heroes Acre every time when you are burying a hero. Also acknowledge that Brian Dube can come there as a member of the MDC and still is a member of Zimbabwe. Accept when you see Happymore Chidziva coming there and say this person is from CCC and is here and a Zimbabwean. That way, you would not need to then regulate anyone.
The reason why people end up possibly doing what the Chief Whip was saying, trying to do things through unorthodox means, is because of the intolerance that is there that makes people end up going for other methods of trying to get their voices heard. If you cannot be heard in your own country, you may end up thinking that audience from outside may be relevant. What I believe in is national dialogue. Let us agree that we need to dialogue as political actors. We need to dialogue as national leaders. We need to understand each other. I must know Hon. Chinotimba better than what I read in the newspapers. I must be able to understand a war veteran. I was not there during the war of liberation. If I was alive and grown up, I could have gone to war but I did not. I must only hear from him and respect him. The reason why I end up failing to respect a war veteran is because I only know the other side of a war veteran possibly who was doing a ZANU PF slogan. In that case, when I see a war veteran, I see a ZANU PF member yet I am just supposed to see my liberator.
We must be able to separate especially our war veterans who fought for us all. They did not fight for ZANU PF neither did they fight for ZAPU. They fought for Zimbabwe. When I ask my elders at my home, they tell me that they actually did not do much of these slogans that they are doing now. They were just focused on the nation. I am wondering where we lost it. We only lost it when we got criminals around our leaders who want to exploit political processes for personal gain. These are the ones who are misleading our leaders and causing our leaders to be intolerant. The undeserving leaders that we have in the county both in the ruling party and in the opposition, those people who are there not on merit but because of praise and worship of leaders are the ones who are giving us problems because they are intolerant, rude and they have ideological concoctions. What they intend to do is different from what Zimbabwe was established to do.
My point is that let us dialogue as a country and agree on a national vision and Zimbabwe we want. Include the churches, civic society and all political players including those that you call minority political parties and come together and agree that even when we are going for elections, we are going for elections because there are prescribed number of positions that are there but not that we are going for war. An election is more like a war in Zimbabwe where someone can die because they want to choose who to vote for someone. My idea is that these political leaders that we have today must swallow their pride from across the political divide and understand that they have a responsibility not to incite their followers and supporters not to be insulting other people and agree that different as we are, we remain Zimbabweans. Different as we are, we have a responsibility towards this country. This county is the only home that I have and I do not want anyone to undermine me. I belong to the political party that I chose, MDC that is what I want and that is what I believe in. No one from any other political party, be it ZANU PF or CCC must demonise me for my choice that I have made because it is me. They must follow their party and seek support without undermining the other. This is the problem that we have.
Relating also to the issue of sanctions, I think the main challenge that is there is that it has been used to explain away some failures by Government which is why at a personal level, I believe that those sanctions must be removed so that those who fail, will fail whilst we know there is failure because this person is a thief, they committed corruption. Currently the challenge that we have is that people are explaining away their failures on the basis of the so called sanctions. Everyone comes and says, why are we failing to do this – they cite sanctions. I believe they are not good for anyone and they are being used to blackmail my party falsely because some people have actually tried to lie that MDC called for sanctions. In my view, I believe that they are not necessary and do not serve any purpose except to allow some incompetent people to explain away their incompetence. Let us have them removed and at the end of the day, let us have a political dialogue where every Zimbabwean would agree on what is best for this country. What is best for this country is to elect Members of Parliament, councillors and President on merit and not using these unorthodox means of violence and blackmailing and lying that certain people are not patriotic and certain people are. Patriotism is an element that is inherent in every human being and naturally every Zimbabwean loves their country.
Madam Speaker, thank you for this opportunity. I spoke with a high voice because I am actually angry when I speak about these things because I do not see the promises of Independence and the liberation struggle being fulfilled in our time. It is our responsibility to make sure that we correct certain wrongs. I thank you.