Tendai Biti’s acceptance speech


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ZIMBABWE – I stand before you today with great reservations, great anxiety and great humility. Leadership is a big responsibility, leadership is also a challenge and leadership is also a prison. From the national members of the advisory council to the members of provinces, wards and districts.

The people who have elected you have given you a big load, they have put you in a stadium you where you are going to perform while everyone is watching. Everything you are going to do will be under scrutiny from the ordinary citizen of Zimbabwe.

Whether you are to cough, sneeze, everything you do will be under scrutiny not only by members of the People’s Democratic Party but also by the vast majority of Zimbabweans. That is why I have said leadership is prison, but I want to tell you something. A long time ago a wealthy British Lord, called Lord Anthony wrote and stated that, “power corrupts and absolute power and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I beg to differ with this gentlemen it is not power that corrupts, it is not absolute power that corrupts absolutely. It is the illusion of power that corrupts absolutely. The thought that you have been made the Provincial Chairperson or the President, all of a sudden you start thinking you have so much power. We do not have power but duties, responsibilities and massive obligations to the people of Zimbabwe.

We have been given a rope by the people so that we commit suicide because you have got a duty to perform in five years’ time we are going to gather here and mark each other. So when you stand and you have taken that seat you should know that you have taken a duty to deliver. It is however important to note that we have to form a team, unless we are able to gel and norm we will go nowhere and we will be the laughing stock of Zimbabweans.

Now each team have got different players and positions I am an avid follower of sport, I watch every sport including wrestle mania. Good teams are not composed of brilliant individuals, you can put together a team made up of eleven Lionel Messis  I can guarantee you that team will not win anything.

You can assemble a team with the best stars, Willard Khumalo, Christiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, David De Gea , Bastian Schweinsteiger that team will not win the world cup. The teams that can win a world cup and teams which won it before are teams which are able to play together with everyone concentrating on their position to the best of their ability. I hope that is the team we will be able to build.

We have our National Chairlady Amai Matibenga I hope she will be the glue to this party, she is a mother already, I hope that is the glue that will bring every one of us together. All our short tempers, all our outbursts, she is going to have a heart which is longer than all of us because this is politics and politics is difficult because everyone who calls themselves a politician is a little insane because to be able to confront Robert Mugabe the biggest dictator on earth you need to be a bit crazy.

So Mai Matibenga should accept she is dealing with madness, Solomon Madzore from Buhera, Museyamwa, you are handsome, energetic, handsome but you have a very big challenge. How do you grow this party into a quick passing, quick defending unit that will score victory.

Good teams in modern football concentrate in what is called a transition in a minute they are defending but in the next seconds they are instituting a counter attack and they score a goal. Solomon Madzore you are responsible with the transition and this is not an easy task I can tell you because people will try to factionalise you. People will try to own you but I want to assure you my brother that the minute you succumb to the demon of factionalism then you are finished. The minute you succumb to the demon of divisions then you yourself are doomed.

Same applies to all Provincial Chairpersons who are hear today, Cdes Samora Chitaka of Manicaland , Harrison Mudzuri of Masvingo, Cde Matutu of Midlands North,Thamsaqa Ncube of Bulawayo, Cde Chamunorwa of Harare, Cde Matuku of Mashonaland East, Cde Bongilowane of South Africa, Munetsi of Chitungwiza, and every Provincial Chairperson who is hear today this applies to you.

You have to be the symbols of unity and harmony in this movement, we must play as a team. Baba Nkomo, yes we have made you the Vice President of this party but your leadership of this party, you are going to be the De Facto President of this party by
virtue of your age and your maturity.

So we will look up to you so that you unite us, we will look up to you so that you provide us with wisdom and love. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians speaks about three things firstly Faith, we as the PDP have got the faith that we will dislodge Mugabe’s regime and his system called ZANUPF.

We have loved hope so much that we have made HOPE our key blue print but one blue print that must anchor all of us is love. So we will have Faith, HOPE but also love. The Prophet Paul says of these three things the most important this is Love. The defining character of this movement is going to be love, the defining character of this movement is going to be tolerance, inclusivity.

We have been abused by ZANUPF, we have been abused by the archaic regime, driven by the evils of power, power, power and self-aggrandisement, corruption for the sake of corruption, accumulation for the sake of accumulation that has been the hallmark and DNA of ZANUPF.

It is time to find a new DNA, the DNA of love, it is the love of our country why we are here, that of faith we believe that the working people of Zimbabwe can deliver ultimate sustainable democratic change. And of hope not only Holistic Program for Economic Transformation but the hope and understanding that we will build together a sustainable Zimbabwe. The fabric which will build us together is love. When Communists and Social Democrats speak of solidarity, there is a simple word for it, its called love.

So we must take the vicious cycles of exclusion we have suffered under ZANUPF for the past 35 years, and take them into virtuous circles of inclusion. I am glad that our symbol is lacerated in circles because everyone must be included in that circle. I am glad that our symbol too has got two hands holding our HOPE. Those comrades who have raised complaints you must know that we are operating in a circle and a circle excludes no-one. We are turning vicious cycles of exclusion into virtuous circles of inclusion. If you have not heard your name on the elected lists do not worry because the circle will not leave you because that will be our binding philosophy. To build a sustainable, inclusive organisation that will be a fore runner to a sustainable inclusive Zimbabwe where people are free to pursue democracy, justice, equality and solidarity. More importantly where people are free to pursue happiness.

We are all here not because we want good governance or a constitution but simply because we need happiness and to live life. So ultimately the goal of this movement is to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe are free to pursue happiness.

Happiness is elusive and it must remain elusive so that you keep chasing it, when you pass your Ordinary Level for example just continue until you get a University Degree and when you get one aim for a doctorate until you get to be a Professor. When you get a single Ox KwaChaza or Mazarura in Murehwa, aim for two and three, that is the pursuit of happiness we all crave to have and that is the beauty about happiness.

In a free democratic Zimbabwe there will be equal opportunities so that each and every Zimbabwe will be free to pursue his or her dream.

I have got a vision, I have had this vision for a long time, ever since I used to go to a little school called Gombo Primary School in Dzivarasekwa, ever since I used to eat sadza and beans at a vicious boarding school called Goromonzi High, ever since I lived in a little cubicle in complex one at the University of Zimbabwe. I have always had this vision and the vision is a simple one it is that the Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe and Ian Smith is not the Zimbabwe I want to be.

The Zimbabwe where people are afraid to express themselves and are oppressed, denied a harmonious life, where people flee just from the sight of a police officer, where young people and their Degrees are unemployed. Another Zimbabwe is possible!

A Zimbabwe where those in the rural areas are up at 0300Hrs sleeping late toiling but the fields are not producing anything. The more time you spend trying to farm the more you are poorer. Another Zimbabwe is possible!

For instance this year so many people grew tobacco but they got 20 cents per kilogram; so it was far much better to dispose it off than to travel all the way to the market. That is the Zimbabwe we have always known, a cruel Zimbabwe, A Zimbabwe that is loveless, predatory, intolerant, full of hatred and idioms of
de-legitimisation. People called sellouts, gamatox, regime change agents, you did not fight the liberation struggle or that you do not come from Zvimba. We have become specialists in the language of de-legitimisation. Another Zimbabwe is possible!

The last time I checked the Constitution, I did not see anywhere written “Zimbabwe Private Limited”. I did not see where it made Robert Mugabe the Majority shareholder of Zimbabwe. I did not see anywhere where it made ZANUPF the board members of this private limited organisation. Neither did I
see where it was written Grace Mugabe owns 40% shares of the private company called Zimbabwe. Maybe I need new glasses but I haven’t seen that section. 

So my vision comrades and friends, compatriots, citizens is that another Zimbabwe is possible.

Another Zimbabwe which can grow in real terms at 10 % per annum, another Zimbabwe which can create 600 000 jobs a year as we state in HOPE. A Zimbabwe in which investors are free to come with their capital without fear that 51% will be appropriated by that elite organisation called ZANUPF.

Another Zimbabwe in which the farmer can enjoy security of tenure knowing that I have got a piece of land and title to the piece of land that I am farming. That I will farm and be able to get the correct prices for my maize and tobacco in the market. Another Zimbabwe in which we generate at least 6 000 megawatts of electricity not Mugabe’s Zimbabwe which is a blackout capital of Africa. Another Zimbabwe in which all our roads are paved not the one which is a pothole capital of Southern Africa. I believe that another Zimbabwe is possible!

The Herbert Chitepos of this world, the Lookout Masukus ,the Dumiso Dabengwas of this world, the Edison Sithole of this world. The Two Boy Tekeres of this world. They did not fight for this Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe but they did fight for this other Zimbabwe, the one that we believe is possible.

And those too we had in our movement Jani, Patrick Nyamabanya, Tonderai Ndira, Isaac Matongo, Learnmore Jongwe, Talent Mabika his mother we have her in this room; and many others, they also died for that Zimbabwe which we speak of in HOPE and ARREST. Another Zimbabwe is possible.

So my vision is that Another Zimbabwe is possible. When I wake up every morning at 0400hrs I can smell that Zimbabwe where there is rule of law, constitutionalism with Judges who try their cases regardless of the class, position, wealth, political party of the people who would have brought the cases before them.

That is the Zimbabwe we will die for, if it means dying many times, we will resurrect and die again. That Zimbabwe is possible.

I woke up this morning, picked the Herald and I leant that Mugabe is appointing 14 more Ministers, when I looked at the names of the people they are crooks, thieves and goblins. The question is, does Mugabe have any sort of love for the country? He keeps on recycling and rearranging these failures.

Fellow Zimbabweans we deserve better, not by discretion of ZANUPF but by virtue of our birth right and equal shareholders of this beautiful country. Another Zimbabwe is possible. We will finish the unfinished business of the liberation movement, what Joshua Nkomo started ,what Herbert Chitepo started and we are going to finish this with others. We have resolved here that we are going to talk to others Simba Makoni, Welshman Ncube, Dumiso Dabengwa and People First, but we will put our values first, our negotiations shall be on that basis.

We will also believe that we must be fully integrated therefore we are going to put together a team to talk to political players in SADC and Africa.

In ARREST one of the things we make is that under a PDP government Zimbabwe will go back and re- enter the common spheres of the global family, so we will engage Brussels, the Hague, Berlin, Washington, London, Beijing from Pretoria(Tswane ) to Gaborone, we will engage because we are a modern vibrant
internationalist party.

In a few weeks’ time we have an appointment with the Chairperson of SADC because we believe in pan Africanism so we are going to talk to Africans like Frelimo in Mozambique, ruling parties and opposition in Ethopia and even in Libya we want our International Relations team to go and engage.

Everyone must go back and work because building a home starts the day that you come back from the wedding. The Convention is the PDP wedding and we have to build on the celebration by doing some work. Let us turn our weaknesses into our strengths and our strengths into the turning point of our struggle.

Let us avoid conspiracies and rumour mongering, let us be open and be assertive to confront any issues amongst us. Let us learn from our past. Above all let us bear in mind that the Zimbabwe we live in has changed the people are suffering, your neighbour is suffering, you are suffering as well.

This basically means everyone has got psychological pressure and the party must not add the burden but should be the refugee of harmony where members retreat. Let us give people hope, were  are going to retreat and come up with a strategy and reassign each other  in-charge of provinces, the leadership must visit each province in the very near future. Our message is ‘Another Zimbabwe is possible’.

We leave this room not because we are clever but God new that on the 9th of September there shall gather a people and bring up a document of HOPE and the gospel of inclusive and proper sustainable transformation based on love.

I want to thank everyone, the Provincial Chairpersons, the staff, the caterers Sekai Holland for the time she led the movement, Elton Mangoma for the months he also served and Morgan Tsvangirai for the work he did in the years we worked with him. We are all working for this other Zimbabwe that is possible.

We also have to thank the outgoing executives who worked on interim basis for the past 14 months. And also the friends who I will not mention, who are
also not here physically but who are here more than we are physically.

I also want us to clap hands for our parents who might be unfortunately not around but for me she is here so I say thank you. Let us all thank our parents.

Finally let us thank the Almighty God and our lord Jesus Christ. Another Zimbabwe is possible!

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