A newly formed political party, The Patriotic Front, says Zimbabweans must break from the past, forget wrongdoings and instead focus on the country’s future.
The party formed by expatriates mostly based in South Africa two months ago describes its political vision as futuristic and dwelling on past ills such as colonialism or Gukurahundi would not fix the country.
Addressing Bulawayo journalists recently, leader of the party, Darryl Grey Collett, said the country can move into the future by uniting people and forgetting the past.
“Let’s move to the future and fix things. Forget about colonialism, forget about all those things. There’s Gukurahundi, if that is to live in our minds forever, we are not going to move forward. I lost a 16-year-old daughter and brother in law, at that time. We have to move on, we can’t keep on digging up those graves if we want to fix the country,” he said.
“People out there are struggling. There are bank and fuel queues and people are tired. The only way to fix this is to put the past behind, realise where we are now and see if we cannot move together. We must collect every brain that can think, be it White, Coloured, Black, let’s come together and stop the peoples’ suffering.”
Collet, who will turn 74 at the end of this year, said The Patriotic Front, was a multiracial movement born out of a desire and vision for a better future of the country.
“It has been a milestone in the country’s politics, we can’t be proud of the state and history people find itself in. We are indeed navigating through difficult times filled with fear, economic hardships and Covid-19 making things even worse. Uncertainties of the future dominate the minds of all. My message is one of encouragement and hope as we strive together with your support to convince all that hold authority the need for change and a different approach,” he said.
Collett, elected on an interim basis, said expatriates wanted to return to a better home.
“These are people whose prime objective is trying to change things in their mother country so they can return. People have phoned me as far as Russia, France, the United Kingdom and other European countries. The party has a constitution and is yet to be launched in Zimbabwe,” he said.
The Patriotic Front is self-funded by its members, said Collett, who noted he was a farmer who started farming in the Plumtree area at Ingwizi ranch until the government bought the land after independence.
He then bought another ranch in Mwenezi West constituency, farmed there for 27 years but lost it.
The Patriotic Front has, however, been criticised for lacking logic and coherence while others have castigated the party’s name, saying it sounds familiar to the ruling party.
ZAPU, one of the parties pushing the government to account for its atrocities, dismissed The Patriotic Front.
“We cannot be bound by compromised persons, who benefitted from an oppressive system brought about by their ancestors. They must not tell us to forget sins of the past. We need accountability, reparations, truth and accountability. How can we forget when Gukurahundi graves are still open,” said the party’s southern region communications director, Patrick Ndlovu.
He added the country could not move ahead without putting in systems of good governance.
“We are still fresh from colonisation and its oppressive system was inherited by the post-independence government who have done wrongs that have to be accounted for,” Ndlovu said.