The formation and entry of ZimFirst Party onto Zimbabwe’s political play field is set to permanently alter the direction of things for a country grappling with its worst crisis ever.\r\n\r\nBy Dr Maxwell Shumba (Party President)\r\n\r\nThe country’s economic meltdown, which is evidently the inevitable result of skewed policies and misplaced priorities by a credulous government, is not going to end with slogans for change at rallies, or endless petty squabbles for party positions in a fragmented and beleaguered opposition. It is only going to end with a paradigm shift in the way we do things as a nation, and ZimFirst Party is the agent of that shift.\r\n\r\nZimFirst Party is under no illusions about how much courage and work is needed to realize the vision where the economy works for the people, where employment opportunities with higher incomes are available for everyone with the right qualification, and where basic amenities such as shelter, water and electricity are not viewed as luxuries which can be withheld anytime by those whose mandate is to provide them.\r\n\r\nThe party’s manifesto clearly spells out that the vision for a new Zimbabwe “requires … political courage – and popular democratic support backing that courage.” The vision requires solidarity and determination from everyone.\r\n\r\nIn view of several failed attempts by other Zimbabwean opposition parties to change the course of things, does ZimFirst Party really think it will become the next government and bring about the desired change? Of course! But to fully understand the basis of this answer, the reader first needs to understand what ZimFirst Party is all about, and then to be completely honest with oneself about the real reasons behind the failure of others before it to get the job done. The reader also needs to agree that a prosperous Zimbabwe will not come from merely replacing the current Zanu(PF) government with any one party from the opposition but, rather, from replacing it with something better.\r\n\r\nTo start with, the ideology behind ZimFirst Party is rooted in the firm belief that leaders must never be idolized or worshipped. Doing this is very dangerous. It creates the vicious circle where the people end up living at the mercy of their leaders. It also blinds the people from seeing any wrongdoing by those who lead them. After all gods are always right, aren’t they? Paragraph 2 of the ZimFirst manifesto distinctly says that leaders should be eternally fearful of the will of the people and forever restrained by the limits of the constitution. This avoids the sad scenario in Zimbabwe where people are trapped in a culture of idolizing clueless leaders and fighting their personal battles at the expense of their own development and wellbeing. ZimFirst Party, therefore, believes that through a thorough, vigorous and methodical exercise of educating the people to think outside the existing matrix, Zimbabweans will soon understand how much power they wield to chart their desired destiny. The name ZimFirst was coined to drive this concept home.\r\n\r\nSecondly, the party’s conviction that it will prevail against all odds to deliver a new political dispensation also comes from the clarity with which its leaders understand the causes of the failure by the Zimbabwe Governments, including the ill fated Global Political Agreement, to address the real issue behind the problems facing the nation. One of those causes is the propensity, by the respective parties making up the government, to recycle tired and uninformed leaders over and over again, coupled with supporters whose only contribution is the shameful praise and worship of the same recycled failed leaders.\r\n\r\nTo do away with the culture of recycling old and tired brains, ZimFirst Party is currently carrying out a meticulous exercise to identify and recruit tried and tested Zimbabwean professionals, currently scattered all over the world, who will be mandated with leading the country’s economic turnaround programs once the party assumes power. Feedback, so far, from this exercise has been more than phenomenal. A lot of professionals are coming on board in readiness to serve the people by availing their talents and experiences for the good of their country.\r\n\r\nEqually reassuring is the commitment of support being pledged and received from the business community and friends of Zimbabwe throughout the world. ZimFirst Party is fully aware that Foreign Direct Investment to Zimbabwe is of paramount importance in creating opportunities for both investors and the people of Zimbabwe and will, thus also enact enabling legislation to protect everyone’s interests. Property rights will be protected jealousy.\r\n\r\nOnce this foundation of a knowledgeable and united citizenry, an accountable leadership and enabling legislation is set, the party will then begin the implementation of its Five Year Plan to rebuild the economy. Resources will be mobilized and channelled towards those areas of the economy which have a direct bearing on the performance of the rest of the economy. Capacity will then be created to grow the economy by an estimated factor 15 in those five years.\r\n\r\nElectricity generation, road and railway infrastructure development will get the highest priority. With abundant coal and water resources, Zimbabwe will be able to export electricity by the second year of a ZimFirst Government. The road network will also be expanded and refurbished to open up all areas for development and to enable the modernization of all rural areas where the provision of electricity and clean water should be a standard. Details of ZimFirst’s Five Year Plan to get Zimbabwe working again can be found on the party’s website: www.zimfirst.org.\r\n\r\nOne of ZimFirst Party’s Key Result Areas when in government will also be the immediate removal or amendment of all legislation which is not in tandem with the constitution of the country. Thereafter, the government will launch a massive exercise involving the civic society and the public to ensure that future generations will never again make the mistake of allowing their leaders to turn into dictators. This is one mistake which has brought about the mess facing the country today.\r\n\r\nYoung people will be taught early in life, as part of the standard school syllabus, how to protect the power which derives from their unity of purpose as a nation, which power they can always wield over their leaders through the ballot whenever those leaders turn rogue. This will produce a new generation of responsible citizens who will never suffer the same oppression suffered by their parents.