The Freedom of Rights Under Sovereign (FORUS) Party President Manyara Irene Muyenziwa says she is the genuine answer to Zimbabwe’s leadership crisis.
Muyenziwa was speaking to Lynette Manzini, the host of a popular online television station, Open Parly, that was broadcasted on Facebook and YouTube last Thursday.
On the 2nd of September, the FORUS party was launched in Harare where its president, Manyara Irene Muyenziwa shared that she has vast experience and revealed her intention to run for the top job in the country.
“Though I have been physically away from Zimbabwe, I have always kept in touch with the country through family, business, and social networks. I am alive to what is happening in the country through family, friends hence my better understanding of the political, social, and economic situation on the ground. Everywhere one goes, people are struggling to have food on the table before thinking about opening any business. The situation on the ground influenced me to come back to the country and work to propel the country in the right direction.
“I have been running a thriving business for the past 15 years. It is doing well. I am targeting the youths and work with them on how to run a business in this difficult economic era. I am not new to politics. There is politics across all spheres of life be it in the community, Parliament, disability sector, and so forth. In all this, there should be policy formulation at all levels of government. I am well-versed in policy formulation. FORUS Party is based on liberal philosophy. Liberal in the sense that is centralist and not far right or left. We don’t want a situation whereby those on the right are doing well and those on the left are very poor and struggling,” Muyenziwa said.
The politician-cum-businesswoman and charismatic leader said she is working on addressing inequalities in society.
“We need a middle-class. We should have a situation whereby the business can create employment instead of catering for a small, rich elite while the majority suffers. We need businesses with an influence cascading to small towns like Karoi, Gweru, Mutare. There is a huge migration to the capital city and resulting in high levels of unemployment in Harare and other cities. Devolution should be the answer. I have seen educated people selling tomatoes on the streets. Qualified teachers, health workers are unemployed.
The government needs capital. It should create employment, and be able to pay living pensions. Hospitals are not being managed well. Many people can’t afford a hospital bill. They earn less than US$2. As FORUS Party, we will create a middle-class which can feed families, pay hospital bills. These middle-class will be able to pay taxes. The government then creates money for infrastructure, sanitation, medication, education, and health. We don’t want a situation whereby only the elite gets tenders. We need sober leadership for a homeostatic balance in the economy. COVID-19 is not helping the situation. We need to make the economy beneficial for all. We need unity and the creation of the middle-class for a balance in the economy,” the gifted politician said.
Though still in its infancy, FORUS Party is creating national structures. In 2018, there were 23 candidates in the race for the top job and right now there are more than 25 candidates with similar ambitions. Muyenziwa said there is room for a coalition with parties that share the same values, vision, and ethos with FORUS. She said dialogue is possible with parties that have values on social justice, transparency, and equality through creating equal opportunities and a fair distribution of wealth.
FORUS Party advocates for reforms. Muyenziwa said there is a need for electoral reforms.
“Even if all the reforms are not implemented by the 2023 elections, we will still forge ahead to demand the same. Biometric voting (fingerprint, etc) should be rolled out in earnest not just on paper. We do not want disputed elections. As a way forward, there is a need for a new engagement platform outside the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) platform. We need transparent tools for elections. We need to sit at the table with all crtical stakeholders for tangible solutions.
“To solve poverty and inequality, FORUS is rolling out projects countrywide. Different provinces have different needs. Other communities need water, sanitation. Water challenges remain a challenge. There are long queues of people who fetch water in many communities. We will start with addressing those issues affecting grassroots people by helping with boreholes, and poultry projects through the MIM Foundation. For some, we will provide small business ventures: opening flea markets, tuck-shops, etc. Zimbabwe is saddled with huge debts and is failing to attract the much-needed foreign direct investment.
“Zimbabwe needs FDI. We need to attract investment through improving international relations. We need Europe, Asia, and all the continents for re-engagement. Multilateralism through trade relations with different countries is the way to go. We have the best organic food. We have rich soils for agriculture. The mining sector has great potential for growth and should be reformed. We can’t continue exporting raw minerals. We need to value add to maximise profits by putting in processing units in this country.”
Muyenziwa singled out ZISCO Steel that is struggling. The buildings are dilapidated.
“We need to revive mining along the Great Dyke. We need to rejuvenate our industries by maximising production and creating a conducive environment where investment is protected. We should address the risks that are driving away investors so as to propel the economy. I have the experience of running businesses across different continents and have the capacity to run this country.”
Turning to the role of the military in politics, Muyenziwa said Zimbabwe’s new focus should be on balancing the political and economic paradigms.
“Every country liberated itself. We honour our heroes and heroines. The liberators fought for the freedom of movement and association. We are fighting for economic reforms. there is new freedom fighting for putting food on the table. A teacher is a freedom fighter on the education front while a police officer is a freedom fighter for law and order. We have freedom fighters on ending child marriage and unemployment. We need freedom fighters for the right amount of pensions for the elderly and the retired. Many people are fighting for freedoms in different capacities. We could not have fought for freedom when we were not born around the 1970s. No one should be held to ransom for not having food for Zimbabwe’s independence. Rather, we need to expand economic freedom. The land should be put to good use,” Muyenziwa added.