Political party to revive monarchism to contest in Zimbabwean elections, party leader says party a hybrid of Zanu-PF, ANC, MDC-A, EFF, DA

Zimbabwe in July this year is set to have harmonised elections. While President Emmerson Mnangagwa is yet to proclaim the election date, he has since hinted that the elections might be held in July. The NewsDigest in its election series The Election Watch the NewsDigest is interviewing candidates for the Presidential, Parliamentary and Council seats.

In this interview NewsDigest speaks to The African Democrats (TAD) president Marco Machona.

Machona chronicles his life, political journey and aspirations to run for State Presidency.

ND: Mr Machona thank you very much-we welcome you to our election series The Election Watch. Can you tell us who Marco Machona is?

MM: Marco F Machona was born to a revolutionary and militant family, a very politically connected family with roots in the liberation struggle, raised by a mother who died as the first Zimbabwean black woman to own and run a private Rural Adult Literacy School called MAZIVISA that Mugabe came to officiate, to a father, a prison Warden at most of Zimbabwe’s Prisons so I was raised by iron hands, highly disciplined parents and high achievers.  Because my father was working for prisons, he was always moving, from one prison to another, meaning, I was also nomadic. I attended 7 primary schools in 7 years including my Grade six at Khami Prison Primary School.A lot might find it odd, but Marco Machona is a very spiritual man, God fearing and a child of God, a survivor of lightning, an experience and testimony that till this day directs my life, every decision, every endeavour and every engagement, I constantly remind myself that life is a precious gift and I was raised from the dead, so I must do all my best to be a blessing to my country and others whenever I can. Born and raised a Catholic, my secondary school, I attended Loreto Secondary, I think, during those history classes, that’s when it hit me that politics is a calling, I was so absorbed and soaked in history and politics but, more amazing, was to juxtaposition with my private life at home, where politics was always discussed, debated and plotted.  I remember, one time, my father had a task to relay information to imprisoned liberation heroes, who were incarcerated at some of these maximum security prisons, Hwahwa, Khami, Chikurubi, Sikombela and two prisons in Kadoma, he would find ways to smuggle information in and out of prisons to Zanu-PF or Zanla Forces, often, he would use me as a disguise to talk to these war prisoners, then, I had no clue that I was already playing a role in the liberation struggle against the white minority Rhodesian Government.

From Loreto Secondary, for my A’Level, I attended Chaplain High in Gweru. 

My life has been like a movie, a true political story in the, least did I know that at Chaplin High, now after Zimbabwe independence that I would meet people, children of names of liberation heroes and even met some of them dropping their children at Chaplin High.

At Chaplin High, Ian Smith was also a pupil, a brilliant student during his secondary days because right on the walls, Ian Smith achievements were displayed, he had smashed academic records, athletic records and was Head Boy, in a way, to me was fascinating and puzzling at the same time. At that moment, I made up my mind to outdo Ian Smith’s records, both academic, athletic and politically, maybe in a way to do justice to my country. 

The irony is that, as life has it, about a year or two before Ian Smith died, I got a call as ex – Chaplin High best students to meet Ian Smith, what a shock when I told my mother that I met their number one “enemy”, till this day, I can’t forget the look of my mother’s face, for the preceding years, she kept on saying, so my son, we spend half of our lives chasing and fighting Ian Smith, and you just met him like that. 

The meeting with Ian Smith was truly strange, I didn’t know how to act as he served us tea and biscuits, my mind thought of strangling him, or beat him up but then, it was already years into Zimbabwe Independence. I kept all these raging thoughts to myself and enjoyed tea and biscuits.

At the University of Zimbabwe, again, I was one of those students under leadership of Arthur Mutambara, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Giwa and other SRC leaders who contested against Mugabe’s proposed One Party State. I was arrested in a swimming pool because the Zimbabwe police threw this teargas that could condense once you mix with water, so I jumped into the pool, before I knew it, police surrounded me and pooled me out of the water right into the police van and few days later at Rotten Row Courts. 

I stopped politics for a while after that arrest

Went overseas to Germany where I played in the Bundesliga, American Football, which later led me to the USA where I played in the minor league. After a short stint in American football, I turned to academics, where I did my MBA at Southern Louisiana University.

When I returned to Zimbabwe, I worked at ZTV as a news anchor, and then negotiated for my own TV Show, Amazing Stories which I produced.

I moved to South Africa to do a PhD at Wits University and taking a speciality in food security, now I own food brands ranging from maize meal, cooking oil, wines to other grains. 

ND: Now from student activism can you take us through your journey as a politician?

MM: It was at Wits University that The African Democrats – TAD, the idea was consummated, after professors challenged Zimbabweans, Zimbabweans especially students at Wits University to find solutions for our country. Mine was a long shot, engaged with Wits law students to help me put together the founding manifesto, to know how to draft a constitution and to position TAD as a political movement. In 2018, TAD contested in the Zimbabwe general and Presidential elections for the first time. It was my first time ever to hold rallies, first time ever to publicly talk politics, to publicly seek the mandate of the people to hold a seat as a Member of Parliament for Gokwe Sasame Constituency, my rural constituency. TAD did well but lost to Zanu-PF.

ND: Can you take us through your party TAD what is it about?

MM: The African Democrats (TAD) was first founded and formulated at Wits University, in Diaspora and then launched in Zimbabwe, our first offices were in Milton Park, which later shut down, a lawyer ran away with our funds. And for the first time, State Security took an interest in me and the organization.  From the beginning, we knew it was going to be a challenge to form another opposition party when then MDC-A was a full force, Tsvangirai was at his peak and international communities had all the hopes and eyes on MDC-A to unseat Zanu-PF. In numerous occasions, I was head hunted to join MDC-A, I even attended few meetings, met a majority of their leaders then, and even had an appointment to meet Tsvangirai himself.  I remember when I told my mother that I wanted to join MDC-A, my mother told me to give her Tsvangirai’s number, she said she wanted to talk to him directly, a bit shocked and disturbed, I searched for Tsvangirai number but never gave it to my mother because I knew she was going to call him and the conversation wouldn’t end very well. My mother told me point blank, it’s either I join Zanu-PF or no politics. I decided to form The African Democrats (TAD).

Turned out to be a blessing

TAD is a product of a careful study of Zanu-PF, ANC, MDCA, EFF and DA and many other political parties that came before us. TAD is the hybrid, the progressive and productive political party that seek to address so many issues, challenges and omitted political matters to bring the country at par with the rest of the world. When Zanu-PF was formed, there is no way, they would have anticipated all the future challenges, address them before hand or in advance, impossible, so there is always room for either a new political party or evolving and self-correcting of the existing political parties. We found a niche, TAD is about Rural Property Rights, Rural Title Deeds, full restoration of kingdoms, revival of monarchs, empowering traditional leaders, elevating traditional leaders to assume developmental role and find a way to balance between the monarchs and the democratically elected government.

I was very fortunate to have been groomed by some of the best and daring liberation leaders, from meeting Zimbabwe Army Chiefs, from academia and general public. 

TAD continue to study the relationship between the British Monarch and the British Government, because we think Great Zimbabwe should have followed that set up of governance, we abandoned our original system of governance.

ND: Are you going to participate in the coming elections?

MM: The African Democrats (TAD), first participated back in 2018, and God willing, will contest in the 2023, and we are looking forward to the challenge.

ND: How different is TAD from other political parties in the country and why should Zimbabweans invest their faith in you come elections in July?

The common denominator of all political parties is democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights. Zimbabweans need to be futuristic, visionaries and envisage a Zimbabwe in 20 years, 50, 100 years from now. Look at our frontrunners, ED and Chamisa, already contesting for the second time, clearly in the next five to 15 years, both might not be running again, Zimbabweans need to invest and nurture future leaders today, tomorrow’s leaders today.

  1. Zimbabwe needs nuclear energy to power future Industries – TAD is that political party.
  2.  Zimbabwe needs to address a sustainable system of governance, to debate foreign policies, to be a major superpower, to grow as a country under different styles of leadership – we are those Leaders.
  3. Diasporans need to come home, we need to build more cities, build rural economies and industrialize out urban municipalities – TAD is that political party

ND: What is TAD’s view when it comes to the convergence of opposition political parties?

MM: Does TAD believe that Zimbabwe coalitions or political marriages are sincere and honesty, No!! They are not even convenient, coalitions must be openly discussed, debated and all ideologies on the table. Zimbabwe political parties have hidden agendas, secret motives and under the carpet party manifestos not shared during these convergences, dishonesty and lying both to the public and to their supporters, therefore, TAD only engage in coalitions after a series of meetings to test the authenticity of other political parties. TAD believe in coalitions before and in-between elections, maybe two to three years before elections to test our political relationship, we can’t, on the verge of elections just rush to endorse another leader or another political party – it’s a relationship, like marriage, you can’t just marry overnight – study partner. We have seen how bigger political parties swallow smaller political parties, rob them of their party manifestos and soil or dilute their vision and eventually, nothing will be left of that party.

 To unseat Zanu-PF, an opposition must be Pan African, Patriotic and convincing on dealings with western governments.

ND: As we are winding up the discussion what are your parting words?

MM:  TAD is a political movement that respects history, liberation credentials yet modern and forward thinking – we should be able to convince elders that the country is in safe hands, demonstrate Pan Africanism in how we engage and comment with the West. TAD is always mindful of how to put to rest the transition from Zanu-PF to another opposition, through grooming, engagement and constant dialogue, TAD has potential to be a trusted party to take over from Zanu-PF, might not be entirely in this 2023 elections but an opportunity to prove that we are maturing as leaders.

ND: Thanks very much for taking your time to speak to NewsDigest

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