The President of Transform Zimbabwe, Jacob Ngarivhume, has been at the forefront in the struggle for justice and the peaceful transition to democracy in Zimbabwe. As a committed Christian, he translates the teachings of his faith into political principles, values, and action. His mission is to bring national salvation to Zimbabwe by transforming Zimbabwe.
Jacob’s courage in the face adversity tells the story of an audacious activist becoming a leader, and of an inspirational leader becoming a statesman. His strategic thinking and sensibilities enable him to identify with the common people, to listen and learn, to build alliances, and to create a credible and enduring political movement to win power and transform Zimbabwe.
Jacob was a founding member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), setting up its first branch in 1999 at the University of Zimbabwe where he graduated with honours in mathematics and statistics. Infused with a passion to bring democratic change, he led and mobilised hundreds of MDC activists to bring relief and inspiration to those besieged by violence, and comfort victims in their hour of need.
Believing that it was unconscionable and a strategic blunder to join the Inclusive Government in which Mugabe retained his autocratic powers, Jacob continued his struggle for justice and democracy by forming the Voice for Democracy (VOD) in 2009. VOD play a pivotal role in preventing violence in the run up to elections by supporting vulnerable communities to protect themselves against marauding ruling party militia.
Jacob’s efforts to build peace and justice were recognised when he was invited to meet US Congressmen, the International Crisis Group, and the Kennedy School of Governance at Harvard University. He went on to deliver lectures at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defence University, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
Jacob’s second epiphany came with the realisation that a democratic change of government was a necessary but not a sufficient condition. National redemption also requires healing the torn moral fabric of our society by initiating a process of transformation to create a new culture of politics. In 2011, he formed Prayer Network Zimbabwe to spread his message of hope and transformation throughout the country.
Jacob teaches us that national salvation lies in the inner transformation of every one of us. Only by living a righteousness life can we transform our families and communities. And only by us electing leaders with integrity can we truly transform our nation. We not only have to live by the faith and values we cherish, but also by the principles enshrined in human rights, democracy, and a just society.
After the failure of leadership following the fateful 2013 elections, Jacob understood that he had to put his teachings into practice. Given his belief that citizens of all faiths have a duty to bring their values into the political arena to transform society, Transform Zimbabwe was formed in December 2013 under his leadership. His message was translated into the Five Pillars of Transformation on which the party stands today.
In 2016, Jacob was appointed as a principal and the chair of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), a grouping of opposition parties, including the MDC, which is demanding electoral reforms enshrined in our Constitution. His role is to ensure that Zimbabwe is compliant with the SADC Principles and Guidelines for Free and Fair Elections before the elections in 2018.
Under Jacob’s inspiring leadership, Transform Zimbabwe is not only recognised as the best organised and most innovative party in Zimbabwe, but his message of transformation for national salvation is capturing the popular imagination of Zimbabweans at home and abroad.