The challenge of democracy

It was only last week while attending a debate by politicians in Harare that I realized that Zimbabwe may be a long way from having a participative democracy. What struck me was the speakers’ haughtiness and God complex in articulating what they think should happen in Zimbabwe.

What worries me is that in protest to Zanu (PF) we may blindly recreate the same system while expecting different results.In my opinion, any political party that has the majority vote will behave in a similar fashion, regardless of climate or geographical location. Absolute power leads to arrogance, non-accountability and the belief by those who wield power of their invincibility.

As Zimbabweans we need to be circumspect and learn from history. We have never really been activists. Our history is significantly different from that of South Africa where the country’s liberation was delivered through the uprisings of local communities.

Zimbabweans are much too patient and tolerant, making them easy prey for any government or political party that has a majority vote.

Our government has really never been tolerant of dissent and this has somewhat “conditioned” Zimbabweans. The reaction of most skilled Zimbabweans was typically to leave the country when things got rough. The reaction of those intellectuals who stayed was to accept the deplorable socio political conditions while complaining in private.

It is now necessary for us to realize that the creation of a new democracy requires all of us to take responsibility for our vote and actively participate in the political process to create a better future.

Besides the drive to create a new social system that is under-pinned by the respect of human rights, freedom of speech and diverse media, it is indispensable for Zimbabwean civil society to have a strong platform to challenge, expose and expect more from our future politicians.

The sooner Zimbabweans in the Diaspora take an active role in development at home and stop being arm chair critics, the quicker we are bound to see a better Zimbabwe emerging. – [email protected]

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