If challenging a leader is as good as treason, it means leadership can no longer be earned through competence and integrity – but through brawn. Traditional party politics has indeed become a primitive method of conducting the business of politics and we must think anew.
Zimbabweans have a choice: either 2018 becomes the year we missed the opportunity to profoundly change who we can become as a nation, or we can further regress to the traditional politics of violence and moribund slogans.
I desperately want to believe that our parties have seen that violence begets a nation guided by fear. This has a negative impact on us all and we must reject it.
I want to encourage the formation of an inclusive civil society movement that is led by a diverse team of Zimbabweans, both local and those in the Diaspora. This team must rise above personalities and the thirst for control and personal enrichment. It must seek to create an open society where all Zimbabweans have something to offer – not limited by political branding.
Nation of losers
I call on all good men and women out there to demonstrate to Africa that Zimbabwe can no longer be a nation of losers dominated by one man or woman. It is time to show that we are able to create a modern state where all are welcome to apply their talents and skills; where private enterprise, entrepreneurship, talent and hard work are the only determinants of success; and where all Zimbabweans regardless of race are free to pursue their ambition without limitation.
Africa is littered with failure because political structures were fashioned by the communists and these structures are no longer viable. Communism is about central control while creating an illusion that the masses shall own the means of production. This has created two classes, the ruling elite who live like capitalists and the masses of the proletariat who remain in poverty. This power relation is not about economic or social development but about the continued exploitation of Africans by Africans.
We have to take the middle ground and create space for genuine activists who are not power hungry. The extent of corruption that characterises most African economies indicates that current governance structures are not only wasteful but unable to institutionalise democracy and accountability.
Changing political structures will take some courage but unless we do that, we will continue to create the very results that we see today. I do think a consensus is beginning to build among us Africans that unless we do things differently nothing much will change. What we lack is massive collaboration across the continent because we are all facing similar problems.
How do we harness resources for activism and be change agents when Africa is poor and our governments will not fund opposing views? How do we get around the accusation that where the West provides funding, they inevitably have a hidden agenda? These are tough questions because even if we wish to change African politics we are all constrained by inadequate financial resources.
I think a body such as the United Nations should promote democracy through the funding of democratic forces worldwide in order to create a freer world. Their mandate should be to support bodies that promote democracy so that we can create good competition particularly in African countries where opposition is stifled by those in power.
Democracy is so critical to our development that it cannot be left to existing governments who continue to fail to deliver. Resources must be invested in its growth, especially in Africa.
In Zimbabwe, the government stifles dissent and access to resources by opposition parties or activists. This has entrenched Zanu (PF) as they continue to raid state resources for political activities, thus entrenching the dictatorship. The only way this can be broken is through international funding of local activists. – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at [email protected]Post published in: Analysis