Have you ever wondered why someone would press the elevator (lift) button repeatedly, in an impatient, but seriously misguided, belief that this would somehow speed it up?
Or, does it never cease to amaze watching a person, who is late for an important appointment, tapping his, usually mechanical, wrist watch, in the ludicrous hope that, by some inexplicable miracle, the time displayed would change and show that he is not late after all?
Yes, such is the vexing nature of human beings!
However, what I have found most troubling is the severely distorted view by some in our country that, the person we elect or deploy into a position of leadership in both local and central government, and even our respective political parties, becomes our “chef” (a local derivative from the French “chef”, meaning “chief”, usually used in reference to an individual regarded as powerful, senior, and superior).
This I have never understood, and possibly, will never understand.
In my book, such an interpretation of the workings of political life and dynamics, is arguably one of the major reasons we are in this political, economic, and social mess as a country – since, a key factor for any national development and prosperity, is holding all those we place in positions of leadership accountable.
Yet, how can we hold them accountable to us – the electorate and citizenry – when we regard them as our powerful seniors and superiors, whom we obviously should fear?
As a matter of fact, such an erroneous and misplaced (mis)understanding of governance issues, most specifically within a democratic setup, has resulted in many believing that the electorate and citizenry is actually the one answerable to their elected representatives – be they, local government ward councillors, or mayors, or members of parliament (MPs), or our political party leaders, or even the state president,
Under such a lopsided dispensation, these elected officials, actually end up acting as representatives of their political parties, its top leadership, or even the country’s president – a situation that can be characterized as a case study of a typical dictatorship.
This is how we, as a nation, find ourselves in a quagmire, as the recent mutilation and bastardization of our beloved Constitution – through the medieval Constitutional Amendment (No. 2) Act – as the vast majority of the country’s ordinary citizenry and electorate, were either not even aware what their elected representatives were up to, or knew, but believed themselves subservient to their own MPs, and had no right, authority, or power to express any dissent and disagreement with these amendments to their “chefs”.
For them, such expression of opposition to the reversal of their 2013 referendum votes, more so, without their consent or consultation, would have been insubordination.
That is why political literacy is urgently needed in Zimbabwe.
Honestly, would it make any common sense that, the person I would have elected into office, becomes my “chef”?
How, on this planet of ours, can someone that I would have appointed and deployed to be my representative (as we can not all go and sit in parliament, and as such, we appoint a proxy to convey our views to government, and promulgate laws that we would have sent him/her to promulgate…not his/her own, or his/her party’s, or even the president’s) be my “chef”?
Zimbabweans need to comprehend this basic tenet of democracy – the person you appoint or elect is your deployee and emissary, and does what you send him/her to do or say, and is answerable to you…not the other way around.
Your local ward councillor is answerable to you. Your city/town mayor is answerable to you. Your MP is answerable to you. The state president is answerable to you. You are the “chef”, not the other way round.
Maybe the lack of comprehension of such basic tenets of democracy is why many do not understand why we would refer to the current administration as dictatorial – since quite a significant number of Zimbabweans do not grasp that, once local and national governance decisions are made “top to bottom”, that would be undemocratic, since the opposite should be the norm.
As we are faced with a dark cloud over our country – whereby, our deployees and representatives sat in parliament, and enacted a law that we never sent them to enact, that we never approved as a constituency, and that we were never consulted about – we now need to take back our rightful constitutional authority, and hold our MPs accountable for turning our country’s progress eight years backwards, by reintroducing a tyranny that we had overwhelmingly rejected in 2013.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured