via ZUNDE on Politics March 18, 2014
This is the second of a three-part series from ZUNDE on Governance, Politics and Rule of Law.
In the first part of the series, we made a commitment that ZUNDE subscribes to the idea that governance is all about the capacity to steer society, the economy and how to reach collective goals, the capacity to make and to implement policy decided upon with the involvement and consent of the people who are being governed.
By definition, politics is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a civic or individual level. It is not about coercion nor “mobocracy” as other players would like us to believe. For ZUNDE, everyone must have the freedom to participate in political activities of their own calling without any fear whatsoever. Politics is about public affairs. It is about acquiring the art of governing, an art that must be taught, leant, understood and applied. At ZUNDE, we strongly believe that politics is a vocation, not a profession. As such, leaders will come and go while values stay. For us, politics is about service, not self-aggrandisement.
Aristotle, the Greek Philosopher, described man as a political animal in the sense that it is only within a political community that human beings can live the good life. From this viewpoint, politics is clearly an ethical activity, far from being the dirty game of political intrigue and fraud that we have seen in Zimbabwe so far. It is not about violence as we often see on the Zimbabwean political landscape, unfortunately on both sides of politics. It should never be about ethnic cleansing as we saw during Gukurahundi. It can’t be about torture as witnessed in 2008. Politics must not be about displacement of vulnerable communities as we saw during Murambatsvina as well as the chaotic land reform program. We value competition, not dynastic or monarchical leadership.
ZUNDE believes in acquiring and improving skills of governing. At ZUNDE, we want to see properly knowledgeable people becoming Ministers of Government, not those whose only attribute to their credit is the capacity to shout the loudest slogans or sing the longest praise for the dear leader. Having a Minister of Finance who cannot run a tuckshop, a Minister of Mines whose only qualification is his close relationship with the president or a Minister of Agriculture who imports grain every season from neighbours much poorer than us, must be a thing of the past. Judges must be men and women accomplished in the fine art of law not those who mastered the art of rigging elections or delivering judgements informed by political correctness.
The public sector needs to have the capacity and capability to be able to deliver the services it is tasked to do. And that does not come because the President assigns you that portfolio. It comes because of a deliberate effort to build that capacity. We want to have the first Faculty of Government and Strategic Studies at our main universities, where our public managers, (not servants), intelligence teams, military strategists are trained in modern skills as a matter of their own choice, not because they have been made to do it. Resources wasted on training ‘Green Bombers’ must be put to much better use.
At ZUNDE, politics is an exercise of control within society through the making and enforcement of collective decisions and people-sourced policies. Politics is associated with inclusive policy that has been properly formulated, thoroughly analysed and effectively implemented. Politics is about knowing how good policies are created, not how they are violated.
It is about compromise and consensus, as a means of solving conflict through conciliation and negotiation, rather than through force or naked power. For this reason politics has been called the art of the possible and we at ZUNDE believe it is possible in Zimbabwe to defeat this ZANU PF dictatorship and respect the will of the people. That will happen in our lifetime. We accept that conflict among social groups is inevitable, that it can be avoided if those in power respect the will of the people. But when that happens, with the power that people have, the conflict can be and should be conciliated.
All we are doing in politics is to try and improve the lives of our people and create a good society. We have seen this happen in the Diaspora communities where at least a quarter of Zimbabweans live. We have contributed significantly to economies around the world. We know we can do it in our Zimbabwe. And for sure we will.
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