Reconstructing #Zimbabwe socio-political narrative – Vince Musewe

via Reconstructing Zimbabwe socio-political narrative | Nehanda Radio May 01, 2014 By Vince Musewe

We need to get to a place where we burn and destroy the pedestal that we have created for politics.

Our old men have failed to transform our socio economic and political systems from a colonial architecture into a modern democratic nation state. It is now our responsibility to do so.

Studying Ibbo Mandaza’s paper titled; “Zimbabwe’s journey: an overview and highlights of the last 200 years” which looks at the political economy of Zimbabwe in the last 200 years, really got me thinking.

In it, I was more interested in his views on the socio political dynamics in Zimbabwe’s post-colonial era. These dynamics have fashioned the conditions that we now find undesirable, retrogressive and economically distressing. We therefore need to understand how and why they arose in order for us to obliterate them permanently.

He postulates that the failure of Zimbabwe to move beyond political rhetoric while basically relying on colonial institutional architecture inherited from the past is the key reason for our lack of progressHe talks about “the failure to address the economic realm in favour of an obsession with the political kingdom.” 

That is correct. To this day, our economy remains an extractive and labour intensive one chiefly because ZANU (PF) has dismally failed to think beyond the politics of partisanship and patronage. A typical manifestation of this is within our state enterprises which reflect the philosophies and habits that are holding us back.

The antagonistic and ill-informed push for indigenisation or empowerment is unfortunately another political project that seeks to strengthen political patronage and extend state capitalism but only to the benefit of the political comprador.

Ordinary Zimbabweans still therefore effectively exist in a colonial system ruled by an oligarchy of predator black capitalists. Our politicians have preserved the very system which they abhorred, but this time it’s to their benefit. The majority of Zimbabweans were peasants during colonialism and remain peasants to this day. This is no accident.

Ibbo then further suggests that; “Africa in general and Southern Africa in particular, has so far been unable to break out of this colonial economic grid lock and a resultant class structure in which the absence of an indigenous capitalist (national bourgeoisie) is so glaringly lacking and, therefore, depriving the national economy of an anchor class without which it is difficult to effect economic transformation.”

Because of our backward politics, we have seen a continuous stifling of an independent and vibrant black business class in all sectors of the economy. In fact, to be successful in this environment, black business owners have had to adapt and comply with a patronage culture without which they are rendered useless.

They dare not challenge the status quo or think outside the box manufactured by the politicians as this is viewed as a threat to the political kingdom. As a result, our corporate leaders remain apathetic and hopeless change agents while those who comply have become the petite bourgeoisie, the comprador and praise singers who remain complicit.

Of course the land reform project is another manifestation of this political obsession as it sought to weaken the influence of a strong white bourgeoisie. More recently the diamond mining sector has been the playground for entrenching and extending the ZANU (PF) political kingdom. This has inadvertently weakened our economy, arrested its potential and perpetuated a colonial socio economic architecture.

According to Ibbo we now need; “an urgent plan of action through which Zimbabweans, on the basis of a national leadership that cuts across all sectors and sections of the society, can begin to chart the way forward, taking advantage of the historical foundations of the nation, the enormous natural resources, a resourceful population that includes among the most skilled at home and in the diaspora, and a pivotal position, both geographically and geopolitically, in the sub-continent of Africa.”

I agree. This is why I think we need a new narrative driven, not by those who have created this very system which we wish to change, but led by a new breed of leadership who do not have the armed struggle hangover. For me, a united democratic front is therefore our only antithesis.

In order to create the Zimbabwe we want, we must have leadership renewal which is underpinned by accountability and the promotion of a national inclusive agenda that cuts across tribal prejudice.

We must include of our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora in building a new modern state by the adoption of new management techniques, cultures and new technologies.

We have to reinstate private property rights and the revival of our agricultural sector as the trigger to overall economic recovery.

We have to see the de-politicisation of state security and the police to engender a culture of social justice and the protection of human rights.

There must be the healing of past injustices committed against all Zimbabweans primarily against our Ndebele brothers and sisters and we must take the necessary steps for restitution.

In my opinion, if we can do the above, we will have begun to reconstruct Zimbabwe’s socio political narrative. We will therefore, be better placed to begin to build a new nation state.

Of course it will be difficult but not an impossible task to create a new Zimbabwe based on the above principles.

As Niccolo Machiavelli once remarked; there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. The innovator has the enmity of all who profit by the preservation of the old system and only lukewarm defenders by those who would gain by the new system”

My greatest fear is that we could see continuity of this political system without fundamental change beyond 2018 regardless of who is in power.  God help us.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 9
  • comment-avatar
    Jono Austin 8 years ago

    Cannot the electorate think for themselves? You cannot rig a 95%-100% vote for the opposition. At least I don’t think so. Even SADC would squeal. So why don’t they vote in massive overwhelming numbers for the opposition? petit bourgeoise gimme a break-Vince can’t you speak English

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    Petal 8 years ago

    Vince must be COMMUNIST!

    • comment-avatar
      roving ambassador. 8 years ago

      Vince ,I totally agree with you and Mandaza. We need to make a total U turn . The path we are on now is froth with thorns and wild animals. We going towards self destruction[we are there already]. We have Mugabe one end and Tvsangirai the other end ,both self serving entities leading us nowhere fast. Burma was following the same path as us any they are making a u turn and you can actually see the progress. we are heading for hell with our 90year old.
      A nation full of fancy cars and no ambulances ,it baggers beyond belief.
      I am really in on this conglomeration of all democratic forces ,in and out side the country.
      Lets keep on hammering on these progressive ideas. People will catch on eventually . The world is not waiting for Zimbabwe. Zanu is leaving in a time warp and its high time we left it behind.

    • comment-avatar
      roving ambassador. 8 years ago

      Petal, I wonder if you mean it in the positive sense. I have had the opportunity to visit all the Nordic countries, and was surprised by their social policies not withstanding which party is in power. They look after you from birth to death and even road cleaners are paid more than a living wage. they will not label it communism or socialism because of the stigma around the terms. But these guys are definitely socialist.
      Surprisingly the British practise the same philosophy and aspire to Nordic standards.
      In the 80’s the Swedish came to Zimbabwe with high hopes for us. They even lived in the villages . Unfortunately they realised that Zanu was not practicing what they preached so they left the country .
      I pray we could reach the Nordic dream.

  • comment-avatar
    roving ambassador. 8 years ago

    Vince ,I totally agree with you and Mandaza. We need to make a total U turn . The path we are on now is froth with thorns and wild animals. We going towards self destruction[we are there already]. We have Mugabe one end and Tvsangirai the other end ,both self serving entities leading us nowhere fast. Burma was following the same path as us any they are making a u turn and you can actually see the progress. we are heading for hell with our 90year old.
    A nation full of fancy cars and no ambulances ,it baggers beyond belief.
    I am really in on this conglomeration of all democratic forces ,in and out side the country.
    Lets keep on hammering on these progressive ideas. People will catch on eventually . The world is not waiting for Zimbabwe. Zanu is leaving in a time warp and its high time we left it behind.

  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Mandaza seems to be rehabilitated now. Before lionizing him too much it would be good to know his history. I know a little. He has been a big time beneficiary of corrupt patronage. SAPES has been his main vehicle in this. He has ripped off donors, NSSA and Zimbabwean tax payers. He has been a ZANU apologist for many years. He was on all the news channels on the early 2000’s telling all what wonderfully fair and free elections we were having.

    In one respect he has been very perceptive. He know where the money is. If he has switch to the opposition it is because he has calculated that ZANU is a spent ( pardon the pun) force.

  • comment-avatar
    Jono Austin 8 years ago

    He is a nasty little man-he will blow with the wind as suits

  • comment-avatar
    holy moyo 8 years ago

    Vince you are the man.
    TRUTH AND SENSE AND IMPATTIALITY AND HUMANITY AND LOVE IN WHAT YOU SAY.

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    Mseyamwa 8 years ago

    There is sentiment that changing lesders will change the status quo, which is not entirely true. There must be a redifinition of our baseline which is partially enforced through an apolitical constitution that confers rights on citizens to be effective members of society. For all to really have equal voices as human beings. Any of the people currently in opposition are capable of adopting the same policies as the current ones but instead of merely wanting to see a change of faces in government, it is necessary to exert more pressure towards policy formulation than the nation has done so far. The GNU period could have been opportunity for that but more time was spent on non core issues and no meaningful reform was made.

    Zimbabwe is also so class-conscious that people in leadership tend to keep vital information from the public which could help form the right opinions. It is shocking when a party just breaks apart without any one informing the followers the reasons that persuaded the split, except thr changing of faces. What are the policy clashes? What is the difference between the two products when everyone assumes they have failed together as a group? What exactly went wrong and was it a one-man decision or collective.