Beyond political patronage and tribalism

via Beyond political patronage and tribalism | The Zimbabwean 16 July 2014 by Vince Musewe

Patronage continues to limit our potential as a country because we do not seek the best solutions or apply our best people to resolve our problems.

We must learn from our own history that political parties have failed to deliver because by their nature, they are unsuitable platforms for good leadership and accountability to the people.

Every five years the masses troop to the voting booths hoping that things will change. They are easily duped by endless rallies and gifts from politicians who ignore their real needs once we have voted for them.

We have seen how Zanu (PF) after “winning” the last elections have merely focused on entrenching themselves and ensuring that party cronies are rewarded with jobs in state enterprises and government projects. This of course has nothing to do with their election promises of creating jobs and empowering citizens. The sad fact is that those that voted for Zanu (PF) with expectation are still sitting at home today, poor and hopeless.

We should not be surprised at all because these are the standards of politics in Zimbabwe. You join a political party so that you may receive favour, you do not join it for the purposes of developing Zimbabwe or its people. It’s obvious that the masses never learn and it is our responsibility to create a new awareness

There are now a lot of new political parties emerging in Zimbabwe and I really wonder what the expectations of those forming them are. No doubt they all claim that they are democrats who want to see this country develop, they claim that they will empower citizens; they are all the same.

You cannot expect different results from the same structures because structures determine behaviours and therefore output. We must look outside the box for new governance structures that fundamentally change the results we are getting.

Zimbabwe is still a young democracy but it appears we are not learning from our mistakes and therefore we will replicate the same results of patronage and tribalism until we fundamentally change our political structures.

We must first look at why political parties, once they are in power, do not focus on the country and the citizens. I think this has a lot to do with our culture and experiences. There is this pervasive selfishness in our society, where political parties and social organisations do not look at the benefits to the country but at immediate benefit to themselves.

We still also have some degree of tribalism in our society where tribe is used as measure of loyalty and safety. I am told, for example, that Mugabe will always want to know where you come from before you are appointed to any substantive position in government. Ministers tend to mirror this behaviour when appointing members to the boards of state enterprises or awarding government contracts.

I do not know how we can get rid of this, besides changing thepolitical leadership and also changing our political structures.

Patronage continues to limit our potential as a country because we do not seek the best solutions or talents to resolve our problems, but merely use party loyalty as a measure to appoint or reward individuals. This is such a pity given the talents that Zimbabweans have.

In order to get rid of patronage and tribalism, I am proposing that we elect as President an independent candidate who does not have any political party baggage. This will then allow such an individual to make decisions by putting country first.

I am also proposing that we elect as many independent minded individuals into parliament so that they may represent the country and not political parties. The quality of the debate in our parliament is really disturbing and we cannot expect Zimbabwe to develop until we have competent people presiding over the debates that are held in parliament. We need fearless and brutally honest debate on all the challenges we face. Unfortunately this will not happen as long as Members of Parliament are forced to support the party line even when it is not necessarily the best solution for the country.

We are not developing as a nation because we are not questioning our structures that we have. We are using old structures but expecting new results.

I think it is healthy to have multiple voices and platforms for people to express themselves, which is what democracy is all about. However, I fear that most of these platforms merely want to replace Zaniu (PF) but do not propose to do anything differently once in power. Because of this Zimbabwe will continue to lag behind other African vibrant democracies – despite having a very educated populace.

In my opinion, political parties will replicate the same behaviours and the same results because of the way they are structured. We need to spend our energy on changing these structures. – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at vtmusewe@gmail.com

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 15
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    Good proposition;parties need their members to conform to some orthodoxy deriving from their constitutions.Corroborative or antipathy to the state functions.At times to the limit of individuals walking an extra mile in doing their work and even criticizing beyond party loyalty.Unfortunately this requires a change of mind-set on the masses that are proclaimed sympathetic and loyalist voters.

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    “Zimbabwe is still a young democracy” Vince I am afraid I do not agree with you on that one. The young democracy died in it’s infancy and the current one is just a farce.

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    Angela Wigmore 7 years ago

    See my comment on @Biti’s shilly-shallying’.

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    I cannot fault what has been said in this article. The problem being if what the people wanted was possible to obtain we would have been out of this predicament a long time ago. In 2002 to be exact. We are still here because a certain dictator will not give anyone a chance to even speak.I am not being a defeatist because I do believe discussion is always good.What we can put our hope in is that the winds of change are on the horizon. All the signs are there. When the change does come we have to pray that men of conviction rather than men of political affiliation will step forward and do the right thing. How can we know who the winds of change will choose. You never know so keep on talking because someone right here on this forum might also step forward. I saw this written somewhere and it caught my eye.”Discussion is always better than argument because argument is to find out who is right. Discussion is to find out what is right.”

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    Mthwakazi 7 years ago

    There is a need for some of our fellow citizens to first get rid of the Mwanawekumusha syndrome. This is informed by the “……..indya nehama….” cultural beliefs, which have seen people trekking hundreds and hundreds of kilometers to provinces that are far away from their places of origin, to take up menial jobs which could be taken up by locals in those provinces; just because of some relative of theirs who may be in either top or middle management, who called them out to “uya khuno, kunebasa!”

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    I got to agree with Dube here.
    Vince misleads, maybe unintentionally, in calling Zim a young democracy.

    Since ZANU came to power, its been busy brainwashing the masses.
    Any opposition to its policies is West instigated and as such a sellout of the liberation values.
    Voter registration has been at best, shambolic and the rigging of the vote has been blatant.

    Having said that, its better to “jaw jaw than to war war” as the Doc has said.
    Any opening of dialogue between the two main protagonists, i.e. ZANU and the MDC should be looked upon as a possible way out of this suicidal nose-dive our country is in.

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    Ngoto Zimbwa I have faith. As long as we have people like you that do not look at what they are told but what they see. I have been on this forum for some time now. I have seen a lot of us grow here?? If we can grow here why can we not make this a reality? As the technology grows more and more people have more and more access to what we have now. Through mobile phones, tablets and such. The only sad thing is that some of those that were so vocal on this forum have gone quiet. Maybe they are weary. I do not know. What I do know is that if we lose this platform those that oppress will rejoice. Do you know why? Because here on this forum we have freedom. Even Public protector (Whom I might say chose the wrong name) has been free to comment.

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      Straight Shooter 7 years ago

      If only we could stop focusing only on ZANU PF as the ONLY culprit of our miserable situation and call a spade a spade; and stop beating about the bush. That will be the day, I will be confident that finally, as Zimbabweans, we indeed are set for genuine positive changes in our country.

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    On this platform we are indeed free, Doctor do little.
    And we all wish, most of us anyway, that we enjoyed such freedom in our own land.
    The dwindling of contributors is very noticeable and sad but hopefully a lull in the very fruitful exchange of ideas on this forum that we have come to enjoy.

    The enemy doesn’t sleep and spends the scant resources in our country to sow dissent and confusion among the opposition, through the very same social media you mentioned Doc.

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      Straight Shooter 7 years ago

      If only we could stop focusing only on ZANU PF as the ONLY culprit of our miserable situation and call a spade a spade; and stop beating about the bush. That will be the day, I will be confident that finally, as Zimbabweans, we indeed are set for genuine positive changes in our country.

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    roving ambassador. 7 years ago

    I love what Vince is enlightening us on. Some time ago ,I had a lovely discussion with my homeboys on how to get ourselves to of this Zanu dictatorship.
    We came up with an idea that if we could plant independent individual in all regions, who would set up structures , small economic hubs to help their local communities , then they would surely put you into parliament.
    This would also prove commitment from the individual. These aspiring parliamentarians should stunt as independent MPs. They should be in contact and help each other in setting up these projects to help the masses.
    The process would also entail enlightening the people on the benefits of real democracy and opening their eyes to Zanu misrule.
    iF YOU DO GOOD ,THE PEOLPLE WILL LOOK AFTER YOU.

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      Davy Mufirakureva 7 years ago

      I havent seen any country without political parties.What are we hiding from forming parties that is the known democracy and even in Zimbabwe people are not prohibited to stand as indipendents but I doubt if one has a chance to be voted a presiident as happens all over the world. Put my comments they are not appearing

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        Straight Shooter 7 years ago

        China comes closer to a country without political parties. Everyone is in this one big family erroneously called the Communist party. It really doesnt exist as a communist party. Its a capitalist home for everyone; just a way of getting everyone to sing from the same hymn book!!

  • comment-avatar
    Davy Mufirakureva 7 years ago

    I havent seen any country without political parties.What are we hiding from forming parties that is the known democracy and even in Zimbabwe people are not prohibited to stand as indipendents but I doubt if one has a chance to be voted a presiident as happens all over the world.

    • comment-avatar
      Straight Shooter 7 years ago

      China comes closer to a country without political parties. Everyone is in this one big family erroneously called the Communist party. It really doesnt exist as a communist party. Its a capitalist home for everyone; just a way of getting everyone to sing from the same hymn book!!