via The State and its crisis of expectations – DailyNews Live by Tendai Biti 11 NOVEMBER 2013
Wananchi, to the majority of citizens the sole concern is to seek the mundane reproduction of their families and ordinary lives in these tough times.
It is tough and cold out there.
The ugly teeth of poverty are tearing apart the very essence of a nation’s existence.
The citizen is being turned inside and out, slalomed left and right by the corrosive power of a deep and intrusive sub existence.
Daily, the African is waking up and knotting himself into questions he has no answers for.
Like the colossus Plato or his student Aristotle, he ponders at the meaning of a life without life, a cruel existence without meaning. Form without shadows.
That 34 years after independence, many find themselves serving a sentence of this most excruciating of poverty is inexplicable.
But more depressing is the death of the dream among the citizen.
The cruel realisation that life will never be better, that the marginal optimum was attained briefly many years ago and that from here it is just down hill.
Put in simple terms ,the loss of hope. When the citizen realises that try as he might, his lot will never change for the better — that a pinnacle was reached, and that it is all down hill until his lord frees, the citizen dies at that moment.
There are millions of Zimbabweans arrested by this fatalism.
They look at themselves, they look at their grey past and their sterile future and understand the lie of their existence. That all along they have been zombies, devoid of life, but pretending to live.
Poverty does that. Some people call it reification. I call it death before death.
Where the citizen becomes helpless and hopeless he becomes a target for the opportunists and in Africa they come no bigger and better than the State and its ruling elite.
In other words Africa’s crises of expectation generates the perfect condition for the flourishing of the patronage State.
Poverty and huge seas of poverty create conditions where the poor Wananchi, has no choice but to turn to the same predators that created the crisis for support and assistance. The more they suffer, the more they get drugged by the smell of the crumbs dropping from the high table of the super looters and kleptocrats.
So in a very cruel twist of political economy, economic collapse, at least in the short run, does not collapse the dictator. It in fact sustains the same.
The point Wananchi, is — while the State is an arena of personal accumulation ,the dictator is the gate keeper of this eating frenzy of the loony.
The dictator determines who eats and who does not and what quantities thereof There is no license, no tender, no concession, no contract that can be made without the dictators saying so. Herein lies the true reality of African politics.
Given this desperate situation it becomes imperative for Wananchi to organise themselves in their social movements and restore lives to the cadavers of poverty.
In this process hope is the key ingredient.
Hope is life, it is the belief that we will get there .It is the greatest fuel against tyranny and suffering.
But that hope can not and should not be privatised by an individual ,a political party ,or an ethnic group.
It is a national asset, a national good for the wananchi.
It offers a carthasis, instant relief against the relentless onslaught of suffering brought about by the dictator.
That the struggle must be a collective project of the wananchi is key. A privatised struggle is a monopoly. As with all monopolies, the aim is not for real change.
It is a battle to change the faces of the oppressor, while retaining the apparatus of the oppressor.
We saw this happening in 1980. A captured struggle reproduces asymmetrically that which it is trying to remove. It is an elite capture of the people’s aspirations.
Under this construct, it is no longer about democratic change and real transformation,but a personal crusade for power and power’s sake.
When that is attained, the State enters into a new vicious and accelerated form of accumulation. “It is our time to eat” so to speak.
But the African dream of change and democracy can not be allowed to die and will not die.
History teaches us that predation and oppression are not sustainable. States like Zimbabwe, modelled on the twin evils of coercion and patronage are not sustainable.
Patronage is not an inelastic resource even for wealthy African countries with huge resources like South Africa and Angola.
The thing with patronage is that, you can never give sufficient money to all .So patronage, by its very nature is unequal and creates pockets of resentment and resistance.
On the other hand, coercion works temporally, particularly where the founding father is around.
In any case it is not generationally transmitted.
Moreover internal prosecutions, transitional justice frame works and international law, guarantee that the perpetrators of injustice will account for their sins one day.