via Zimbabwe towards political pluralism: could MDC begin the way to transition the country into Democracy? February 3, 2014 By Andrew Manyevere
It is amazing how we get conditioned to being slaves of corruption to the extent that we cannot think outside the box and would kill to see anyone think outside the box. Yet this is the essence of why there was a liberation struggle to bid farewell to oppressive tendencies in all their magnitude and have community march slowly towards political pluralism.
Associated with political pluralism is the belief in Freedoms. The inalienable rights of a person to an opinion without feeling pressurized to conform except as he/she is convinced without duress is supreme in the success of political pluralism. To find newspapers making a storm out of a political tea cup on rights and opinion, is indicative of how we have been enslaved in the last thirty years of Zanu rule. Because in all those years we sought to argue and dissociate ourselves from Zanu in term of her failure on human respect and good governance. The citizens have witnessed a lacking of different views on party presidents and how long they need stay in power and to do so has meant facing harsh punishment if not imprisonment.
No doubt the spin off effect of poor politics and governance in Zimbabwe, unconsciously, will take its toll on many of us. Like the radical Mr. Malema of South Africa, if we are not very careful the trend of swearing to kill for a leader as a sign of loyalty, may, out of insincerity, find us meander in a flip flopping on misrepresentation. Typically African politics, with strong support from Zanu Malema spoke boldly the ‘he will kill for Zuma’ language of hate for no good cause but ingratiation with leadership. It was not long when Mr Malema begun speaking against Mr Zuma and founded strong opposition against Mr. Jacob Zuma.
Because of failure to encourage political pluralism as in many diverse views and voices within one party, failure to harness talent through debate has always resulted in party splits and splinters that do not augur well for any country economic and political development. Political Pluralism enables people to value differences and not dwell on negativity. Political pluralism works hand in glove with the: Cooperrider, D.L. & Whitney, D., “Appreciative Inquiry: A positive revolution in change.” In P. Holman & T. Devane (eds.), The Change Handbook, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., pages 245-263.
People cannot exercise political pluralism if condemnation and blame is all known best. Appreciating the pain someone goes through to come up with an idea and the moral courage of putting it on paper for opinion weighing process is an act of intelligence and conviction on sincerity. One gets weary of always hearing of negative verbiage out of people with limited thinking who in themselves are a threat to any community social peace and stability. The dictators cannot conceive change in any other form than through leadership ingratiation that matures into corruption ultimately.
Often times this is brought about by failure to make a distinction between ideas, individuals and organizations. Julius K Nyerere was neither Tanzania, nor was Abraham Lincoln America. Winston Churchill never became Britain nor the face of a political organization except being a leader in time, conceding to his time of departure. Never when the term was up or issues of routine retirement in political party did it become a struggle that such people were the face of a political organization. It is sad that in Zimbabwe there is no leader who comes and go. The mentality is Zanu bred and Zanu strong among many who profess anti Zanu behaviour.
The political culture on the continent and in Zimbabwe attempts to make a false survival on personalities who come and go irrespective of time sequence that shutters capacity of organizations to carry on into the future. This is caused by the fact that leadership based on personalities, irrespective of performance, has neither goals nor strategies for an organization (Political party). Is it any wonder therefore that as MDC share a new dispensation of viewing political pluralism, that both media on the continent and individuals, storm into all kinds of accusatory impression that range from, traitor to unfaithful on those who steer the ship away from political sinking?
No wonder, none could tell Zanu leadership that the ship was sinking within Zanu. The concern is that every political organization in Zimbabwe postures radicalism and soon succumbs into Zanu number two, getting finally swallowed and strengthening a poorly organization political party into a robust political Mafia; that keeps growing ugly and nasty without providing any service.
In this context MDC is (whether conscious or unconscious) piloting political paradigm shift to a higher stage of democracy, within itself, with great difficulty because Zanu within MDC works to kill democratic initiatives through political crippling of real honesty and therefore fearless thinking. I think for once Zimbabweans must accept that only through painful effort to learn to appreciate others, shall we make a break away from slavery on dictatorship that keeps us yoked to slavery thinking in the name of ‘we are the our liberators.’ To run a country requires a lot of debate, correct thinking, and fearlessness founded on the protection of these individuals from the constitution as the supreme law in the land.
We all know that to Zimbabwe authorities, unless watched scrupulously by international eyes, life has oozed out of people without account and with none brought to books for committing a crime. It is this misdemeanor that weighs strong on people to choose, if they can speak honestly and without fear. It is this fear that inhibits villagers to take action because they are at the mercy of wild government authorities who take no responsibility for what happens upon the common people in the communities.
The best political development that has never happened before is for the MDC’s quest to think openly and criticise leadership for improvements in the public interest. The truth be told, we never did this or if we did and saw one or two disappear we have kept quiet even when we came out of the country. The legacy of fear rings bells in our minds irrespective of our location in the world. If those abroad cannot speak strong, should we not draw hope when those from within openly exercise their right to observe honestly and without fear? Should we embark on intimidating language that promises or beg of Zanu to take punitive action of those speaking out or we emulate and encourage open speaking?
While Zanu has made so many citizens of Zimbabwe die, whether it was through their direct participation or through natural accidents, there are many still dying from depression and trauma from what they saw happen to their loved ones and the threats that still hang on their heads. That behaviour of violence is easy to adopt particularly when to win means elimination of opponents than to reason in a campaign. It is easy to smuggle violence into MDC and cause chaos, discrediting free thinking as responsible, therefore leaving Zanu still in control. No wonder through violence, a system that renders MDC disabled and useless; Zanu is able to relive a phase of new life irrespective of hardship.
Naturally the tendency to over criticise movement towards free speech and opinion works good for Zanu as it works well for anyone who is not convicted as a democrat, but is still sunk deep in Zanu orientation of forcing surrender to gain victory.
Strong leadership has not come from politics of hide and seek, which is what Zanu has survived on for many years past. Strong leadership is neither cultured from sheepish behaviour that seeks to be considered as good when actually working on complicit connivance to claiming power ownership from the back doors corridors. I believe that when given freedom of choice people are always full of surprises. Without freedom people know how to survive more so where corruption is the order of the day as is today in Zimbabwe.
The effort to introduce change with supervision from Zanu can be the least successful endeavour politically. To seek to achieve political freedom thinking like Zanu is a joke which can retard politics in Zimbabwe. It can breed an irrecoverable political fatigue which by default will see Zanu rule for ever. To seek for change within leadership of opposition is the best answer to political pluralism and success of democracy in Zimbabwe. It will inspire people of change brought by people. Promoters of opinions should not be bombarded as if to condone silence and apathy. We must value differences. We must win arguments and not force issues on people using power influence or threat.
It will be historic when retired opposition leader was to campaign side by side by incoming leader, promoting the opposition ideas through opposition political organization than centering party views into being a face of one person. If Zanu has succeeded doing so they did not succeed managing the country’s economy or human rights. Seeing difference between dictatorship and democracy is a civic duty. No one should be intimidated or threatened for being different or why fight against the ills in Zanu?