By Mutsa Murenje
I AM not the first to write about it and I, definitely, won’t be the last. It well is a given that what we are seeing happening in Zimbabwean society and in political parties in particular is nothing new. This has been part of human history from the past to the present and on into the future. The late Professor Masipula Sithole made this observation in his widely read book ‘Struggles-within-the-struggle.’
I do not, however, intend to focus on in-fights per se. This little contribution is based on the thesis that by focusing on the nugatory we have become obsessed with matters that do not at all benefit and improve the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe.
On in-fights, Sithole wrote thus: “They are a fact of political life, a part of the dynamic of human organisation. Nothing will be gained by assuming or even wishing the contrary. Where human beings are involved with one another and interact directly or indirectly, conflict, tension, and struggle are bound to exist and describe the relationships. This is true in a family, be it consisting only of husband and wife; true in a church organisation; in a school; in a social club; you name it. Contradictions are a given in social and political life.”
We have had a dozen political parties since independence. Most of these were founded by those who at one time have been members of the Zanu PF. They each claimed to present a credible opposition to the cupid and out-of-touch-with-reality party but their success has been limited in both scale and scope. I am of the viewpoint that opposition political parties have themselves contributed to this situation. They are petty and have lost the bigger picture. We can’t all be presidents all at once. The presidency isn’t the most important thing that we can all think of because genuine patriots can still be useful to their country even as ordinary citizens. We don’t need to have held political office for us to be recognised.
Having said the foregoing, I would now like to draw your attention to the fact that our suffering people benefit nothing from our gobbledegook. There has been and always will be an attempt to show off our language abilities so as to excite and interest the public. What tangible benefits do we draw from scathing, vitriolic, acerbic and indeed frontal criticism from politicians against other politicians? As citizens, we have the right to question the partisan role played by George Charamba and every other civil servant wearing a political hat. The expectation is in private life, as in industry, the individual must advance his own enlightened self-interest-within the law-in order to achieve overall progress. But in public life we expect individuals to sacrifice their private interests to permit the national good to progress.
I have learnt a lesson or two from South African politics. Regardless of one’s age or provenance, every young person is capable of realising his full potential. I attribute this to the presence of democracy in that country. In our own country, dissent is stifled and political parties do not encourage open discussions on leadership. If we allow people to freely discuss issues of poverty, inequality and unemployment then the same should be done on the issue of leadership. The factional and succession fights are no doubt an attempt to be heard. However, these have pernicious effects on individuals and political parties involved. The same effects can affect the nation as a whole and this is the prime motif why I thought of coming up with this contribution.
We don’t eat Christopher Mutsvangwa’s vocabulary neither do we benefit anything from the underwear he allegedly stole during the liberation struggle. Jonathan Moyo’s parentage has nothing to do with our quotidian struggles. This is the same message that Welshman Ncube fails to understand that political rigidity has deleterious effects. Elton Mangoma and Tendai Biti focused more on Morgan Tsvangirai’s alleged personal weaknesses rather than the bigger picture and thus failed to capitalise on the potential that can be drawn from working with him. Lovemore Madhuku also believes that it is better for him to lead than to be led. As for Egypt Dzinemunhenzva, I still find it puzzling how he intends to govern our country and address the complex problems we are facing. I sincerely hope that Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa are paying attention to these developments so that Zimbabwe can truly be what she possibly can be. In pari materia, the expulsion of Joice Mujuru from Zanu PF did not help maintain a single centre of power. There are still a number of factions albeit built on selfish and parochial goals.
We are looking for wholesome changes in our politics, changes which are capable of restoring us to the community of nations while at the same time transforming us from our current status of ‘a basket case’ to a ‘breadbasket’ status that we have been known to be in the not-too-distant-past. Zimbabwe’s economy was at one time second to that of South Africa in the African continent. We have gone astray and the time has come for us to retrace our steps to where we went astray and resume our journey from there.
Zimbabweans are still worried about poverty and lack of educational opportunities and other basic social services such as water, electricity, housing and sanitation. We still expect accountability and democracy on the part of our leaders. We want to reach a stage where we will all say ethnic intolerance, the abuse of human rights on a massive scale, the monopolisation of political and economic power, refusal to respect democracy or the results of free and fair elections, resistance to popular participation in governance and poor management of public affairs have no place in our country. Rather, there is an incumbent need to promote unity and peace in the nation for the benefit and well-being of all the people of Zimbabwe. Our leaders must ensure protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms as well respect the diversity of the people and communities of Zimbabwe.
I put it to you!
Mutsa Murenje is a Zimbabwean studying for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Social Work at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He writes in his personal capacity .
The views expressed in this article donot reflect www.zimsinsa.com’s editorial policy but are the personal opinions of the individual writer.