The fact that Zimbabwe is in the grip of political paralysis, leadership impotence and government incompetence is undeniable.
Report by Charlemagne Chimbangu
Something has gone horribly wrong. The country is engulfed in an economic and moral crisis of unprecedented proportions.
The national interest and public good have been sacrificed on the altar of greed, corruption and self-serving interests by the political class and its cronies.
The inappropriately named Government of National Unity (GNU) has been a menace to society and poses a mortal threat to Zimbabwe’s national security.
It lacks a strategic vision that will extricate the country from the current state of economic depression and moral decay. Testosterone-driven arguments and manufactured outrage against each other have replaced civil and intellectual policy discourse. Government departments are often times acting at variance with each other.
In a country that is said to have one of the highest literacy rates on the African continent, it is disheartening to see such a high level of political illiteracy within the political class. Some would say the GNU was fraudulent from its inception.
It is, therefore, disingenuous of the political parties to shed crocodile tears over the dysfunctional nature of the GNU, because it is blatantly clear that the political class never intended to utilise the GNU as a vehicle to serve the national interest. The GNU’s sole intention was to legitimise and to enhance the political fortunes of the participating parties while providing jobs for pals.
The ongoing bickering over the draft constitution, election time frames and the duplicitous nature of the political narrative emanating from the three political parties does not serve the national interest. It is treacherous at best, if not treasonous.
The legitimisation of corruption by the political class is an abomination. There is a repulsive level of entitlement and impunity within the political elite with many viewing themselves as above the law.
The “Arab Spring” was a direct consequence of corruption and deep inequalities in the affected countries. The violent strikes that have now become a daily fixture in South Africa can be traced back to the same set of circumstances. It is, therefore, mind boggling that the predatory elite in Zimbabwe is oblivious to these occurrences and continues to stoke the fires of discontent with such “reckless abandon”.
There seems to be a conspiracy of silence from the leadership of the GNU. There is no political will to investigate the plethora of corruption allegations made against high-ranking politicians. By giving a wink and a nod to this avarice, the GNU has displayed its aversion for the national interest and its affinity with moral decadence.
Third, Zimbabwean politics across the board are fraught with factionalism, most of which is motivated by a naked lust for power.
Perhaps, the most insidious aspect of this factionalism is its violent nature and a repugnant form of nativism that breeds tribalism and balkanises the nation.
Tribalism is derived from the lowest form of human intelligence. It is evil, profoundly divisive, anti-democracy and anti-development, yet some politicians see it fit to promote this vile and hideous activity in order to maintain a grip on power.
Tribalism, as amply demonstrated on the African continent, can lead to genocide. Added to this toxic cocktail is a glaring intolerance by party leaders for independent thinking and constructive criticism within party structures.
These leaders are threatened by the market place of ideas and will dumb down internal debate by any means necessary. This attitude does not advance the national interest because it discourages people who would otherwise make meaningful contributions to the political discourse from participating in the political space. In essence, democracy is weakened by this village mentality.
It is worth noting what Thomas Jefferson said during the American Declaration of Independence in 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organising its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
These words are not defined by geography, colour or creed. They are an embodiment of basic human aspirations and yearnings.
It is time for Zimbabweans to raise their voices in order to rescue the country from further decline by speaking truth to power. The next elected government must be held to account at every turn. The political class must be engaged and challenged to effect good governance.
Whispering in the dark and not acting to ensure that the national interest is better served will only empower the parasitic elite to the detriment of the common good. It must be robust, but without violence.
The political debate has to be joined. The power to determine Zimbabwe’s future is in the hands of Zimbabweans. Not Sadc, African Union or South Africa.