It was quite comforting and encouraging to read in this week’s edition of The Sunday Mail, Dr Christopher Zamani’s article on his own observations and perspectives as an African in the Diaspora of the situation in Zimbabwe.
He is an American medical doctor in training in California and he is currently on his last week of attachment at Kadoma General Hospital.
Dr Zamani is greatly touched by deaths in most Zimbabwean hospitals that could have been avoided had it not been the result of subtle differences in national policy and overt international double standards.
We have pointed out time and time again in our articles that nothing fruitful will ever come out of this inclusive Government bearing in mind the divergence in ideology of the political parties in Government.
Zanu-PF is in support of the radical approach which is premised on complete change of the status quo and this has brought tension between the MDC, Western countries and Zimbabwean nationalists due to conflicting policies on distribution of wealth and resources and also ownership of private property.
The MDC is more inclined to the neo-liberal doctrine which is premised on the view that reforms of the status quo should be carried out through an evolutionary process of incremental change.
This entails that changes to the distribution of land and other forms of national wealth which greatly favours the former white farmers and industrialists should be slow and should also avoid completely upsetting the status quo.
Zanu-PF is opposed to such liberal change since they believe in a more radical approach which transforms the status quo through rapid change. Frantz Fanon, a disciple of the radical change approach actually believes that true independence means that those who are first should be the last and those who are last should be the first.
Nationalists waged protracted liberation wars as a way of correcting the economic and political imbalances which had been created by the former white colonisers. The MDC’s neo-liberal approach is mainly centred on Western countries’ democratisation and good governance project.
The inclusive Government is waterlogged, it is like mixing water and oil, and it is also similar to trying to make parallel lines meet. Never in the 32 years of this country’s independence has there ever been such a Eurocentric political party like the MDC.
Western rhetoric on democracy, human rights, rule of law, good governance, Press freedom and lately security sector reforms have become their national anthem. A good question one may ask is do they walk their talk or practice what they preach.
In MDC circles and their media mouth-pieces rule of law only applies to Zanu-PF supporters who commit crimes while those from their party are rather immune to such application of law.
We believe murder is murder irrespective of one’s political party affiliation and no single person should ever be above the law.
Many a times the case of those who are alleged to have murdered Inspector Mutedza has received a lot of sympathy and support from some media houses as well as some politicians. It is very unfortunate that some people amongst us actually want to do to others what they will not do to themselves.
The MDC politicians have totally failed at their own good governance game as evidenced in the mess they have created in most urban councils which they control. Was there any transparency in the way they allocated residential stands in most urban areas?
Good governance means that processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of society while making the best use of resources at their disposal.
Is there really any efficacy and efficiency in the way urban councils are being run by this new breed of looters whose educational background is very questionable?
Edmund Burke, the Irish politician, believed that a good ruler or political party representative should meet certain qualifications.
Ability was one qualification needed if one was to be elected for political office. This quality would entail that government, constituencies and local councils were managed efficiently. Another important quality was that only people with property should be allowed to govern since they would be less likely to desire possessions.
The looting in council is mainly attributed to putting former cellphone vendors, prostitutes and touts in positions of power. What would you expect a former lumpen-proletariat to do other than to milk council udders until they bled? These shameless councillors are more like rats sent to collect nuts in a granary. It spells total disaster.
Zanu-PF councillors in most urban councils were never this sickly corrupt. Rarely did we ever see or hear of a mere councillor living out large from meagre council allowances as we are witnessing in most urban areas today.
The Herald’s SMS section’ is always highlighting many genuine comments and complains coming from angry citizens about the high levels of mismanagement in most urban councils.
Service delivery is now more like a scarce commodity to the extent that when council sends its workers to collect refuse or to maintain burst sewer pipes in the high density areas most people are taken aback.
Service delivery went “AWOL” the day Zanu-PF lost most council seats to the MDC.
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, actually preferred philosopher kings or the ones with sound education to govern. Philosopher kings according to him were people of greatest refinement and quality in society hence they were best equipped to provide sound governance for the society as a whole.
Obama, Merkel, Hollande, Putin, Hu Jintao and a plethora of other world leaders are all philosopher kings. It is only here in Africa where we are being told that a candidate’s educational background is not of much relevance to the highest office of the land.
What these former lumpen-proletariat councillors are showing us isn’t it also a good measurement of what those who lack the qualities of a philosopher king will also do if elected to the higher office.
There is already one such leader in Sadc who lacks such qualities and it’s really quite pathetic how now and again such a leader is always bungling diplomatically as well as in domestic politics. The power to decide which leader is better or the best is all up to the Zimbabwean electorate.
Media freedom is also at the centre of MDC democratic rhetoric. The concept of media freedom has been abused left, right and centre by this neo-liberal political party.
The new Zimbabwean definition of media freedom simply means see no evil, write no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil regarding the MDC party but see, speak, write and hear every evil about Zanu-PF.
President Mugabe despite the media barrage on his personality, family and political party has not been temperamental the way Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been towards some media outlets. Does this imply that it’s only the President who should be attacked in the media while the Prime Minister remains immune to such criticisms?
We believe the MDC politicians and their donor funded media outlets should show some maturity and accept divergence of opinions coming from various political angles.
Elections are not won through biased media coverage and political rhetoric. A party that has sound and tangible policies and attainable election manifestoes will win the day. Human rights with a heavy bias towards political rights are meaningless.
Human rights that embrace economic rights are pregnant with meaning to every citizen who has suffered under colonial oppression. The coming election will be centred on those who forward political rights versus those who advance economic rights. It is surely going to be a nightmare for some and outright victory for others.
Dr Zamani posed very important and stubborn questions not only for Zimbabweans, but for the rest of Africa. He said: Will change represent a renewal of one’s self-purpose, the concept of pride in whom and what you are, ownership of yourself, your actions and your destiny. To take responsibility for being the best you can be. To be your own saviour, your own hero, and to reject those that would harness your mind, body and soul for a purpose not of your own.
Is it proper as Zimbabweans to accept homosexuality in our constitution in order to please the Western anti-Christian and anti-African ways? Are we to discard our own empowerment and indigenisation policies as to gratify greedy Western multinational companies?
Are we to let foreigners decide what political, economic and social routes we should follow? Whose bags should we carry? Whose path should we follow? Whose space should we occupy?
Dr Zamani further asks all Zimbabweans to make a choice on whether they should accept the definitions and limitations that others (Westerners and other foreigners) would place on them. Should we seek to survive on the charity of others and pity ourselves while fantasising about worlds far away?
He also asks if we are to seek contentment in mediocrity, to take the easier route instead of the better route, to seek immediate gratification instead of long-term fulfillment and also to be enslaved in comfort instead of toiling in freedom.
We are being told by the guys in the MDC to take the easier Western controlled route which brings immediate gratification instead of the Zanu-PF indigenisation path which is the hard route but will bring long term fulfillment.
Dr Zamani points out that we must reject the notion that we need any aid, or that we need other people to manage or employ us. Are we not going to be another Malawi if these fellows in the MDC camp ever get in to power? Are we to accept being a poodle of Europe and America?
Dr Zamani also notes that this nation (Zimbabwe) stands at a precipice, what example will be set; that African efforts to seize control of destiny leads towards poverty, instability and decline or that it results in abundance, innovation and decline.
Haven’t we on several occasions heard those in the MDC leadership say the land reform programme will lead to destitution and starvation? How many times have the newly resettled farmers been sidelined and not received any assistance from the Ministry of Finance?
Isn’t it that President Mugabe has actually been sourcing for agricultural funds to help these poor farmers every planting season? How many times have we heard MDC politicians rubbishing the whole black economic empowerment programme as if they have a better policy themselves?
Haven’t we heard the MDC politicians talking of a “job creation policy” which they say if implemented will see most Zimbabweans working in foreign owned industries.
We wonder how that can be achieved especially when the very countries that the MDC has pinned all its hopes on in creating employment for ordinary Zimbabweans also happen to be retrenching thousands of workers.
These countries have cut heavily on social benefits which have led to public outcries and myriad demonstrations. Judgment day is soon approaching for both competent and useless councillors and parliamentarians.
The onus is totally up to us the electorate to judge these political animals in the ballot box come election time. To Doctor Christopher Zamani, a true son of the soil, we wish you the very best in your studies our enlightened black brother and a very safe journey back home!
The writers are lecturers at Bindura University of Science Education.