Understanding African governance through Pfumvudza concept

26 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
Understanding African governance through Pfumvudza concept The Pfumvudza concept has helped in ensuring food security at household level

The Herald

Gibson Nyikadzino Herald Correspondent

Political governance is a cultural phenomenon that resonates with a people’s political, social, economic and historical values.

While in the contemporary world there have been attempts to globalise Western liberalism, it is, however, being defeated simply because it speaks in contradistinction to the values, beliefs and principles of histories of other nations.

The governance culture that exists in Russia, China and or Iran propels the values of these respective societies as they uphold their fundamental principles.

For instance, the failure of the Western liberal system in the Middle-East or in Asia is indicative that to these societies, the foreign governance system is defective and its importance is not corroborated by values in those regions.

No wonder in the Arab world the relationship between the state or politics and religion is key to maintain societal values and that the strengths of one institution offset the weaknesses of another, yet in the West, the state or politics and the church are separated, hence weakening the institutions at a moral and values levels.

When the US constitution was drafted, the authors emphasised the principle of “liberty” and the belief in God.

Because today in America everyone has to tolerate someone, even the founding principle of its constitution that it is founded on the belief in God is becoming dwindled and insignificant because of cosmopolitanism.

People are now legally required to tolerate the atheists, even when they threaten the principles of the constitution.

Thus, even in public schools the Lord’s Prayer is no longer recited in the view that atheists must not be offended.

However, the question of liberty has washed away key fundamental values that make society a collective all because they now infuse liberty with the “new rights” campaign.

In its governance system, as informed by its culture of “liberty”, American society is being plagued by immorality through advancing what they term sex change and transgender rights which are products of “genetic variations” in human beings.

It therefore becomes difficult to import such a system into Zimbabwe. Western governance style seeks to atomise and separate people under the idea of “tolerance” at the expense of critical fundamental values that hold society together.

Liberty, Equality, Collectivism

If one follows the debates around governance in the US, Western Europe, Asia or Africa, one is convinced that in America, liberty is the essence that many want to uphold without being offended, hence the aspect of tolerance.

For most of Europe, while there is robust racism, the emphasis is on the principle of equality.

Equality is a term that is used in post-modern Europe to pacify the downtrodden and most dissatisfied people in society so they do not contemplate starting or fashioning a trajectory that can upset the bourgeoisie establishment.

At the same time, to advocate for equality is deny people their natural being for mankind is never created equally in both talent and ability to acquire the necessities of life.

It is not a harmful practice to pluck some governance aspects from other jurisdictions, for liberty and equality are also key in African governance structures where the two should be naturalised in the African context.

In Zimbabwe, where merchants of Western values want to advocate for “gay rights” in the name of liberty, or sex changes in the search for equality, the society as a collective unites in condemnation for, to most, that is contrary to the founding values and principles that make the Zimbabwean society what it is.

Pfumvudza as a governance model

In my village, in the Zvimba area, there is an initiative taken by about 35 families that this writer knows can be replicated and successfully implemented at a national level, for collectivism is the essence of African governance.

Towards the beginning of the 2022/23 farming season, both supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party and those of the opposition in its various formations, identified a common threat that could hinder the community’s aspirations, and they identified hunger as that threat.

Together they agreed to implement the Pfumvudza programme through a mechanism that saw all members convene at each of the about 35 village homes that constituted each member who wanted to fight hunger together with others, prepared land according to Government prescribed dimensions and specifics.

The basis of their agreement was that no individual interest should supersede the interest of the group. Whatever one did, it was being done in the interest of preserving the goal to defeat hunger, and today, the maize crop of these families is a promising affair.

This model as a governance system is not in isolation. In Japan, for instance, this form of governance is referred to as “paternalistic authoritarianism” where society upholds the collective over the individual. That is what the Japanese agreed.

In principle, doing things as a collective is what African governance entails for it takes two to tango.

While at a community level villagers are finding each other based on principle, at a national level the possibility is there and can be implemented when some compatriots cease to think of their ideas as bigger than the rest.

The Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) initiative is one sphere that could have helped to deliberate issues of national concern as a collective, not necessarily to agree on everything, but establish common ideas through robust debate, constructive criticism and ultimately arrive at a position reflecting national consensus.

These are key aspects of what African governance presents.

Rediscover your Africanness

As long as emerging opposition political parties in Zimbabwe and Africa in general do not (re)discover their Africanness, it appears eternally difficult for them to convince most people that they have a noble cause for the continent.

At times it is encouraging to see young people like CCC interim deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba show interest in participating in the Zimbabwean political landscape.

On the other hand, what may be encouraging can also be a curse in view of the idea that what these young “politicians” represent are nothing but the values of Western liberty and equality that are not grounded in Africa’s collectivism.

Only when they start believing in the idea of working together with other people will the opposition parties and their leaders, maybe, be considered as sincere in nation-building. As it stands, it is the opposition that continues to want to see things in a binary lens.

By rediscovering their Africanness, it means the opposition should not seek to advance ideas that threaten the national principles of the nation’s foundation, from which from that point they can also benefit from the democratic dividends of liberty and equality authored in African political thought.

Stop importing Western democracy!

The way the international political terrain is unfolding significantly restricts even an attempt to entertain a thought to import Western governance principles.

These are governance principles of a system built on greed, immorality, exploitation, inhumanity and chicanery; aspects that rarely make it in the principles of Africanness.

The proxy war by the revanchist NATO and the collective West against Russia while using Ukraine as a pawn has been pitched as being done “in defence of Western democracy and values” and nothing about appropriated to humanity.

Having local politicians that are keen on defending Western values in an African jurisdiction remains politically surprising as it is self-defeating ahead of the 2023 polls.

Those who do so exhibit traits of their failure to defend the principles that make them what they are supposed to be. They expose themselves as people who cannot defend Zimbabwe and what it stands for.

Zimbabweans, remember we are one.

This is homeland!

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