In the African context political leadership has mostly been about absolute power and privilege. One major exception to this general narrative is the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Most of these leaders do not believe in democratic development and social, cultural and economic development has largely been neglected
Pioneering leaders of the Sub-Region were mostly students of Kwame Nkrumah and were groomed to become dictators with a communist ideology of a one centre of power political system
Most countries in the Sub Region have never experienced real independence or democracy. They transitioned from the limited democratic colonial system to dictatorships at ‘Independence’. State Capture happened at ‘Independence’, majority rule or democracy remains a pipe dream
Universal suffrage or pure democracy (one adult one vote system) in a largely tribal and non-democratic society, which was used for the ‘Independence’ transition, was used by these leaders to take power and thereafter to preserve it. Elections conducted in this environment without democratic and credible independent institutions only serves the purpose of maintaining the status quo whilst deceiving the majority ignorant masses.
Zimbabwe is one such country now with a broken social order amidst perpetual retrogression and chronic poverty. The Problem of a broken and failed transition at Independence largely created by the founding nationalist/political leaders cannot surely be fixed by a dialogue process only exclusive to politicians. The three previous major episodes of exclusive dialogue by politicians have yielded nothing of substance. Why would anyone think that the current fourth episode will be any different?
What is the justification of this exclusivity? Is this not another form of segregation? Racial segregation was the main evil of the colonial era. It would seem however that Political Party politics in a bantu tribal cultural context is worse than racial segregation and a curse. How could anyone justify a western type political system. A system that is in sharp contrast to the cultural heritage and development stage of Africans.
What is the justification for exclusive talks by one small cluster/ segment of society in Zimbabwe? Is Zimbabwe only for politicians, not for all Zimbabweans? What is the justification of the black colour strip on the national flag? Is Zimbabwe only for Bantu Africans; not all Zimbabweans? Is this not perpetuation of racial segregation?
The Country that was built by colonial masters; whom we have never honoured for this great work; is now broken. Some segments are now ruins whilst others have turned into complete desolations. The current dominant culture of propaganda, lies and deception continues to deepen mistrust amongst people and between the government and ordinary citizens, plunging the nation further.
Are we not hero worshipping our leaders (Nkrumah and Mugabe) for grabbing, destroying and personalising national assets and monopolising the national narrative and agenda; for selling us a dummy (rotten egg) called Independence whist installing a military dictatorship from the onset? Were these leaders heroes? Were they not dictators and both disposed through military coups? How long shall we continue to propagate such contradictory and difficult narratives to our children?
We cannot continue down this treacherous road of contradictions and broken narratives. It cannot remain business as usual under the current reality of deception, chronic poverty and perpetual retrogression. The Ship of State capsized from the very onset, when our supposed newly independent African states were captured by the founding leaders and turned into military dictatorships
This is not an occasion to blame Nkrumah or Mugabe and their compatriots, but an occasion to accept the TRUTH of our past and together converge as equal citizens under the principle of collective responsibility. With the benefit of hindsight, Nkrumah and Mugabe’s mistake of prioritising power over public service and national development would have disastrous consequences across the entire subregion. We must now engage in inclusive dialogue to reconcile our broken past and re-imagine, underwrite and negotiate the implementation of a shared vision compatible with our cultural heritage and development stage as Africans
This is also not an occasion to defend the status quo under the guise of constitutionalism. Any such documents written under Nkrumah type dictatorships are not balanced and are applied selectively. This imbalance and selective application of these state instruments (the constitution and Rule of Law) largely accounts for the injustice and endemic corrupt nature of our nations. These instruments signed by dictators in this region are not configured for shared prosperity or sustainable national development. There is a definite need for renewal and new balanced instruments.
The real challenge however, is to get the average African or Zimbabwean to understand that sustainable nation building is a shared responsibility for every responsible citizen. Successful nations are built by their own citizens using mostly locally sourced resources such as crowd funding/ contributions or donations. You and me are responsible; not the guy next door or the politician. Everyone must speak and work towards a fairer and just socio-economic and political system either directly or through representation. Everyone must also contribute financially towards this campaign.
If we can get help from our friends and partners in the international community, that would be great and a welcome bonus; we must however be prepared to go it alone if necessary because that is what it will take to achieve national reconciliation and renewal. We must also be ready to put down church denominational, tribal and ethnic barriers in order for us to work together at national level and unleash the power of the collective nation. There is need for renewal of mindsets in this regard.
Every nation is built by the corporate effort and input of its citizens. Our problem as Zimbabweans and Africans is that we inherited countries that had been built by Colonial settlers at Independence. Instead of learning, adopting and maintaining this nation building culture, we chose self-interest; state capture, asset stripping and or the plunder of national resources leading of course to today’s brokenness and chronic poverty. This season provides us the opportunity for renewal. We must now all become nation builders and allocate time, effort and resources towards national development
Everything that we all come out to go to on a daily basis is part and parcel of the national grid. The work or market place; schools and Universities; Hospitals and Healthcare; Policing, Security and Justice; Transport, Water, Energy and National Infrastructure are all at the very centre of our livelihoods. These require the best configuration and maintenance by the best statesmen/ patriots and public servants. They should never be left at the mercy of self-appointed corrupt politicians.
The system of Kwame Nkrumah and Robert Mugabe configured around POWER and its preservation has failed and turned the entire Subregion into a dark continent. This system must be repealed yesterday and replaced by a new system configured around public service, wealth creation and Justice. The configuration and underwriting of this new system coupled with national reconciliation and renewal is the core business of this National Inclusive Dialogue process.