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Tribalism, marginalisation and factionalism is history with a united opposition

by Themba Mthethwa
19 Aug 2016 at 19:27hrs | Views
A genuine and united pact of opposition parties that extends to all opposition political parties in Zimbabwe has the propensity for democratic reforms and good governance. The national common knowledge is that Matabeleland is the only province suffering the siege of socio-political and economic marginalization by the government of President Robert Mugabe. The wider prevailing view is that political, social and economic disempowerment and marginalization extends to other provinces Manicaland, Mashonaland, Midlands and Masvingo depriving local communities of employment, business investments, access to land and political participation. The union of opposition political parties has the capacity to   spread political influence across the country's provinces with greater chances of dislodging the failed but hang on ZANU PF led government. The strengths of multi-parties collusion that comes with genuine  proposals  for united opposition parties is the combined numbers of followers that they are likely to enjoy. The driving force for united political parties is to achieve a well constituted and democratic politically system in Zimbabwe rooted in the authority of the electorate. Different political parties need to think beyond their own political values and goals to embrace within them goals that preserve and support the growth of cultural, regional, social and economic diversity in an honest and pragmatic manner.

It must be noted that while the constitution of Zimbabwe allows for political plurality there has never been a will by the ZANU PF lead government to embrace multi-parties political participation but elected to disenfranchise the opposition by the use of brute force, violation of human rights, illegal abductions and imprisonment of opposition members  

It is clear that tribal unity in Zimbabwe disintegrated at independence because ZANU PF did not develop from the onset democratic means for the autonomy of power that knitted ethic and tribal groups together in an authentic, voluntary, legitimate political and social union.  President Mugabe and his aids failed to recognize, preserve and allow different tribal groups to preserve their identity, customs and culture while subscribing to national identity. There was no attempt to adopt a pragmatic stance towards redirecting attitudes of the new political African Zimbabwean social ideology to accept and embrace the existence of diversity in culture, race, customs and tribes. ZANU PF directed most its energies to ferment tribal division by suppression of other tribal groups in the country particularly those in Matabeleland and now spreading to other provinces.  If Zimbabwe in particular President Mugabe had made an early and sincere grant of political, social and economic autonomy to different tribal groups, the consequence was almost always going to be greater stability and unity, rather than social disintegration we see today.  

It is therefore a fact that tribal loyalties in Zimbabwe are an integral part of our identities and belonging to a tribal group. Zimbabwe tribal entities and conformity can be exercised in the expense of the individual personal wishes and needs. The importance of the prevailing tribal conformity in Zimbabwe often places a high priority of individuals on getting help from or giving help to their tribal connections. Opportunities, jobs and control of resources are widely given on tribal grounds in the expense of other tribal social groupings. This practice of tribal identity in Zimbabwe is concerned with the protection of a sense of self within a tribal group; the survival of the tribal group and influence over social and economic resources.  Giving people political and fiscal autonym within the context of social identities and within an appropriate political management system allows different social and tribal groups to preserve their culture, customs and heritage as a means by which local tribal groups are empowered to  develop and interact with their local social, physical and economic surrounding within the guidelines of devolved rules.

A genuine union of political parties committed to the rule of law, human rights and freedoms  have a duty  to work together  to develop joint policies  designed  to create greater social integration and  cohesion  for the good  of  the social and economic prosperity of the country. The key terms of reference of a collusion of parties should be to reflect and amplify a negotiated and constitutional national identity, national values and ethics, values of the liberation struggle, economic values and a spirit of nationalism. Zimbabwe national values are far reaching and beyond party political values. National values are premised on respect, trustworthy, integrity, fairness and tolerance. National values take a keen interest in the propagation and in defense of human rights, human liberty, social and economic development, national order and equality of every one. No political party can claim that its political values are national values. National values are supreme and political values are subordinate to national values. Political parties come and go. National values never go.

A united multi-political pact based on the concept of devolution, offers people a means of sharing power to a wide range of political parties and social groups. An authentic multi-political unity has the capacity to embrace and enhance the depth and legitimacy of national democracy. A devolved system is inclusive because it provides all political and social groups a share of political space and influence at some levels of governance.

Devolution in essence believes it is not enough for people to choose their national leaders in periodic elections without recognizing people's democratic participation and political power at lower levels of governance. Winner take all politics of ZANU PF has proved that it does not work in the context of a future, modern and democratic Zimbabwe. A collusion of parties brings in a divergence of ideas which are symbolic to progressive democratic societies.

Source - Themba Mthethwa