Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

Dialogue or Suspension of Constitutionalism? Prohibition orders Narrative

27 Aug 2019 at 12:57hrs | Views
Academic Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes:

Events leading to August 16, determines whether constitutionalism should remain order of the day or it can be suspended? There is need for re-configuration of the academic mindset on whether Zimbabwe still abides with the constitutionalism. Dialogue – there are what we call synonyms of dialogue, argument, argy-bargy, colloquy, confab or confabulations, give and take, palaver, parley, consultations and moving back and forth. Political dialogue refers to a wide range, from high level of negotiations, to mediations, to community attempts at reconciliation. These processes of dialogue are complementary and run in parallel. What are the key drivers of voluntary and compulsory dialogue? What are the leading factors and political indicators? Who determines dialogue? What are the outcomes of political dialogue?

Political dialogue is to identify and redress existing forms of injustice, participants in the dialogue must be able to appeal to the concept of objectivity in order to exchange claims, attitudes, and background beliefs which distort or conceal various forms of injustice. The conceptions of objectivity traditionally employed in liberal democratic political philosophy are not well-suited to play this role because they are insufficiently sensitive to the social and ideological pluralism of modern societies. Some liberal political philosophers have recently offered more context-sensitive and pluralistic conceptions of objectivity, requiring participants in political dialogue to frame their demands for justice in terms of a conception of justice acceptable to all participants in the dialogue. I argue that this conception of objectivity constitutes an improvement over traditional liberal conceptions. However, it is ultimately unacceptable because it does not take adequate account of the limited and distorted knowledge that members of dominant social groups tend to possess about the oppression experienced by members of subordinate and marginalized groups. As a result, this conception of objectivity wrongly deems the demands for justice voiced by members of subordinate and marginalized groups to be subjective simply because they seem unreasonable from the limited and distorting standpoint of dominant social groups.

Throughout the modern history of Zimbabwe crisis, the word constitutionalism has been over used, over rated and exaggerated, objectivity has often served as a bulwark reinforcing the privilege of dominant groups rather than as a fulcrum for subordinate groups to use in undermining that privilege. This is at least partly due to the prevalence in Western philosophy of conceptions of objectivity as either emotional detachment from the immediate circumstances of one's life, or being able to view social arrangements from the privileged perspective of a distanced observer, or viewing society as it is, independent of any particular observer's perspective or interpretation. Whatever the theoretical merits of these conceptions of objectivity may be in the abstract, in the concrete circumstances of practical deliberations they all tend to permit the privileged perspectives of dominant social groups to masquerade as objective and thus as valid, by comparison with the subjective and thus invalid perspective of subordinate social group.

Question remains ;
1.     Is it necessary to have political dialogue, in Zimbabwean context?
2.     Does dialogue exist in the current political set up?
3.    Any political connotations on POLAD initiative led by Mnangagwa as the Head of State?
4.    With the current political perspective, do we expect a broader concept on dialogue initiative?
5.    Any political ecology on dialogue initiative?
6.    What are the key drivers of progressive politics?
7.    Can legitimacy be derived from a proper political dialogue or structuralism?
8.    Do we have legitimacy problems in Zimbabwe?
Military must be co-opted in the dialogue initiative

Military played a key role in the transitional mechanism in Zimbabwe through a peaceful power transfer in 2017. For avoidance of doubt, it's a key component and cannot be brushed aside. Military exist, and there has been participation in political contexts since the November 2017 debacle. If you look at the current composition of the cabinet it resembles military and civilian structure, it is a mixture which evolves the political matrix and balancing the political and power equation. Military has a say in Zimbabwe politics, and they play smart politics. Events leading to August 1, 2018 and January 2009 stay away reflected the military footprints and such political scenario would be ideal to involve the military in the power sharing matrix and dialogue which gives birth to progressive politics.

Constitutionalism? Suspended or it must exist?

What is constitutionalism? Constitutionalism is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law.

Questions arise:
1.    What does section 59 says of Zimbabwe constitution?
2.    What is a prohibition order?
3.    Do Zimbabwe citizens have right or obligation to demonstrate in Zimbabwe?
4.    At first is there constitutionalism?

Section 59 talks of freedom to demonstrate and these are rights enshrined in the constitutionalism with provisions in the charter. It's either both Zanu PF and MDC must suspend constitutionalism or it was suspended long back. Prohibition orders issued by the police country wide worked to the advantage of Zanu PF which was under political pressure and managed to calm explosive political demo which could lead another political narrative. Yes police gave prohibition orders with full political pregnancy. They were fledged with political signals and it worked well for Zanu PF by giving the ruling party a lifeline and in political strategy it is called "Political survival matrix". The bottom line for now, it is the prohibition orders working, assuming the Maintenance Order Bill (MOB) is in progress waiting for ascendment or signature. Demos were posing political threat to the ruling party's existence and a political matrix was worked out to suspend constitutionalism in the name of prohibition order for political expediency and survival tactic.

The question remains, how do you define constitutionalism? Does it exist? Is it the remaining avenue for the opposition to fully express themselves, given the Luke Tamborinyoka statement when Job Sikhala was arrested over the Bikita utterance? Luke Tamborinyoka said I quote "Our party upholds the rule of Law and it believes in the rule of Law. The statement will then haunt the opposition, given the context that they want to break the "prohibition order" going another route.

Food for thought

Last but not the least – POLAD initiative

We have over 27 candidates who participated in the July 30, 2018 elections which resulted in highly contested and disputed. Mnangagwa Pulled 50.7%, Nelson Chamisa pulled 44.6% and the remaining 1 percent being shared amongst the losers according to ZEC official results which were later upheld with Constitutional Court. You see the issue of constitutionalism bounces back in the political limelight. My simple question as a researcher and analyst, how do you balance the political and economic equation and matrix in the absence of the second winner, with 44.6% and this number surpasses 2 million votes. There was a difference of less than 100 000 votes and this is a small section of Kuwadzana and Dziwarasekwa, the rest is shared with two political giants. We need to narrow this perspective into a political narrative and dividend. Does POLAD reflect the political narrative? The rest of the candidates, whom do they represent? It is a key question. From which perspective? What is the reflection of the current politics? Who is missing in the political framework? What lessons can be drawn from 2008 scenario, when Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai on the first round leading to a blood shed run off? How many Heads of States came after the chaotic 27 June run-off? How many observers endorsed the run-off? The word endorsement is key, it gives birth to legitimacy. For obvious reasons, key issues will arise:

1.    Political acceptance.
2.    Votes shared amongst two contestants.
3.    The margin was narrow, therefore the classification of acceptance is narrowed down into a hot-tightly political contestation
4.    Political legitimacy
5.    Markets reacting to political decisions
6.    Confidence on the ground is key
7.    Building strong institutions
8.    Political polarization
9.    Mixed reactions between urban and rural vote. Country split into two categories
10.     Broader concept of dialogue must be addressed
11.    Political players are key
12.    Any percentage in an election outcome is key

Think about the Kenyan arrangement. Odinga driving the Development agenda after acceptance and tolerance to take Kenya forward.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo - Doctor of Phil Candidate

Email: tinamuzala@gmail.com 



Source - Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Subscribe

Email: