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The Untold Story of Remedying Broken Governance

19 Nov 2011 at 09:59hrs | Views
Democracy and human rights are now at the fore front of Zimbabwean politics. However moves towards more political parties, privatization, indigenisation and Eastern dominated trade deals have challenged and continue to challenge good governance. Against this background, this article responds to these developments. More specifically it argues that without a strong public sector and sound governance structures Zimbabwe is moving towards a great uncertainty. It thereby demonstrates that, personal agendas are at the heart of Zimbabwean politics.

The misconception that the more political parties and pressure groups we have in Zimbabwe the more democratic the system has gained momentum from pseudo political scientists and bogus political groups. Proponents of this hypothesis have told half of the story about the effectiveness of many political parties as to reinforce their arguments about starting and having more political parties. Incumbents have also interpreted the mushrooming of political parties as a sign of democracy. What is often ignored is that this can be used to achieve desired electoral results through splitting votes similar to gerrymandering practices. In order to dislodge this misconception we need to separate facts from conjecture. Democracy stemming from many parties is underpinned by good governance structures meaning the two are mutually inclusive. To be more precise, Zimbabwe needs a good foundation of good governance structures and without them we can have as many parties as we can operating in the name of democracy and producing the opposite.

The dominance of the private sector and privatisation in the form of indigenisation has been seen in the form glossy buildings, nice cars, fashion and a few individuals doing well. Many people have misinterpreted this as progression and very few have questioned the welfare of the general public and responsibility of the state. Current beneficiaries might attempt to advertise, sustain and resuscitate the flimsy argument about progression but the reality on the ground is that social mobility has come to a halt and the gap between the poor and the rich is widening. In a desperate move we have seen state public relations in the form of rewarding reality show stars huge sums of money while symptoms of poverty are evident in educational institutions, driving the young into prostitution, dealing and thuggery.

The idea of indigenisation and empowering the natives of Zimbabwe sounds fantastic but in practice it is not plausible for the majority in that somebody from a lower position in the social hierarchy cannot secure deals such as joint ventures or alliances with foreign companies. This means only those occupying a higher position in the social hierarchy have the capacity of making the most out of indigenisation. What is more questionable here is route that has been used to empower the natives in that, does it empower some natives or it empowers natives? Some would argue that there was no alternative way of doing it. The answer to that is the government should have gone for a state-holder ship approach where it would own the majority of shares instead of individuals to enable it to subsidise the welfare of people through public services and reduce inequalities.

In many ways moves towards stronger Eastern trade deals have been glorified. However a closer look into the ethical records of our trade allies from the East raises questions. Having said that the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the West and the switching to Eastern dominated trade raises questions about the authenticity of the relationship. Four points have to be entangled here; the first is that the relationship was not by design. Meaning under normal circumstances Zimbabwe would have cherished stronger links with the West. The second point is that Eastern trade links seemed to be the convenient way out of the sanctions without conceding to the demands of sanctions. Thirdly the situation presented the East with an opportunity to penetrate Zimbabwe because it was desperate. Lastly what is not known are the concessions made by Zimbabwe and the conditions attached to the trade deals? There is great uncertainty about the future of the relationship whether it is going to be like most of the trade Allies of the East or worse. There is also a great danger that the East could slowly colonise Zimbabwe if that is not the case already.

In conclusion democracy and human rights cannot be achieved without good governance structures. A robust national welfare cannot be achieved through a weak public sector. The direction heading Zimbabwe does not reflect the national interest as the common Zimbabwean does not know the planned destiny. Politicians have abandoned representing the people's wishes and they now assume that they know what is best for the nation. Political power should not be privileged in such a way. Politicians should continue remember that their mandate resonates from the people and should promote transparency and accountability through governance structures. Without these effective structures politicians cannot be reminded that power lies with the people. Furthermore Zimbabweans will not know what was theirs and what still remains theirs in their respective country. These shortcomings pose a serious threat to the future generations and the generation of generations of Zimbabwe.

Source - Farai Chikowore
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