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Democracy is not about generational entitlement

11 Oct 2021 at 04:52hrs | Views
Following the United Parties for National Development's (UNPD) win in Zambia's August 12, 2021, general elections, the MDC Alliance faction leader Nelson Chamisa became unnecessarily excited.

The following month, his supporters coined for him the #NgaapindeHakeMukomana social media campaign to mobilise support for him.

Although the campaign is not based on anything new from Chamisa except for his supporters' wish and baseless sense of entitlement to State power, it is getting into his head.

Realising that the campaign was running on shaky and thin legs in the absence of sound fundamentals and a solid election campaign strategy to undergird it, Chamisa exposed his poor leadership pedigree by seeking to attach the generation issue to the campaign as its basis and justification.

He contended that the Zimbabweans who formed the first Cabinet and led the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in 1980, were of a young age.

"We're ready . . . in 1980, Mugabe was 56, Banana 44, Mnangagwa 37, Rex 31, Tongo(gara) would've been 42, Joyce 25, Zvinavashe 36, Oppah 22 and Sekuru Chiwenga 23. They were ready to serve and so are we. Why do some people think that our generation is not ready? We're ready! And it's now our turn!" Chamisa wrote on his Twitter handle on October 5 2021.

Depth of desperation

The point that he was desperately trying to drive to the world was that, whether he deserved it or not, it was his generation's turn to lead the country.

For the past 22 years, the MDC, of which Chamisa's outfit is a faction, has been presenting itself as a champion of democracy.

The concept of democracy, in simple terms, is defined as the rule of the people by people for the people. The people rule through the representatives that they choose using the democratic process of election.

Chamisa betrayed his desperation for State power, which the electorate denied him on July 30, 2018, due to his watery manifesto and the MDC's very poor delivery record.

Out of desperation, he tossed democracy out of the window and replaced it with entitlement. The MDC used to call itself "a party of excellence".

It is, therefore, very surprising that in his desperation Chamisa was prepared to sidestep the process of election, which does not regard anyone's age except, of course, in terms of the lower age limit. In Zimbabwe, for example, the lower age limit for presidential election candidates is 40 years.

Generational hypocrisy

Chamisa and his faction, which he insists is a political party, worship the United States and its leaders.

Last year US President, Joe Biden, who is aged 78, won the US presidential election and Chamisa did not raise dust over Biden's age and generation.

Biden is not only President Mnangagwa's generation mate, but his age mate as well since they were born a mere two months apart. In August, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema (59) won the Zambian election presidential elections. Hichilema is a generation younger than President Mnangagwa and, again, he did not raise any generational issues.  So to Chamisa his age was not an issue. He is only invoking generation and age when it suits him. He foolishly thinks that he can fool the electorate into voting him solely on the basis of his age.

Age is only a number

In the four years that President Mnangagwa has led Zimbabwe, he has demonstrated that leadership skills and maturity are more important for a leader than one's age.

Chamisa should be reminded that Zimbabwe has seen more development under President Mnangagwa than his predecessor.

It is now public secret that residents of the 28 urban areas under MDC councillors have seen more deterioration or non-delivery of service in their cities and towns under Chamisa' watch than under his predecessor, the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

This scenario tips the scale in favour of more mature leaders than young ones, who are yet to wean themselves from the exciting, but childish politics of student activism.

If Chamisa had a sense of decency and a conscience, he would be the last politician to talk about age and generational issues in Zimbabwe's politics given MDC councillors' chequered record in urban local authorities.

If Chamisa was an honest politician, he would be the first to admit that age is only a number if President Mnangagwa's four-year impeccable delivery track record is anything to go by.

Liberators vs traitors

It is sad that all that Chamisa saw in the heroes who made up Zimbabwe's first Cabinet and ZDF leadership was their age, which he very shallowly sought to equate to that of his own and his generation. The only common ground between Chamisa and the generations of the great heroes that made up the first leaders of independent Zimbabwe is their Zimbabwean citizenship.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Chamisa, his faction and generation cannot say "good morning" to those heroes. They were cut from a different cloth from the one Chamisa and his generation of student activists were made from.

They were liberators, who gave up their all and gave their all to the liberation of this great country.  Chamisa and his vice chairman, Job Sikhala's idea of heroism consist of childish activities at Harare Polytechnic College and the University of Zimbabwe's in unnecessary protests to solicit for cheers from other like-minded students.

The generations of the first independent Zimbabwe's leader were liberators and not collaborators with Zimbabweans' colonisers. Chamisa's generation, on the contrary, is made up of traitors who collaborated with the West to unleash evil, illegal and debilitating sanctions. Surprisingly, it is the same sanctions-fatigued Zimbabweans that Chamisa and company are using the generational issue to seek State power in order to rule over them.

Not ready to rule anyone

In his misguided tweet, Chamisa claimed that he and his colleagues were ready to rule. By all means, he can rule his faction and his household, but to put his lips together and claim State power on the basis of his age and generation and not an electoral win is to stymie and strangle the hallowed principle of democracy.

To claim that he is ready to rule Zimbabwe when the MDC has not only failed Zimbabweans through inviting sanctions, but also by the opposition's atrocious stewardship of the urban spaces under its control sparks of naivety.

The MDC was given the mandate to run some areas of Zimbabwe for the past 20 years, but proved that it was not ready to rule anyone.

If anything, the MDC is incapable of ruling anyone. Chamisa is unfit to run anyone, even a village.

Although the various MDC factions and formations have failed to rule anyone, including themselves, democracy generously allows them another bite of the cherry every five years.

During the 2018 elections, Chamisa demonstrated to the world that he cannot rule any country anywhere.

A politician who is aspiring to be a national leader familiarises himself with the anxieties and concerns of the people including those in areas deemed far-flung.

Presented with a democratic space which President Mnangagwa opened upon getting into office, Chamisa used his campaign time to show the electorate how irrelevant to its needs he and his party were. Some have accused him of squandering the opportunity, but they were wrong.

One is regarded as having squandered a chance only if he has the ability to use it properly, but chooses not to. In Chamisa's case, he naturally lacks the ability to make use of any chances.

Instead of telling the rural Murehwa folk how he would address their needs like clinics, schools, roads and income generation projects, he promised them village airports.

Instead of addressing the rural electorate's basic needs, he boasted of how he had met former US President, Donald Trump in December 2017 and was promised US$15 billion if he won Zimbabwe's presidency.

Yes, he and his deputy Tendai Biti visited the US in 2017 to beg the US government to keep the sanctions against Zimbabweans in place, but it turned out he never met Trump.

No American citizen promised him any cent. So much for an opposition leader who claims to be ready to rule Zimbabweans.

Power is earned from the electorate

Chamisa should know that State power is not obtained using entitlement phrases like "our turn". It is earned from the electorate through the democratic process of elections. The electorate chooses leaders on the basis of whether or not a candidate is worthy of one's vote and not on empty and baseless claims of wishes, turns and entitlement. The electorate chooses candidates with a heart for the people and a track record of serving them. Voters penalise candidates who place them under punitive and undeserved sanctions.

Chamisa, other like-minded opposition figures and other detractors should know that those who think that they are entitled to power solely by virtue of their age and generation will nurse lifelong disappointment.

Source - The Herald
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