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ZUNDE on Governance and rule of law
03/03/2014 00:00:00
by Moses Chamboko
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ZUNDE on Politics and the rule of law
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This is the first of a three-part series from ZUNDE on Governance, Politics and Rule of Law

IN 1677 a teacher in governance called B de Spinoza had this to say, “Men should be governed in such a way that they do not regard themselves as being governed, but as following their own bent and their own free choice in their manner of life; in such a way, then that they are restrained only by love of freedom, desire to increase their possessions, and the hope of obtaining office of state.” (Tractatus Politicus)

“What you need around here is a government that isn’t afraid of doing a little governing”, says Peter Sellers, an actor of recent times. We hope we are adding value to what Tendai Biti was saying the other day about democracy and governance. ZUNDE subscribes to the idea that governance is all about the capacity to steer society, the economy and how to reach collective goals, the capacity to make and to implement policy decided upon with the involvement and consent of the people who are being governed.

Governance, as a concept, that dates back to as far as the 14th Century. It has seen turbulent times; sometimes government is looked at as a solution to societal problems and at other times is regarded as the problem itself. The mid-to-late 90’s when Zimbabwe was going through turbulence of its own, price controls and food riots, etc, the rest of the world was transforming to new forms of governance, what has come to be known as the new public management (NPM). They were for the first time putting more emphasis on allowing the market to play a leading role in societal development as opposed to the traditional model of government characterised by bureaucratic rigidity in service delivery and public administration.

Today the world has advanced to an even better phase of new public management characterised by perfecting democracy and good governance in world government systems. Zimbabwe has experienced little, if any, of this and has largely stayed behind world trends on governance. The chaotic land reform programme policies, Operation Murambatsvina, Gono’s one man style of governance and economic model never practiced anywhere in history and the latest SalaryGate are just but a few examples indicative of the crises of governance that have contributed to where we are today. While we boast of being the most literate country south of the Sahara, we are totally illiterate in matters of governance. There are no institutions of research nor are there scholars in governance that contribute towards teaching ourselves correct governance practices.


A few of our professors in political sciences have left us in no doubt about our lack of capacity as people skilled in the art of governance. Zimbabwe has become a whole factory of corrupted and corrupting chamber, where our people are even beginning to think that bad governance is normal; that things are working well in Zimbabwe when they are not. If they can get what they want through corruption and a badly run or non-existent economy, to them, that represents progress and normalcy. Before the July 31st election, some people were even suggesting and wishing there were no elections; that elections were totally disruptive as the country was likely to slide back to the pre-2008 meltdown that had brought economic ruin, hyperinflation, poverty and death.

ZUNDE understands that politics, governance and the rule of law are there to advance individual liberties; that each person must be able to act as he or she chooses without interfering with individual liberties of other people, within the law. The recent events regarding violence against Elton Mangoma are a total antithesis of what ZUNDE believes in. We believe that if people act in good faith, honestly and deal with each other fairly, they have the capacity to resolve differences through debate and argument rather than violence bloodshed and war.

We are not suggesting that violence does not happen. As Nelson Mandela realised in his Long Walk to Freedom, sometimes the oppressor dictates to the oppressed how they react to oppression and denial of freedoms. The oppressed start to mirror what the oppressor does. Violence sometimes breeds violence especially where the oppressed begin to feel it is better to die than live in perpetual servitude.

For ZUNDE equal opportunity gives all individuals an equal chance to realize their respective potential. We believe that toleration, forbearance, and the willingness to give others the right to think, to speak or act in ways of which they disapprove is both a guarantee of individual liberty and a means of social enrichment. We promote debate and intellectual progress as a means of testing the abundant free market of ideas which is healthy. We believe that authority and social relationships should always be based on consent and agreement of the people on whom the authority will be exercised. We want to see representation and democracy encouraged; and government must be a reflection of the consent of those governed.

Governance is therefore much broader than government. It relates to the various ways through which social life is coordinated. Government is therefore seen as one of the institutions involved in governance. It is quite possible to have governance without government. Governance is reflected in markets, institutions, hierarchies and networks and, in governance, the distinction between state and society starts to get blurred. The world has moved on and ZUNDE believes Zimbabwe can also move closer to modern forms of governance. It will take time to catch up but it can be done. ZUNDE believes Zimbabwe has a lot to catch up to do if we must live in the modern world of democratic good governance.

Today we talk of e-Government which Zimbabwe is still yet to practice. Isn’t it bizarre that an ICT specialist in Harare should spend hours or days queuing at Makombe Building just to get a passport form which can be downloaded on an iPad by a first grade pupil in less than three minutes? Today is a time for new public management NPM (not “public administration” that Jonathan Moyo was talking about giving a lecture the other day at the university). We talk of the growth of public-private partnerships (PPP), and the increasing importance of policy networks. There has been a shift from the command and control model towards reliance on consultation. Zimbabwe has lost two decades of growth towards good governance and ZUNDE has the vision to push the country forward to the present. Our policies shall demonstrate exactly that.

ZUNDE Information and Publicity – ZUNDE www.zunde.org; info@zunde.org

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