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Madhuku revels in the status quo
21/07/2010 00:00:00
by Psychology Maziwisa
 
Opposition ... Madhuku's ANC opposed to constitutional process
 
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THE notion that, to qualify as people-driven, the current constitution making process must exclude politicians and be spearheaded by civil society is as malevolent as it is misleading. Of course, the case is pushed most assiduously by various interest groups in a naked and doomed attempt to claim relevance without losing the high ground.

It is a proposition that discloses the cancerous condition within Zimbabwean society where some individuals have become desperate to the point of saying anything, however erroneous or self-serving, solely to raise their own profile and impress generous donor communities. Nothing could be more treacherous.

South Africa’s wonderful constitution is considered among the most advanced in the world with, among numerous other progressive provisions, an entrenched, finely crafted and generally respected Bill of Rights – yet it is the product not of any consultative process among the populace but of discussions and negotiations between political parties.

Not only were the leadership of the African National Congress and the then ruling National Party influential in both setting in motion and determining the negotiation process, they were also influential in deciding its substantive outcomes.

The point is that, while the involvement of civil society in a democracy is fundamental, the fact that it is not at the forefront of the drafting process does not render the resultant constitution any less people-driven.

Objective tests are more reliable than out-and-out grandstanding – and those tests can easily be stated. Were the people’s views sought? Were those views freely provided? Both must be answered in the affirmative to pass public scrutiny.

If there are reservations about the content of the new Zimbabwean constitution, it should not be because the ZCTU or, worse still, the NCA and ZINASU, elected not to be part of that process or merely because their ‘important’ input was disregarded. It will be because the people’s views were not sought or that their ability to express them was curtailed.

There is a dangerous absurdity in the argument that, because Dr. Lovemore Madhuku and his backslappers feel they have been sidelined in the crafting of a new constitution, the whole country should for that reason alone blindly ‘reject’ the outcome. Such stunts serve no constructive purpose.



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In part, this posturing explains why as Zimbabweans, after so many years of fighting for emancipation, we have yet to defeat tyranny. Whereas our enemy has remained determined, resolute and united, we have displayed a dangerous and damaging inclination to act disjointedly with neither unity of purpose nor meaningful coordination.

Self-indulgence cannot be pitted against discipline with any hope of obtaining a satisfactory outcome. At every moment in the history of our struggle our ability to advance as a people has been hindered by the discord which has of late found expression through Madhuku and company.

In truth, if we fail to see the importance of acting in concert and speaking with one voice as one people, one nation, then we are indeed doomed.

If all that should matter is for Dr. Madhuku, for instance, to be revered and exalted whenever there is talk of a constitution just because he is chairman of an organization with the word ‘constitutional’ in its name; if all that should count is to criticise even the most progressive of initiatives simply in order to save oneself from the embarrassing prospect of being irrelevant; if our failure to think, speak and act as a people united actually serves to promote the dictatorship rather than dismantle it -- then those seeking a free and democratic country will ask, ‘Why bother?’

Morgan Tsvangirai’s failure to mobilise Zimbabwean people-power makes him and his MDC just as culpable as Madhuku and the others, if not more so. At best it represents a woeful lack of leadership. At worst it smacks of a desire to hold on ferociously to a monopoly of opposition politics in Zimbabwe.

We need Morgan Tsvangirai to encourage and promote unity of purpose among the many disparate groups of Zimbabweans committed to restoring and sustaining democracy in Zimbabwe. We need his charisma and inspiration to rally every progressive individual, organisation and party into one united front if we are to win the battle against tyranny.

Zimbabweans pay heed: unless and until we speak and act collectively with one voice, as one people, one nation, our enemy will continue to revel in the status quo and tyranny will still oppress our society for many more years to come. Political posturing, disorganisation, self-interest and disunity have nowhere been known to disturb, let alone destroy dictatorships. Far from posing any threat, they are the very elements that enable tyrants to divide and rule. Of all nations, we should know better. We must act on this knowledge.

Psychology Maziwisa is interim leader of the Union for Sustainable Democracy. E-mail him: leader@usd.org.zw


 
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