Thursday, October 27, 2005

Zimbawe options

The observant Zimpundit disagrees with my take over the participation of MDC to the next Senate elections in Zimbabwe. The way he sees it, the Senate will give voice to the opposition:

Our hope is manifest in the 26 MDC candidates who've filed their papers for the elections. In them we find an alternative. In them is our opportunity to express what we've been saying an feeling for the past ten years. They are the symbols of our silent hope to oust the Mugabe regime.

What Zimpundit hopes for would have a chance to work in a democratic country, not in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Mugabe will never give the opposition a voice because he cannot. Like all dictators with bloody hands, his only worry is to save his skin by staying in power. In fact, that’s all he has done since losing the referendum in February 1998.

The lack of a decisive leadership has crippled the MDC more than Mugabe's tricks. At this point, the MDC can only try to weather out the crisis and hope that the deterioration of the economy will anger people enough to react to Mugabe's devastations.



Green_Leader said...

How on earth will the Senate give voice to the people of Zim when the Parliament hasn't done that?! Does zimpundit seriously believe there will be a difference between the two??! Parliament doesn't help the people and neither will the Senate.

The MDC is correct in boycotting. It should not lend legitamacy to the insitution.

Zimpundit merely needs to look around and see how skewed the election process is. Why play a game that you are doomed to lose from the beginning?

zimpundit said...

I see and understand this predominantly pessimistic perspective that Green Leader and you share. Granted for the most part things are as they appear to you guys.

However, what you see doesn't represent the full story. It might explain the passivity of the shona half of the country, but certainly not for the Ndebele.

May I remind you that the Ndebele, have been inentionally and consistently marginilized by Mugabe from day one. Remember the Gukurahunde? (This was the brutal massacre of Ndebeles post independence carried out by the infamous Five Brigade.)

For five years these people, my people were heartlessly murdered forcing them into political soltitude. Need I say more?

Off course it didn't appear so to you the estranged obsevor because Mugabe colluded with some Ndebele leaders to form the Unity Accord of 1987. Frankly, Joshua Nkomo had little option than shake Mugabe's hand.

Since then, ZANU-PF has kept a steady stream of Ndebele puppets in it's ranks to pacify the potentially mutinous southern half of the country. But this hasn't given the people any representational access to the government. So both Matebeleland provinces have become the least developed regions of the country. If you've been anywhere beyond Bulawayo, you know what I'm talking about.

Make no mistake, the people have seen right through the ZANU charade and have harbored growing aspirations for true representation in government. In a real sense Zimabwe's short lived independence is yet to come for some of us, that is.

This very fact is the reason why the MDC swept all the parliamentary seats in both Matebeleland provinces (even in the flawed March parliamentaries!)This is why they (the Ndebele) voted that turncoat, Jonathan Moyo, into parliament. Bad as he'd been at least he brought banks, electricity, and roads right to center of their long forgotten hinterland.

Hence again these people have high hopes for the senate candidates. We the people would rather take a shot with people we trust and know will voice our concerns (which has never happened before) albeit in a flawed, nay, biased election.

Even if only one of our representatives is voted into senate, at least we'll have someone that really represents us--one of the very few since 1980.

In conclusion, let me remind the both of you that we the people realize that just folding over and admitting defeat is tantamount to volutarily returning to those days were our voice and disparity were muted by the Mugabe regime. We can't do that. We will never go back to that. Our voices and concerns shall be heard.

It might be ok from you vantage point to wait for democracy to descend on us before we agree to participate in an election, but we can't wait. We know and are going to abide by that famed principle that freedom/democracy is never voluntarily given by an opressor, it must be forcefully taken.

Given all this background which you may or may not have considered, that is the silent resilient hope of which I speak.

Green_Leader said...

I think we all agree on the end goal, i.e. democracy in Zim. The means by which this is achieved however remains the area of discussion.
Participating in a flawed system only lends credibility to it. Regardless if the Ndebele vote opposition or not, the process is not worth the effort. In a truly fair system the opposition would win 90% of the country. Ethnic lines do not matter. I would argue everyone equally hates Mugabe. We have all suffered.
If change is to actualize, it is not through having a senator or two from the MDC. Parliament shows this. It hasn't helped Zimbabwe one bit. There will be no difference in the senate.
Change will happen in the streets. We have seen throughout Eastern Europe that the power of non-violent protests to remove regimes. This is what Zim needs to have democracy.
Spending billions of dollars on a senate campaign won't fix the wrongs of Mugabe's rule. Only removing Mugabe from power and trying him will. Change won't happen from the Senate floor, rather it will come from the streets by ALL Zimbabweans.

zimpundit said...

You say, Participating in a flawed system only lends credibility to it. Regardless if the Ndebele vote opposition or not, the process is not worth the effort." I can't help but sense the difference between yours and my perception of democracy in Zimbabwe.

To me (and off course the Ndebele too), democracy is not a utopian ideology upon which we wait for the mitigation of our present circumstance. No, Zimbabwean democracy is about survival. It's about improving the way we've done life for years, and it about improving it now. It is the difference between who gets food aid in a country ravaged by famine and who doesn't. In fact it is the difference between life and death for many.

What you envision, albeit good (really good), does not measure up to the mundane realities in Zimbabwe today. Basically, I'm saying we can't wait for all of Zimbabwe to realize that the Ndebele have been at a comparative disadvantage all these years.

Notice I said in my last comment that the hope I'm talking about is about finally realizing Zimbabwe's independence for some. It's not even about getting Mugabe out of there, these people just want to catchup with the rest of the country.

It is wildly inaccurate to say that "90% of the country want Mugabe out." Again in an idealistic vacuum this would be nice. In Zimbabwe reality dictates otherwise. There's an undeniable "mutuality" between ZANU-PF and much of the country.

Most people look at the government and see their leaders; people who come from the same places they do and who, in a sense, represent them. And in a way, this idea that these are "our leaders" has become Mugabe's surety.

Many Zimbabweans are reluctant to remove Mugabe & Co. because they are not "they" per se: they are part of "us." I posit that to many a lay Zimbo, "Mugabe is a Zimbabwean just me." Given in shona,"mwana wevhu seni." Hence removing him would essentially be confirmation of that "we" cannot lead ourselves; a deeply ironic self fulfilling fallacy.

This is true for most Zimbabweans, but not the marginilized (and even at times maligned) Ndebele. See, these people haven't had leaders who are "our leaders" to them. Mugabe and his mostly Shona allies (and even some Ndebele stooges) remain to these people; "their leaders."

I'm not trying to stoke the tribal tensions here. I'm exposing the deep seated, justified excitement that (mainly the Ndebele in the MDC) have in the opportunities of the senate.

In light of this I must dismiss your statement, "Ethnic lines do not matter," as either the convoluted logic of a tribal/racial bigot OR an ignorant salvo from an elitist ideologue dispensed from the cozy confines of an estranged vantage point.

Ethnicity does matter. And yes while I may entertain your idea that "we've all suffered," it is true that some have suffered more than others. The senate presents an opportunity to gain lost ground for some however flawed, however it may seem only to endorse the system it may be to you.