HomeLettersMnangagwa shrinking democratic space

Mnangagwa shrinking democratic space

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says that Nelson Chamisa and his party will never rule this country: “Never…! never…! ever…!” How would that be possible in the event that they won at the polls? In response  Chamisa states that the triple-C party (and its supporters, of course) will never accept a rigged election. Is Chamisa wrong? No, he is not. Mnangagwa then construes Chamisa’s statement as courting violence, which is not true by any stretch of the imagination.

Mnangagwa quickly or conveniently forgets that it was his utterance, which elicited the kind of response that Chamisa gave. It’s podium politics. The late Robert Mugabe used to say the same thing about Joshua Nkomo. Amai Grace Mugabe in her hay days used to taunt the Lacoste faction and indeed anyone who opposed her husband by saying “VaMugabe vachatonga” even when he is in a wheelchair.

Former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Douglas Smith made his (in-) famous “Never in a thousand years” statement. These are what we call hyperbolic statements. In the Latin language they are called ad captandum valgus language. It is uttered namely for consumption by the mobile valgus (the movable or easily movable common people aka the excitable or changeable multitude).

Zimbabweans are like that. They are not politically emancipated no matter their level of education. The few who are politically emancipated are just a drop in the ocean and some of them shy away from even social commentary. Forty-two years from 1980 and we are still lapping up the putrid garbage that so-and-so will never rule this country, and we still claim that Zimbabwe is a democratic country. In a democratic country a leader, especially one who is at the helm of government, who utters such a language, would not last in office. That is for sure.

Zimbabweans are a nation in default. There is no-one to run the affairs of this country. The post-independence generation who benefited from free education now call themselves diasporans. They are engineers, medical practitioner’s economists, lawyers, religious ministers including televangelists. They even boast that they and their families have enough food on the table. Some of them are said to be Chamisa’s “advisors”.

Yes, they remit money back home. And yet money alone cannot develop a nation. Their advice, whatever that means, is abstract and worthless, and meaningless. Human capital, unlike monetary capital by way of remittances, which have only a marginal component of development consumption, is more important. Zimbabweans who are in the diaspora are individuals and not companies and/or organisations.

All that they can do once in a while is to organise amawoso/braai parties to “celebrate” some event or occasion. Back home Zanu PF is having a field day appropriating everything and everybody including the vulnerable and gullible youths. Those in the Diaspora, meanwhile, want to vote as diasporans. They don’t really understand the meaning of freedom and fundamental human rights, I suppose.

Back home though, Mnangagwa is denying Zimbabweans political freedom. This is a very archaic practice and originated from the antediluvian era when the oligarchs were ruling. We are in the postmodern era where political space is an endemic habitat for everybody.

Everyone knows about democracy nowadays. Mnangagwa by denying other parties and organisations space he is potentially driving them underground where there is “space”. And Mnangagwa is behaving as if he is a political novice when in fact he is a veteran even by world standards. Martin Stobart


Small-holder farmers must get value for produce

The Vendors Initiatives for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) conducted a multi-stakeholder dialogue on market access for small-holder farmers and informal traders in Bulawayo on March 22, 2022 where a total of 45 people from Chipinge, Goromonzi, Matobo, Gokwe and Binga participated.

The meeting sought to interrogate challenges faced small-holder farmers and informal traders with regards to market linkages and getting the competitive urge in local, regional and international trade. It also further deliberated on government’s policy environment and how it can be improved in order to enhance market access for small-holder farmers and informal traders.

In partnership with Zimcodd and BVTA, Viset successfully convened the dialogue allowing participants to go through the policy changes on market access since 1980 to date. Participants interrogated the developments and how policies such as economic structural adjustment programmes (Esaps) made changes on the welfare of workers to include those in the farming and informal sector.

Speaking on the sidelines of the activity, Gillian Chinzete the programmes manager at VISET highlighted the organisation’s commitment to facilitate dialogue on issues of market access, tax justice and the importance of informal traders’ participation in local level policy formulation processes. She mentioned that the organisation is working with small-holder farmers and the informal sector from the various districts as a way of ensuring well-coordinated efforts in influencing policy. One of the participants who is a village head, Mimbo Siansundu of Binga, from Mudimba Belshadzzar said that informal traders from Binga are facing various challenges as they are still doing barter trade because they do not have direct access to markets for their fish due to the exorbitant licensing fees they are expected to pay. He also narrated how the middle man is exploiting the fishermen, especially those from Bulawayo, he also went on further narrating how the trade takes place; either they come with a 2kg packets of sugar among other basics necessities in exchange of fish.

Issues of poor road networks, limited access to vending stalls, lack of access to markets, poor market linkages and exorbitant licence fees were noted as hindrances to the participants’ enjoyment of profits from businesses. The stakeholders highlighted that prices are typically based on a combination of supply and demand, trader cartels and customer loyalties. Participants agreed that there is need for coordinated efforts amongst informal traders and small-holder farmers to have gender responsive budgets from the various local authorities and these should be sensitive to the needs of the key informal sector players. They proposed that the government of Zimbabwe should invest in local infrastructure, improve on information dissemination, engage the key players in the informal economy in policy formulation and deliberately enhance the skills of the small-holder farmers and informal sector players as a way of enhancing market access and improving productivity.

Findings will be used to develop a policy brief and an advocacy strategy to guide the organisation as officers engage in lobbying and advocacy initiatives around issues of market access in Zimbabwe. Viset


Feedback

Public officials urged community members, especially the youth to desist from political and electoral violence. Speaking during the conflict management and peace building awareness campaigns held by the Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (Cotrad) in Masvingo province, traditional leaders, elected officials and Cotrad peace committee members’ expressed grave concerns over the resurgence of politically-motivated human rights violations mainly perpetrated by the youth. The Zaka district ward 19 councillor and Cotrad peace committee member one Imbayarwo implored the youth to resist manipulation by politicians in furthering their party interests through intimidating, harassing and beating up their political opponents.

He added that, the politicians themselves do not risk themselves by engaging in direct political violence activities, but employ the youth to secure their political power through violence. Therefore, if the youth desist from political violence automatically there will be a conducive environment for peaceful elections since the elderly politicians are not energetic enough to partake in violence activities.

Imbayarwo added that public officials should desist from sponsoring political violence but should ensure and strengthen social cohesion. He called upon all public officials to serve their communities impartially, ensure fair distribution of aid and facilitate the execution of government programmes in a non-partisan way.

It is everyone’s responsibility to guard against the disease of violence so that Zimbabwe remains a peaceful country. Cotrad calls on the youth to abstain from all forms of political violence, encouraging them to mobilise community members to register to vote and vote peacefully. Cotrad also urged the political party members to mobilise their support in a peaceful manner.

Section 67 of the constitution is clear that every citizen has the right to join and participate in the activities of a political party of their choice and campaign freely for a political party or cause. Cotrad 

 

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

NewsDay Zimbabwe will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.