Beyond the New my foot!

Beyond the New my foot!
Published: 18 March 2019 (182 Views)
In the past few months, I took some time to reflect on the role of political parties - specifically political parties in Zimbabwe.  I came to a simple conclusion - while political parties serve several functions in a democratic system, in Zimbabwe it's about membership.

All political parties in Zimbabwe are after membership fees. They are not interested in members' values or ideas like in any other democracies, they are interested in your money. In any other democracy, political parties are be interested in gaining control of government institutions to implement their policies, provide policy alternatives, identify and train political leaders, and serve as a link between citizens and government.

In Zimbabwe, political parties are controlled mafia style. The role of a member is to contribute membership fees. Only select gang members ascend to positions of leadership, it has nothing to do with a member's values or skills, it's about the loudest praise-singer. This is true with any Zimbabwean political party, yet the Zimbabwean Constitution is very clear about the role of political parties and the rights of citizens.
Subject to this Constitution, every Zimbabwean citizen has the right:
a. to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organization of their choice;
b. to campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause;
c. to participate in peaceful political activity; and
d. to participate, individually or collectively, in gatherings or groups or in any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or any political or whatever cause.
The Constitution is very clear, but the reality is sad. It will be unfair for me to single out any political party, but I am tempted to bring to the fore the Movement of Democratic Change Alliance. They have a Congress in the works where they are supposed to democratically elect leaders. This is a party that claimed to be the party of excellence, a beacon of democracy yet the in-fights are threatening the very existence of the party. Competition in MDC-A is seen as destabilizing and individuals are being targeted for belonging to a faction.

As I mentioned before, this vice is present in all political parties. Unfortunately, it has spread to all levels of our society. Take for example doctors and nurses cannot come together to advance their grievances. Teachers have camps, lawyers feel special to join any other group and yet their grievances are the same with everyone else. The price of petrol will affect a ZIMTA teacher, a PTUZ teacher, a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, a student, a woman, and every member of the society. Why do we feel it's important to raise these issues within our body politic? Power!

Instead of representing the interests of citizens or members, the competition is about members and membership fees. New ideas are not entertained, the outcome of the elections does not matter - we already know the winners and the losers. The competition is about the leadership of the winning team or the losing team.  

Politics should be about public service and improving the lives of citizens. Political parties exist to help people solve the problems they face in their daily lives. In Zimbabwe politics is about the pocket; if you suggest a project that will uplift the lives of ordinary citizens, your head will be marked with an 'X'.

- Sam Wezhira


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