Zimbabwe-Zimbabwe has been two countries for as long and far back as its birth. It has continued to develop since then, albeit metaphorically as a binary state.
First, some people say and so do I believe, there was the bi state, comprising of the SHONA Civilization State and the Ndebele Nation State. That perhaps explains the origins of the song “Kudala kwakunganje! Umhlab’ uyaphenduka! Kwakubus’ uMambo loMzilikazi”.
Then there came the settlers and the indigenous. Independence came, Zimbabwe then continued as two countries, this time the rich and the poor. MDC came into existence and Zimbabwe was in its binary form divided into the pro change against those for the status quo. The list of examples can make for a large thesis. With you having made a brief reflection on this important background, I want to explain to you the dichotomy dilemma of development in a country in two countries as we enter the season of elections in Zimbabwe.
The analysis of the arguments and philosophies behind those arguments indicate that the logical end game of the binary State is yet to begin though there is a clear case for the people of Zimbabwe to choose change against status quo.
As we enter the election season, Zimbabwe falls into two distinct schools of thought. The two broad schools of thought are as follows: those that want development with change and those that seek to see development without change. There are also the sub schools of those that want to see development led by the young as opposed to those that want to trust the future of the country to the very old. As if that is not enough, there is another dimension; those that want to see development supported by devolution against those seeking decentralization led development.
Controversially perhaps to some sections of Zimbabwe, Diaspora and locally, there are distinct categories in schools of thought that pitch those for the truth and reconciliation commission social justice driven development against those that are for silence and secrecy. Last, there is topical divide based on indigenization versus foreign direct investment. The rest of this contribution seeks to explain those paradigms in view of the imminent elections in Zimbabwe.
As logic dictates, prosperity comes with development and development comes with change. Predictably, to the rational beings, development cannot come in the absence of change. The sad fact about Zimbabwe is that everybody and literally everyone associates change with opposition politics to which some of us have sacrificed virtually everything that we ever possessed, including the little dignity left in a binary state of the rich and the poor, the corrupt and the victims. A binary State of the privileged against the marginalized, to which some of us belong to by virtue of being born on the wrong side of the political line in Zimbabwe. So what kind of Zimbabwean would choose status quo where there is choice for change? History will tell at some future time.
We all know that if you do something the same way, repeatedly and expecting a different result all the time, you are without any single iota of doubt practicing madness. Madness has no place in development nor can you measure it. That is the case world over including Zimbabwe. That madness will be in electing the same if failed political representatives to steer development in Zimbabwe. However, 2013 election provides a rare if unique opportunity to erase all that and start inclusive development on a clean slate.
There is no debate or argument whatsoever that the battle for the State House would be fought between the very old and the very young. By way of example, that will feature the liberation war veterans driven development against the born-free Zimbabweans post modernist development. The war veterans, we all know, want to hold the status quo.
In other words, they want to continue doing things the same way, repeatedly, and each time hoping to get a different developmental outcome. In simple parlance, that is madness. Who wants madness? I bet you, no one, including the genuine liberation war veterans, as we saw last week the ex ZIPRA declare that even those without war credentials have democratic right to the State House. The young versus the very old battle line is also evidential in Morgan T versus Bob M the incumbent president.
Who in their rightful senses would want to trust the delicate and complicated State developmental issues to a man on his life twilight? We would not do it as shareholders if Zimbabwe were a national corporation or indeed multinational entity. So why will people choose a national chief executive who they would not trust with subsidiaries? The logic, not me, should tell us that the younger is most likely to be the preferred choice over the octogenarian.
The binary State of Zimbabwe as we enter the election season is also evident in the calls for devolution driven development as opposed to decentralization development model. While even the discredited village politicians, as the likes of Paul T. Nyathi and Welshman Ncube are now known in certain quarters, can articulate the devolution centred development model so well, decentralization development is just about ambiguity and status quo. The people spoke in the past and more recently in the constitution-making outreach that they want devolution driven development.
However, the messengers of the status quo want people to believe that that people said is not devolution but decentralization. That is the same decentralization that they cannot explain to us and let alone the outside world. As such, devolution as opposed to decentralization will decide who wins the battle to the State House. However, given the articulation on devolution and that it takes power away from “vatai zvese!” and gives it to the provinces, and effectively to the ordinary people, you and me, I would not be surprised if devolution carries the day come election days.
The other very important if not extremely significant electoral battlefield is to do with the truth and reconciliation social justice developmental model as opposed to the secrecy and silence social justice model that the advocates of the status quo would want to see prevail now and forever. It does not require one to be a rocket scientist to realize that in the absence of true reconciliation and peace, there will never be sustainable development in Zimbabwe.
Keeping quiet and keeping everyone’s head in the sand can only serve to prolong the deep rooted anger, suspicions, fear, and so forth that may erupt anytime in the future thereby destroying everything that one generation would have sacrificed so much for. In that light, the people are more likely to choose devolution over decentralization, with a possible exception of the three provinces of Mashonaland East, Central and West, who in the opinion of many ordinary Zimbabweans have been chief beneficiaries of the corrupting current state.
Last, there is the indigenization versus the foreign direct investment driven development. What seems indisputable about the indigenization agenda is that it seeks to kill the rich in order to reduce the divide between the poor and the rich. More vividly, indigenization as we see it in Zimbabwe today, is about grabbing from the rich in order to create the “new rich” loyal to a particular political party. It is a socio-political model that we have now known to scare international capital.
On the other hand, foreign direct investment is about attracting international capital. That is making Zimbabwe a competitive destination for foreign investment. That means, also, being able to go beyond gaining investor confidence at national level but to the extent of being trusted as regional and international custodians of large-scale capital development projects.
Which way is the right way? The answer is simple. The right things are all those things that the proponents of status quo are fighting tooth and nail to avoid. In my mind without any doubt whatsoever, the Zimbabweans, in the absence of threat and intimidation, should vote for change-centred development.