HomeOpinion & AnalysisThere’s urgent need for political literacy in Zim

There’s urgent need for political literacy in Zim

BY TENDAI RUBEN MBOFANA

IN life, there are those things that never appear to make any sense, especially pertaining to our behaviour and thinking as human beings.

Have you ever wondered why someone would press the elevator button repeatedly in the misguided belief that it would speed up the process?

It never ceases to amaze me watching a person, who is late for an important appointment, tapping his wristwatch in the ludicrous hope that the time displayed on it would change?

Yes, such is human nature.

However, what I have found troubling is the distorted view that the person we elect into a position of leadership becomes our “chef”.

This, I have never understood, and possibly, will never understand.

Such an interpretation of the workings of political life and dynamics, is arguably one of the major reasons we are in this political, economic and social mess.

A key factor for national development is holding those we place in positions of leadership accountable.

Yet, how can we hold them accountable when we regard them as our “chefs”?

Such an erroneous and misplaced understanding of governance issues has resulted in many believing that the electorate is answerable to their elected representatives.

Under such a skewed dispensation, these elected officials end up acting as representatives of their political parties.

This situation can be described as the making of a typical dictatorship.

This is how we end up in a quagmire, such as the recent mutilation of our Constitution — through the medieval Constitutional Amendment (No 2) Act.

The majority of the country’s citizens were not consulted.

They were not accorded an opportunity to express their thoughts on the intended amendments.

The reversal of the 2013 referendum vote without the people’s consent can be equated to dictatorship.

That is why political literacy is needed in Zimbabwe.

Honestly, would it make sense that the person I would have elected into office becomes my “chef”?

Zimbabweans need to comprehend this basic tenet of democracy.

The person you vote for is your servant and should do what you instruct him/her to do or say.

In other words, they are answerable to you not the other way round.

Your local councillor is answerable to you.

Your mayor is answerable to residents.

Your MP is answerable to the constituents.

The President is answerable to the citizens.

The voter is the “chef”, not vice-versa.

Maybe the lack of knowledge about such basic tenets of democracy is the reason  many do not understand why we refer to the current administration as a dictatorship.

A significant number of people do not grasp that once national decisions are made from “top to bottom”, that is undemocratic.

The opposite should be the norm. We are in a mess because those we vote for to be our representantives in Parliament connive to enact laws without consulting us.

It is now time to demand our constitutional rights and hold these MPs to account.

They have reversed the country’s progress by eight years through the reintroduction of tyranny which we rejected in 2013.

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, author, and speaker. He writes here in his personal capacity.

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