It was the great Economist Adam Smith who said in his great work An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."
Nowhere is this more true and relevant than in the field of politics and governance. To paraphrase Adam Smith; “It is sheer folly to look to benevolence of a tyrant or some village idiot to safe guard and guarantee our freedoms and basic human rights including our right to free, fair and credible elections and even the right to life itself. The avowed self-interest of the two is not hold public office for public good but rather to profit as much and as quickly as possible.
“Being held to public account through free and fair elections is a luxury they can ill afford and therefore would do everything in their power to avoid; the tyrant will even kill to stay in power!
“It does not matter how prominent a role the tyrant and village idiot has played in the nation’s deliverance from the last oppressors; the taste of power always brings the primeval greed out of the tyrants and village idiots, they not only want power but absolute power. Whatever role they played in the liberation, the tendency is for them to blow it out of all proportion to create the impression nothing would have been accomplished without them; a necessary rouge with justify their claim for infallibility and bid for absolute power!”
With this Adam Smithsonian grasp of politics that it is self-evident that asking ourselves: What we want in independence Zimbabwe; is willfully inadequate.
“I want to be England’s new football manager!” Answered my five-year old nephew, “Mr. Cool”, the other day when I asked him what he would want to be! The family has been humoring him by calling “England Manager”!
Of course anyone can rattle on about what their expectations were before independence and black majority-rule. Zimbabweans have become expect at rattling on and on about what has gone wrong in the last 36 years of Mugabe’s corrupt and tyrannical rule.
“This is not the Zimbabwe we wanted,” many Zimbabweans will tell you.
One has no choice but to dismiss their moaning with the same contempt one would dismiss “Mr. Cool” was he to complain he is not England’s football manager. Zimbabweans have only themselves for finding themselves in this political and economic mess.
With the Adam Smithsonian understanding of politics the question that should have occupied their minds was not so much what they wanted out of independence but more significantly what they needed to do to secure their dreams and aspiration of freedom, liberty, justice and economic prosperity. What they needed to do to stop tyrants and village idiots from getting into power and then systematically eroding their freedoms and rights and destroying the national economy through mismanagement and looting, as has happened in the last 36 years!
So what exactly should we have done to secure our freedoms and basic human rights? This is the answer British Prime Minister, Winston Church, when he was asked a similar question.
“There are few words which are used more loosely than the word “civilization”. What does it mean? It means a society based upon the opinion of civilians,” explained Churchill.
“It means that violence, the rule of warriors and despotic chiefs, the conditions of camps and warfare, of riot and tyranny, give place to parliaments where laws are made and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained. That is civilization – and in its soil grow continually freedom, comfort, and culture.
“When civilization reign, in any country, a wider and less harassed life is afforded to the masses of the people. The traditions of the past are cherished, and the inheritance bequeathed to us by former wise or valiant men becomes a rich estate to be enjoyed and used by all.”
After 36 years of corrupt and murderous tyrannical rule by Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs it is impossible for anyone to fail to see the parallel between the regime and Churchill’s “rule of warriors and despotic chiefs”! The tyrant and his rogue war veterans believe to this day that, because of the key role they played in the liberation war, they are a cut above everyone else and entitled special privileges including the right to a veto on who would rule the country.
“We are the stockholders of Zanu PF and Zimbabwe,” Zimbabwe’s rogue war veteran leaders reminded Mugabe and the nation at large a few months ago. “You are stakeholders who come and go!”
In short, as far as Mugabe and his rogue war veterans are concerned they know best what is good for the country and for them to be democratically accountable to the people is simply unthinkable. Humbug to Churchill’s ideal of investing political power in the ordinary people, the civilians!
Nothing has illustrated more graphically Tsvangirai and his MDC friends’ failure to appreciate the importance of parliamentary democracy as the bedrock of a stable and competent government than their failure to implement even one democratic reform during the five years of the GNU. They showed a lot more than just being breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent; they failed to grasp the process of implementing the reforms, even now with the benefit of hindsight they still have no clue.
“The issues of reforms are not negotiable. We have to continue fighting to get the electoral reforms. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must remove all obstacles to free and fair elections,” Tsvangirai reportedly told his supporters this last weekend.
It is not a matter of ZEC removing anything; it never was! ZEC, the Police, Judiciary, etc. they are all nothing more than Mugabe’s hunting dogs. We need to implement far reaching structural reforms including constitutional reforms to take away the excessive dictatorial powers with no democratic checks and balances granted by the March 2013 constitution to the State President to give back ZEC, the Police, etc. their democratic power and independence.
“Mugabe must choose between these two options; a violent option where we get to a point where someone is shot with live ammunition because he or she was simply demonstrating, or when we reach a stage where Mugabe chooses to install his wife Grace as president then it becomes gloves off and we confront the regime,” continued Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai has never tabled any democratic reforms in parliament during the GNU or since the rigged July 2013 elections. He is clearly more confident staging violent street protest.
Mugabe is a man of violence, he has boasted of his “several degrees in violence”, and he is not one to shy away from a fight. The country being dragged into the repeat of the wanton violence of 2008. We need to implement democratic reforms not a repeat of the 2008 madness or worse!
The primary reason why our independence has brought nothing but suffering and misery to the nation is the ordinary people themselves; anyone who is so naïve and gullible to elect a corrupt and murderous tyrant today and a village idiot tomorrow cannot be trusted to elect competent leaders much less hold them to account.
“If you want to be the Manager of England Football Team,” I told Mr. Cool. “You must work hard and know all there is to know about the game, managing and motivating people, etc. That is a lot of hard work!”
To the millions of Zimbabweans out there who are unemployment, hungry and angry because this is NOT the Zimbabwe you wanted; ask yourself what have you done to ensure you get the Zimbabwe you wanted? For Zimbabwe to be a free, just and prosperous country, first we must have a civilized populous as contrast to the naïve and gullible one we have had so far!