Citizens must reclaim their space

HARARE - The Constitutional Court (Con-Court) is sitting in Harare today to hear a petition filed by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, challenging the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s declaration of President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa as the winner of the July 30 plebiscite.

By Friday, Zimbabweans should be able to know whether the Con-Court would have thrown out the order being sought by Chamisa or acceded to it.

Chamisa is praying for the setting aside of the Zec result and his declaration as the winner or a re-run.

But whichever way the case goes, Zimbabweans need to focus on reclaiming citizenry space, which refers to a process providing private individuals an opportunity to influence public decisions and to be a component of the democratic decision-making process.

To-date the country is so polarised and such polarisation has imprisoned citizens at the behest of lean political party interests.

Citizens must self-organise into units that can and should hold political leaders to account for delivery on basic issues such as jobs, social service delivery; and broader national development.

Our society has been fractured because we merely pack ourselves into either being in opposition or in the ruling party.

What this has led to is the lack of frameworks above political parties that holds politicians to account on delivery of important issues for the citizens.

We have had civil society try and help build this layer and play this role but our civil society has been weakened by being overly politicised and by failure to engage citizens and empowering them to pursue their own independent and non-partisan agendas.

For the country to develop and not be merely locked up in the perennially unmet hope of elections delivering development, we need to rebuild this citizenry platform.

It is therefore important that whichever way the result goes on Friday, Zimbabweans must quickly get over the pain of losing the elections or the euphoria of celebrating their win and focus on reclaiming their citizen rights, which currently do not exist.

It is vital that Zimbabweans eschew to join the progressive league of states where citizen rights flourish, among them Sweden, Norway, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Luxembourg and New Zealand and shun plumping into the category of states and territories seen as the world’s “most repressive societies, among them Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan.

Both the winners and losers must appreciate that they are basically in the same boat as none of them can claim to have the citizenry space.

Comments (1)

Much as the majority of Zimbabweans might yearn for peace, progress and success, how does one start a civil conversation to achieve that with a deceitful, unapologetic armed , rogue neighbour, who's just killed half a dozen unarmed people, is holding half the neighbourhood hostage but does not even have a clue on how to run the neighbourhood productively? Easier said than done methinks...

Sagitarr - 23 August 2018

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