THE DANGERS OF ELITIST POLITICS IN A MILITARY DICTATORSHIP

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Leonard Makuya

“Our Revolution is not a public-speaking tournament. Our Revolution is not a battle of fine phrases. Our Revolution is not for sprouting slogans that are no more than signals used by manipulators trying to use them as catchwords, as codewords, as a foil for their own display. Our Revolution is, and should continue to be, the collective effort of Revolutionaries to transform reality, to improve the concrete situation of the masses of our country”~ Thomas Sankara
The Zimbabwean Opposition leaders must descend from their political balcony and join the dance-floor politics with the masses if ever the struggle for democracy is to be realized. That the opposition leaders must disembark from their high horses of political elitism cannot be overemphasized. Since time immemorial, outstanding Military Generals like Napoleon Bonaparte have always led their troops from the front. You can imagine the morale of a soldier fighting side-by-side with his General. This is what is painstakingly lacking in Zimbabwean opposition politics.
Revolutionaries are ground oriented. They are always with the people. They are hands on and very much attentive to the needs and cries of the masses. Nevertheless, the cries for justice from victims of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s callous and vile rule have not been loud enough to move the opposition leaders into action, to vehemently seek justice and protect their people from a violent regime.
First it was innocent and unarmed protestors who were brutalized and murdered by the army on 01 August 2018, then the 14 February 2019 massacre of protestors by the army and now the abduction of three MDC-Alliance Youth Leaders. There are many other callous acts that are not political such the doctors and nurses’ strike, the demolitions of vendors stalls and the latest being, the battering of women from Crowdry Park by the police and the murder of 25 year old Levison Ncube who died from hemorrhage and trauma after assault by ZRP officers for allegedly violating lockdown regulations
In all these unjust instances the opposition has consistently responded in a predictable and ineffective fashion. Visiting the victims, issuing press statements and harvest the political sympathy that comes along. Yet building political currency through sympathy or victimhood is grossly ineffective and unsustainable. It is never a viable strategy if anything it exposes you as weak and devoid of strategy. If ever there has been a time where the “unofira mahara” sentiment has been vindicated it is now more than ever. The regime knows very well that it can maim and brutalize with impunity and the opposition will complain, issue press statements, make a few headlines and life goes on.
However, there are serious and far-reaching costs that comes with political elitism. People end up feeling used and abandoned. The moment people notice lack of personal sacrifice and selflessness from their leaders marks the death of selflessness from them. Zimbabweans are a courageous people. Zimbabweans are not scared. However, people automatically rally behind a leader who stands firm with them in their struggles. The 20 years of resilience from the opposition vindicates this position.
When leaders exhibit a misguided sense of self-importance the people will consequently also hold back. The struggle seizes to be selfless yet no struggle can thrive without self-sacrifice both from the leaders and the masses. The people should be at the centre of the struggle not as supporters but as active participants. Inversely, opposition leaders must be genuinely involved in the daily struggles of the people and fight together with the people.
Opposition leaders must come down from their safe havens and protect their supporters from state brutality, as to how it is for them to figure.
Only a people-centred struggle will bring lasting change!
Aluta!

The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Dangwe News but the author himself.Leonardo Makuya is a Lawyer, Human Rights and Pro-Democracy Activist, Author and Political Analyst who can be contacted on +27 643 573 472. 

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