Strong institutions central to politics

Building and sustaining our political organisations would require an honest investment in effective, accountable and transparent institutions and responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.

Poor political organisation is directly linked with instability which in turn leads to poor social, economic and political outcomes and weak institutions that alienate the public from active political participation resulting in de facto dictatorships in Africa.

To create an effective Mthwakazi, a holistic structural transformation of the political organisations is required if the political space is to meet the needs of the people. This will also allow for the effective and safe transition from the political ideological conceptualisation to practise.

Serious organisational restructuring and the building of strong supporting institutions is needed to ensure political accountability and that organisations are not turned into private enterprises chasing secret goals that aim to advance interests of certain individuals or groups or communities and not others.

No organisation should operate on the assumption that what is right for it is automatically right for the public, instead the focal point should be the assumption that what is right for the people is right for the politicians.

This should not be taken to suggest we are against progressive politics. No we are certainly not; encouraging progress, social and political change must be every politician’s target, but not without the people. No organisation should leave itself the indignity of effectively operating further from the communities they seek to represent.

We are victims of a system that sort to manage than empower us, that must never be repeated. Zimbabwean independence has achieved most of what is was set out to do; it has always been configured to suppress diversity and subordinate Mthwakazi.

On the contrary, we are seeking to promote access to opportunity, extend safety, security and freedom to all of our citizens. Institutions will be helpful in building systems driven by objectivity while allowing emotions and differences to be expressed safely without damaging social cohesion.

Political opportunism will take any organisation so far but the long-term political growth will only be achieved and sustained by strong institutions. Attempting to unpick, exclude and openly expose certain communities to vulnerability leaves all communities in a diverse region like ours vulnerable to vices of politicians. Instead of certainty and stability, populism creates uncertainty and generalised anxiety.

Institutions may not be bullet proof and can be abused by individuals, but they provide the best protection for the public against rogue political elements.  

Weak institutions often reflect a short history, lack of respect of one another due to lack of clear internal processes of resolving conflict. What is vital about institutions is that they provide the entire political process the fundamental aspects of predictability and transparency.  

People need to understand that governing effectiveness, the regulatory and legal environment, corruption, and levels of transparency have a greater bearing in shaping our political space and capacity.

Strong institutions do not only maintain checks and balance within our system, they maintain the semblance of the group. Institutional checks should promote healthy conflict resolution and prevent winners from excluding and aggravating losers, and thereby prevent new grievances from emerging in the post-conflict period.

The environment created must provide potential future rebels with channels to participate in the political system – such as political parties, civil society or local elections – it should be possible to solve potential conflict through peaceful, rather than violent, means.

You have a highly sensitive economic world watching every step you take; investors want to know what you stand for and even more significant, they want reassurances of the stability of the economic environment, the safety and security of their investment.   

The local constituency wants to know what the parties stand for, what they are doing right now and what the future plans are before they commit themselves to our agenda. Easy access to information will be important in helping the public make decisions about their choices. But, first, we need to know what we are doing.

For political effectiveness and progress, we need strong institutional capacity. Our people must be actively involved in the creation of the laws and inclusion of those value systems that govern their everyday lives. Political parties must exist as facilitators of progress, allow people enough room to design the environment within which things happen.

What we are increasingly seeing is that in the absence of healthy institutions, basic underlying philosophical conflicts are increasingly escalating into polarised political positions in which compromise seems impossible, leading to lack of capacity to take action against state abuse and weakening pro-Mthwakazi political organisations’ position as potential representatives of our people.  

An institutional process for eventually resolving disagreements is critical to the growth of the Mthwakazi agenda. We need clear internal problem resolution processes that would allow for conflicts, cases of impropriety and generalised political dysfunction to be contained and addressed safely without inflicting perceptual and/ or real damage to the broader image of the Mthwakazi agenda.

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Published by RESEARCH HUB

a political and policy research hub with interest in Mthwakazi human rights, safety and security.

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