We will do well not only to avoid but to eradicate narcissism in governance. No one should allow themselves the misplaced privilege of thinking their definition of the world is the only right way and everybody else has to fit in around it. Everybody has the right to be who they are and live their lives how they want. We do not want a repeat of the abhorrent Zimbabwe experience where for 40 years, and counting, people have lived under the fear of their government when it is meant to be in their service.
The greatest form of patriotism is questioning and calling out your country when it is behaving dishonourably, foolishly and dangerously. In Zimbabwe people are denied that privilege, telling your government the uncomfortable truth is punishable. We have a state that has expanded its boundaries and encroached into citizens’ lives to an extent of literally denying individuals the right to be themselves.
In an independent Mthwakazi federal state the pendulum must swing the other way, respect of individual liberties will be the core of our politics; individual liberties will be extended and Mthwakazi people need not be afraid of their government. Rather the Mthwakazi government should be afraid of its people.
We propose that Mthwakazi’s federal government be a team consisting of eleven members with equal rights. Each member of the government shall be the head of a department of the Mthwakazi administration, but all major government decisions shall be taken in weekly government conferences either by consensus or by majority voting of all eleven members.
The members of Mthwakazi’s federal government will be elected in a FPP system by parliament every four years as set in the Constitution after the parliamentary elections by both chambers of Parliament. We shall not set a legal limit for the total term of office.
Departments of Mthwakazi’s Administration
Energy and Industrial Strategy
Housing and Social Welfare
Education and Culture
Media and Sport
Medicines and Healthcare
The Mthwakazi President
We will have a non-executive president; the representational functions of a president will be taken over by one (or all) of the government members. Every year a different member of the government team will be elected president of the Mthwakazi federal state in turn so that every government member assumes this role once in eleven years. The president will be the first among equals with very limited special powers: he/she shall set the agenda of the weekly meetings and lead the discussion, address the population on significant national holidays/events or occasions and represents the Mthwakazi federal state on some international conferences. Official foreign guests would often be welcomed by the government as a whole.
Direct Democracy: Referendum and Initiative
This is a process adapted from the Direct Democracy of Switzerland framework and which we believe perfectly captures our political scenario and desire for the electorate to have greater say in how their government serves them.
- Frequent referendums on new or changed laws, budgets etc.,
– some of them mandatory
– others “discretionary” (50,000 signatures required)
- Ordinary citizens may propose changes to the constitution (“initiative”) (100,000 signatures required). Parliament will discuss it, probably propose an alternative and afterwards all citizens may decide in a referendum whether to accept the initiative, the alternate proposal or maintain status quo.
For the people to be closer to self-governance, Direct Democracy will be key and so will be frequent referendums to keep checks and balances on parliament and government. We perceive the positive functions of referendums as follows:
- increasing parties’ willingness to compromise (otherwise a defeated party will call for a referendum)
- encouraging coalitions (shared power motivates compromise, exclusion from power motivates obstructive referendums)
- increasing stability (as extreme laws will be blocked by referendum, parties are less inclined to radical changes in law making and voters are less inclined to call for fundamental changes in elections)
States level Constitutions and Administrations
To enhance self-governance and accountability, individual states [member states of the Mthwakazi federal state] will be free to organise themselves in ways that best suit their socioeconomic and cultural needs as long as they maintain mutual respect with other states, respect the federal constitution and laws and observe the rights of minorities. In a highly decentralised power setting, we are looking at states effectively managing such local departments as finance, education, industry, housing, policing, health, and transport in a manner that suits local needs. States will have their own constitutions and their own small governments.
In the Mthwakazi federal state we want to create a 21st Century state that restores values of humanity; we envision a country where there is mutual respect between the electorate and their government; individual rights are not taken for granted; a country where no one is allowed to be all-powerful, not the government, not even the voter. We see the greatest duty of the government to the electorate being to serve them first. Secondly, it is to provide a myriad of opportunities for them to learn so as to make independent and wise choices. The government does not exist to frighten, force or intimidate the electorate into submission, but to allow them access to an effective education so that they are armed with the knowledge and tools to govern themselves.