Encountering inconvenience unavoidable in politics

If your dream is to lead people and not just to acquire power, start seeing engaging the public as your essential work not an inconvenience in your journey. Latest social media news suggest resignations, dismissals and generalised allegations of internal disaffection and/ or conflict in one pro-Mthwakazi movement. While this is clearly a distraction, it is not the most catastrophic event in modern Mthwakazi political history. It in fact confirms the active existence of a pro-Mthwakazi movement. The concern however, is the wall of silence from the accused organisations.

Conflict and disagreement is inevitable in an organisation but conflict can and should be handled constructively; organisations need robust conflict resolution strategies; proactive communication departments are essential for effective internal and external communication. If disgruntled members have no outlet or lack confidence in internal processes they will leak concerns outside the organisation structures risking security and stability of an organisation.

Copyright © Aled Davies. Effective conflict resolution strategies are paramount for the Mthwakazi movement growth and survival

An alleged lack of internal democracy in a pro-Mthwakazi organisation has been trending on social media in the last few weeks. Allegations of widespread lack of constitutionalism, yet to be substantiated allegations of dictatorship and hero worshipping, arbitrary suspensions or expulsions and resignations from the organisation have been disclosed by sources supposedly close to the organisation. Apart from a purportedly official letter confirming the expulsion of the Secretary General of the organisation on social media, there has been no official word but more public confusion and speculation.

We recognise that the political organisation in question may rightly view itself as a private entity and feel no need to explain itself to the public. This raises ethical problems in that their ‘private’ business is built on the ideal of them representing public interest and its very value relies on public support. Saying nothing is actually saying something. It is important that the movement denounces that which it is against or the public might believe it supports things it does not.

We DO NOT claim copyright to the image. To avoid uncomfortable silence, organisations’ communication departments need to be proactive and ready to communicate in a timely manner and format accessible to its members and its constituency

Arrogance is not a good base upon which an organisation should reside. Public support must never be taken for granted, anyone who wants to represent us must be ready to conduct themselves like we expect them to. We believe allegations of a failure to maintain the integrity of their internal processes is good reason for the public to make a conscious determination to scrutinise their behaviour.     

Given the latest news of acrimony within the pro-Mthwakazi movement comes at a period when our people are reeling from an on-going political, cultural and economic emasculation overseen by a tribal, clueless government of Zimbabwe, we need not lose hope but remember for taking action one attracts attention – both good and bad.

We cannot allow ourselves to be driven into panic mode merely because a drawer has been jammed tight and we – temporarily – cannot figure out how to safely pull it out. First let us appreciate a jammed drawer is an inconvenience not a problem; the moment we learn to differentiate the two we will objectively prioritise challenges and distribute resources according to need which will enhance our efficiency in dealing with situations before their deterioration into crises.

As a political brand, the pro-Mthwakazi agenda remains a sleeping giant; it is a big brand yet to make a broad appeal. Indeed, we have a big challenge to unlock the reasons why such a huge brand has not reached even a third of its full potential despite all indicators suggesting its potential widespread support from our people – a population group that has endured sickening abuse from the ZANU PF administration since 1980.

We demand excellence; behaviours that undermine public trust play a huge role in public scepticism about the motives of the movement and need to be challenged. In a case of judging right or wrong, we will not adopt a position of neutrality, as Ayn Rand argues,

‘…the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway.’

Ayn Rand

Our movement must be transparent, take criticism objectively but accepting responsibility alone must not be misconstrued for a solution; it needs to be matched with action on the ground or the movement risks a withdrawal of the Mthwakazi constituency from the agenda; an action which could have a sizeable political impact in a sensitive environment already reeling from political apathy.   

Without a doubt, the alleged standards fall far below public expectations. The reputation of the pro-Mthwakazi movement needs rehabilitation, and quick. If anything, of the pro-Mthwakazi movement, the public expect something that is radically different from years of ZANU PF/ MDC politics anchored by tribalism. The movement will need to take a new bold and positive stance to avoid losing the very constituency that it has built its reputation and brand on.

For its credibility, it is critical that the movement tightens self-regulation measures while maintaining high standards of public accountability. Transparency can only empower the movement; if we do not maintain healthy communication with our base we will leave things subject to individual interpretation and risk a rejection of our narrative.

There are no easy choices, we must expect and be ready to face an uneasy, bumpy journey as we embark on a blitz of political interventions designed to signal a clean break from the repugnant ZANU PF politics. People are an essential part of what we do, if communicating with the electorate is an inconvenience to the movement, then the movement has no place in Mthwakazi. We must never leave the electorate outside what we do in their name; a fair amount of public scrutiny will allow a healthy convergence between the electorate and the movement. 

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