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Eradicate or modify executive presidency for the good of Mthwakazi

In this blog we have made no secret of our reservation over accumulation of executive power anywhere within our government; a concentration of executive power in one person has been the focus of our critique. We are particularly concerned about the amount of responsibilities laid upon individuals and believe it would require superhuman ability for anyone to safely discharge those. It is for this reason that we have been open in our admiration of the Swiss government system that shares executive power as broadly as possible.

Drawing from evidence of systems based on executive presidency across the world, and Zimbabwe in particular, allowing one person the authority to make executive decisions alone is an assault on democracy. A mere acknowledgement of Mthwakazi’s diversity is meaningless if not reflected in the distribution of executive power. We need a radical political change and a system that produces leaders who will reflect and speak up for the country and nation.

Globally, what we are seeing on the ground attributable to executive presidency is disturbing, in the USA a single person is allowed to use powers vested upon them to use what is predominantly emotionally charged judgement and ‘pardon’ or ‘forgive’ felons; this problem of vesting too much power on an individual is further evidenced in January 2017 when Trump unilaterally decided to ban entry from several Muslim-majority countries, basing his decision on the unfounded notion that Iranians and Syrian refugees were too dangerous to allow into the country. In Tanzania, the late President Magufuli bypassed employment law to fire on the spot civil servants who he judged to be ‘incompetent’. In Zimbabwe, the late Mugabe authorised and enabled the murder of unarmed citizens from Matabeleland alleging they were dissidents.

On August 6, 1945, the office of the American presidency became too dangerous for a human being to oversee competently. With the dropping of the first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima, Japan, and three days later on Nagasaki, decisions undertaken by President Harry S. Truman, the office of the US presidency, became too dangerous for the world. More than that, American voters had no idea that the secret project to build the bombs was even underway.

Wilson Dizard (2020)

We are not saying the office of presidency role must be abolished in its entirety but we propose that the role be modified, the executive power be withdrawn from an individual and instead be spread and effectively shared across the Mthwakazi nation.

In addressing problems of power, Switzerland adopted a Principle of subsidiarity in which powers are allocated to the Confederation (equivalent to our Mthwakazi Federal State), the cantons (equivalent of our provinces) and the communes (an equivalent of a municipality/ city/ town/ district/ village).

The Confederation only undertakes tasks that the cantons are unable to perform or which require uniform regulation by the Confederation.

Significantly, under the principle of subsidiarity, nothing that can be done at a lower political level should be done at a higher level. Where a commune is unable to execute a certain task, the next higher political entity, i.e. the canton, has a duty to provide support.

Reflecting the above, Mthwakazi or Matabeleland would have to move away from a system that promotes individual competition for executive power to one that promotes unity and nation building. We need to deregulate power and determine the allocation of tasks to different levels of government; executive decisions should be brought down to the people who are impacted by those decisions.

Years of executive presidency as part of a modern-day Zimbabwe have widened the gap between social and economic groups. It is our solemn belief that democracy is threatened and not enhanced in a system in which the sweeping power of a president is given to one person; we conclude that an executive presidency is not desirable; for a successful country we do not need Kings and Queens for hire, but a system that will better serve Mthwakazi (or whatever name people want the country to be called) would be one in which power is fairly and safely shared across the nation. We want a system in which all communities are fully represented in the decisions and actions that affect their lives, and that should apply at all levels of government.


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