Justice must be served to Matabeleland citizens and accountability is the one single factor that will save our politics from the abyss. Whether true or false, the current allegations of lack of accountability against some Matabeleland focused groups are an unwelcome political distraction. Accountability in politics is quite literally the foundation of trust. It can be argued that in the absence of good accountability within our political space, there are risks that the extraordinary trust granted to these organisations can be misused, or that resources can be wasted through inefficiency and poor management.
The biggest problem with the current political space is that it is authoritarian but simply exploiting whatever instruments of democracy can be located to legitimise the unethical practice by leaders and the elite. Levelled against some Matabeleland focused groups is the allegation of an erosion of transparency and of the presence of rogue leaders who have made it a culture to illegally interfere with the workings of formal institutions of their organisations.
Evidence of the extensive damage to African politics due to unaccountability is out there for all to see – on a daily basis in the seas in north Africa, African youths risk their lives swimming across the sea from Morocco to a Spanish territory. The youths are escaping poverty from their motherland and our Matabeleland dream is that the politics affords the youth real opportunity to confront their leaders than run away from an arrogant leadership.
Disagreements are normal in social and political institutions because how people view a problem and what influences their prescription of solutions is a by-product of many factors both in individuals and the institutions themselves. Also true is the fact dispute and discontent in any human run organisation cannot be avoided, but addressing them must be an expectation hence our priority. But, as pointed earlier, we live in a world in which oftentimes than not leaders will not play by the set rules of their organisations and by the canons of decency. And for a long time we have grown accustomed to authoritarian systems, where the public role is to praise leaders and where asking them to explain their decisions and actions has been turned to appear as somewhat discourteous and rude behaviour.
Sharing of information is important to democracy. We can no longer accept unaccountability as a political norm; we will demand accountability from any organisations who wish to represent our interests; we will have to force them to have rules that restrain their leadership.
Tolerance, transparency and accountability are inseparable; one has to be disciplined enough to consider and accept the possibility that their brilliant ideas may not suit the current challenges and time. Look at the thickness of my lenses and the colour of my glasses, you will understand why I am seeing what is not currently visible to you. That despite looking in the same direction at the same time you cannot see what I am seeing is not evidence of its objective absence or me suffering from a serious mental disorder but many other factors in between you and the object of concern. We see the world from different perspectives and our interpretation of what we see is a by-product of an amalgamation of multiple factors in our life experiences.
We shall therefore not stop you from seeing what you are seeing, all we ask of you is to be open about your version of the world you are seeing and why you want to take us there with you; in turn, we shall take you through our journey of the world we see. Instead of shutting each other down, let us sit and discuss our versions of what we see, perhaps we will come out with one colourful world that benefits all parties or we shall agree to disagree and move our separate ways.
Public accountability is important in every society as it underpins the allocation and use of power. It is through accountability that Mthwakazi people will know how pro-Matabeleland groups are doing and how to gain redress when things go wrong. Accountability ensures representatives are acting in the interests of the people they serve; it is a fundamental aspect of good governance and it can increase the trustworthiness and legitimacy of an organisation in the eyes of the public.
We the public have the moral duty to discredit and root out of our political space a moral code that glorifies unethical conduct. Political organisations may view themselves as private entities but if they are seeking to represent us, they must be prepared to listen to what constitutes our interests and be open to public oversight. It has been proven that the main reason for the growth and institutionalisation of corruption is a culture of secrecy with an endemic lack of transparency and weak institutions for carrying out credible oversight and securing accountability. A mutual exchange of truthful and timely communication of issues of concern is essential to building public trust and strengthening relationships.