|Let's talk - By Stanford Chiwanga|
|Saturday, 21 July 2012 21:42|
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Political polarisation: a weevil in the national silo
IT is a fact that Zimbabwe is a divided nation. A people divided by politics.Extreme political polarisation has taken root and the sad thing is that this polarisation was caused mostly by politicians who claim to have the best interests of the Zimbabwean citizenry at heart. Admittedly, there are other contributing factors that are beyond the politician’s control.
Politics in Zimbabwe has become so divisive that its players can be described as black or white. The public itself has become more partisan over the last decade that emotions and violence are inevitable whenever politics comes into play. The two major political parties have become so ideologically segregated that they have abandoned the core business of developing Zimbabwe to please their supporters.
This public opinion which has divided the nation and gone to the extreme has transformed itself into an ugly caricature as politicians are now using government programmes to reward those who are for them and to marginalise those who are not for them.
The feeling is MDC-T controlled city councils awarded and are still awarding tenders to MDC-T supporters and that only MDC-T supporters are chosen to benefit from the food-for-work programme.
Counter-accusations of marginalisation are levelled against Zanu-PF. The suspicion is that the land reform programme benefited people affiliated with Zanu-PF; that the grain loan scheme and particularly the Indigenisation and Empowerment programme are going the same way.
While members of parliament and senators from all parties claim that they represent all the people in their areas the truth is that they represent supporters of their parties. What they eat on behalf of everybody are the benefits from these portfolios. For instance both parties are said to have used the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to reward their supporters and to buy their votes for the coming elections with the promise of more political handouts.
Constituency offices have been turned into party offices manned by party supporters. It is unthinkable to see a Zanu-PF supporter employed in an MDC-T controlled constituency and vice versa. In other words qualification for employment in a given constituency is determined by party membership.
Development meetings whether they are at constituency, district, provincial and national level have been turned into rallies with attendees spotting the regalia of the party that is presiding over the event.
To make things worse the political parties are pointing fingers of accusation at each other and dragging the nation into a political wrangle. In the process the politicians have legitimised incivility, contempt and conspiracy theories. In a nutshell politicians in Zimbabwe have bolstered their popularity by feeding partisan division.
It is now hard to read the country’s various newspapers without getting the feeling that Zimbabweans are now divided into two camps — MDCs and Zanu-PF with the rest of the populace supporting the other parties which do not have the influence that the these two parties enjoy.
Due to this party fuelled polarisation, Zimbabwe is a nation with an unclear destination, confusion reigns supreme. It has a Government tasked with the responsibility to turn around the fortunes of the country politically, economically and socially but sadly that same Government exhibits the politics of a banana republic.