Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dreaming of Nepal: A Criticism of Zimbabwe’s Democratization Mechanism (Part 3)

Despite many breaking news stories in Zimbabwe I want to continue to address the proverbial big picture in a bid to retain some perspective about where we are as a nation. This is the third installation of my "Dreaming of Nepal" series where I'm taking principles that undergirded Nepal's succesfull non-violent protest and evaluating them Zimbabwe through them. Read the first two here and here.

The third step in building towards succesful non violent protest is,
Let there be a build up of protest rallies in many villages and towns to culminate in one decisive protest rally in the capital city. (Take Over Tundikhel) Depending on the local conditions, you might face a military crackdown, or the regime might fall, or you might have to declare the formation of a parallel government that the international community must come forth and recognize.
Our grade: "C-."

Owing mainly to Zimbabwe's political heritage which has confined politics and political power mainly in Harare and some of the other bigger towns and cities, the protest movement has been essentially been centralized in Harare and Bulawayo. Even in 1998, when Tsvangirai ground the country to a complete halt, peripheral cities recorded only marginal involvement in the protest. Another way of seeing this is as manifestation of the exclusive nature of Zimbabwean politics; only the rich, powerful and educated feel empowered enough to exert themselves politically.

So if you're not rich, powerful, highly educated, or resident in one of Zimbabwe's urban centers you have very little political recourse. Tragically, as a third world country most of Zimbabwe's citizens are in one these four disadvantaged groups. Not that poor rural people deserve isolation from political involvement; it's not like they don't know what's best for them or that they cannot think for themselves. In Zimbabwe what is wrong with the country is as plain as daylight and people everywhere know this. The fact is none of Zimbabwe's political movements can do what it takes to restore the country without the involving rural people. Nepal's success derived not only from efficient planning in high places, but most importantly from the simple involvement of villagers from some of the most remote parts of the world.

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