Zimbabwe: When political dust blurs the truth

Tapiwa Gomo
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POLITICS is a dirty game. It is full of lies and deceit as well as character assassination.

Develop me by Tapiwa Gomo

Real killing of nemeses is commonplace. It is a game full of unholy practices and double standards. The nature of the game is such that power is not given but taken. He who has a better plan wins the game. We have been and are currently witnessing these characteristics playing out in Zimbabwe.

Those who play the murkiest tend to win more often than the morally right.

This is because the game is about deceiving the gullible minds. Destitute minds tend to be naïve and vulnerable to manipulation.

Those who play it clean and by the book or try to remain on the high moral ground will always come short in the ballot box.

We have many good candidates who have fallen by the wayside because they did not choose the dirty route to become the trusted leaders.

It is the nature of the unfair game.

The paradox is that the victors out of these murky political processes turn out to be entrusted with the custodianship of national interests and managing resources, development and welfare of a society including national security.

Even after rising through unorthodox means, they are expected to convert so quickly and be trusted and morally upright, uphold the Constitution and the laws of the country and respect the wishes of the people.

What an irony.

There is always the lingering question on how a politician who rose through dirty means can suddenly be angelic and be trusted to run the affairs of a nation.

In developed nations, institutions of democracy tend to balance the power dynamics, ensure transparency and checks and balances on sitting governments.

This is not the case in developing countries where a winning presidential candidate tends to exercise unwritten absolute powers which they use to undermine whatever remains of the institutions of democracy.

This is why it is not easy to get rid of under-performing leaders because the day they take office, they tame all State security apparatus to protect themselves.

They become untouchable. That is what they do with power. It only takes good men and women to put themselves at risk and challenge the status quo for abusing power and neglecting national interests.

If the good men and women remain silent in a morally bankrupt situation, then they themselves will be in complicity with those corrupting society, thus dashing the hopes of a nation.

There is a huge challenge with just being right and standing by principles. This is simply because public opinion and perception are easily swayed by superficial theatrics and political wind.

The truth or moral high ground struggle, mainly in today’s sophisticated politics as politicians have
adopted the art of backing their lies with convincing evidence.

This has gone to the extent that standing by principle and the truth has become very hard, scary and is no longer a popular thing to do.

Even when the truth is right in our glare, people tend to be easily blinded by cheap politics because it is
sweeter and it appeals to their emotional question than the mind and rationality.

This is why the truth remains highly risky and some people are suffering and some lost their lives in their struggle to stand for the truth.

When one looks at politics in Zimbabwe today, there are a lot of levelheaded people with high leadership acumen, who have sacrificed and compromised their principles and followed the crowd driven by political winds.

This is largely due to lack of courage and the fear to stand alone for the truth. This is how the journey to freedom and prosperity is either killed or is elongated.

In a scenario where the masses are oppressed, they tend to cheer any political wind that threatens to remove the oppressive force even when the wind itself is destructive to their wellbeing and values.

It is moments such as these when the truth becomes unpleasant to some of the masses because of an over-obsession with the removal of the oppressive force oblivious of the destructive nature of the wind.

When no one is willing to budge, the bigger picture gets lost.

Sticking to the truth is not just a matter of principle or moral reputation, but keeping hope alive and
holding on to the compass of the bigger picture and long-term vision — one that recognises that the oppressive force and the destructive winds are raising dust that is blurring the desired future.

Sometimes, retaining the truth requires stepping out of both the dusty battle between the oppressive force and the political wind or the comfort zone and into the unknown space, into the cold and make a loud call for order and attention to the truth.

The masses may temporarily refuse or resist to face the truth because of the perceived hope that the wind would one day uproot the oppressive force.

Once the people realise that the political wind is pursuing its own interests, they sooner or later realise
that their interests should have defined their truth.

There is a huge difference between the pursuit of a better Zimbabwe and wanting this or that political party to be in power. Let’s pursue a better country than follow political winds.

This article was first published by the News Day