HARARE – The seizure of copies of a new book by Zimbabwean authorities “gives our country a negative image”, Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa said on Thursday.
‘Democracy Works’ was launched at the SAPES Trust in Harare, overshadowed by the seizure of a consignment of the books by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), its publishers said.
Chamisa joined the book’s co-authors: Zimbabwe’s former finance minister Tendai Biti, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and Greg Mills of the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation at the launch.
“I was very disturbed to learn that the books were confiscated by the authorities at the airport. The state makes unnecessary and uncalled for decisions that give our country a negative image,” Chamisa said.
Copies of the book sent through DHL by the publishers in Johannesburg arrived in Harare in early March, but were seized by the CIO.
The book was launched in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg earlier this week.
“The treatment we received when we were launching Democracy Works in South Africa is different from the treatment we received in Zimbabwe, where our books have been confiscated,” Biti said at the launch.
Democracy Works was co-authored by Biti, Obasanjo, Mills and Jeffrey Herbst, the president of the American Jewish University. Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote the foreword.
Published by Pan Macmillan, the authors explore how Africans can learn to nurture and deepen democracy to guarantee economic growth and political stability. They argue that making democracy work relies on much more than having free and fair elections, but depends on what happens between elections – systems and institutions of government as well as what politicians want to do with the power they acquire, beyond the power itself.
Obasanjo told the launch in Harare that “democracy works for peaceful transitions.”
“Democracy is the best instrument for managing diversity,” he said.