The dilemma of young peo­ple in pol­i­tics

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Big Read -

Sim­ply put, loy­alty is a strong be­lief in an in­sti­tu­tion with an or­dained con­vic­tion of what it rep­re­sents and is built on. That con­vic­tion drives the con­gre­gant to be ready to lay down his life in de­fence of the in­sti­tu­tional cause. De­spite its de­mands of re­lin­quish­ing be­trayal, loy­alty is only suc­cess­ful as a be­lief, it is up­held in ra­tio­nal­ity and ob­jec­tiv­ity.

More­over, should the cause be in ques­tion or be­gin to lose trail, the loy­als should start to ques­tion and ex­empt them­selves from what­ever does not re­flect the ethos of what they were loyal to. Loy­alty is all about in­sti­tu­tions, not in­di­vid­u­als. Should you be loyal to an in­di­vid­ual you run the risk of be­ing a pup­pet — surely a Gi­a­petto cre­ation, with strings at­tached. In­di­vid­ual be­hav­iours shift and if one be­come loyal to an in­di­vid­ual, not an in­sti­tu­tion, they are easy to dis­pose, that is the rea­son we see most of the for­mer “glo­ries” in youth pol­i­tics look­ing very hun­gry in the streets — their loy­alty was in­formed by the pol­i­tics of the stom­ach.

One of the big­gest hur­dles in Zim­babwe to­day, apart from the his­tor­i­cally en­trenched eco­nomic paral­y­sis and the over­stated colo­nial legacy, is the fail­ure of the youth to ef­fec­tively de­fine it­self, its space and to re­main in its stip­u­late def­i­ni­tion. In the case of Zim­babwe, youths in po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions are not in­formed by prin­ci­ples of good gov­er­nance and proper po­lit­i­cal ethics, theirs is sali­vat­ing for ma­te­ri­al­ism even at the ex­pense of its iden­tity and the in­ter­ests that it is sup­posed to be rep­re­sent­ing. In most po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions, youth lead­ers as­sume the de­tec­tive’s du­ties.

At one time, I churned a se­ries which lo­cated youth in their at­tempt to re­claim their space, but I de­lib­er­ately left out those who have found them­selves in the caul­dron of vi­o­lence, be­ing the ma­chines of dis­ci­plin­ing the po­lit­i­cal elders. Through se­lec­tive in­tim­i­da­tion, youth struc­tures are used as a mech­a­nism to dis­ci­pline la­belled rogue el­e­ments in any po­lit­i­cal setup, they are of­ten dis­charged to con­duct some witch hunt­ing po­lit­i­cal or­gies which in most cases do not even re­sem­ble their in­ter­ests.

In par­tic­u­lar, it is the mil­i­tarist el­e­ment, re­gret­tably the most dom­i­nant fea­ture of most po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions that mil­i­tate against democ­racy, places lim­its on youth em­pow­er­ment and ul­ti­mately it pro­vides a du­bi­ous jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for all that is done in the name of the youth struc­tures.

We are re­gen­er­at­ing a cul­ture of em­brac­ing ex­ploita­tion as­sum­ing its loy­alty. We are keen to drench in sweat, chant­ing, trail­ing and cel­e­brat­ing ha­tred and an­i­mos­ity, as long as it ben­e­fits the shout­ing stom­ach we are ful­filled and ig­nore that we are nur­tur­ing a cy­cle of ex­ploita­tion for po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests.

I am ex­cited that young peo­ple have had the chance to have close con­tact with His Ex­cel­lency through which he con­verses with the fu­ture of this na­tion. It is the Zanu-PF Youth League which has fa­cil­i­tated this in­ter­ac­tion but I strongly be­lieve that the Pres­i­den­tial Youth In­ter­face tra­verses and stretches beyond par­ti­san­ship, it is an open in­vi­ta­tion to all young peo­ple to lis­ten to once a youth­ful and in­tel­li­gent man share his ex­pe­ri­ences and in­spire the cur­rent crop of young lead­ers. A point to pon­der, Pres­i­dent R G Mu­gabe was one such young per­son who re­fused to be ex­ploited in pol­i­tics. His de­lay into pol­i­tics was in­formed by his loy­alty to the be­lief that one has to first com­pre­hend dy­nam­ics of knowl­edge, con­trol of power in the world and a strong con­vic­tion that there is a lot he has to know be­fore he be­comes vo­cal and em­bar­rasses him­self.

I think it was Plato’s phi­los­o­phy which kept on rep­ri­mand­ing him from hop­ping into pol­i­tics “Empty ves­sels make the loud­est noise”. Dur­ing his youth­ful days, the Chik­ere­mas, and the Sit­holes were the van­guards of the strug­gle, but soon were eas­ily ex­ploited and dis­patched their loy­alty to the in­sti­tu­tion, in any case, they were ar­guably not as in­tel­lec­tu­ally acute like the young Robert then whom Colin Smith de­scribes as a dis­ci­ple of his own cause.

If we would ask His Ex­cel­lency to­day on where our loy­alty should lie, he would con­fi­dently tell us that “be loyal to the in­sti­tu­tion, be loyal to the repub­lic and be loyal to the peo­ple who elect you. Do not con­fuse loy­alty with ex­ploita­tion.”


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