What is it about pol­i­tics we don’t un­der­stand?

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

POL­I­TICS is made with the head, but it is cer­tainly not made with the head alone. In this, pol­i­tics is a strong and slow bor­ing of hard boards. It takes both pas­sion and per­spec­tive.

Cer­tainly all his­tor­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence con­firms the truth that man would not have at­tained the pos­si­ble un­less time and again he had reached out for the im­pos­si­ble.

But to do that, a man must be a leader, and not only a leader but a hero as well, in a very sober sense of the word.

And even those who are nei­ther lead­ers nor he­roes must arm them­selves with that stead­fast­ness of heart which can brave even the crum­bling of all hopes.

This is nec­es­sary right now, or else Zim­bab­weans will not be able to at­tain even that which is pos­si­ble to­day.

Only he who has the call­ing for pol­i­tics is sure that he shall not crum­ble when the world from his point of view is too stupid or too base for what he wants to of­fer.

Only he who is in the face of all this can say “In spite of all!” has the call­ing for pol­i­tics. It is such com­pre­hen­sion that is want­ing in most of my peo­ple to­day.

You failed to asses Evan back then and you in­deed are fail­ing to an­a­lyse Ad­vo­cate­man-of-the-cloth when he en­snared you to sub­scribe to his pop­ulist chan­nel; you mud­dled pol­i­tics of re­li­gion with the role of re­li­gion in pol­i­tics. It is such schizophre­nia that crushed your civil op­ti­misms to pulp. Next time re­mem­ber what I said.

This lec­ture, which I give at your in­vol­un­tary re­quest, will nec­es­sar­ily dis­ap­point you in a num­ber of ways. You will nat­u­rally ex­pect me to take a po­si­tion on ac­tual prob­lems of the day.

But that will be the case only in a purely for­mal way and to­ward the end, when I shall raise cer­tain ques­tions con­cern­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of political ac­tion in the whole way of life.

Now to our sub­ject mat­ter. What do we un­der­stand by pol­i­tics as a vo­ca­tion? Pol­i­tics, just as eco­nomic pur­suits, may be a man’s av­o­ca­tion or his vo­ca­tion. One may en­gage in pol­i­tics, and hence seek to in­flu­ence the distri­bu­tion of power within and be­tween political struc­tures, as an “oc­ca­sional” politi­cian.

We are all “oc­ca­sional” politi­cians when we cast our bal­lot or con­sum­mate a sim­i­lar ex­pres­sion of in­ten­tion, such as ap­plaud­ing or protest­ing in a “political” meeting, or de­liv­er­ing a “political” speech, etc. The whole re­la­tion of many peo­ple to pol­i­tics is re­stricted to this. Pol­i­tics as a vo­ca­tion is to­day prac­tised by all those party agents and heads of vol­un­tary political as­so­ci­a­tions who, as a rule, are po­lit­i­cally ac­tive only in case of need and for whom pol­i­tics is, nei­ther ma­te­ri­ally nor ideally, “their life” in the first place.

The same holds for those members of state coun­sels and sim­i­lar de­lib­er­a­tive bod­ies that func­tion only when sum­moned.

There are two ways of mak­ing pol­i­tics one’s vo­ca­tion: Ei­ther one lives “for” pol­i­tics or one lives “off ” pol­i­tics. By no means is this con­trast an ex­clu­sive one. The rule is, rather, that man does both, at least in thought, and cer­tainly he also does both in prac­tice.

He who lives “for” pol­i­tics makes pol­i­tics his life, in an in­ter­nal sense which is what most na­tion­al­ists de­picted in the past years since our lib­er­a­tion.

Ei­ther he en­joys the naked pos­ses­sion of the power he ex­erts, or he nour­ishes his in­ner bal­ance and self-feel­ing by the con­scious­ness that his life has mean­ing in the ser­vice of a “cause”.

In this in­ter­nal sense, ev­ery sin­cere man who lives for a cause also lives off this cause. The dis­tinc­tion hence refers to a much more sub­stan­tial as­pect of the mat­ter, namely, to the eco­nomic. He who strives to make pol­i­tics a per­ma­nent source of in­come lives “off ” pol­i­tics as a vo­ca­tion, whereas he who does not do this lives “for” pol­i­tics.

Let me con­firm to you how these par­ties, like so­cial movements are in busi­ness and the pop­u­lace is the mar­ket com­mod­ity. How­ever, a new wave of en­trepreneur­ship has emerged, new ide­o­log­i­cally starved ones rob the masses of their hard ac­quired rea­son­ing, mak­ing them be­lieve that per­ma­nently fail­ing mod­els are mirac­u­lously changed only to re­alise that pol­i­tics is a way of life, that those who are not called to it, do not sur­vive, they serve a tem­po­rary mood and dis­ap­point fol­low­ers. It’s a trend in op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics. They se­lec­tively or per­haps are ig­no­rant, that it’s a mat­ter of de­vo­tion and call­ing, just like priest­hood.

“Ev­ery evil be­longs to Zanu-PF”; is the avowal on ev­ery op­po­si­tion politi­cian’s lips. It is ab­surd how ev­ery op­po­si­tion fail­ure has been at­tached to Zanu-PF in­ter­fer­ence. I said it in 2016 in one of my writ­ings, and I still say it a cou­ple of years later.

When they fail to make cred­i­ble de­ci­sions as a party, they blame Zanu-PF, when they suc­cumb to com­pe­ti­tion pres­sure, they blame Zanu-PF, when their lead­ers mis­guide them they blame Zanu-PF, ev­ery fail­ure is al­leged to be Zanu-PF machi­na­tions. I think its high time op­po­si­tion joins Zanu-PF once and for all be­cause there is no essence in com­pet­ing in a plateau where you al­ready as­sume that your com­peti­tor will out-do you.

The prob­lem is we use stom­achs to think than our brains.

When you are hun­gry you cease to ra­tio­nally think, all you think about is how to sat­isfy that grum­bling stom­ach and not use your head to make de­ci­sions that will feed you, your fam­ily and gen­er­a­tions to come. When­ever a new political phe­nom­e­non emerges, peo­ple throng with al­le­giance, as­sum­ing its re­demp­tion for them, but re­demp­tion from what, is my ques­tion.

My peo­ple do not take time to eval­u­ate their re­deemer who in ev­ery case fails and they turn to blame Zanu-PF for mech­a­nis­ing that fail­ure.

I then won­der why one would con­tin­u­ously not join Zanu-PF, if it is that good at thwart­ing op­po­si­tion. The height of naivety is when your party fails and you cre­ate con­spir­a­cies of how Zanu-PF has a hand in it; 1) as­sum­ing that its true; you are con­firm­ing that Zanu-PF is that good in com­pet­i­tive ter­rain that your party was out-done again; 2) be­cause it’s a lie, the fact that you think that Zanu-PF is ca­pa­ble of do­ing it con­firms that you con­sent that they are good at do­ing it, ei­ther way you con­sent that Zanu-PF is a political head­lock against its com­peti­tors.

When you think of it be­ing able to do what you al­lege, you do not deny the weak­ling of op­po­si­tion, the fact that you thought of it is con­sent enough. Bvuma! Zanu-PF is that good!

It is at this point that you hear pedes­tri­ans and even es­teemed political “mavericks” blam­ing Zanu-PF for al­legedly plant­ing its peo­ple to dis­en­gi­neer op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics. Well, since op­po­si­tion par­tic­i­pates in a multi-party democ­racy where the political space is com­pet­i­tive, they should ad­mit that they have been out­done. Again!

My gist is to en­lighten my fel­low com­rades that op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics, whether we call it a so­cial move­ment should re­frain from its political hypocrisy and big­otry.

When you adopt demo­cratic cul­tur­al­ism, do not for­get that it’s a com­pe­ti­tion and stop as­sum­ing that peo­ple can­not think on their own with­out be­ing paid. Be­cause you are paid, it doesn’t mean we are also paid to think this way.

Last but not least, let us not fool our­selves that Pa­tri­otic par­ties have lost sup­port. Pol­i­tics does not hap­pen on Face­book and in chat groups.

Deep in the heart of Muzara­bani, Mad­abe, Sian­sundu, the elec­torate does not sub­scribe to Twit­ter, the only so­cial me­dia there is ra­dio, whose re­cep­tion is a pan­golin.

This is where peo­ple are. This is where real pol­i­tics hap­pens.

Pol­i­tics is made with the head, not with the other parts of body. The most ef­fec­tive politi­cian is one who can ex­cite the emo­tions of the peo­ple who fol­low a leader with a bal­anced head.

I am tired of sen­ti­men­tal quan­daries by day dream­ers. Let us wait for 2023.

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