Locating the meaning of generational consensus
WELCOME to 2019, a year whose prospects are returns of austerity measures. Also, this is a year which is going to redefine MDC Alliance whose own creation — “generational consensus”, misrepresented as it is, will prey on the party and the “veterans” who conveniently supported it in February 2018 (I will write an article on this towards their elective conference).
To begin this year, I reflect on 2018 where a discourse, so prominent, whose theoretical provisions are plausible, but its misappropriation by MDC-A presents dire consequences both for their party and the nation. I argue contextually, not theoretically.
Reflections on GC’s (in) convenience
Pay attention to the context: The year 2018 witnessed a growing debate on topical social political and economic issues among them, the competitively defining of: “what does the generational consensus (GC) mean” particularly for both Zimbabwe and the Movement for Democratic Change. My independent analysis on GC consistently views it as an essentialist narrative whose sour products can be read from the growing discontentment of those who supported Morgan Tsvangirai but currently have irreconcilable differences with MDC-A led by a young Nelson Chamisa with advisory from his blue-eyed-boys. In this contribution I problematise the use of essentialist narratives by young people, specifically in a post colonial society which is recovering from the divisive colonial machinations. I argue that in as much as identity politics play a crucial role in meeting decentralised developmental goals, if used for the wrong reasons by the wrong people, it can be a nightmare to both nation building and national development.
This is the same discourse that has inculcated a culture of intolerance in the minds of many youths in the opposition, a case best defined as the politics of entitlement i.e. (if it’s not us it’s against us) as if participation in governance is limited to age or political parties. I maintain that there is no relationship between youth empowerment and this “generational consensus”; instead I conclude that it was just a campaign swindle for Mr Chamisa who was once accused of behaving like a 60-yearold in a young body by one prominent “Dr.” of a think tank organisation.
Death at a funeral
The context: Democracy died at Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral. Rationality passed too. It is shocking that this same figure that was dining with the so called old guard of MDC-A could suddenly wake up on the 15th of February 2018 as an authority on what is good for the youth if not what is good for Zimbabwe. It is without a doubt that there is more to this “generational consensus”.
In the 2018 harmonised elections there was a lot of ranting specifically from the G40-like MDC Alliance.
The noise specifically questioned the legitimacy of youth empowerment if the Republic is not led by a youth president.
Very little was invested in articulating the meaning and implications of this statement. The unquestioning youths who were using their stomachs as a guideline for political participation thronged the streets of “Harare” angry, calling for the undemocratic installation of Mr Chamisa who is allegedly the best thing to happen to the so called “Youths in Harare”.
Lest we forget, this is the same party not so long ago which was chanting “Save chete chete”, it is the same party which made everyone believe that Zimbabwe’s solution rests in the election of a 60+ year old Morgan Tsvangirai (MHSRP). Just a day after his passing, they suddenly erased the possibility of youth empowerment outside the “youth president” bracket as if they were not the ones who had endorsed the 60+-year-old Morgan.
For the sake of political expediency, the antiestablishment academics deliberately ignored the pitfalls of this nightmare called the generational consensus, even the senior opposition politicians ignored it deliberately assuming that if their plot of defrauding the unsuspecting masses succeeds, they will be roped into Government to share the spoils of a fraudulently acquired political fortune. Little did they foresee how Nelson is surrounding himself with those who control young people in all MDC-A’s constituencies.
For Mudzuri, Mwonzora, Hwende, Thabitha and many whose age is only a reserve for Senate, an elective conference that will oust them using “generational consensus” was far from thought.
Because a majority of Zimbabweans are intelligent, they saw through this façade generational consensus, an agreement between Mr Chamisa, the vanguard and the Zinasu “boys” (Take NOTE of “boys”, it will emerge later in the year as the conversation progresses).
The Chamisa, Vanguard and Zinasu factor Contextual misrepresentations: Firstly it is wrong for these three actors to assume that they have the monopoly of discretion over what is good for the youth. The Zimbabwean youth in their diversity have never at any point installed these three to speak on their behalf, in any case, the assumption that what is good for these three is good for the nation is a patently false claim in as much as the diverse interests of the Zimbabwean youths are concerned. The assumption that youths are best empowered when there is a “youthie” president is a lie. Relatively, the assumption that youths are disempowered when there is no youth president is even a bigger lie. There is nothing wrong with having a youth president; however, there is everything wrong when you try to blackmail the youth into uncritically electing a power hungry individual on the basis that he is a youth. It is equally wrong to assume that development only comes with the mere election of a youth. Development is an outcome of good policies, not age.
In its normativity, this discourse has constructed a pseudo sense of exclusion in the unquestioning minds of Zimbabwe’s opposition youths. It has falsely framed the loss of Mr Chamisa as a loss for the youths in general, an assumption which is definitely false in as much as youth affairs are concerned.
In any case these three should have at least done a research to determine the validity or the invalidity of this generational consensus. Let me offer evidence to these three “important” opposition actors. The United Kingdom is led by Theresa May who is not a youth, this does not imply that English youths are disempowered, neither does it mean English men are disempowered. Furthermore, this arrangement has not suspended development in the United Kingdom. Equally the biggest economies in the world for example the Unites States of America and China, are led by non-youth presidents, this has not in any way spelt that youths in those countries are disempowered. Even our neighbouring South Africa is led by Cde Ramaphosa who is not a youth. What this teaches us is that the “generational consensus” is just an electoral gimmick; it was never something to be taken seriously. It also teaches us that the dogmatisation of the youth issue is a lie; it is not ethical to go around telling people that development can only come if a youth president is installed while ignoring the phenomenal scientific evidence proving otherwise.
Dear reader, take note that this contribution does not say youths cannot bring development, it is just a response to the existing discourse on generational identities in Zimbabwe. I put it to you that the discourse is a lie peddled by Mr Chamisa and crew in their attempt to fraudulently hijack party power.
In fact, the generational consensus was/ is just Mr Chamisa’s campaign trick against his immediate rivals who were then Eng Mudzuri and a female Thokozani Khupe whose misfortune was of her gender expression and identity. It was just a divisive tool meant to divide MDC-A and Zimbabwe at large to benefit Mr Chamisa’s political career.