HARARE – The apocryphal story of two Zimbabwean politicians forced to go to the moon and not return until they had formed one political party is legendary.
They came back to announce they had formed three parties.
Perhaps more than any other story, it illustrates the Zimbabwean love for political diversity.
Certainly, it is untruthful to claim most Zimbabweans would love a one-party system.
That is balderdash.
Most Zimbabweans were excited about the formation of the Movement of Democratic Change in 1999.
At last, the people could decide on their own who they wished to be in their government.
Zanu PF itself steered a safe course, allowing the new party free rein.
It was only after the results of the 2000 elections were out that the “pati yeropa” realised it had been duped.
There had been some violence against the MDC.
But Zanu PF had believed most voters “knew” who to choose: the lessons beginning with the 1980 election would not be ignored — so they believed.
The party lost 57 seats just like that. It would not make the same mistake next time — “Tamba wakanjera” — “The Zanu way” would be applied again.
Yet, the end of the one-party political era must be at hand, notwithstanding the strange results of July 31.
There will always be other parties in any Parliament in Zimbabwe.
The people now love the combat in both Houses of Parliament.
They love it when opposition parties bring into the public arena the seamiest side of Zanu PF — its corruption.
Most people, even those bored into stupor by politics, are almost always delighted when someone brings out the darkest side of Zanu PF.
In reality, the people should determine deliberately the end of the one-party system.
At the beginning of the struggle, there was need for unity to fight the colonialists.
There was no logic in the formation of three or four parties with the same goal.
In fact, part of the reason why Zimbabwe would not follow Malawi and Zambia in achieving independence after the end of federation in 1963 was the virtual proliferation of political parties in Zimbabwe.
Some of them had been openly infiltrated by certain parties wearing the “nationalist” badge, but in reality only disguised as champions of the “majority” cause.
A diversity of political parties is good for democracy.
For Zimbabwean politicians not entirely familiar with real democracy, the system has become synonymous with support for the Western kind of democracy — in which everything is permissible.
But in a real democracy, there should be no limits.
As long as the laws are not broken or infringed in any way, there ought to be total freedom of association and affiliation.
In any democracy, the creation of a one-party system should be outlawed by law. It’s the only safeguard for true democracy.
This reminds me of this very popular song which speaks of a mother chewing the food, ostensibly for her baby.
But then she swallows it all. She leaves the baby still howling with hunger.
The Oliver Mtukudzi song has the refrain, hamunyare (You’re not ashamed).
I now know why I hate the one-party system — it’s as shameless as a mother who swallows the food intended for her baby.
The leaders of the single party in power are in it for the money.
That may be crude, but “power” on such a scale can only translate into obscene, illicit wealth.
Although both China and Russia have not entirely abandoned their brand of socialism, neither Mao Tse-Tung nor Vladimir Lenin would applaud what they have done to Marxism-Leninism. – Bill Saidi