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Tribalism or ethnic disharmony retards Zimbabwe’s development

By Nomazulu Thata

Tapping wisdom from Zambian humanism, Tanzania’s Ujamaa and German’s multi-culturalism! They implemented social policies that made multiculturalism possible, coped well in integrating multiple societies and still today these countries are global pioneers of ethnic and racial integration in their societies.

Nomazulu Thata
Nomazulu Thata

All the aforementioned philosophies failed in their own respective countries. Why would one seek solutions that failed in their implementation in those countries? When we say these noble ideas failed we look at what remained intact that is still very attractive from these three countries to adopt their developmental successes to a tribally ailing Zimbabwe. Multi-kulti in Germany was declared a failed attempt before it was even implemented.

Social policies of Zimbabwe should be inclusive to all provinces of Zimbabwe

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President Nyerere’s Ujamaa was inclusive, President’s Kaunda’s philosophy of humanism was inclusive, and German’s multi-culturalism is inclusive. Inclusion is a term in modern political landscapes that bring together different groups of people under one jurisdiction in a single country. A dictionary will define inclusion as follows: “Inclusion is defined as a sense of belonging, feeling respected, valued for who you are, feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that you can do your best.”

When Zimbabwe got its independence in 1980, it made ground-breaking social policies that gave the people of Zimbabwe a sense hope. Because Zimbabwe inherited a healthy treasury from Smith’s UDI government, they were able to embark of massive educational programmes both in rural and urban areas.

The national budget allocated 17, 3% towards education alone to ensure rapid expansion of educational resources that improved the quality of education in all schools be it in rural or urban ones. Primary and secondary schooling became free and also too primary education became compulsory, a reform that designated a minister to keep the maximum school attendance to all children of Zimbabwe; education is a human right.

The number of school children doubled and there was need to improve infrastructure development and teacher training colleges doubled too, to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. The climate of education was boosted by the students themselves who were motivated and dedicated, politically it was an “educational miracle” said Clayton Mackenzie. All these reform were meant for all the children of Zimbabwe.

But because the educational policy of Zimbabwe right from the start was not inclusive to all, thousands of children missed the golden opportunity, they were left out, mostly the rural children of Mathebelelands, North and South and some in Metropolitan Bulawayo itself.

Since 1980, there were some regions that were not assessable by any government officials to boost reforms; the Gugurahundi atrocities that started in 1982 to 1987 effectively hindered any form of educational reforms and school infrastructure improvements that were taking place in other regions.

What kept these schools still managing to perform however way, were the durable infrastructure developments that the colonial Smith’s UDI regime left behind. The absence of birth certificates to some of the children in Mathebeleland excludes them systematically from attending schooling in the first place. These children were born in the height of the genocide activities in Mathebeleland and Midlands.

Tanzania’s Ujamaa was a people driven philosophy that emphasized the importance of man regardless of his tribe and race. Education was a sacred cow for the people and the government equally.

Education represented a tool for the country’s development and rapid industrialisation and the implementation of Ujijini. (Ujijini were land reforms based on the philosophy of Ujamaa) Social mobility was made possible if one attained post primary education and those who completed the secondary and tertiary education, the then aspired for those well-paid jobs in the modern sector.

Those were the socio-and-economic realities that barely contradicted the aspirations of the people and the government development goals. And hence the education policies of Tanzania’s Ujamaa were wholly inclusive of all ethnic peoples of Tanzania to be able to achieve the noble goals of Ujamaa.

The language Kiswahili too facilitated inclusivity in Tanzania’s social and economic development. The language Kiswahili, just like English language, was not owned by any ethnic group, but was a language that developed along the coastal regions of Tanganyika where slave trade and interconnectivity of races through trade and intermarriages took place. Kiswahili became useful in the new Tanzania’s reform programme, to be used as the language that facilitated education in the primary and secondary schools.

In the course of facilitating educational reforms in Tanzania of the 1960s, no region was left behind in terms of educational social policy implementations; hence the peoples of Tanzania’s ethnic groups developed a bonding of oneness, one people, and one nation.

The German chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel declared multiculturalism as dead! “We kidded ourselves that THEY wouldn’t stay but leave Germany politely,” said the chancellor. Indeed those were platitudes dressed up as epiphanies just to impress and satisfy the popular mood and sentiments back then. She had to say this as the elections were around the corner. But Chancellor Merkel is not a populist politician!

When the German law makers realised that the migrant workers were not leaving Germany and that Germany was as a matter of fact an immigration country that is constantly recruiting skilled migrants to boost their gigantic economy they had to rethink how they were going to integrate the migrants in Germany and be part of them. Integration is a two way street that demands both the Germans and the migrants to live together side by side.

The German authorities realised too that Islam is part of Germany as long as they have over 5 million of the population that are Muslims permanently resident in Germany. The German government under Dr. Angela Merkel developed a national-integration-plan that will give sustainable solutions to a multi-kulti society.

Initially they formulated a policy plan called “German leading culture” as the focus for integration. This was rejected by the migrant population and most Germans who were then taking the multi-culturalism seriously. “Deutsche leit-kultur” smacks of arrogance, was to mean Muslims would be forced to choose between practicing their religion and adopting German identity.

Again the German government, having developed the integration-national-plan, they decided to invite migrants and develop road-maps that would bring sustainable integration policies. There were integration summits and conferences in all federal lands. Above many other suggestions that came up in their consultation period, learning the German language and shepherding youth of immigrants into employment was of paramount importance.

Most immigrants especially of Turkish origin lived in Germany for many years but never made an effort to learn German language properly, a prerequisite to integration and multi-culturalism, they tend to remain strangers even almost 50 years presence in their guest country. They formed ghettos in most big cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. It is in these cities where Migrants live parallel world with poor living conditions whose children have no prospects of good education and career development.

Migrant workers are poorly educated and can barely read and write. What they sell in German labour market is their manual work, domestic labour, jobs, the main-line Germans shun to do, jobs of manufacturing industry and building constructions. It goes on to say that children born of migrant workers with very little or nothing in terms of education, even their offspring, there is not much emphasis on education that can be the router to alleviate poverty and marginalisation in the German main stream. About 30% of migrant children do not have a formal school leaving certificate; about 10% have completed A-level schooling.

One in three children in Germany belongs to the immigrants working in Germany; this is a big constituency considering that Germany has a population of 65 million. The German law makers would rather they targeted the children of migrant workers through their program called inclusion, to be given good education and shepherd them to get skills so that they do not become a burden of the state by demanding social benefits.

German culture is a culture that attaches decency to work-ethics. Here, again inclusion is buzz-word, emphasised ever to achieve reasonable multi-kulti society. Inclusion is an educational program that is intended to give all children, including those of immigrants, the opportunity of participation in the highest possible quality education services in the community.

Nobody should be excluded in this program for whatever reason: a worthy societal objective. Immigrants are still coming to Germany together with a large number of low-skilled Middle Eastern, Africans and Asians refugees willing to do those domestic market jobs. Germany is going to need new concepts and fundamental changes to make inclusion a success.

There is a general accepted notion in the whole of Western Europe that if ethnic minorities in their respective countries were given equal opportunities at an early stage in their lives, good education, better living conditions, (not ghettoes living standards) equal employment opportunities for all citizens and minority migrants, and we should not see terrorism in the streets of European countries.

Terrorism, especially in France is bred by exclusion in all social aspects of their development leading to resentment and bitterness, subsequent revenge especially from the younger generation born in these countries as they have nothing more to lose in their lives.

Hate speeches, genocide denial, incitement of masses should be considered criminal

 I take Germany as an example of good practice, considering the challenges they faced after the WW2. The German laws transcended to suite current judiciary obligations such as hatred of migrant foreigners and their marginalization by the main-line German population. Morden Germany has a constitution that guarantees all its citizens and all other nationals living in Germany freedom of press, speech and opinion. However there are publications, hate speeches and utterances that do not promote inclusion of ethnic minorities living in Germany.

Chapter 7 Section 130 of the criminal code states the following: quoted from the German Criminal Code. (Strafgesetzbuch StGB) “Whosoever in a manner capable of disturbing public peace:

  • Inciting hatred against a national, racial groups, religious groups or a group defined by their ethnic origins, against segments of a population or individuals because of their belonging to one of the aforementioned above groups or segments of the population or calls for violence or arbitrary measures against them or;
  • Assaults the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously maligning an aforementioned groups or segments of the population or individuals because of their belonging to one of the aforementioned groups or segments of the population or defaming segments of the population shall be liable to imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years”

Holocaust denials is a crime in Germany, such a person is guilty of “Volksverhetzung” which means incitement of the masses to hatred. Use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations such as the neo-Nazis-swastika and Nazi flags is criminal act.

Hate speeches, references or attacking a section of people in the society on the basis of attribute such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability or sexual orientation is criminal. Hate speeches, gestures, writing materials that incites violence is criminal. Racist expressions allow minorities to be categorised, given a negative tag tied to them, therefore it is directly harmful to them, it’s considered criminal.

The German constitution is imparted on the growing children: school as the entry point. Approaching children at early age to respect human life and human beings is paying greater dividends, a plus point in boosting multi-culturalism in German society.

If the children are treated equally at school, they will take this as their own personal alues, to respect one another, it does not matter who you are, where you originally come from. In 2005, Dr. Merkel said multi-kulti has failed!

In 2015 Dr. Merkel is hailed as the “Mother” Meme, by tens of hundreds of minority groups now living in Germany. In retrospect, multi-kulti is a big success in Germany. Racial problems still exist, but they have a competent judiciary system at work.

It is worth repeating it all over again that if there was any genuine coming together of ethnic groups and races and forming meaningful multi-cultural societies in Zimbabwe, this can be done and nurtured after the fall of Zanu PF in government.

The reason is that since 1980, Zanu PF has used hate speeches against other ethnics and political groups ever to get in power. As if we have not learnt anything the past 36 years, just yesterday, President Mugabe is again inciting violence to quash dissenting voices coming from war veterans and this happened just yesterday.

Not long ago, Mr. George Charamba denied the existence of Gugurahundi atrocities committed by Zanu PF in Matabeleland and Midlands. In Germany, he would have been imprisoned for denying the existence of Holocaust, rightfully so. Loss of life of that magnitude: Gugurahundi genocide went unpunished. Does it surprise us then that President Mugabe is shaking his matchbox again threatening a repeat of that violence that matches the Gugurahundi atrocities to silence the war veterans?

Perpetrators of genocide must be punished so that there is no repeat in history of such atrocities. Divide and rule has been Robert Mugabe’s ticket ever since he came to power. To this date Mugabe is busy manipulating peoples of Zimbabwe, totally destroyed the economy by consciously making useless journeys abroad without any economic meaning attached them but doing so out of absolute self glory.

He appears not to be aware of the dangerous situation he is putting his own family into when he dies? People are not happy about the looting of country’s resources, the Gushungo family have allowed themselves and his close subordinates. And his young wife and children and grandchild, where will they resort to after his death?

Nigeria’s Pressident Muhammadu Buhari gave us a beautiful example how to recover looted treasury that has been externalized by the ruling elite, he brought back the loot worth trillions of Naira, billions of US and British pounds and Euros.

We shall do the same; we shall recover all the money looted and all the looted properties that do not belong to them by right. President Mugufuli of Tanzania is showcasing the definition of political correctness in the sense of the words and deeds. If we had ten Mugufulis in the continent, we would indeed effect change for the better, to better the African peoples.

Sorry for deviating from my essay, I do get carried away especially by current events in our Zimbabwe’s daily lives shaped by politics of absolute greed. I wanted to take a break and share my frustration with you without having to stop my pen from drying. I am sure we share the same political disposition.

Zambia’s humanism a replicate of Ubuntu; Hunhu can play a big role in solving ethnic divide in Zimbabwe

Ubuntu is now the buzz-word in town. President Kaunda, who is still alive, touch wood, should be happy to know that the origin of Ubuntu is derived from his philosophy of humanism. UNIP under President Kaunda adopted and declared humanism as a country’s national philosophy.

Kaunda described humanism a set of philosophical guidelines rooted in the Zambian cultural heritage intended to unify all 73 ethnic groups in the newly independent country. Humanism was conceived as a means of reconstructing a new moral and social order in Africa that was compatible with African traditional ways of life centred on the spirit of togetherness and symbiotic with extended family system. Humanism sought to establish a classless society that was to identify African-ness before colonialism took place.

Author Ihonvbere provided a summary of the objectives of humanism as follows: provide greater social security to Zambians, abolish exploitation and victimization of Zambians, establish fair principles of taxation and distribution of wealth, increase Zambia participation  in the control of the economy, provide free education to all Zambians, provide free medical services to every Zambians, expand infrastructure development, Increase agricultural production and rural development, Stem out abuse of power, corruption, victimization and other forms of injustices, guarantee peaceful and just future for all Zambians and increase state control of the economy. The Zambia philosophy of humanism augers well with Ubuntu, by definition Ubuntu means humanity, a quality that include the essential human virtues such as compassion and humanity.

Zimbabwe was born from bitter armed struggle. It was a just struggle back then, to take up arms and fight the Smith regime that was racist. After independence, the government of Zimbabwe, because of its degrees in violence, missed it to go back to the people and tell them that violence was necessary to remove injustices in our country but to extend an olive branch of reconciliation to all peoples of Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe extended an olive branch to the white population in 1980 but went to crush dissident activities in Matabeleland and Midlands, in the process, committing acts of genocide, such rhythm and grammar cannot build harmony and peaceful societies, but divides them, polarises them. Zimbabwe needs a unifier who will be able to bring together all ethnic and race societies, learn to respect one another as humans, learn to live to respect the culture and traditions of that “other.” If Zambia did it, why can’t we did it? If Tanzania did it, why can’t Zimbabwe did it? If Germans did it, why can’t we did it?

In Zimbabwe, ethnic minorities and races desperately hope and yearn for a sense of belonging, feeling respected, valued for who they are, feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from majority “other” so that you can do their best: inclusion.”

I wish to leave this topic to the people of Zimbabwe. Conclusions will be made by them so that I do not impose answers to them. A topic of this nature and sensitivity will need grand citizen participation and consultation.

I could suggest that some manifesto will be essential to go to the masses what they think about “inclusion” and “multi-culturalism.” What work should be done by the coming government to make Zimbabwe a multi-cultural society? We wish to see political parties adopting clauses that practically lay out political party programs and policies regarding ethnic/race integration and inclusion.