By Sibanengi Dube
There is one word which features prominently in most discussions by Zimbabweans. The word ‘legitimacy’ freely slips from Zimbabweans’ lips as they grapple with biting poverty engulfing the once bread basket of Africa. What does legitimacy mean?
The word means correctness, validity, lawfulness, genuineness, or sincerity. According to Wikipedia, legitimacy is the right and acceptance of an authority, usually a governing law or a regime.
Political legitimacy is considered a basic condition for governing, without which a government will suffer legislative deadlock(s) and collapse. In political systems where this is not the case, unpopular regimes survive because they are considered legitimate by a small, influential élite.
Legitimacy is a prerequisite in all facets of life. Anyone battling a legitimate disaster is doomed from the base.
Society employs specific norms and values to measure legitimacy. Specified processes and rules have to be fulfilled before anyone could enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the society. Whenever such rules or processes are short-circuited, legitimacy gets plunged into crisis.
Once a catastrophe of legitimacy strikes someone, such a character risks being viewed as phony or fake. Bogus characters posing as what they are not reduce themselves to objects of ridicule and censure.
Legitimacy is rarely acquired through the courts, but specific traditional apparatus entrusted with the responsibility of measuring it can either confirm it or disconfirm it. Full-stop.
The measurement tools can only find legitimacy present or absent. Once measurable deliverables of legitimacy test negative then is absent. Period.
Even in family set ups, children with different surnames to their host families are viewed with skepticism because they are illegitimate. Vana tete vemusha uyoyo vanenge vachishevedzera kuti, uyu mai vake vakaita wemombe yakauya neuswa hwayo mudumbu. Kwedu kuchikaranga tomuti mubvandiripo. No amount of cover-up by the mother will ever make a mubvandiripo legitimate.
The host family doesn’t have to rely on DNA tests to disconfirm mubvandiripo iye akauya achizvifambira nemakumbo ake. Mubvandiripo doesn’t have a say in the family that nurtured him.
Champions of a soccer match are only crowned after religiously adhering to soccer rules as enforced by a neutral referee and his lines men throughout the 90 minutes game time. Rogue team supporters that occasionally annex the pitch brandishing machetes each time their side faces defeat, can’t claim legitimate championship.
Chronic and periodic altering of the score sheet by overtly biased soccer officials render the announced winner illegitimate. There is no debate about it. Fake winners know for sure that they are illegitimately clutching a medal that belongs to the other team.
This explains why they resort to satanic violence when confronted with complaints. Spectators who watched the shenanigans from the terraces will not be hoodwinked into glorifying the medal snatchers. They might walk out of the stadium silently but will never legitimize such monkeyshines
A soccer team that captures a trophy and prize cheque at gunpoint renders everything illegitimate. The usurped medal will lose its glory and all the banks would disown such a cheque which changed hands under duress. Only a single call to the bank will lead to the blacklisting of the seized cheque.
What is shocking now is that the team which seized the cheque is shuttling between the bank and sponsors of the match in an effort to get access to the cash.
Zvaiwana ngwarati yangayajaira kudya ivete. Apart from reminding the ‘champions’ about their rabid conduct the match sponsors demand the presence of a legitimate winner on the table. Ngaitambe tambe zvayo Ngwena asi mwise wakabatwa naNero.
Now that attempts to cajole match sponsors into buying their victory story have failed, another plan B of blaming the victim has been hatched. Now the cheated team is expected to join a chorus of aggressors in demanding the cashing of the cheque into illegitimate hands.
The cheated team is now being accused of kudira jecha pa cheque. The victim is now being accused of being responsible for the suffering of everyone who should benefit from the cheque. Nothing is being mentioned about circumstances that led to the cancelation of the cheque.
There is no attempt whatsoever to right the wrong that they were flagrantly committed in full view of spectators. Instead sponsored efforts to rubbish calls for sanity are picking momentum. Former President Thabo Mbeki has just been roped in to sort out the issue of legitimacy.
The legitimate complaints of the cheated team can’t be banished to the back seat to give credence to chicanery. Surrendering power to the winners of the election is the only solution the legitimate crisis. Lasting solutions should be premised on solid facts not myths.
The truth can’t be treated as inconvenient nuisance. The major challenge is that Zimbabweans have been bashed too much for a long time by this regime to an extent that they no longer see any value in insisting on justice and the truth.
The truth is the current regime in Zimbabwe doesn’t have the legitimate mandate to preside over the affairs of the country. Well-wishers willing to bail-out Zimbabwe do not trust an illegitimate regime with their cash. Saka wadira jecha apa ndiyani?
Sibanengi Dube is a Zimbabwean journalist based in South Africa