Politics: the dirty game of (self) service?

A servant is one who performs duties for others. A servant’s greatest attribute is humility, and putting others first. At least so the definition goes…

With the majority of Zimbabweans being Christian, Zimbabwe has politicians who love quoting the bible when it suits their purposes, usually in seeking to convince the masses that they follow the Christian doctrine. Perhaps ironically, the Bible contains details of thosewho truly believed in being of service to their people. It tells of how humble they were, how they risked it all for the greater good, Kings such as David and Hezekiah, and prophets like Elijah and Daniel to mention but a few.In my opinion being a politician means that it is your wish to serve, you have answered the greatest calling, laying aside need for recognition and personal gain, devoting your life to helping others, and at a big scale.
Serving an entire nation.

It is the ultimate expression of loving your fellow man.

IMG_0174I watched in early November when news came from Myanmar that the opposition had won the first openly contested elections in 25 years. The opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) was founded and led by Aung San Suu Kyi in 1988. She did this at great personal cost and loss; she was separated from her husband and children because of this cause that she had taken up. On top of that, she was placed under house arrest for at least 15 years and denied participation in the country’s political processes such as elections. Now, I started to wonder, who was running the party when she was under house arrest with her movements severely restricted? Were there no party officials who felt she couldn’t carry out her duties due to being unavailable? Surely somebody else could take over the reins and people would understand? What is the point of a leader who cannot move and talk freely? Did nobody in the NLD think like this? I believe that when you serve a higher cause you do not care what the title beneath your name says because you are not doing it to feed your ego. You are in it because you truly believe in what you are fighting for and being addressed as President / Chairman or any other prestigious title does not figure into the equation. You would have embodied the call to ‘first deny yourself’ and the work you are doing is not about you but for the greater good.

In 1999, in Zimbabwe, a seemingly viable alternative political party was formed and it was made up of people who said they were true servants ready to serve, empower, enlighten and change the way things were being done. Finally, a party that wanted nothing more than to help and was willing to risk it all, including their lives to accomplish that goal. But of late their vision seems to have fallen apart, with more power struggles, internal fights, splits, twists, counterplots and turns than a Telemundo soap opera. It seems that everyone at Harvest House either has a knife in their backs or they have daggers ready to throw at a potential target.

The Movement for Democratic Change was formed in 1999 and its current incarnation is led by Morgan Tsvangirai. Since 1999, the party has had at least 3 splits birthing various “MDCs”:

  • MDC – 99 (led by Job Sikhala who sought to “return” the MDC to it’s 1999 roots)
  • Two incarnations of the MDC formed by Welshman Ncube. First was the 2005 breakaway MDC-M, which saw Arthur Mutambara at the helm from early 2006 and later, MDC-N led by Ncube himself.
  • MDC Renewal formed by Tendai Biti in 2014

There have been several other splinters and numerous flow-crossings from and back to the MDC led by Tsvangirai.

At this point the party (parties?) need a dedicated reality show because it truly is hard keeping up with all the MDCs and it seems there is still more to come. There is yet another tussle at Harvest House with trouble brewing between Nelson Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora factions.

Shattered Can I be forgiven for wondering exactly why they are having all these internal rifts? Is it a matter of pride? Everybody wants to rule and each believes that they are a better leader than the next? Nobody, it seems, is content with just being an ordinary party member.It does not appear to be even rremotely about the Zimbabwean people and situation. Where do all these changes leave the faithful followers? Are they supposed to wait and see who the new crowned King will be and dutifully kiss the ring? What does this party stand for now? Is it still about bringing about a genuine shift of the business as usual attitude that pervades national politics? Or as it now looks, is it more about titles and positions in the executive hierarchy? If that is the case, then this is a betrayal of the people at the highest level as well as of their original manifesto (do they still even know it themselves?)

It seems apparent that this party, like all political entities,has morphed into the stereotypical political organisation proving that the clichéd belief that a politician, whether in the ruling party or in opposition, is just all about him/herself. Love for the masses, promises of change and an envisioned brighter future are just lies generated as a means to an end.

It is very unfortunate that the word servant has to be used in politics as it is a field that seems to have nothing to do with serving and humility, it appears to be overrun by the spirit of self-absorption where nothing is ever enough, everything is about ME. I.

IMG_0175

As politicians cite the bible in their rallies, perhaps they should recall that their self-absorbed attitudes are also found there. The first biblical manifestation was in heaven with an angel who was all about I. He had his 5 “I wills” that he declared at one point:

  1. I will ascend to heaven;
  2. I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
  3. I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain;
  4. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
  5. I will make myself like the Most High;

There is no US or WE in tthese statements.

How the story of the archangel Lucifer ends is well known.

You would think that bible quoting politicians would too.

Thando Khumalo

tlkm avatar

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