Politicians must give others chances in civil society

REGARDING the two responses to my recent article on politics and civil society from Pedzisai Ruhanya and Frank Matandirotya, I am pleased that the expression “political incest” attracted the outrage of both writers. This makes for healthy debate, so sadly lacking in Zimba

bwe today.

It is sad, however, that both responses come from the comparative comfort and safety of the UK and South Africa. I suggest that both writers come home and re-join the struggle.  They may even be elected to a post in one of the civil society organisations, if current incumbents are gracious enough to give way and open the field to others.

For the record, I resigned from the National Constitutional Assembly National Task Force on election to the MDC national executive in February 2000, and I have never represented CHRA at any major forum since my election to Parliament, remaining (at their request) simply chairperson of the legal committee until early this year. 

My court case against the Chanakira Commission was most famous for my “wearing too many hats”, according to Justice Hlatshwayo, as Matandirotya will surely remember. That was that I was a resident of Harare, a member of CHRA and a Harare MP.  The Supreme Court (where my appeal was successful) ruled that I had sufficient locus standi as an individual resident, and did not need to stand on the other two platforms — so I was not “standing on the back of CHRA”. 

That said, I am very proud that I was instrumental during the 90’s — long before the formation of the MDC — in building CHRA up to the formidable civic organisation it is today.

My point was simply that politicians should not be greedy, but should allow others to take top positions in civil society organisations once they are elected to political office.  That way civil society will grow and be strong and healthy. 
 
Trudy Stevenson,
Harare.