Key to social flourishing in Zim

Zimbabweans, from all walks of life, must commit to learning from the past and forging a future where peace, unity, and progress reign supreme.

ZIMBABWE’S tumultuous history, marked by periods of strife, conflict, and fleeting moments of optimism, has left indelible marks on its social fabric. From the devastating Guramatanga incidents, which saw the infamous "break the kraals" campaign, to the dark days of Gukurahundi and Entumbane killings, characterised by widespread atrocities, the nation has witnessed the horrors of unchecked violence.

The chaotic land reform programme, which disrupted agricultural production and livelihoods, further added to the scars of the past. The blood-stained pages of Zimbabwe's history also bear witness to the tragedy of the 2008 presidential run-off, marred by a horrific bloodbath, and the haunting events of August 1 2018 when innocent lives were lost in politically motivated violence.

These painful episodes are a stark reminder of the depths to which the nation once descended. Yet, the lessons drawn from this turbulent history must serve as a collective resolve to ensure that such dark chapters are never repeated.

Zimbabweans, from all walks of life, must commit to learning from the past and forging a future where peace, unity, and progress reign supreme.

It is a commitment to building a society where the scars of the past are acknowledged, justice is pursued, and reconciliation becomes the cornerstone of the nation's identity.

In this pursuit, the nation can transcend the toxic and polarised politics that have plagued its progress for years. The legacy of bitterness, division, and distrust must give way to a new era of dialogue, inclusivity, and cooperation.

By learning from its history and vowing “never again”, Zimbabwe can chart a course towards social flourishing, where the wounds of the past serve as a testament to the resilience and determination of its people and never cheap toxicity and polarisation.

Social happiness indices

In the pursuit of social flourishing, Zimbabwe stands at a critical juncture where the well-being of its citizens must take centre stage. A key step in this transformative journey involves embracing social happiness indices as the compass guiding policies and initiatives.

These indices, grounded in the tangible experiences and aspirations of the people, have the power to end the culture of making people perpetually thankful though intermittent food handouts, tuition fees and debt forgiveness, stomach politics and partisan projects like command input distribution.

It is time for Zimbabwe to prioritise the happiness, contentment, and overall quality of life of its citizens as a fundamental and non-negotiable goal.

Currently, Zimbabwe's happiness index finds itself in a precarious position when compared to other nations since the southern African nation is one of the countries with unhappiest people going by the happiness indices. The nation's recent history of political turmoil, economic challenges, and social unrest has taken a toll on the overall well-being of its people.

In global happiness rankings, Zimbabwe often lags, reflecting the enduring impact of past traumas and present struggles.

However, this position need not be permanent. By placing social happiness at the heart of its policy agenda, Zimbabwe can embark on a journey of transformation and rejuvenation.

Social workers and helping professionals are enjoined to ensure that the transition from social welfare to social development in Zimbabwe is practically implemented if the happiness indices are to be pro-people.

Nations such as Bhutan and Finland, known for prioritising Gross National Happiness (GNH) over Gross Domestic Product (GDP), serve as compelling examples. By measuring happiness and well-being as central indicators of success, Bhutan for example has created policies that focus on holistic development, environmental sustainability, and cultural preservation. Similarly, Finland, consistently ranked among the world's happiest nations, emphasises equitable education, social support systems, and a strong sense of community and personal individual safety.

Zimbabwe can draw valuable lessons from these nations, align its policies with the pursuit of social happiness, and chart a path towards a brighter, more contented future for its citizens.

Stop treating elections as war

In the pursuit of social flourishing, Zimbabwe finds itself at a crossroads where it must transcend the dark legacy of electoral violence and intimidation.

Elections, ideally or under idealism, should serve as a celebration of democracy — a moment when citizens exercise their sacred right to choose their leaders without fear or coercion.

However, the nation's history has often marred this democratic ideal, with election contests resembling battlegrounds rather than forums for peaceful change.

The path to peaceful transitions of power demands a profound shift in the nation's political culture. It calls for a departure from the wrongly pitched Machiavellian mindset that politics is a ruthless game where the end justifies the means.

While political realism acknowledges the complexities of power dynamics, Zimbabwe must embrace a higher idealism— one rooted in the principles of genuine democracy, justice, and human rights.

A commitment to free and fair elections is not only an aspirational goal but also a pragmatic one. Peaceful transitions foster stability, attract investment, and inspire hope among citizens.

They are the bedrock upon, which lasting social flourishing can be built. It is crucial to recognise that Machiavelli's writings reflected the political realities of his time and not a prescription for perpetuating unethical behaviour in the pursuit of power.

Zimbabwe's leaders, both present and future, could draw inspiration from democratic models around the world, where peaceful transitions have yielded progress and prosperity.

By upholding the principles of transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in the electoral process, Zimbabwe can pave the way for a brighter future where elections are indeed a celebration of democracy, not a theatre of war.

End political suitability concept

To propel Zimbabwe towards social flourishing, it is imperative to discard the outdated concept of political suitability, which has too often prioritised loyalty to a particular party over competence and dedication to public service.

The nation's progress has been hindered by the persistence of dynastic policies that prioritise family connections, the rampant disease of corruption that corrodes institutions, and the illicit financial flows that drain resources meant for the welfare of the people.

Embracing meritocracy as a foundational principle of governance is the antidote to these maladies. It involves placing individuals in positions of leadership based on their qualifications, skills, and a genuine commitment to advancing the nation's well-being.

By dismantling the barriers that have allowed political patronage to thrive, Zimbabwe can usher in an era where leaders are selected for their competence rather than their connections, where public service is a sacred duty, and where the nation's resources are channelled towards the betterment of all citizens, not the enrichment of a few.

Meritocracy is not merely an abstract ideal; it is a pragmatic approach that ensures the best minds and talents are at the helm of the nation, steering it towards prosperity and social flourishing.

Appeasement of stockholders

The interests of a few should never supersede the welfare of the many. Zimbabwe's journey to social flourishing hinges on a commitment to the common good.

The era of appeasing political or economic stockholders at the expense of the broader population must come to an end. Policies should prioritise equitable development that benefits all Zimbabweans.

Peace for our time

Peace is the cornerstone of social flourishing. Zimbabwe must invest in building lasting stability, both within its borders and in the region. The nation's leaders must work tirelessly to resolve conflicts, foster unity, and ensure that every citizen can live without fear.

Scientific transitional analysis

In the pursuit of social flourishing, decision-making should be guided by scientific analysis. Policies and initiatives should be rooted in data-driven insights that ensure effective, evidence-based solutions to the nation's challenges.

Appeasement's last stand

The concept of appeasement, often associated with political compromises that fall short of true reconciliation, must make its last stand. Zimbabwe should embark on a journey of genuine reconciliation, addressing historical injustices and healing the wounds of the past.

Enter third forces

Social flourishing requires the active involvement of all stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, and international partners. These third forces should collaborate with government efforts to ensure that policies are inclusive and responsive to the needs of the people.

Anatomy of foreign policy analysis

In an interconnected world, where no nation exists in isolation, Zimbabwe stands at a pivotal juncture in its pursuit of social flourishing. The formulation of an astute and adaptable foreign policy is not just a choice; it is an imperative.

It is a recognition that the nation's destiny is intertwined with the complex web of global dynamics. Zimbabwe's leaders, in their unwavering commitment to the welfare of their citizens, must engage in a comprehensive analysis of these dynamics.

They must navigate the intricate terrain of international relations, forging strategic alliances and partnerships that align with the country's social and economic interests.

In this era of globalisation, no nation can afford to retreat into isolationism. Zimbabwe's foreign policy must be dynamic, responsive, and forward-thinking.

It should harness the nation's strengths, leverage its resources, and engage with the world on its own terms and not just favour stances of ‘our friends this or that’.

By doing so, Zimbabwe can position itself as a respected player on the international stage, one that contributes to global stability while securing its own interests.

The anatomy of foreign policy analysis is not a mere academic exercise; it is the blueprint for Zimbabwe's engagement with the world. It is a testament to the nation's determination to rise above historical challenges, shun mere claims of sovereignty, and chart a course towards a future characterised by social flourishing, prosperity, and peace and never miserable lives.

  • Hofisi is a lawyer, conversationalist and transdisciplinary researcher. He has interests in governance and international law. — [email protected].




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