Zimbabwean political parties lack internal democracy

Most political parties in Zimbabwe do not have democratic internal systems, which makes it difficult for the country to achieve democracy at the national level, an analyst has said.

Effie Ncube recently stated during a press club dialogue hosted by MISA-Zimbabwe in Bulawayo that the country needs to have democratic political parties that are capable of upholding democracy at a national level. 

“Internal democracy in political parties and internal democratic conversations are a sign of the wealth of democracy in a country. You can then see why we struggle as a country to establish democracy because democratic political parties are the building block of a democratic society. You cannot use undemocratic political parties to build a democratic country,” Ncube said.  

“They are the key institutors, the builders of the kind of democracy that you want. Before we even talk about the democratic institutions that we so much focus on, those are constructed by the political parties that we put in power. You cannot have democratic institutions before you have democratic political parties.”

Democratic political parties, according to the political analyst, can then establish effective institutions such as independent commissions, civil societies, and independent media.  

Ncube further highlighted that another challenge in Zimbabwe is people who enter into politics and run for public office are chasing wealth, various privileges and immunity. 

“Most people in Zimbabwe are getting into politics for the benefits that they can get. The only entry level for many is having a birth certificate that shows that indeed you are born in Zimbabwe. They know that they can get cars when they are in Parliament. Others know that they can get stands when they are in the council,” Ncube said.

“That route has become extremely competitive with many people wanting to be in council and Parliament so that they can get the privileges and immunities that they can use to access wealth.”
Ncube noted such advantages were the reason why certain people fought for positions in politics. 

“This has increased the number of people who want to be in public offices,” said the analyst, acknowledging it was not everyone who runs for the council and Parliament offices that is motivated by such.

“Some are quite genuine, but the majority are not. They would be willing to go to such lengths even of committing violence to get to the top. This is why despite the rules and covenants made in political parties, you find that people become defiant leading to double candidacy. They defy the rules because they know that it pays to be in office in a declining economy.” 

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