The era of coalition movements

2014-01-29 05:51

The African political school of thought teaches us that the majority of liberation movements in our continent have failed to develop a capable state for the people, the result being many of the post-colonised societies they govern usurped by coalition and social movements.

We can number with our fingers those that have managed to survive this trend, ANC; ZANU PF of Zimbabwe; FRELIMO of Mozambique, SWAPO of Namibia; MPLA of Angola and Chama chaMapinduzi of Tanzania. This teaching is significant as we are now witnessing a coalition era within our landscape. There is significance in having a credible coalition opposition. And by credible I mean a sustainable movement that can stand the test of time and persist for the rights of the masses when the current administration and its collective institutions marginalise them.

The mere fact that we as South Africans have a first world constitution should call upon us to reflect that the fathers who constructed it had high expectations of a society that lives through it and an administration that is capable of implementing it. However when they came into power what these fathers and their associates failed to do is to bring into government the ideals of the struggle which would have sustained their fight for modern day liberation. It never ended with CODESA.  But because they think it sort of did they lazed off, and bit by bit the formation of party coalitions is increasing in significance, just as it did in other decolonised states.

As the last country to decolonise in Africa one would wish that these fathers also took some of the lessons from the failures of liberation movements to government administration as well. But then again they didn’t, and the system will make them pay by neutralising them to an extent reflective of the power that Kwame Nkrumah’s once powerful one party liberation movement currently has in Ghana, a single seat in parliament. The emergence of coalition movements will mastermind the usurpations of government at the price of the nationalist party’s demise, the DAs-IDs-Agangs and the EFFs-IFPs-UDMs-NUMSAs (though the latter is not applicable at this stage) will present an alternative that can speak to the hearts and the minds of the people.

Only time will tell as to whether they will succeed, but for the sake of our already crippling democratic system, I hope that they do! Multi-party democracy cannot survive without credible opposition movements as part of the checks and balances that are needed to make government accountable to the people. The reason why we fall short is because we have failed to learn from our decolonised forerunners, and as a result we bear a society with minimal political will. The political will of the youth for one is apathetic. Even local political intellects have little room to support the development of an opposition party in order to cement our system, and this is not surprising as until recently there had yet to be a party that resonates with the masses in society, the youth, and the masses in the economic field, the blue collar labourers.

Like most African liberation movements, the ANC has masterminded its own demise and created a landscape for the formation of movements advancing causes they once stood for and advanced pragmatically. The modern ANC is a mockery to the fathers that founded it and to those that gave it its purpose. It’s even hard to imagine that this party was founded in part historically as a labour movement. Since achieving democracy it has fallen out of favour with the economic masses and aligned itself with the bourgeois cast.

By its own actions it has created the space for an official Workers Party, and the alert people of NUMSA have taken notice. The setup of the NUMSA political school is neither a coincidence nor an act of nature and I can bet my last cent on the formation of an official Proletariat Advocate in the political landscape, a much needed force in our democracy. The ANC Youth League, once the radical wing of the movement known for its socialist ideals has all but gone shattered and broke, enabling the EFF to recapture this net of the youth and advance the ideals historically predicated by the youth league. Yes, their policies are radical and they probably do not have much room in our local and global economic landscape, but perhaps there is a need for this alternative as a conduit for the youth’s voice in parliament.

With Mamphela joining the DA the liberals have also elevated their voice to be seen as being reminiscent with these classes by filling in their missing pieces in the puzzle. Their presidential candidate is black, the parliamentary leader is black, the youth leader is black, but more impressive is the fact that they’re women. Now how’s that for progress? Let that be compared with the ANC Woman’s League statement in 2013, “SA is not ready for a female president”. The next thing we can hope for in the DA is the slow removal of their old guard and a readjustment of its soft policies on economic reform.

Be that as it may, this need for a Proletariat is what gives us hope when the EFF emerges with resonance from the youth and NUMSA breaks off from the ANC, just as the emergence of coalitions gives hope to the strengthening of our democratic model. It’s not hope for the ANC to be defeated and sent to the abyss just like other liberation movements, but for strengthening the democratic system that our forefathers sacrificed for in blood sweat and tears.

When communities are marginalised by the administration and its institutions, when even the commissions of inquiries that are set up to check and balance those actions are neutralised, then and only then should the will of the people speak and govern through the alternative coalition.


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