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'We liberated you so you owe us' syndrome

22 Jun 2011 at 11:07hrs | Views
Taken literally this is a means of liberation struggle that political parties use to try and convince us that they must continue to be in power regardless of how they perform on their mandate. It is truly an abusive relationship isn't it, where one party feels that they have done so much for the other party that it would be unfair to leave them. The scary thing here is that politicians actually believe that. Due to the fact that somehow they played a part in getting rid of the slave master, they truly accept as true that they are now entitled to be the salve master themselves and rule till kingdom come.

This is how things deteriorated in my home country Zimbabwe. Many years back those that were involved in the liberation struggle returned with the agenda of changing the economic environment and that enthusiasm was soon lost as they became more comfortable and were not challenged in their positions.  Slowly but surely they developed an arrogance that it was only them that could rule us. As soon as we realised that things could actually be managed better and that our politicians were not necessarily the best for the job, challenge to us then became 'we liberated you therefore√¢‚Ǩ¬¶.."

In my opinion this mentality is the very same mentality that has led to the deterioration of the economic condition of most of Africa as politics becomes more about historical achievements and not about creating a better future.

There is something about us blacks that just gets at me. We tend to accept sub-standard service. A quick example that comes to mind was a conversation I had recently with a Zimbabwean government official and we talked about what needs to change. I gave him a simple example that when you visit the American embassy for example, you will notice how it treats American citizens with utmost respect and efficiency. Now go to the Zimbabwean embassy wanting help and you will see what I mean. As Africans we just don't respect each other and providing good service is almost unheard of. That's where it starts and I think it is because of this non-chalant approach to bad service  by most of us that breads a philosophy of entitlement by those in power regardless of their performance.

A typical example is about the open toilet fiasco where some residence responded that they have gotten used to it and therefore had begun to accept it as the norm. Why do we accept this? For me the main reason is that we do not know better and those of us who do are in a minority to make a difference. Years and years of racial discrimination have some how conditioned most of us to expect the worst from our own and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Unfortunately those of us in positions of authority know this and tend to take advantage of it. Go to Zimbabwe and see what people now accept as okay. Erratic power and water supply is now normal and every household has a contingency plan because they are use to it. Try getting a passport or any licence and what you would term a nightmare here is quite okay for most because they have become used to it. The potholes are now normal that when you see someone driving straight you know they are drunk. This incompetence is made worse of course by a government that feels they are entitled to be in power because they liberated us.

Here in South Africa we continually berate the value system of entitlement that is so common, but worse I think, is when you begin to get a government that feels entitled to power because they liberated you.

That is when the rot begins and it slowly becomes an acceptable norm.                


Vince Musewe is an independent economist. E-mail him: 

Source - Vince Musewe
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