Towards Nhimbe: A Proposal for a New Governance System in Zimbabwe


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Writes Linda Tsungirirai Masarira
A few years back, we published an article on the need for a new governance system in Zimbabwe. We have been clear as Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) on how we will not progress and prosper using the current governance system we adopted from the Smith regime which is oppressive, suppressive, and repressive. The current governance system does not benefit the natives anyhow. It only serves a few political elites and the white capital monopoly further entrenching inequality and vicious cycles of exclusion.
Zimbabwe stands at a crucial juncture in its history, where the need for a transformative shift in governance has never been more apparent. The colonial legacy of repressive and divisive governance structures has left deep scars on the nation for over four decades. In light of this, there is an urgent call to transition towards a more Afrocentric governance model, one that fosters equitable distribution of resources, and inclusivity in governance, and bridges the inequality gap between different socio-economic strata. LEAD proposes the adoption of a new governance system, termed Nhimbe/ilima, which integrates traditional African values with modern governance principles, thereby paving the way for a more prosperous and harmonious Zimbabwe.
Nhimbe/ilima is a synthesis of tradition and modernity.
The term Nhimbe, derived from indigenous Shona culture, embodies the collective spirit of communal effort towards a common goal. Drawing inspiration from this ethos, the proposed governance system seeks to harness the collective potential of Zimbabweans towards nation-building and wealth creation.
Central to Nhimbe is the principle of equitable distribution of resources. Unlike the colonial-era policies that favored a select few, Nhimbe advocates for a fair and transparent allocation of resources, ensuring that every Zimbabwean, irrespective of ethnicity or social status, has access to essential services, education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. This entails implementing policies that prioritize the needs of marginalized communities and address historical injustices in land ownership and economic empowerment.
The inclusion of minority groups in governance is at the core of the Nhimbe governance system. Nhimbe recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusivity in governance. It advocates for the active participation of minority groups, including women, youth, indigenous communities, and persons with disabilities, in decision-making processes at all levels of government. This entails the promotion of affirmative action policies, proportional representation systems, and institutional reforms aimed at breaking down barriers to political representation and fostering a more representative and inclusive democracy.
Opportunities for wealth creation for every Zimbabwean should not be a dream but a reality for all Zimbabweans regardless of class in society. The cornerstone of Nhimbe is its emphasis on inclusive economic development. Rather than perpetuating a system that concentrates wealth in the hands of a privileged few, Nhimbe prioritizes policies and programs that promote entrepreneurship/startups, job creation, economic and technology hubs, and sustainable development. This includes investing in infrastructure, supporting small and medium enterprises, promoting local industries, and fostering innovation and technology adoption. Additionally, Nhimbe advocates for the equitable redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation, social welfare programs, and targeted investment in human capital development.
Integration of traditional values is important in our quest to decolonize mindsets and eradicate oppressive laws in our country. Nhimbe recognizes the intrinsic value of traditional African governance systems and seeks to integrate them with modern governance practices. This entails reviving indigenous institutions, such as community councils and traditional leadership structures, and incorporating customary laws and dispute resolution mechanisms into the formal legal framework. By blending tradition with modernity, Nhimbe fosters a sense of cultural pride and identity while promoting social cohesion and collective responsibility.
In conclusion, the adoption of Nhimbe represents a bold step towards realizing Zimbabwe’s vision of a more just, prosperous, and inclusive society. By embracing Afrocentric values, promoting equitable development, and bridging the gap between tradition and modernity, Nhimbe offers a blueprint for transformative change. However, the successful implementation of Nhimbe will require political will, institutional reform, and active participation from all segments of society. As Zimbabwe embarks on this journey towards a new governance paradigm, let us heed the call of Nhimbe and work together towards a brighter future for all.