Friday, August 22, 2008

(TALKZIMBABWE) Beware phony democrats

Beware phony democrats
Tendai Midzi-Murenje—Opinion
Fri, 22 Aug 2008 01:35:00 +0000

DEAR EDITOR—THE right to free speech is as important as life itself, well at least if you claim to be a democrat and to advance principles of democracy. This is an age-old argument and is indisputable among democrats.

Unfortunately, democrats, or some of those people fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe have been at the forefront of denying others the right to that free speech.

Lately, we have seen journalists added onto the sanctions list by countries purporting to be democratic or fostering democracy. I have also witnessed a lot of intolerance amongst people who claim to be fighting for democracy in our country.

The latest issue concerns Caesar Zvayi’s deportation from Botswana and his addition onto the European Union sanctions list, moves by ‘democratic nations’ that want to hear what they want to hear.

There is also now a common argument that those who criticize the West should only do it from Zimbabwe, a pathetic argument to say the least. It’s like saying those who criticize President Mugabe and Zanu PF should only do it from the West. The implication is that they should be deported from Zimbabwe to somewhere, maybe the West.

That means all of the opposition elements in the country should be ‘deported’ to somewhere, presumably the West, where there are people who hold the same ideas as them with regards to the situation in Zimbabwe.

The same argument advanced could mean all those journalists working for The Independent or The Standard newspapers, or any other paper that criticizes the government should do so from outside Zimbabwe.

I find this argument highly flawed, to say the least and shows a lack of understanding of the word “democracy”.

If those people who oppose the likes of Zvayi and Munyaradzi Huni are bent at promoting democracy they should lead by example and allow them to express themselves, otherwise they mirror the very system they purport to be fighting against.

The commitment to full and free political discussion and the resolution of differences through rational argument and political debate is a basic tenet of democracy.

Those people fighting for democracy should be forthcoming in providing that right to other people, regardless of those people’s weaknesses.

I hate to think of a kind of society these 'democrats' are trying to create.

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