Saturday, 2 March 2019

Eulogy to our Community Heroine; Amai Mugoro.

“Sad news, we have a big loss, Mai Mugoro no longer with us. May her soul rest in eternal peace” Those were the words just posted on one of the followed social network service sites, the Face Book.  When Munya Mazere posted this unexpected and perturbing message, the author of this encomium was far away in the west of Africa, at the backdrop of Nigeria Presidential Elections. A vast pentagon of pain gripped him, a feeling of pensive sadness with realization that distance cannot be a measure of pain, but can further embed the pain. Few minutes later, WhatsApp messages started to trickle in, a sad confirmation of the reality and a taste of melancholia.
Amai Mugoro as affectionately and she was popularly known in Mashonaland West Province, left a big void not only to the place of origin; Zvipani, but to the entire populace that had the opportunity within her vicinity of life; having interacted with her. Soft spoken, prayerful and motivator can not only describe her life virtues and rectitude, but also epitomized with love and mother-ship.
 As a piously-devout Catholic, a prolific Choir Conductor and a singer, with an art of directing musical performances. I remember during our childhood, she was a primary school teacher at Matau, she could lead in church Service and Mass at Holy Cross Catholic Church among other dedicated missions of pilgrimage, with a melodious voice that rains the congregants to a prayerful and introspective church sessions. Her life was sanctimonious.
 Mai Mugoro did not wait until death in order to pass on the legacy-baton of leadership, as evidenced by her children’s participation in the body of Christ and community work, a lesson every individual must embrace. Legacy is not imposed but it is created.  
The connection with Mugoro family is not only relational and propinquity, but also spiritual. During my childhood at St Boniface Catholic Mission, it is the Mugoro family that carried the spiritual thesis to be my God parents upon my holy baptism, a commitment in the Catholic Church that comes with responsibility to always pray, guide and mentor the newly born in Christ.
Indeed, it is a desolate moment that has engulfed our land, with this level of pain, what of the children and Mr. Jacob Mugoro the husband. However, we can only throw ourselves in the comfort of the Lord, by reflecting on the scripture: “but our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
May the Lord, our God the redeemer of human race comforts the Mugoro family, church members, friends and the entire community for this woebegone loss.
 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
May her soul rest in eternal peace!
Eulogy by
Misheck Gondo 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Broken Relationships between the People and the State: A Call for Social Contract

The concept of Social Contract back dates to centuries ago and it has shaped from the State of Nature to the present day realities in which the State and its Institutions, the Citizens and their Institutions can agree on the best methodologies that address the interest and needs of the people. Zimbabwe is one country that has for the past decades experienced the broken relationships. The state and the citizens have not been agreeing on several issues.
To further interrogate the relationship between the people and government, a brief outlay of Social Contract has to be noted. This can be a voluntary agreement among individuals by which, according to various theories, such as Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau; organized society is brought into being and invested with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members.
According to social contract theorists, when the government fails to secure people’s  natural rights as alluded by Locke or satisfy the best interests of society they serve, cited by   Rousseau as the “general will”, citizens can withdraw their obligation to obey the state, or change the leadership through elections or any other means.
Interesting analysis given by the theorists can trigger a candid debate, the events in Zimbabwe which happened since year 2000 to November 2017 were as a result of broken relationships, were the government treats its citizens as second class, were there is no accountability and were  instilling fear has been used to rule the citizens. As noted by Locke citizens withdrew their obligation to obey, because the government failed to meet expected needs.
It is important to note the various issues that are caused by the broken relationships between the government of Zimbabwe and its citizen, these include: Individualistic Behavior, Human Rights Abuses, Torture, Violence, widening gap between the rich and the poor (lack of pro-poor policies) and Partisan Development Model. In practical terms, the Government of Zimbabwe introduced the reign of terror since independence through unleashing Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, Farm invasions, Abductions, Torture of citizens, Militarization of State Institutions, Electoral Violence and Intimidation. The mentioned historical perspective is on its own a clear testimony on how dictatorial regimes can forget the very cause of building a united state that offers a fair protection of its citizens, through strong institutions, were people are free to shape their value system.        
To slide back to the origins of building a united nation,  Sophia Omni (2005) noted how people when faced with challenges in a state,  how they tried to overcome the hardships; they entered into two agreements which are termed Pactum Unionis and Pactum Subjectionis.
The first pact (Pactum Unionis) people sought protection of their lives and property. As a result, a society was formed where people undertook to respect each other and live in peace and harmony. The second pact of Subjectionis, people united together and pledged to obey an authority and surrendered the whole or part of their freedom and rights to an authority.  The authority guaranteed everyone protection of life, property and to a certain extent liberty. Thus, they must agree to establish society by collectively and reciprocally renouncing the rights they had against one another in the State of Nature and they must imbue one person or assembly of persons with the authority and power to enforce the initial contract. The people agreed to live under common law and create an enforcement mechanism for the social contract and the laws that constitute it. Thus, the authority or the government or the sovereign or the state came into being because of the two agreements- but most importantly the state has to guarantee the rights of the people as the makers of the state.
 In Zimbabwe the Pactum Unionis and Subjectionis do not exist – there is no protection of lives and property; there is negative peace and violence – in which the state and its institutions are at the     epi-centre of perpetrating violence. The new dispensation in 100 days has neither tried to address the human rights aspect nor engage the citizens on key policy issues that affect them, the focus is more on business; the message is that the country is open for business without a solid framework that value the people that the government purport to represent.
 The laws that have been a hindrance to people’s freedom are still in existence such as AIPPA, POSA among other. The Media is still biased towards the Ruling Party and rural community is still polarized. Although some scholars may argue the need to give the New Dispensation President Mnangagwa (E.D) a chance and notably his positive achievements in international relations, call for zero-tolerance on corruption, there are cosmetic changes in political, economic, social and cultural development of Zimbabwe.    The Social Contract requires good leaders to consult key sectors such as: labor, CSOs, Church and Communities before implementation of national policies.
 Institutions play a critical role in building solid relations and deliver people’s rights, if not built on proper foundations they can be manipulated by political leadership to abuse the same people they seek to protect. Most worrying is that, vulnerable groups such as youth, women, people with disabilities and indigenous communities suffer because of these continuous hardships.
 It is also important to note that social cohesion has to be appreciated from different levels that is:  Individuals versus Family, Family versus Community, Institutions Versus Citizens, State Versus the People and finally State versus International Community. When there is no unity of purpose between an individual and the family this might also trigger disunity between the family and the community, up until it reaches the state and international community. A practical example is our beloved Zimbabwe in which at family level there has been differences and conflicts caused by political, social and ideological differences, the state being the main actor- failing to provide necessary support (what can be termed basic needs and guarantee of rights) and the international community intervened through sanctions and isolation. The difficulties have been caused by broken relationships between the state and the people.
 What then can be a holistic solution to mend the broken relationships? There is vast need and louder calls for Social Contract, were people are stockholders and leaders in national development, were policy making includes the citizens and the state provides for such space in honor and dignity. The value system set by people should guide how institutions work, not vise versa. The values must be the ones agreed upon on a framework of the national Constitution. The Pre-amble of the national Constitution tries to set the value system, but it’s all on paper: political will to execute the dictates of the national Constitution and pushing the inclusive national agenda is still lacking and far from reality.
 There are challenges that come when institutions define the pace and the value system for the people, there is risk of political manipulation as witnessed for the past 37 years in Zimbabwe. As noted, since year 2000 the systems and institutions that have to protect the values of the people were captured, the traditional structures for example, some Village Heads and Chiefs were and are still architectures of political violence and discrimination in communities, while the Courts and Independent Commissions have not been delivering their constitutional mandate due to excessive political interference.
 Zimbabwe must agree on a solid value system, the Zimbabwe that people want.  Questions such as what it means to be a Zimbabwean must be holistically answered and categorically defined. These common values must know-no language, tribe, race, culture or religion, but respect diversity towards a common destiny that is based on the respect of the rule of law, peaceful co-existence and effective development; were labor, youth, women, vulnerable groups, students, business, church, CSOs, political parties and international players, all contribute to the common cause – the Dream that Zimbabwe has laid based on Social Contract.

Misheck Gondo is an International Relations Expert

Can be contacted at:

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Africa-Europe Cooperation: unpacking the gist of Development!

This is not a Poem, but a Poem for development!
This is not a Poem, but a hymn sung based on the ethics of a Poem!
This is not a Poem, but a drama acted on the script of a Poem!
The Africa Union born of its values as enshrined in the Ubuntu discourse
Born of its struggles, founded on the pillars – the pillars of our fore fathers
 Peace and Unity was the deem dream- achored in 1963
From liberation struggles, now to liberation development struggles

She has done it alone, in struggle- yet she can’t continue to be alone in the struggle!
In these modern day of globalization! Alone?
She has to define the terms of cooperation–that manipulation becomes the past
The past that made resources look like leak
Today, in the spirit of development cooperation
She finds a friend, a friend ready to explore the journey
The journey, based on the theoretical and practical framework of respect
Virtues of equality, equity, partnership and growth

Africa my mother land, the mirror of beauty, the virgin of resources
The epitome of hope- your love has court other soils- the soils across the river
In the European Land they are all coming to your palace to find love, in trust
Your youth being at the center- their youth at the center- so we all now at one center
The center of effective development cooperation,
As defined in our Africa Charter, EU Instruments, Agenda 2063
 Busan Partnership for Development Effectiveness among other
That love that is equal; with mutual respect, now the two of you brought us pride.

As fairly, newly wedded couples- this is my humble advice as your Aunt
Now that you are legally married, in a rare union called Africa–European Partnership
Where you re-new your vows through a Summit
Now that you will have children to look after in the name of your youth,
Your present and future leaders- your stakeholders- the young generation
Let your children take part in decision making – not only as beneficiaries,
but as leaders and stakeholders
Let them shine with participation, in peace, and new ideas for growth

Africa my brother, Europe my sister- let your marriage last
So that it becomes a generational history, a history based on trust.
Let disagreements be your strength points- with one vision – which is development cooperation
I love you both- your youth shall shine- if your marriage is health based on universal values
The values of human dignity, human rights, democracy, territorial integrity and sovereignty
 In your years of love – think of your vows- think of your children- I mean, your younger ones!
This is not a Poem- but a Poem for development!
I love you both!

 By Misheck Gondo- Who is not a Poet, but a Poet for development!