Unilateral Tug of War
Just in terms of numbers, South Africa and Zambia cannot be equated. Of course. The former outstrips the latter by far: from territorial boundaries dimensions, population sizes and overall demographics, natural resources endowment, optimal economic potential and actual performance, to military power. Numbers don’t lie.
It goes without saying, therefore, that at any one time, any one variable or all highlighted above considered, South Africa will, in real terms, be a much more complex society relative to Zambia. Meaning that politics in South Africa will, correspondingly, be a more challenging enterprise for those involved in the national political leadership arena, whether in ruling power or in the opposition.
Needless to say that there are, indeed, countries smaller than even Zambia, but happen to have much more intricate political intrigues than South Africa. Another time and another place for the last observation raised.
A simple Google search will either confirm or debunk my assertions above, much as it will do with many of my postulations throughout this presentation.
Politics is the science of government. Government is the collective of institutions, including their constituent leaderships and functional personnel. They are created to enforce societal progress rules and policies that are arrived upon by the representatives of the body politic.
The government, or the state, will often reflect the interests of the dominant political parties. However, through corruption and greed, the dominant, ruling political parties may themselves be subtly steered by peripheral influential, manipulative economic forces. These may either be local or international actors, if not a combination of both. In South Africa, the concept called “State Capture” describes the collusion between the powerful economic elite and the government.
Notwithstanding the “State Capture” phenomenon, the interests of the respective political parties are often shaped and differentiated by their cardinal ideologies. An ideology is the summation of ideas based on theories and policies of political and economic engineering of society.
Ideologies are applied in varying ways to indoctrinate particular societies to address and find solutions to existential questions and challenges in certain pre-determined, and non-variable methods. Therefore, ideologies are not only critical for shaping individual countries’ internal living conditions, they also influence individual countries’ international relations premises; i.e. which countries will have mutually cordial diplomatic relations with one another, which supranational institutions the countries will be members of, which international solidarity causes countries will engage in and at what cost, etc.
In contemporary times, historical factors leading to the creation of specific nations often contribute to the kind of ideology adopted, developed, or redefined to suit local conditions. A nation’s wealth, often with particular reference to its relative strategic significance to the major economic and political nations and power blocs in the world, will also have a bearing on the nature of the dominant ideology. A subservient country’s geographical location on the globe can further add to, or reduce its strategic value.
At any one time, a quick reality check will show that relatively newer and smaller nations with both perceived and real strategic importance to the major political and economic giant nations, e.g. the industrialized Western world, have a hard time determining their own, sovereign national ideologies.
Old ties bind some of these emergent states with their former colonial masters from the Western world. Others will be held in infinite indebtedness to comrade states from the Eastern socialist, or communistic countries that helped in their liberation struggles for independence.
It is in the light of all the above that I choose to look at the comparative legacies of Nelson Mandela of South Africa, and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. Comparative because of the many critics of Nelson Mandela, who, in my view is unfairly battered in relation to the critics’ view of to whom real Southern African statesmanship ought to be accorded contra Kenneth Kaunda’s legacy too. I specifically address myself to Zambian critics.
Before I proceed, I wish to make a few salient personal points:
- I must declare that this is a non-solicited presentation. It is only an outcome of the involuntary workings of my critical thinking mind and its creative processes. It is my subjective, free world intellectual response to the foul anti-Mandela vis-à-vis Kaunda sentiments I have seen expressed in the various social media platforms, particularly Facebook, for many years. It is not my goal to want to be malicious against anybody. Neither is it my intention to seek or expect approval, favours, or rewards from anybody.
This is an honest, independent expression of my thoughts and feelings with nothing but the very best of intentions. All this is done with the utmost respect both for Mandela and Kaunda, their respective families, and their followers through their respective foundations and other fora … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
February 13, 2018