Independence Day: Is It Politicking Or Celebrating

BULAWAYO,- As the 18th of April 2011 draws closer Zimbabwe’s Independence Day is already in the forefront of politics and tabloids. The statements being bended around question whether Independence Day should be about celebrating or politics.

Some have even made insinuations that Zimbabwe is not independent and for that reason they do not celebrate Independence Day.

In many ways Zimbabweans have short comings when it comes to National identity. Natives of other African Countries can be identified through national apparel or attire and other visible attributes. While the natives of Zimbabwe have this identity crisis the country itself has its own distinct identity which it draws from the Liberation struggle.

It is important to note that politics does not operate in isolation of strategic opportunities meaning that it will always ride on the momentum of advantageous circumstances. Indeed the Independence Day is a strategic and unique opportunity across the Zimbabwean political spectrum. With this background in mind let’s turn to the competitive advantages and penetrative advantages of Independence Day to political parties.

Two political parties, more specifically the oldest parties in Zimbabwe cannot be detangled from drawing competitive advantage from Independence Day. The two can be viewed as one depending on one’s political position. They draw competitive advantage on the grounds of their contributions in the Liberation struggle which led to the independence of Zimbabwe. The competitive advantage resonates in the value, rarity, inimitability and non-substitutability of Independence of Zimbabwe.

The value obviously comes from the freedom which people used to be denied of and more importantly the birth of a new state with a new name Zimbabwe. This marked a social paradigm shift and political dichotomy. What’s more is that Zimbabwe’s independence contains elements of rarity compared to other countries; consequently this adds value to the Independence Day.

Independence is inimitable meaning no one is able to rewind the clock and do it again. Even religious philosophies and hypnotherapy practices cannot reverse and get a rebirth of Zimbabwe. Furthermore it is non substitutable in that it is a nationally recognised day. Regardless of future developments in the political arena independence will still be sustainable.

Emerging and newly established political parties, movements and pressure groups challenge the dominance of the older political group/s. More specifically they point out that the older political group/s use/s the celebrations of the Independence Day as a platform for political Leverage. Indeed it is has become the norm that a sharp political message is part of the diet on Independence Day. Although it is common sense to reflect on the birth of Zimbabwe, emerging and newly established political groups argue that it is deliberately over done and too political.

While there is case against politicking, it is important to note that emerging and newly established political groups are seeking to lower the competitive advantage of their rivals through penetrative strategies. The penetrative strategies draw their strength from their value. Their value is in that they appeal to a wider apolitical audience, supporters of emerging and newly established political parties, movements and pressure groups. The non inflammatory and low political tone penetrates the hearts and souls of those who just want to celebrate Independence Day and because it sounds responsible and less exclusionary.

The penetrative strategies used by emerging and newly established political groups lack rarity, inimitability and non substitutability meaning they cannot monopolise the political arena. Although this is a weakness that works in favour of apolitical natives it is still political. It is political in that post independence political movements cannot claim participation in the liberation struggle so they sell this weakness to the public by arguing for depoliticisation but that very act itself is politics. Whether by accident or design the Independence Day is political and any insinuation which claims to be apolitical about this day is political.

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Farai Chikowore: is a Local Governance Reader who graduated in Strategic Public Management (MSc) and in Public Policy Government and Management (BA, Honours) at De Montfort University. He likes to evaluate the contribution of political discourse to understanding government policies. His main areas of interest are in Research in: Partnership Working, Local government, Local governance, Democratic renewal, Policy process and Strategic Management.source:Bulawayo 24.com