Black Epistemologies and the Non-Writing Politician
While the repository of African political philosophy is awash with contributions from intellectual doyens like Marcus Garvey, Senghor Toure, Walter Rodney, Archie Mafeje, Ali Mazrui, Thabo Mbeki, Asante Molefi; our very own Tafataona Mahoso, the late Vimbai Gukwe Chivaura among others; it is hard to ignore perennial stigma imposed on the African theoretician in the academic discursive space. The African thinker is epistemologically side-lined within the asymmetrical order of the knowledge economy. On the other hand, ideas of the African anti-colonial politician suffer neo-liberal epistemic malice.
Mataruse (2020) further situates this knowledge production dilemma within the Zimbabwean context as he argues that the Zimbabwean politician is a non-writing politician.
To confirm this, our illustrious political figures have only given auto/biographic expression of the national question as evidenced by Morris Nyagumbo’s With the People: An autobiography from the Zimbabwe Struggle (1980); Nkomo’s memoir, The Story of My Life (1984); Fay Chung’s Re-Living the Second Chimurenga (2006); Tekere’s A Lifetime of Struggle (2007); Judith Todd’s Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe (2007) and Cephas Msipa’s In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: A Memoir (2015); Tshinga Dube’s Quiet Flows the Zambezi (2019); Obert Mpofu’s On the Shoulders of Struggle: Memoirs of a Political Insider (2020).
Hierarchies of Zimbabwean Political Thought
While registering this concern linked to the academic vacuum of our political thought, I would be remiss not to credit the Late Dr Nathan Shamuyarira for fortifying the knowledge space both as a politician and a revolutionary academic.
Likewise, the Late Dr Stan Mudenge and his invaluable contribution to our historiography through his seminal publication A Political History of Munhumutapa c 1400-1902 (1988) cannot be brushed aside.
Dr Mudenge paved the way for organic political Philo-historical writing which toppled White monopoly over our national memory by academic gatekeepers like Terence Ranger.
With Vice President Retired General Constantino Guvheya Nyikadzino launching his ground-breaking publication, Goose or Gander — The United Nations Security Council and the Ethic of Double Standards (2020), one cannot ignore that an academic discursive continuum from the Mudenges and Shamuyariras of yesterday has reincarnated itself in the Second-Republic.
Thanks to the leadership of President Mnangagwa which has unlocked the space for open intellectual dialogue in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Vice President Chiwenga’s crossover from being a politically pragmatic anti-colonial practitioner into the academic space sets a new trend for the Zimbabwean national question to be analysed from a redemptive ideological standpoint.
Confronting the Global
Coloniality of Power
VP Chiwenga (2020)’s Goose or Gander — The United Nations Security Council and the Ethic of Double Standards is important in angling the Global-South’s justification to interrogate the moral credibility of multilateral institutions like the United Nations.
First, the book challenges the structural inequality of the global power ecosystem and calls for the repositioning of perennially marginalised “Third-World’’ states to the centre — away from their peripheral fate.
Historical tenacity of the text exposes the irony of having an organisation which was founded to contain the more than five decades conflict in the West being the central decision-making body for all nations. Against this background the call for the reform of the UN organs even more logical. The bold thrust of this submission fills in the gap for the absent authoritative critique of the asymmetrical order of global power.
The text not only tackles the unequal decision-making in the United Nations Security Council, but it exposes that the normative notion of belonging within the international system is characterised by superficial balances of power. In other words, coloniality of power continues to manifest in more structural terms which posture insincere advocacy for equality within the global system. VP Chiwenga’s proposal for the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) forms the fundamental basis of the Global-South intelligentsia’s long ignored call for the democratisation of the international system.
Writing from a Zimbabwean point of view, VP Chiwenga affirms the symbolic role of Zimbabwe as a think-tank and a model for decolonising politics. With the late former President Robert Mugabe’s consistent narrative of championing horizontal diplomacy within the community of nations, this publication posits a continuity of a stubborn Zimbabwean ideological contest against the UNSC power structure.
While the focus of the book is on the functional outline and the hierarchical construct of the UNSC, the book provides a well-argued case for decolonising power through interrogating the hegemony of the West at a time we should be aligning our democracy beyond the normative of being post-colonial.
As a foot soldier of the anti-colonial movement and a sovereign integrity preservation expert, vp Chiwenga has demonstrated that the Chimurenga philosophy is inherent in submitting the Zimbabwean political culture inclination against the egos of imperialist manoeuvres to keep Africa subjugated.
The pan-Africanist thematic angling of the book underscores that the authentic proof of being “post-colonial’’ must manifest in methodologies of power’s interaction with the principle of equality. The failure to establish a cordial nexus between power and the universal principle of equality naturally generates conflict.
The gap between the decolonised and the neo-coloniser; as well as the First World and the Third World, substantiates the evident existence conflict in human nature. Moreover, the UNSC epitomises the eminent conflict between former colonisers and the erstwhile colonised. Consequently, this undermines the very claims of the abolishment of slavery, colonialism by the same powers which have institutionalised neo-colonialism through multilateral organs like the UNSC. As a result, Goose or Gander — The United Nations Security Council and the Ethic of Double Standards proffers a sufficient interrogation of the double standards within the functions of the UNSC substantiated by the marginalisation of Africa in the decision-making status of this body.
With this book, the Vice President has triggered an important, but missing debate within the body of political science.
Why the African Voice Now?
This book serves as a rational response to the conflictual global structures well-grounded for over 400 years courtesy of imperialism. With the juridical, negotiated and economically devoid process of decolonisation, African philosophy must negotiate for alternative liberation. Africa’s second liberation is well secured when African academics and key decision-makers rally around the cause of narrative change.
In a quest to fulfil that obligation, Goose or Gander — The United Nations Security Council and the Ethic of Double Standards systematically migrates political logic from its Western essentialist construct towards an Afro-centric dimension.
African voices have spoken and continue to speak, true to this given reality, this book is validated by the fact that Africa continues to be subjected to the injustice of multilateral belonging. As Grosfoguel (1998) has stated, the post-colony only transitioned from a period of “global colonialism” to the current phase of “global coloniality.” The erosion of territorial colonisation has not seen independent nation-states, particularly in Africa not benefiting from much as expected from the remittances of independence.
The bedrock of colonial hegemony remains institutionally enshrined. Coloniality is also inherent in the politics of knowing. Failure to unearth this coloniality on the part of the African scholar brings normalcy to this anomaly. In response, the bold submissions of this book invite Africa to a true realisation of global structure inequalities. The book amplifies the African voice in the discourse of global political dynamics.
Richard Runyararo Mahomva is a political scientist with an avid interest in political theory, liberation memory and architecture of governance in Africa. firstname.lastname@example.org