The Sunday Mail
LET’s give the devil his due.
Little Chamisa was spot on when he sent Luke “Lukezha” Tamborinyoka packing. However, I am not sure he was spot on in taking on board Dr Nkululeko Sibanda. I see lots of turbulence in the coming weeks.
The storm is gathering but hey, let me preach a little about my good friend Luke. He is young and is a likeable character, but chokwadi hachiputsi husahwira. Luke sounded so old school, so out of sorts and so out of depth as Tsvangirai’s spokesperson.
Every time Luke tried to appear like a presidential spokesperson, he left many wondering whether Tsvangirai was not referring to him in his book “The Deep End”. It appeared as if the good brother was drowning at the deep end.
Now Luke is gone and no one is missing him. He reminds me of former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko — after Operation Restore Legacy last November, he went where nobody cared to find out where; and no one up to this day cares about what he is up to. Must be very disappointing and embarrassing to suddenly realise that you were useless all along. Munhu koshawo, even mbichana.
Anyway, little Chamisa has hired Dr Sibanda as his spokesperson. This despite the fact that only a few weeks ago, this same Dr Sibanda was tearing little Chamisa apart, citing his numerous blips and blunders.
I think it was high time little Chamisa hired someone who doesn’t lick and kiss all he says.
By hiring Dr Sibanda, little Chamisa is acknowledging that with regards to packaging my message, I have failed and those who have been around me also failed to rein me in.
Once upon a time, one Alex Magaisa was hired by Tsvangirai to come and do something almost similar, but in no time, he packed his bags. Regai tione Dr Sibanda. Kwanzi vakangwara kwazvo. Unoita satsuro magen’a uri kunze uko uchitukirira, kunzi kwede muring, ndipo paunowona kuti all along you were overrating yourself.
But this sermon is not about Dr Sibanda. It’s about what little Chamisa is up to. The picture is slowly becoming clear.
After the failure of protest politics under Tsvangirai and after discovering that President Mnangagwa has turned the tables, little Chamisa is trying to take us to what Professor Lyn Carson from the University of Sydney Business School calls a “failed western experiment which has become audience democracy, a televised popularity poll.”
Little Chamisa has decided to drag Zimbabwe towards audience democracy, as propounded by French-American political theorist Bernard Manin in his 1997 book entitled “The Principles of Representative Government.”
Professor Carson would advise political upstarts and opportunists like our little boy here to take time to read books such as David van Reybrouck’s “Against Elections: The Case for Democracy”, or Brett Hennig’s “The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy”. She says these books offer powerful and provocative alternatives to this failed western experiment called audience democracy.
In this failed western experiment, according to Manin the media expert, has replaced the political activist and the party bureaucrat.
“Thus, the electorate appears, above all, as an audience which responds to the terms that have been presented on the political stage. Hence, this form of representative government is called here audience democracy,” asserts Manin on page 223 of his book.
Well, we will unpack this failed western experiment in detail a bit later but little Chamisa has to know that after taking a critical look at audience democracy, another political theorist, Professor Jos de Beus from the University of Amsterdam was left wondering and he wrote an article entitled “Audience Democracy: An Emerging Pattern in Postmodern Political Communication”.
The intro to the article reads, “Mediacracy, government by spectacle, plebiscitary democracy, spectator democracy, telecracy, informational politics, public relations democracy, mobocracy, drama democracy, fan democracy, blockbuster democracy, media democracy, monitory democracy: the lack of a fixed technical term for political communication in postmodern Western societies is revealing.
“Accounts splinter off in all directions and are often moralising and adversarial. What they generally share is a concern over what was once apparently a symbiotic relationship, a reasonable and comfortable living-apart-together.
“The relationship between politicians and journalists, between political parties and the Press, was considered a marriage de raison in which one more or less depended on the other: journalists needed politicians for news about government and for information about what took place in the policy process; politicians needed journalists for news about society and for media exposure — to be seen to be acting responsibly and in the public’s interest. It is as if the partners have since filed for a divorce and the marital quarrels are fought out openly.”
Apologies dear congregants for the somewhat long quote, but this was necessary so that you understand that Bishop Lazarus havasi kungo humana vega.
Little Chamisa is trying to drag the country to a territory that is giving learned professors headaches. What is worse is that little Chamisa is trying to drag the country to this territory, “apa haana cash” as the flamboyant Philip Chiyangwa would say. Audience democracy is about appearances and it’s expensive.
According to Professor Beus, audience democracy conceptualises the development from traditional parties’ democracy — where the political party was the dominant actor in the field of politics, the party programme the leading principle and competence the virtue for which politicians strived and with which they legitimised their politics — to audience democracy — in which personalities are favoured over the party, performance over the programme and authenticity over competence.
The professor goes on to explain that under audience democracy, the election of those who govern becomes an interplay between trustful voters who pay attention to the personal qualities of candidates, and the candidates who frame their trustworthy qualities in the public sphere with the help of media experts.
This according to Professor Beus can be labelled as the personalisation of support of politics.
Secondly, the professor notes that under audience democracy, the relative independence of politicians from the desires of the electorate is constituted by an increasing degree of political vagueness in image-based campaign commitments.
Policy statements, personal promises and think-tank concepts — under the guise of formal deals with the people — crowd-out party principles, party manifestos and subcultures of the rank and file.
This feature is the loosening of party mandate and, possibly, of political consent and the social contract, explains Prof Beus.
Under audience democracy, according to Prof Beus, political leaders tend to see and present themselves as autonomous and central, rather than as subordinate to other powerful and authoritative leaders in democratic society and new generations of politicians will no longer be selected from old professions like the military, the civil service, judiciary, economics or newspaper journalism.
These new leaders, as Prof Beus argues, will be selected from new professions in the service economy, such as marketing, acting, popular TV-journalism, mass media ownership, popular arts and popular sports, or from among the ‘stars’ of old professions (celebrity lawyers, scholars, entrepreneurs).
Professor Beus goes further saying politicians under audience democracy consider their front-stage appearance in the full light of television cameras to be crucial for constructing and reaching target publics, without necessarily engaging face-to-face with them. “Political leaders are becoming stage directors,” explains the Professor.
He concludes that political parties under audience democracy, will try to influence and control journalism by what is termed news management or, more pejoratively, news manipulation.
And so behold dear Zimbabweans, little Chamisa is trying to drag us to gyroscopic representation where we have media generated images and generalised trust towards selected representatives.
But then little Chamisa forgot one small detail — if you want to take your politics and play your politics in the public sphere, then get ready for constant public scrutiny. Audience democracy can be unpredictable and volatile and little Chamisa can confirm this. No wonder why Dr Sibanda is being roped in.
Tamborinyoka was too buried in the past and there was no way he could understand this new direction that little Chamisa is taking.
To Chamisa, the MDC no longer matters. What matters is his image and how it is re-presented to the voters. That is why last Thursday at the Nomination Court, he decided to use the name MDC Alliance, leaving Thokozani Khupe clutching to the original name of the party. Chamisa wants to be more popular that the MDC. In fact, he wants to become the party unto himself.
Maybe little Chamisa is taking notes from US President Donald Trump — audience democracy sneaked him into power, leaving poor but popular Hillary Clinton wondering what had hit her.
Very few people know that Trump comes from the Republican Party.
Trump has become more popular that his party and to the disgust of some Republicans, he is making decisions without consulting anyone.
One reporter once asked Trump who he consults before making his foreign policy announcements and he arrogantly responded: “ I talk to myself.”
This western experiment is anti-people, it’s a mediatised fraud and just like protest politics, is set to fail dismally.
Bishop is out!