Truly fascinating direct access to the twists and turns of a difficult constitutional initiative in Zimbabwe.
How does a deeply divided population with an ‘elected’ dictatorship go about facilitating and creating compromise and agreement on critical matters of democratic participation, representation and governance?
What roles do the media play? How do well organised war veterans provide ‘education’ to consultation participants?
What are the mechanisms and effects of political violence and intimidation?
By placing us alongside and in conversations with a principal negotiator from each of the two opposing political forces, this film succeeds in making what might otherwise have been a dry, technocratic, factual examination and report into a journey of seeing and feeling the tremendous risks and pressures; suffocating feelings of powerlessness contrasting starkly with the courage and determination needed to challenge abuse of power in the full knowledge of deadly consequences, sustained by the strength of hope that someday “change will come”.
Power prefers legitimacy – ‘legit’ – legal.
But if laws are seen as a threat to that power, what does power do?
Mugabe tells it to you straight! Both in words and deeds.
The power of films like this I feel goes beyond just a deeper appreciation of the lived experiences of people on the same planet but in different worlds.
For those open to hearing, the questions are sharp – How would you feel? What would you do?
And… how healthy or absurd is our own version of ‘democracy’?
In the UK we now have a ‘winner-takes-all’ elected slim majority Party in Parliament that received votes from less than 1 in 4 of the eligible electorate.
That Party is now under numerous official investigations for alleged criminal electoral fraud, which (if true) swung last year’s election in the all-important marginal constituencies.
If just 900 people in total across just 7 marginal constituencies had voted red instead of blue, there would not be that single Party slim majority and we would most likely not now be facing the consequences of the momentous decision of the EU referendum this month, including the increasingly likely ‘collateral damage’ of an upcoming replacement of Prime Minister and Chancellor to be decided not by the general electorate, but by a tiny clique of MP’s and a Party with embarrassingly low active membership.
Since there isn’t a natural law that things will improve themselves, this film reminds us all of the inescapable and daunting reality that change needs people with courage and determination organising effective challenges to power.