In a shocking turn of events, Zimbabwe has found itself embroiled in a controversy that questions the very essence of moral values in politics. The story revolves around Bobby Makaza, a convicted rapist, who was not only released from prison through a presidential amnesty deal but was also generously rewarded by the ruling party, Zanu PF, before being deployed for campaign purposes. As the nation gears up for key general elections on 23 August 2023, the use of a criminal offender in political campaigns has ignited a fierce debate about the ethical standards of those in power.

Bobby Makaza, aged 60, had been serving a 16-year prison sentence after being convicted of raping a 10-year-old girl in 2019. The release of Makaza, along with more than 4000 other inmates, as part of a presidential clemency to decongest jails, triggered widespread public outrage. Women, children, and human rights organizations voiced their concerns, arguing that it was both legally and morally wrong to reintegrate convicted criminals into society, especially when it meant reopening the wounds of their victims and their families.

The Zimbabwean government justified Makaza’s release by citing his age as the determining factor, claiming that he qualified for pardon since he had reached 60. However, human rights and civil society groups vehemently disagreed, contending that he did not deserve to be set free. This disagreement led to a new battle, with the raped minor’s parents striving to bring Makaza back to prison, despite the formidable challenge posed by his association with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.

While the victim and her family fight for justice, Mnangagwa and Zanu PF have shockingly capitalized on Makaza’s involvement in their political campaign efforts, treating it almost as a sport. This raises a critical question: How can a president and a ruling party, in a nation that aspires to be reasonably democratic and constitutionally governed, resort to such questionable tactics? Is their moral compass so badly shattered, or is this a deliberate strategic move?

The ethical dilemma deepens as we contemplate the core question: Should politics adhere to a higher moral standard, or should pragmatic considerations, often referred to as realpolitik, reign supreme? The philosophies of political thinkers like Aristotle and Machiavelli provide contrasting viewpoints.

Aristotle believed that the primary aim of politics should be the cultivation of moral virtue among citizens. He argued that politics should strive to create a society of individuals who are good and capable of noble actions. In this context, using a convicted rapist in political campaigns would be considered not only morally wrong but also a betrayal of the very purpose of politics.

On the other hand, Niccolò Machiavelli, in “The Prince,” championed pragmatism over morality. He emphasized the maintenance of power as the ultimate goal of politics, often necessitating actions that go against conventional notions of morality. Machiavelli famously stated that a prince, especially a new one, may be compelled to act against faith, charity, humanity, and religion in order to maintain the state.

Zimbabwe’s current situation raises a pertinent moral and political quandary. Is the use of Bobby Makaza in election campaigns a reflection of a broken moral compass within the ruling party, or is it a calculated move to secure power, regardless of the ethical implications? As the nation approaches the crucial 2023 elections, Zimbabweans must grapple with these weighty questions and decide whether their political leaders should be held to a higher moral standard or if realpolitik will continue to shape the nation’s destiny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *