E-Citizenship as a solution to the challenge of governance in the region

Let me throw into the fray another way of taking back control of governance and have control over the region’s destiny. This is a concept called E-Citizenship

 

By Bongani Mazwi Mkwananzi

 

The people of Matabeleland generally feel they have been pushed to the edge as a group and are accorded lesser importance. They feel marginalised and encounter the social phenomenon of being excluded, and their needs or desires ignored.

To marginalize is the process of relegating or confining to a lower or outer limit or edge, as of social standing. Hence, marginalization is the social process of becoming or being made marginal (especially as a group within the larger society). In the process making a group or class of people less important or relegated to a secondary position, (e.g., when one class of people is grouped together as second class citizens).

One of the most difficult feelings to rid oneself of is the emotional turmoil associated with being marginalized by a person or group in the position of power.

Feelings of anger and confusion are often followed with those of inferiority. The internal struggle is exacerbated when the perpetrator claims no ill intent and makes it appear that the marginalisation is “perceived” more than real which makes the victim feel particularly patronized.

Society is replete with these micro-aggressions that more often than not go unnoticed but have a lasting impact on the recipient.

The bane of the Zimbabwean state has been the poor governance, institutional decay and the seeming tribal running of the state. The brutalisation of dissenting voices by armed wings of the Zimbabwe state with particular reference to the Gukurahundi massacres exacerbated by the economic collapse has made the feeling of not belonging gain more traction even to the youth.

The dictate of Harare

Its an open secret that poor governance in Zimbabwe has led to poor economic growth and it is manifested through corruption, political instability, a politically biased application of rule of law and and misuse of institutions. Zimbabwe has gone through governance failures and corruption yet the challenge for the people of Midlands and Matabeleland is that they are powerless to restructure the governance of their region and some have punted secession and federalism as a means to better self governance.

While devolution is now enshrined in the constitution, the implementation is at the whims and dictate of Harare.

I will like to throw into the fray another way of taking back control of governance and have control over the region’s destiny. This is a concept called E-Citizenship.

Currently its been implemented in Estonia and while the Estonian government came up with it and thus it was easily implemented, l find it as one of the least abrasive approaches which has the potential of futurism in an age of the 4th digital industrial revolution.

Reality of displacement

The block-chain based e-residency of Estonia can be replicated to a feasible case to the people of the Matabeleland and Midlands region. The reality many of the region’s people has been a displacement from geographic confines of the region and are now spread across the world.

Thus an E-Citizenship system may address the geographic boundary issue and accord any of the region’s sons and daughters an identity and a better governance which they can control wherever they are located.

The Estonian “dream is to have as little state as possible, but as much as is necessary. Thanks to e-solutions, communications with the state are fast and convenient for all, and our country is more effective as a result.

e-Estonia’s success relies on a clever infrastructure that has made it possible to build a safe e-services ecosystem. An important part of this ecosystem is flexibility and the ability to integrate its different parts, while improving e-services and allowing government systems to grow.”

Digital signatures

In the modern day, many e-services are already showing to be a success with case in points being Uber and such e-hailing services. An E-Citizenship is quite plausible and has the Estonian case study which has implemented an entire e-governance that includes e-identity with digital signatures , ID-cards, Mobile-Ids, e-Residency even for non Estonians and Smart-Ids.

This 21st century citizen-centred state and service-oriented society “requires information systems to function as an integrated whole to support citizens and organisations. There must be interoperability between different organisations and information systems. In other words they must be able to work together and data only needs to be requested from the citizen once.”

It can be extended into safety and security by implementing e-Law, e-Justice, and e-Police. The health care services can be used e-Health Records, e-Ambulance, e-Prescription. The e-governance can be done using i-Voting and and e-Cabinet which means one can be part of governance from anywhere in the world and as long as they subscribe and perform to the E-State.

This is very exciting seeing we have many capable people of our region who have established lives in other countries and still want to see the betterment of the region.

The Estonian case example is a practical case which works and thus a similar approach can immediately be deployed in the region. One has to admire the business and finance.

The digital revolution

Modern e-solutions which make setting up and running a business in Estonia quick and easy. Estonian solutions like digital signatures, electronic tax claims, e-Business Register or the availability of public records online have pared bureaucracy down to a bare minimum and facilitated an environment where business is easy.

Industry 4.0. is another step on the road to the digital revolution.

The immediate question many would likely ask is how about the land? The E-Citizenship is something which one can have voluntary subscription without renouncing the current Zimbabwe citizenship since its virtual.

No law bars one from the freedom of association and yet the chance to self determine gets more feasibility and consensus. Its not like we are not already having to run our own affairs in any case without government help.

Mpilo and Thorngrove hospitals are cases in point where government has failed to do anything until the Diaspora Community and especially the UK-Based community raised funds to fix the dire state of these hospitals.

There are more cases where the community has had to do things themselves while the incompetent looting government continues its unrelenting affront on the people and marginalising the region by commission or omission.

 

Bongani Mazwi Mkwananzi is spokesman for the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa.

 

 

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