Tag: Powers

Civil society’s attempt to usurp State powers must be condemned

The Herald

Ranga Mataire Writing Black

Since the 1980s, the world has seen a resurgence of global neo-liberal agendas dominating the intellectual, political and moral space and vision.

One of the tragic consequences of this unrestrained liberal domination is the notion of a failed state and assumption of unblemished image of success of civil society or non-governmental organisations.

There is a fervent attempt to demote the State in favour of civil society that is often presented as the moral compass that should be financially supported vigorously.

Many must be aware of the boisterous declarations by some Western embassies that they are the biggest donors in Zimbabwe.

However, much of this financial support is not channelled to the State, but goes to civil society and non-governmental organisations. The State is often viewed as morally inept.

A regrettable fact that has emerged over the years is that the discourse of a “failed state” and the “successful civil society” has been globally constituted and that global constitution of “failure and success” betrays more an ideological preference than a real description of the actuality on the ground.

Without exception across the whole continent, but more pronounced in Zimbabwe, is the fact that Western influence distort the local evolution of a fair partnership of civil society and the State.

The portrayal of the State as “failed” and civil society as “success” is often a discourse constructed by external actors who often negate the right of local actors to frame and define the discourse based on their knowledge systems and cultural norms.

The result of this contemptuous attitude of external players towards local homegrown NGOs has been the manufacturing of a new political economy through donor funding where the State and civil society become involved in strains and clashes rather than promoting mutually beneficial partnerships and social cohesion.

The most saddening part of Western cynical attitude towards developing nations like Zimbabwe is that donors bring in the funds and consultants to shape civil society according to their (donors) own image.

NGO-dom in effect becomes something like a new social space for making a living. A casual observation of local non-governmental organisations and civil society groups that clamour the most about corruption, transparency and human rights points to a situation where personnel is motivated more by self-enrichment rather than genuine concerns for the citizens’ welfare.

As Africans, we need to robustly contest and question the Western mode of constituting civil society and State relations in terms of the frames, narratives, discourses, rhetoric and metaphors of “failure and success”.

We need as Africans to come up with a different development of civil society based on local definitions, knowledge and cultural conventions.

Ethiopian intellectual guru, Professor Mammo Muchie believes that there is need for a “Pan-African constitution of the State and society nexus (which has) the advantage of making Africa’s interest at the centre of all development initiatives.”

Prof Muchie is of the belief that Pan-Africanism builds upon the knowledge and life worlds of Africa’s pristine communities provides the

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1,612 DOJ Alumni Warn Bill Barr Will Use Law Enforcement Powers to Undermine Free and Fair Elections

U.S. Attorney General William Barr could attempt to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, according to allegations made in an open letter from 1,612 former members of the Department of Justice.

Barr has claimed that this year’s election results could be tallied incorrectly because of the prevalence of mail-in ballots. In September, Barr said that the mail-in ballots could be highly susceptible to fraud. Barr has also said that foreign entities, such as the Russian government, could forge ballots and send them in which could cause election results to be unfairly unbalanced.

In the letter, the DOJ alumni cited a fear that Barr “intends to use the DOJ’s vast law enforcement powers to undermine our most fundamental democratic value: free and fair elections. He has signalled this intention in myriad ways, from making false statements about the security of mail-in voting from foreign hackers to falsely suggesting that mail-in ballots are subject to widespread fraud and coercion.”

Newsweek reached out to the DOJ for comment.

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Both Barr and Trump have condemned the practice of widespread mail-in voting. In a September interview with CNN, Barr said that the use of mail-in ballots was “reckless and dangerous.”

Trump has attempted to delineate between mail-in voting and absentee voting, a process Trump himself claims to use.

william barr
Former members of the U.S. Department of Justice are concerned that Attorney General William Barr may be attempting to undermine this year’s presidential elections.
Oliver Contreras/AFP/Getty

“I’m an absentee voter because I can’t be in Florida because I’m in Washington,” Trump said at a July press conference. “I’m at the White House, so I’ll be an absentee voter. We have a lot of absentee voters, and it works.”

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According to Trump, mail-in ballots are different because they are sent to people who did not request them. Trump cited California as an example where “tens of millions” of ballots are expected to be sent out.

All registered voters in California are expected to receive mail-in ballots because of the threat of community spread coronavirus at polling places. However, if an individual chooses to vote in person, they must take their mail-in ballot with them as verification that they did not vote twice.

Barr has also expressed concerns in a September interview with CNN that states could receive ballots that have been counterfeited “either by someone here or someone overseas.”

When asked by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer if the DOJ had received any reports of such ballots, Barr said, “No. But most things can be counterfeited.”

In response to Trump’s social media posts about the dangers of mail-in voting, Twitter placed a fact-checking link on some of Trump’s tweets. Upon clicking the link, Twitter users are taken to a page with the headline, “Voting by mail is legal and safe, experts and data confirm.”

In a corporate blog post published in September, Twitter said it would either label or remove “false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence

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