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Ask Takudzwa 5 – Revivatory Democracy: Civic Awareness, Colonial Repression, and Human-Centered Politics


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/09/28

Takudzwa Mazwienduna is the informal leader of Zimbabwean Secular Alliance. This educational series will explore secularism in Zimbabwe from an organizational perspective, and some more.

Here we talk about democracy and secularism in Zimbabwe.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we’re looking at the ways in which Zimbabwe lost one of its leaders, and the ways in which religion continues to influence political life, how can a secular outlook, a humanistic worldview, provide an alternative to the pervasive religiosity in politics?

Takudzwa Mazwienduna: A secular worldview would definitely inspire citizens to participate in the political discourse, becoming active members and reviving democracy. Most Zimbabweans turn to religion rather than facing their political problems like corruption. Civic awareness would also increase if the Zimbabwean population cease to see their leaders as gods whose faults they choose to ignore although they suffer the consequences. Zimbabwean politicians also endorse and appease churches that allow child marriages and deny children medical care or vaccinations to ensure their votes. This definitely comes under scrutiny from a secular perspective.

Jacobsen: If this is done, and if this is accepted, how might this change the overall landscape of policymaking?

Mazwienduna: Policymaking will be based on reason and human centered, rather than blindly nationalistic and culture centered. Both the government and the society would have more respect for human rights and repressive legislation from colonial times that is still in law today would be removed.

Jacobsen: What have been the central laws preventing full equality of the freethinkers and humanists in Zimbabwe?

Mazwienduna: The Zimbabwean constitution upholds secularism, but people act as if it was a theocracy anyway because of low civic awareness. The majority of Zimbabweans believe that the country is a Christian nation when the constitution says otherwise. There are however anti-gay laws in the constitution and homosexuality is punishable by lengthy prison sentences. There are colonial repressive laws that have been maintained to outlaw protests and free speech such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). Zimbabwean leaders still use these laws to silence activists, civil society and their political opponents.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Takudzwa.

Mazwienduna: It is always a pleasure Scott!


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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