Reconceptualisation of Democratic Citizenship Education Against Social Inequalities and Electoral Violence in Zimbabwe

Reconceptualisation of Democratic Citizenship Education Against Social Inequalities and Electoral Violence in Zimbabwe

Monica Zembere
DOI: 10.4018/IJCDLM.2021070101
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This article analyses the implications of a reconceptualised democratic citizenship education on universities in Africa with special emphasis on Zimbabwe. This is a qualitative research where data has been gathered through interviews and observation. Democratic citizenship education theory is used as a theory speaking to the argument. The arguments proffered in the research are that the concepts of DCE, education, and democracy that are rooted in liberal ideas of education have the potential to develop critical thinking necessary for political participation, justice, and political tolerance. The findings are that an African university education can teach students to become human with others, meaning students are taught to respect and value human dignity as dictated by Ubuntu.
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Interrogating The Liberal Democratic Citizenship Education And The Democratic Citizenship Education In Becoming

Liberal democratic citizenship education is used in the research to conceptualise Zimbabwe’s higher education so that it can transform the socio-economic and political situation that has triggered inequalities and conflicts in the country. The history of Zimbabwe is characterised by a series of challenges which at different turning points manifested themselves through violent conflicts (Mandaza 2009; Ndhlela 2012:16). In this regard, the use of a liberal DCE is envisioned as crucial to the understanding ofthe social ills that have driven the society into conflicts and violence.

Liberal DCE is a regime where citizens make collective decisions on the basis of reasons they can all accept, not so as to further their own individual preferences, but so as to promote the common good (Rawls 1971; Dryzek 2013:169). In this regime, citizen responsibilities are the duties that citizens need to carry out such as joining the army, tolerating differences, voting and legitimising political authority, making decisions through public engagement and exercising individual power and making judgement as a way of life. However, if citizens’ rights are curtailed so much that they fail to exercise them, conflicts will ensue. What this implies for DCE is that all citizens have the rights to belong and participate as equal citizens in their political communities. This has been the missing link in the higher education in Zimbabwe as the country encountered challenges emanating from ethnic and electoral violence. The majority of conflicts in Africa emanate from the way minority societies are sometimes mistreated (Waghid 2009).

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