Clive Malunga

Leadership Crisis – Zimbabwe’s Main Impediment to Development.

Zimbabwe has become a basket case.  Many people are living in abject poverty and have lost hope that things will ever go back to normal. It is laughable and even inconceivable that the new Zig currency will change anything on the ground. Our country needs more than just a change in currency: it needs a real shift in governance fundamentals. Currency viability and stability depend on people’s trust in the issuing authority. But how can people’s trust in the government be restored when evils such as corruption, cronyism and repression are getting more entrenched in government rather than showing any signs of abating. Those who should be at the forefront of fighting these vices are the worst perpetrators of the same. Regardless of any efforts by the government to tell the world otherwise, it is very clear for everyone to see that the country is sinking into a very deep hole. The propaganda we hear is very different from the reality of people’s lives.

You don’t have to be   an economist or a rocket scientist to see the economic mess in which our country is. The ruling elite are living in a bubble. The leaders are at sixes and sevens. They either have no clue what to do to dig the country out of the hole they have put us into or they simply don’t care. Many Zimbabweans have excellent ideas about how to make the country rise again but the leaders make no effort to tap into that vast reservoir of ideas. Those that volunteer their ideas unsolicited for the love of the motherland are vilified and antagonized. There is no effort whatever to build broad national consensus   by consulting the masses of Zimbabwe on any national issues. We are made to accept whatever is shoved down our throats.

Leadership is a science and follows certain basic principles. We don’t see any attempt to utilise those principles by the current leadership of Zimbabwe. Instead we see haphazard, disorganized trial and error approaches to solving straightforward national issues. Their divination techniques to national leadership won’t work. If this isn’t daydreaming, then nothing is.  These are chancers who happened to be at strategic positions which they used to force their way into leadership positions while they have no clue what leadership is all about. Take the issue of national currency as an example. How many times have people lost their savings as result of currency changes in the last 15 years? What has fundamentally changed now that the same people expect us to believe that the Zig will work? Nothing. This is unacceptable experimenting with people’s lives. We have a serious leadership crisis.

The most depressing thing is watching crooks who get their wealth through dishonest means coalescing around the ruling party for protection from prosecution. Mnangagwa’s government is more concerned about, and works for, those who are filthy rich. If you are poor but hardworking and intelligent you’re not counted. He surrounds himself with corrupt individuals who are ready to shield their corrupt activities from public scrutiny and criminal investigation by pouring money into ZANU (PF) programmes and activities. The mafia has come into town. Now, professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers, architects and lawyers among others, need to go to neighboring countries or overseas to realise their worth. In Zimbabwe they are treated worse than bus touts. The government is too busy entertaining economic saboteurs and political clowns to care about the country’s professionals.

I have in the past complained about the president’s poor communication skills. It seems he is getting worse while those around him are urging him on.   As president, he is the face of the nation and he would do us well if he would enroll for a course in public speaking. It’s not too late at all. What he thinks are funny jokes are the worst insults to the citizens. His behaviour when speaking does not reflect well on the legal profession of which he is a member. In addition to the vitriol in his speech, his voice sounds as if he would be screaming or shouting or singing. The president must speak confidently and with dignity. That will inspire confidence in the masses.

Considering the dire situation, we are in, it  is a shame that the president and his loot-mates think he can rule Zimbabwe beyond 2030. That will be a total disaster for the nation.  Haven’t we already suffered long enough now?  I don’t know of any nation that has had such as a long barren period as ours. He must accept his failure and quit when his second term ends. He was never born a leader. He happens to be in that position by chance. Mnangagwa is no match for sober, intelligent people like Simba Makoni, Sydney Sekeramayi and the late Morgan Tsvangirayi who could have provided true leadership in Zimbabwe. A chief executive of an organization is judged by the performance of his organisation on the market. A father in the house is judged by how he looks after his family. Many people are running away from Zimbabwe because of hunger, political victimization, and terror from city police and Zimbabwe Republic Police. That is a true sign of failure and why would a leader who has failed want to cling to power?

It is going to be very difficult to reverse the level of corruption which has gripped Zimbabwe. Cars are being thrown around like confetti to a few who support the ruling party. To me it’s blatant political bribery. Musicians have been targeted and many of them are too naive to fall for the trap. If it’s a way of garnering support from poor citizens by using musicians, comedians, poets and churches, it’s definitely a waste of resources. The country is full of intelligent people who will not buy into this nonsensical exercise. There is no such thing as a free meal. All those that are getting free cars must be aware that whenever they are needed by ZANU PF they will have to comply. Musicians must rather learn to work very hard to buy themselves cars than choose the easy route of begging for handouts from politicians. These are not genuine gifts; they have strings attached.

The Chimurenga music maestro Dr Thomas Mapfumo was offered a car , a house and pocket money. As expected, he refused because he knows the implications of such gifts. They have strings attached. Dr Mapfumo belongs to the poor people of Zimbabwe. He is a freedom fighter in his own right and he will always stand with the oppressed. One other musician who is principled is Winky D. He needs our total support. Winky D comes from the people and belongs to the people. These are musicians who are not carried away by the wind but have character, honour and dignity.

At one time I was offered a lot of money to do Hondo yeminda jingles. I declined because I knew the repercussions. Musicians who accepted and pocketed the huge sums of money quickly  fell from grace . Simon Chimbetu, Andy Brown and Tambaoga lost their true paymasters, who are the fans. The fans punished them because they had become mouth pieces of the ruling party. If music fans are really serious about the current challenges in  Zimbabwe, I urge them to repeat what they did to Simon Chimbetu, Andy Brown and Tambaoga. . The fans must  punish sell-out musicians by boycotting their concerts and  products. The musicians of the country must not be complicit in the oppression of the masses. The majority must stand together in opposing the current oppressors and their bootlickers. We have a Congolese group in Zimbabwe, Lumumbashi Stars,  which ran away from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after the ouster of Mobutu Sese Seko. This is the group that used to sing praise songs for the tyrant Mobutu Sese Seko. What goes around comes around. Sell-out musicians must be careful!

Our country has become a circus. People are getting access to the president by flashing expensive cars, watches and clothes. The rich and famous clowns have free passage to state house and seats in the presidential helicopter. Zimbabwe has just over 15 million inhabitants , the majority of whom live below the poverty datum line. The country has no safety nets whatever to care for the underprivileged.Yet the president and his cronies are not ashamed to flaunt their wealth when they are sorrounded by a sea of poverty.  Meanwhile ,those with ideas that can turn around the economy are mocked and kept at arms length. Some are wallowing in exile because of the fear of victimisation. The government must allow all political refugees to come back home. Professor Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwawo, Dr Walter Muzembi, Saviour Kasukuwere and many others  must feel safe to return home. We need them to help in rebuilding our country. We cannot afford to lose any one of us through personal vendettas.

Those who joined the liberation struggle knew that by joining the struggle they were risking life and limb but they joined all the same. We now need a new breed of hero who joins the fight for the economic freedom of the people. Such people must not be afraid of harrasment , torture and death. We should stop cheering those receiving car donations and devote our time to building schools, hospitals and roads.

 Shumba Murambwi has failed people through poor leadership. Like the majority of Zimbabweans, I have lost faith in  the current government and it will take a lot of effort to convince me about the genuineness of anything they do. We were promised heaven on earth but not even a single promise has been fulfilled. Now, we hear statistics of growth in newspapers  which are not reflective of the deepening poverty in urban and rural areas.  We don’t feed on propaganda. Besides the ever-growing poverty, the only other things that are growing in this country are the wallets of the leaders and their cronies.

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