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Zimbabwe suffers from leadership crisis

For any country to prosper in this modern age, it must be ruled by educated, democratic, upright and selfless men and women who venerate justice and human rights.

For any country to prosper in this modern age, it must be ruled by educated, democratic, upright and selfless men and women who venerate justice and human rights and whose sole goal is to attain the highest standard of living for the people.

Sunday Opinion by Pious Wakatama

Alas, this is not the case in Zimbabwe. Our country is being led by mostly semi-literate, corrupt and incompetent people whose only goal is self-aggrandisement.

The result is that we are where we are.

In most respects, Rhodesia was far much better than present day Zimbabwe. To most, the words “freedom, national integrity and sovereignty” are meaningless slogans shouted by our political leaders at rallies.

It is true, Zimbabweans are thankful to God for our hard-won freedom and independence. However, what this really means is that we are free from the colour-bar and that we are now ruling, or rather, misruling ourselves.

This is the sum total of our liberation. Otherwise, life in Rhodesia was far better than life in Zimbabwe. One would need to write volumes to describe the difference in detail.

We only rid ourselves of a white oppressor, only to replace him with a black one. Justice, human rights and the well-being of the people are non-existent for most.

At independence our economy, inherited from Rhodesia, was strong and resilient, despite being under real international sanctions.

Rhodesians did not blame all their failures on sanctions and go “cap in hand” to all kinds of even queer foreign “friends”.

They faced the truth, put on their thinking caps, rolled up their sleeves and went to work to build a strong economy. They lived and ate well — all of them.

Today that economy is in tatters. It is slowly but surely giving up the ghost and only a few, at the top of the heap, live and eat well. The rest are suffering and living in serious apprehension about their future.

Local and international pundits have tried their best to help our leaders with criticism, instruction and advice all to no avail. The unlucky ones were arrested or intimidated to such an extent that they had to flee for dear life and now live in the Diaspora.

These include geniuses and real leaders, like the beloved musician Thomas Mapfumo who dared denounce corruption, and a host of other patriotic leaders in all spheres of life. Thousands of suffering Zimbabweans had to abandon home to seek a better life in other countries.

In a rather rambling, disorganised and rather incoherent speech given at a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union, the Senior Minister of State, Ambassador Simon Khaya-Moyo urged Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to return home to participate in rebuilding the country’s economy.

He said, “You go in the Sadc region, it’s Zimbabweans who are running the economies of those countries and beyond. In Europe it’s you people who are there and can you imagine if we say come back all of you and let us now address all challenges.

“This is going to be something else in this country and we shall be moving also in that direction to make sure that those in the Diaspora come back and make the situation attractive in the sense that they must feel that they have got a duty to contribute to our economic development.

“So if you have got any relatives outside,” he rambled on, “please tell them to get ready to come home because we need them so that Zimbabwe can move ahead.”

Ambassador Moyo then went on to platitudinise about pan-Africanism and getting rid of corruption.

One wonders whether those were real students with intellect that he was talking to because if they were, they would have all walked out instead of clapping their hands at such unreasonable drivel.

Or, they would have asked him why those Zimbabweans left for the Diaspora in the first place and who destroyed the economy that he wants them to come home and rebuild.

How will they survive when their former colleagues, who are now graduates, have to sell air-time and trinkets to survive in Zimbabwe?

The ambassador conveniently fails to acknowledge that it is the party’s violence and skewed economic policies, born of greed, which drove millions of Zimbabweans into exile.

Our leaders have proven, beyond doubt, that they are not leadership material. They don’t have the qualifications required of true leaders.

Many of them are uneducated and semi-literate. Minister Ignatious Chombo is worried about this. Late last year he said that the government would soon introduce minimal educational qualifications for councillors in both urban and rural areas, to enhance their literacy and competence.

He said most councillors were failing to appreciate their mandate and authority because of low literacy levels.

With this kind of admission from a Zanu PF minister of the government, can we blame sanctions for our sad predicament? The lack of rudimentary educational qualifications is not a local government problem only.

It also applies to most, if not all, government departments. There are two typical examples.

One is Member of Parliament, Joseph Chinotimba. He is a semi-literate former municipal policeman who can hardly speak English. The second one is MP for Hurungwe East, Sarah Mahoka. She is an illiterate Grade 2 dropout.

She is also the party’s Women’s League chairperson for Mashonaland West province. Can such leaders meaningfully participate in the governance of a modern day state? No. They can only participate in a primitive, poverty-stricken country like Zimbabwe.

There are indeed some well-educated government leaders in Zimbabwe. However, they fail the major test of real leadership.

They don’t value justice. A friend of mine was remonstrating with a government minister. He said, “One day the people are going to take you people to court for your misdeeds.”

The minister actually laughed and said, “The courts may belong to the people but the judges are ours.”

Need one say more? Our current leaders scoff at justice. The concept and meaning of the word does not exist in their minds and consciences.

This is why Zimbabwe today is an impoverished pariah state whose children have run away to enrich foreign countries. Among them are real leaders who should be at the helm of the country today.

Zimbabwe has the most educated and sophisticated people in Africa. Why is it then that it is led by people of such poor quality? The answer is, fear.

If you, as a Zimbabwean citizen, aspire to high political office, your very life is at risk. Many have paid the price. Zimbabweans must pray to God to rid us of poor leaders and give us true leaders who will lead us to “Canaan”.