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The political leaders we want

Vince Musewe

WHEN a system is not producing the results we want, we must change the system to get different results.

That system can only change when those in leadership realise and acknowledge that the old ways of doing things cannot create better results.

The foundation and progress of any nation can mostly be attributed to the quality of leadership of that nation.

Where we have good leaders, it goes without saying that we will experience their good qualities as reflected in how they govern and how they create an environment which motivates each and every citizen to do their best.

Where good leadership lacks, nations will regress as the value systems promoted or represented by bad leadership behaviour permeate all sectors of society.

Although Zimbabwe has all the human and natural resources to develop rapidly, we have failed to create an economy which meets everybody’s needs.

When leaders fail to imagine a better future, the country cannot progress. When leaders persecute critics and those who may differ, they create their own incompetence to lead.

We need to ask ourselves critical questions: Can our current crop of political leaders be able to serve the interest of the country and all Zimbabweans regardless of their political affiliation? Can they represent the interests of Zimbabweans in general? Can they be able to give their best to national interest? Can they tolerate those who differ?

Political power without leadership principles is dangerous as experienced worldwide.

When the priority of those in power is to stay in power even at the expense of development, it means that national interests come second.

The Zimbabwe we want needs an inclusive economic and social agenda that seeks to deliver value to all citizens.

It must be led by leaders who have a high self-esteem and who do not rule by instilling fear or perpetrating violence on perceived enemies.

It must be led by leaders who appreciate that their role is to facilitate development and allow others to lead where necessary.

The leaders we want must have a compelling vision for our country driven by purpose.

Our leaders must be open to being questioned and challenged so that they may make better decisions.

In the Zimbabwe we want, leadership must be a privilege for those who have the competency to lead and not an entitlement.

If we assume that, indeed, we can get such leaders in Zimbabwe, the question would be: What should we expect them to do in order for Zimbabwe to rise?

The first step must be to create a participative democracy, where the Constitution is sacrosanct.

This participative democracy must be led by the people and leaders must not impose their selfish will; leaders are there to merely represent the interest of stakeholders and facilitate the attainment of the country’s full potential.

A participative democracy means that every citizen has a right not only to vote, but to continually challenge the status quo for the good of the country.

It means that every citizens must be afforded equal opportunity to participate in the economy. It also requires us as citizens to take responsibility for creating the circumstances we want without fear.

We need leaders who are not threatened by the truth; leaders who are not threatened by the different opinions of others, but encourage and embrace robust debate on everything; leaders who know that they don’t know what they don’t know and, therefore, must shed the “god complex” of knowing it all.

We also cannot afford personality cults to develop in the Zimbabwe we want, for that is the birthplace of dictators.

The answers that we need to revive Zimbabwe cannot be only found in the brains of one man or one political party or one organisation.

The myriad of opinions and ideas about our future must be encouraged and harnessed from all citizens for our good.

Above all, in the Zimbabwe we want, we want leaders who are value-driven and not money-driven; leaders who are genuinely concerned about the well-being of all citizens regardless of race or political affiliation.

We require leaders who are principled and are not driven by primitive material accumulation but by serving the needs of citizens.

If by any chance we are able to acquire the leaders we want, Zimbabwe will surely rise.

The questions we must ask next are: Does the current system we have in the selection or appointment of leaders take into account the quality of leaders we desire? How does one qualify to be a president, Senator, Member of Parliament or councillor? How should we deal with leaders who fail to deliver?

In my opinion, how we currently select or nominate leaders leaves much to be desired.

There is no set criteria besides being popular and sadly, popularity is hardly synonymous with competence.

Our country cannot progress as long as we do not espouse meritocracy and accountability.

Countries which were in much worse conditions than ours have progressed significantly and the only thing they got right was leadership.

Effective and principle centred leadership make all the difference. Food for thought.

Vince Musewe is an independent economist. You can contact him directly on vtmusewe@gmail.com

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