Zimbabwe: Leadership is all about embracing change

Vince Musewe says everything in the country needs renewal, starting at State House

As Winston Churchill once remarked; Men occasionally stumble over the truth but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

We have seen in Zimbabwe that our leaders, despite stumbling upon the truth that it's time for political change, continue to hurry off as if nothing is urgent. Our leaders actually fear change and the battle in my country Zimbabwe is really about the new challenging the old.

The old continues to dominate simply because of its access to arms of war and control of the security sector and therefore they will always pose a potential threat to destroy or expunge those of us who wish for substantive change. That does not make them legitimate or right. It also does not mean we should give up or cower at the first sign of intimidation, but rather we should be strengthened by their resistance knowing that all we want, all we aspire to be, is a better society that lives under better life conditions. That is not impossible.

Resistance to change seems a common factor is our society; whether in government where we have old dogs that really have no capacity to create the Zimbabwe we want; our private sector which has become less competitive and more internally focused on surviving without any leadership change; in our public institutions where we have seen incompetent and overpaid leadership that is arresting progress and development. We even have resistance to change in our community and social organisations where leaders claim positions for life despite the lack of results. All are seeking to maintain lifestyles and are afraid of the pain of the social transformation which we desperately need.

Because of our unchanging and anaemic political leadership, Zimbabwe is stuck in a time bubble of the past. We can hardly progress were we are continually reminded that the past matters more than the future. That is indeed a tragedy. Societies that progress focus more on the future and most are fast progressing as we remain stuck in the past that has no benefit to our people at all. Our neighbours' economies are fast advancing and even surpassing ours as we bicker about what happened yesterday and who did what.

As leaders our responsibility must now be to change this narrative. We have to renew everything that we are about so that we may see social progress. We must embrace change and continually renew how we operate and how we seek to change our circumstances. If we do not do that, we will regress as a society as we have seen in the last thirty four years.

What has gone wrong?

If you ask me that my answer is simple; our politics are regressive and enervating. We have personality based fiefdoms that seek to maintain a status quo of the same people at the top and the rest of society following even where we cannot see the results. Mugabe and his crew of yesteryear praise singers are now moribund and hugely irrelevant to the future we want to create. Anyway, as we all know; hapana chisangapere.(nothing last forever) and the chickens will one day come home to roost.

We have seen that recently in ZIFA where despite the obvious imperative of leadership renewal and therefore progress, the same person has been returned to the helm.  A leader devoid of conscience and morality can hardly be suitable. We have also seen that in our cricket, problems continue to mount and yet its leaders have not changed. That is most unfortunate.

Despite the sporting talent of many Zimbabweans our institutions are unable to harness and show case new talent simple because of vested interests of those that have led our sports organisations to the ground and yet today they remain at the helm steadfast in their foolishness. The heartbreak is that some of us accept this trend as normal. How pitiful.

The same applies to our state enterprises. We have in excess of 80 state enterprises which are not performing and yet we have not heard about fundamental leadership renewal because of patronage and political favours that must be met. Yet our people continue to suffer because of non-delivery of services. Nothing will change until we have new leaders whose concern is our country and its people. The cancer continues to be treated like a mild flu.

Everything in Zimbabwe needs renewal, starting at State house and including our opposition political parties who must now lead with a new narrative and strategy; there is no doubt about that.

That is where our only hope for positive and substantive recovery lies; anything else will be us merely postponing the inevitable. Our challenge is therefore to be proactive fearless change agents who embrace the new and avoid complacency and the false comfort that comes with it.

The future is in our hands!

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on [email protected]

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