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Zimbabwe needs you, stand up and be counted

The urgency of now that we face is not the need for new leaders, but an informed, active and engaged citizenry with clarity on what it expects from those who aspire to lead.

AT the heart of Zimbabwe’s crises is failed leadership by most of us through omission or commission.

The urgency of now that we face is not the need for new leaders, but an informed, active and engaged citizenry with clarity on what it expects from those who aspire to lead.

There is no political messiah, who will lead us out of this economic and political wilderness until we admit our collective brokenness and heal.

Pause for a moment and reflect on the quality of people the ruling party and the opposition have elected to councils and Parliament.

These representatives are a reflection of our choices and who we are.

Then ask yourself this question: Do we need new leaders or do we need to re-evaluate the qualifications and virtues we expect from those seeking public office?

With a few exceptions, our poor choices have delivered mediocrity to run local government and to represent us in Parliament.

At the centre of our poor choices in the opposition there has been grievance and protest politics and failure to scrutinise the CVs and integrity of the people campaigning for public office.

Vacuous hashtag sloganeering such as #MugabeMustGo, #ZanuPFMustGo or #MukomanaNgapinde has delivered world-class mundanity in the opposition.

The same is true of #EDWorks and #SecondRepublic in the ruling party.

Political desperation, hate, anger, poverty and greed have clouded our sense of judgement in deciding who will lead us.

Until we change ourselves, inside-out, we will continue to inflict this carnage on ourselves.

We must first love ourselves, our country and fellow compatriots.

We must jealously guard the values we cherish, live by those values and demand those same values from those who seek the mandate to lead us.

When we elevate our virtues and ourselves, we elevate the standards of who among us is qualified to lead us.

We are not yet there and until then, we deserve what is currently masquerading as leadership in the ruling party and the opposition. Anger, hate and toxicity have stirred many of us to gather around those who emphasise our differences, instead of those who unite us.

Human beings generally make horrible decisions when they are angry, hungry and toxic.

We have elevated people, who rouse our baser instincts into positions of leadership.

We should, instead, seek people with proven leadership skills and experience to deliver on economic development and nation building.

Zimbabwe needs wise, credible, ethical and empathetic leadership to fashion an ambitious national vision and rally the whole nation towards common purpose.

Our rallying cry should be Zimbabwe first.

Surely, we can agree on that. We must then be guided by what is good for the country and not our political parties.

We must then decide on who has the best qualifications, track record, principles and stature to lead a team of equals in rebuilding our beloved country.

Our desperation, in the ruling party and opposition, to see the back of the late former President Robert Mugabe drove us on to the streets to celebrate the military intervention.

Despite the denials, the majority of us own the mess that the military intervention produced.

Instead of the frenzied denials, we should own up and then work to avoid a repeat in future.

A while back, experience and proximity made me realise the error of judgement in my saying give President Emmerson Mnangagwa a chance.

Just like Nelson Chamisa, Mnangagwa has failed to provide ethical and principled leadership to all Zimbabweans.

While Chamisa has presided over the death of the opposition through his incompetent cultish leadership, Mnangagwa is destroying Zimbabwe through a combination of sheer incompetence, nepotism and pandemic-level corruption.

As informed and engaged citizens, our weapons of choice are our values, rule of law, constitutionalism and inclusive and robust national institutions.

We must fight for transparency and accountability in the management of national affairs.

We must demand an independent Judiciary and professional uniformed services.

Meritocracy must trump all else in the search for leaders who embrace our values of self-discipline, honesty, tolerance, compassion, respect and integrity.

The opposition must be a coming together of the bold, virtuous and visionary among us and not a congregation of the brave, inept and unprincipled.

The parlous state of the opposition, government and the country reflect our collective poor choices.

For as long as we continue to expect new leaders when we fail to lead ourselves, we will be stuck in this cul-de-sac. We will continue to be seduced and hoodwinked by egotistic narcissists.

We will fall for charlatans and power grabbers in the opposition and ruling party.

Our society needs a wholesale value transformation to give birth to a citizenry imbued with the essence of what will set in motion and sustain this beautiful revolution.

  • Trevor Ncube is chairman of Alpha Media Holdings and host of ICWT

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