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The greatest tragedy

CAN someone please educate the “Great Leader” that leadership is only valid as long as the people who bestowed it upon you believe you are serving their interests?

“>This I suppose will come as an incredible shock seeing that he has internalised leadership to a point that he believes he is in fact a “father” of the people.

With this distorted image of reality, the “Dear Leader” has conveniently, incorrectly defined leadership as headship – a position that is inherited, formal and cannot be challenged.

Misunderstanding the meaning of leadership and headship is the old man’s greatest tragedy, as the two are different and as such have different meanings.

Leadership is a type of informal dominance for a person who has a special or superior knowledge of how to “exploit” or “manipulate” a particular situation or environment in order to achieve a group’s goal.

Leadership is specific to a situation and is brought about by the demands of a situation and the subsequent impact this demand has on a group of people. To that point, who becomes a leader is determined by the needs of a group in a given situation at a particular place or time.

As Plato rightly put it: “The people always put forward a single champion for their interests . . .” The leader should certainly be the person who most closely reflects the feelings of the group. That in itself fully explains the change in leadership time and again.

Headship on the other hand is the total opposite of leadership. It is formal dominance that is culturally transmitted. A king, lord or a tribal chief is an example of this formal dominance.

The “Eternal Leader’s” dilemma is that he believes in the latter and that we, “his” people, owe it to him to rule over us until “death do us part”!

He cannot detach himself from the simple idea that we do not owe him anything and that we are not “his people” but the people of Zimbabwe, and in that respect have the right to stand up and challenge his actions.

Molyn Nkomo,


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