Tuku’s effortless idiom more powerful than slogans

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IF anyone ever needed unassailable evidence that brand Zimbabwe has been dragged into the depths of despair by the astonishing actions of a clueless government, they would have been left with no shadow of doubt in recent days when the authorities scored a flurry of spectacular own goals.

Candid Comment: Brezhnev Malaba
bmalaba@zimind.co.zw

How on earth does a president go on a four-nation tour to promote investment while his troops back home are killing civilians and a minister is illegally cutting off internet connectivity to an entire republic?

Those who flippantly argue that there is no connection between economic development and good governance are engaging in wishful thinking. In an increasingly inter-connected world, the deranged actions of any government have a bearing on how the global community views that particular country.

At the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, there was an interesting discussion featuring some of the world’s leading investment fund managers and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.

The debate, centred on sustainable and inclusive development, eventually drifted towards a stark comparison between Rwanda and Zimbabwe — two African countries whose governments, it seems, come from totally different planets.

The audience heard how Rwanda fares much better than Zimbabwe on the all-important metrics of governance and the cost of doing business. What is worse, the existential question of our day — Zimbabwe’s increasingly catastrophic democratic deficit — was cited as one of the major problems associated with investing in this country.

What the government is failing to understand is that Zimbabwe is competing with other nations for foreign investment. Investors want policy consistency, a stable political environment, respect for property rights and a governance ethos that catalyses socio-economic development.

Why are Zimbabwe’s political leaders failing to learn from the superstar musician Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi who died on Wednesday this week?

Although human experience and the wisdom of the ages have taught us that people are capable of change, it is generally possible to place everyone into two broad categories of personal character: genuine or fake.

Tuku was a genuine soul. Many of those who call themselves political leaders are widely seen as fake characters by ordinary citizens. Loud sloganeering does not amount to patriotism.

Mtukudzi’s exceptional attributes went beyond the remarkable artistry, effortless idiom and enchanting rhythms which cemented his place as a solid superstar in a world full of pretenders.

Tuku was no saint; nobody is. But we can learn from his unyielding commitment to his craft, his love for brand Zimbabwe and his constant reminder that pointless pride makes us artificial while humility makes us real. For his humility alone — in a world full of self-centred charlatans — Tuku is a hero.
And this lofty status is not bestowed on him by a cabal of pot-bellied politicians whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocents, but by the gravitas of his deeds.

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