By Nomathemba Nkomani
The last few decades have been a rollercoaster for the average millennial and the ride has had lots of ups and downs. I, like so many others, grew up believing that all I needed to do to get along in life is work hard at school, get a good degree then get a good job and the rest was supposed to fall into place.
I have done what I was supposed to do but things have not yet fallen in place and the struggle is still real.
There are a few reasons why things are not working as expected in our lives and in the country but I think one reason which has not been given the attention that it deserves is that politics has been left to “others” and tends to be viewed by people as “something not for me”.
I am in no way saying that those currently in office are not adequately equipped to hold those positions but I am also posing a challenge to the many professionals who do not take part in public administration — how are you using your gifts and talents towards the renaissance of Zimbabwe?
I would like to see more professionals such as chartered accountants, engineers, actuaries, scientist and so on stepping up and joining the public service and political arena to create the Zimbabwe we dream and yearn for.
Admittedly, politics is not for everyone, but public service goes beyond just being actively involved in politics but includes serving in public administration in various capacities. One can choose a career in the public service which aligns to their field of speciality.
Of course we have the elephant in the room, that is consideration of remuneration in the public sector versus in the private sector. In the same way in order for us to have a fully functional political and public administration system, which can have a direct positive impact on the prosperity of the country, I believe that all levels in our politics and public administration need more representation of the different groups that are represented in the population i.e. gender, age, education level, skills and other criteria.
I have been part of those who complain about how things do not work in my district, constituency, city, province and country but I have not really taken any steps towards contributing to the solution. In terms of setting the pace for the Zimbabwe that we want, I think we need to do the following: –
Broadening the skills base of those who hold public office, that is we need politicians and public administrators who understand what good governance is and live and administer by the principles enshrined in what is globally accepted as good governance. As a finance professional I would say that we need more qualified accountants holding positions in public office preferably belonging to professional body which will monitor them. Of course other professionals have a role in improving our public administration and should be also take up respective positions;
Holding appointees accountable is a key part of engagement that does not seem to happen with the majority of the electorate. Improving Public Sector Accountability is one way in which real change can be effected;
According to an African proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. In order for us to be in the socio-economic position which we think is befitting of our natural, human capital and other resources we need to do this together. We have many obstacles to overcome and the solutions to these obstacles sit with you and me. Similar to how the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, each man and woman should stand in an area where he or she is able to make a positive impact and use their skills and experience for the better good and towards rebuilding our Dzimbaremabwe;
Financial Reports that are several years in arrears cannot benefit the community. In this regard accountants must step up and produce timely and accurate reports. The reports should not only focus on historical information but should focus on the future and give details on the risk management, governance, environmental and other impacts of the relevant public entity. In addition, continued engagement with the communities in the budgeting and other processes is also very key to addressing their needs. In a digital age such as the one that we live in now, dissemination or gathering of such information should be easy;
I think that as a nation we are losing our sense of ubuntu and many of us have become self-serving and unloving. If we all treated others as we would like to be treated, then we would be better able to work together for the common good. Polarisation is a real problem for Zimbabwe and I don’t understand how the “same people” are not able to put differing opinions aside and find a middle ground where people co-exist for mutual benefit. How many of us know what the national vision is? How can one play their part towards attainment of that vision if we do not even know it? We need to raise our levels of participation and take pride in being Zimbabweans.
Pope Francis said, “Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?’If you do not ask those questions, your governance will not be good.”
As a nation we need to stand up and lead and live with love and humility. Without that kind of leadership, we will remain a nation that has so much potential for a longer time than we would all like as much potential that will not be realized.
Nkomani is a co-founder and Executive Director of Mupazano Advisory Services (www.mupazano.co.zw).
- Mupazano provides accounting, financial advisory, management consulting, and project development services. Noma has over 15 years’ experience in audit, advisory services and administration. She is passionate about PPPs, Public Sector accountability and Sustainable Development.