WHEN I started writing for this column, President Robert Mugabe was in power as the leader of the country. When President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over power, I wrote an article titled, Leadership advice to President Mnangagwa (Nov 25, 2017).
This article comes four days before we elect the next president. The highest possibility is that those vying for the next top job might not read this article, hence it comes to engaging the general public.
Leading a country is not like leading an organisation, however, there are principles or laws that govern leadership in general.
When we fail to learn
When we fail to learn, we fail to lead. As a country, we have had our fair share of mistakes. People are not controlled but are led or served. The mistake as a country might be that we have the most power with politicians.
As such we fear them. The problem is that even if you have an indisputably good idea it might not even see the light of the day, as long as you are not part of the pact. Secondly, you might not even say it, because you (or we) feel no one is listening. When we fail to learn from our mistakes, we fail to positively progress as a collective.
Be a better liar
Is politics built on broken promises? Politicians often make strong promises during their campaigns and fail to fulfill them once in office. Politicians seem to know what people need, but most of them do the inverse. Is politics a game of power or performance? People are usually at the mercy of the politician. There might be no politician coming to save or serve you, these are power-hungry people. We need leaders, not politicians!
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The side effects of boot-licking
Our politics is built on toeing the line if you can’t benefit from a system. So, most people are in it because there is something to get from politicians. That makes it hard to criticise people in power.
Zimbabwe’s political systems are characterised by intense partisanship, where politicians prioritise their party's interests over the needs of the public.
This can result in legislative paralysis, as important decisions are delayed or compromised due to political considerations.
How do we measure the effectiveness of a politician in our country? If you are nominated into office, you might just be silent for five years and emerge when you want the next term.
Politicians are not held sufficiently accountable for their actions. This is because we have weak political institutions, limited checks and balances, or a lack of transparency. When politicians are not held responsible for their decisions, it can erode public trust and hinder democratic processes.
Politicians don’t proffer solutions
In an interview recently entrepreneur Vusi Thembekwayo said “The best of us are being led by the worst of us”. At times it’s too late when the general populace discovers that the politician is part of the problem. My greatest fear is to be led by someone who is less qualified, less informed and less intelligent. They might abuse (overuse/ or underuse) me and don’t know why and where to delegate me. Less skilled leaders might brag about their power to make the better qualified to run around.
No one fights for you
Growing up in rural Binga, I leant that no one is coming to save you. Politicians failed and continue to fail to adequately represent the interests and concerns of marginalised communities and minority groups. As I was growing up I felt we were ignored and our needs were never taken care of. So, when I hear politicians promise me roads, jobs and schools, I feel they are lying to me.
What do the next five years hold for us? The future is bright if the next leader understands the true essence of leadership. The future is bleak if we have a leader that does not understand the basic principles that govern leadership. Let us meet on the other side!