By Dumi Senda
THE most asked question among most Zimbabweans today is what will happen after incumbent President Robert Mugabe’s reign. Even amongst the most faithful of President Mugabe’s followers there is a recognition that he will pass on despite ruling the country for nearly three decades. Thus, there is a general consensus that the country must prepare itself for that inevitable scenario.
Today, Zimbabwe is tottering. Fissures have been left to widen along social, economic, racial, political and tribal lines. In spite of political machinations, the green, yellow, red, black and white colours of Zimbabwe’s flag are today torn apart, so to speak. It is therefore clear that the political route has not provided the nation of Zimbabwe with critically needed answers to its myriad of problems.
I am convinced that the kind of leadership that will see Zimbabwe out of its current mess needs not be political. I am not suggesting that politicians have no place in the future dispensation of the country. However, there is a void – a dark hole in our nation that politics has failed to fill for so long a time.
The major problem is that the brand of politics in Zimbabwe shies away from educating the majority of the people about their rights as citizens. In most cases, politicians play around with people’s destinies, treating them as mere subjects. To put it bluntly, politicians are only concerned with fulfilling their selfish desires at the expense of serving the people.
Following a decade-long of political, social and economic trauma, only a compassionate and civil leadership can restore Zimbabwe to its former glory. That civil leadership must provide thorough broad-based civic education which will take power back to the people and enable them to be effective members of a democratic society. Unless there is serious conscientization and re-education of Zimbabweans about their rights as citizens, politicians will continue to have a field day with people’s destinies.
Unless a significant power shift in favour of the people occurs in Zimbabwe, politicians will not feel the barest need to account for their actions or lack there-of. As it is, when called to account for their actions, it is not unusual for Zimbabwean politicians to respond by saying, “Unoziva kuti urikutaura nani here?” (Do you know who you are talking to?). In other words, they proffer threats to the people they are supposed to serve.
To the people of Zimbabwe, let me dare usher a warning: care must be taken to not only seek the change instituted by the right leaders. For as we turn up the earth searching for that new leader – that one individual – who will bring us salvation, we may unwittingly be falling into the same old trap of vesting too much faith and power in an individual leader.
Rather, what is needed is not a saviour but a server of the people. Saviours do not account to those they serve; instead it is the saved who must demonstrate their faith and appreciation to the former. Therefore, the answer to the question of what will happen to the country after the incumbent president much like the answer to all of Zimbabwe’s problems lies not with promising political leaders who will rise from the rubble of Zimbabwe’s turmoils.
Instead, the answer lies with the people. The answer lies with you and me – the ordinary Zimbabweans. We may change our leaders as often as we change our undergarments but unless we change our culture and way of thinking about our rights as citizens we will forever remain in the ditch of ditched promises.
While we need a leader who can inspire the nation the way Barack Obama inspired Americans of all description to feel like they could love the stripes of their flag once again, I believe what is critical at this juncture is the realisation by Zimbabweans that giving political leaders the same faith as we give our spiritual leaders is not sustainable.
Having said that, every politician, heroic or not, must remain answerable to the people they represent. They must adhere to checks and balances necessary to keep democracy alive, which can only happen if there is a politically conscious citizenry. And that begins with you and me. Afrofutures.com
Dumi Senda is a speaker & poet with a passion on issues related to young people. He is currently based in the United Kingdom.