If ever there is one sure thing to expect from Zimbabwe’s leadership, it is that they will never accept any responsibility for anything that goes wrong in the country, nor will they apologize and allow themselves to be held accountable for any action and decisions they would have made – yet, would not have yielded the desired results – but, in fact, would rather place the blame squarely on someone, or something, else’s doorstep.
As a matter of fact, Zimbabwean authorities are notorious for their vitriolic and toxic blame-games, that have virtually made them believe that they were some demi-gods – who were infallible and incapable of failing or making mistakes – such that, the only reason anything could go wrong in this country, would be as a result for some ‘third force’, or the act of ‘nefarious detractors’, and ‘bad apples’.
Indeed, as much as such a warped way of thinking may appear comical to an outsider, nonetheless, those who have to endure the heartless and cruel consequences of this behavior – which, quite honestly is very disturbing, and possibly borders on some psychopathological narcissistic personality disorder – have a different story to tell, as being governed by a leadership that has no sense of conscience, incapable of introspection and seeing anything wrong with their actions and decisions, and, thus, unable to repent and correct their ways, has always resulted in an ever-worsening state of affairs in the country, with no hope in sight.
Honestly, what hope is there, when a country is led by a group of people who can not link their unrestrained plundering of our abundant resources, for their own – and, their cartel friends’ – enrichment, whilst leaving nothing for nation-bulding, to the untold suffering that millions of Zimbabweans have had to endure for the past several decades?
Where are we headed as a country, when we have a government that can not even go through all its past statements, promises, and blueprints, in order to evaluate what they have previously assured the nation, yet, failed to fulfil, or what economic programs they have formulated, but proved to be seriously flawed – thereby, acknowledging responsibility, accepting to be held accountable, and finding a better way forward?
Yet, those same arrogant and unteachable leaders have the shameless audacity to point the accusing finger towards everyone else, except themselves – including the targeted sanctions imposed by Western countries on about 142 top officials and entities (linked to rampant corruption, state sponsored violence, electoral fraud, and economic mismanagement) whilst, at the same time, unleashing their fury on local social justice, labor rights, and opposition activists, accusing them of being conspirators, who are colliding with these foreign countries in causing instability, in order to effect an ‘illegal regime change’.
Of course, as far as the majority of Zimbabweans are concerned, the sanctions debate is now old and tired – having been repeatedly regurgitated over the past two decades, and the citizenry has now understandably grown weary – and, they are not fools, as they know that, sanctions or no sanctions, there is no denying it that, the government’s own incompetence, mismanagement, and corruption have far outweighed any possible effects of any perceived restrictive measures, and demand that their leaders come clean, and take full responsibility for their actions.
Furthermore, even if – for argument’s sake – these sanctions truly crippled the country’s economy, the leader is still expected to successfully take the country through, without making any excuses, or blaming these same sanctions for his/her failure to achieve this goal – as, a leader is expected to come up with workable solutions to every challenge, without any excuses.
We have all recently witnessed this in the US (United States of America). One of the main reasons the then president, Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 presidential elections was due to the economic fallout, resulting from COVID-19 induced lockdowns, and the subsequent company downsizing and closures, which left millions of Americans out of work, and applying for social grants.
As much as these economic problems were clearly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – which had ravaged the entire globe, and practically forced every country onto its knees – Trump, as the leader, could not, in any way, be spared from being held responsible, and made accountable, for the nation’s suffering.
He could not say, “You know that before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had managed to turn around the economy and make it the best it has ever been in decades – therefore, I’m not to blame for the subsequent COVID-19 induced economic downfall, which has devastated the whole world, not just the US”.
Americans knew what real leadership entailed, and Trump saw his own downfall, as the fault was placed squarely on him, as the leader.
This brings up the issue of leadership. Do those in power in Zimbabwe even understand the concept of leadership, and what it entails?
I seriously doubt that.
As someone who grew up being constantly trained in leadership – having being involved in several leadership roles and training programs, from childhood, in such organizations as the Scouting Movement, and other charitable groups – it is quite clear that what the Zimbabwean leadership lacks is… leadership.
The first trait of any good leader is understanding that the buck always stops with him/her – and, as such, no one, or nothing, else is to blame for anything that goes wrong, except the leader him/herself, who needs to take full and complete responsibility, and be held accountable.
What the Zimbabwean government appears not to appreciate is that, one is elected or appointed into a leadership position, as a sign of trust and belief that they will successfully protect, defend, and take the country through every obstacle, challenge, and problem – no matter how insurmountable – without failing, nor making excuses or placing blame on anyone else.
That is why in football, a coach who goes through an unenviable losing streak, soon finds him/herself without a job – irregardless of the problems the team may have faced, most of which could actually be understandable – however, as the leader, he/she carries all the blame, and must take full responsibility, and be held accountable.
That is what leadership entails, and there are no shortcuts, or the changing of these rules.
My suggestion would be, before anyone rushes to run for a leadership position, they need to firstly, honestly look themselves in the mirror, and ask several vital questions, “Do I have what it takes to be a leader? Am I able to put those whom I lead above all else, and put my own interests last? Can I carry this nation through the most perilous and apparently insurmountable challenges, without making any excuses? Will I be able to take full and complete responsibility, and allow myself to be held accountable, should I fail to successfully pull my nation through, and not blame anyone, or anything, else – irregardless of the magnitude of the challenges faced?
Only when the answer to these questions is a resounding, “Yes”, should any one finally decide to run for a leadership position – since, any other answer, is the wrong one…and, as the situation stands today in Zimbabwe, our government has a very serious leadership crisis.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975 / +263733399640, or email: email@example.com