The Herald (Harare)

28 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Where We Come From Is Important

opinion

I read with interest Mutumwa Mawere's response to Nathaniel Manheru's The Other Side article which appeared in The Saturday Herald of December 29, 2012. Mawere's article appeared in one local daily.

We cannot run away from our past no matter how palatable or unpalatable that past could have been. The past helps to shape our future.

To be called Mutumwa the successful businessman who hails from Gutu, has some background, it has some past. But it was baffling to many to hear Mawere say, "The forthcoming elections ought to be about where Zimbabwe should be and not where it is coming from."

Just how can we measure where we should be if we ignore where we are coming from? Mawere, many of our leaders have abandoned us and failed us because of the approach you advocate that we should take.

After we elected them to the various political positions they then went on to forget their past. They forgot to answer the question: But how did it all begin? Many of our councillors, members of parliament and ministers have forgotten the people who elected them into positions; they have forgotten how it all started!

The whole hype about change that we hear now and again is actually an acknowledgement of the past because it is from such that we can make changes.

We cannot talk about change without referring largely to the past. We are realising only today that the change some of our leaders promised us from 1999 is fatal to the extent that they cannot openly show us the open palm as they used to do before they went into the inclusive government. Their hands have become so dirty and corrupt!

The past is critical as it helps us to remain focused and goal oriented. Leadership without goal setting is as good as dead and that is why at the end of each year/period we revisit our plans to measure our progress taking cognisance the impact of change wherever applicable. It is not out of sync for us to keep on asking why we went for the struggle, why Mbuya Nehanda sacrificed her life through hanging.

The reflections that come after this question help us to stick to the objectives of the war; to inspire us to achieve more for our country and families; to remain honest and focused. If we get lost like most of us are today the past helps us to ask where we got it wrong.

In his article Mawere raised a very important point when he wrote, "The leadership skills required at independence necessarily have to be different from the skills required for a 33-year old nation-state."

I cannot agree more with this assertion albeit for different reasons. At independence in 1980 it needed more than human intelligence to steer a whole nation which was fighting itself for conflicting interests-it therefore needed Divine intervention to create a single army from the warring Zanla, Zipra, Rhodesian Defence Forces, Pfumorevanhu etc.

Credit goes to one Robert Mugabe for the way he steered the ship so ably.

Mawere is reminded that it is difficult to look after a toddler than to look after a 33 year old child (man).

Even in our culture adults like Mawere are children of their parents although they can now look after themselves and their own children; although they also want the majority of us to entrust the running of Zimbabwe into their hands.

Leaders and wannabes must go beyond rhetoric and give us what they really have in store for us than the usual nauseating "Mugabe must go" posturing.

A closer analysis of Mawere's response shows that he failed to adequately answer Manheru's accusation that, "This column shall expose who Mutumwa's sender was . . . " Is it true that you are being sent, if yes who is sending you, sir? Just tell the people of Zimbabwe who your sender is. Full stop! Ask this question to President Mugabe and he will answer there and then that he is being sent by the people of Zimbabwe.

We need leaders who now take the voters as their principals. There are also those leaders, and President Mugabe is one of them, who are like the biblical Moses who were sent by God to serve His people.

However, silence from Mawere has baffled many readers of his article. It is not, however not too late for Mawere to still tell us who his sender is before Manheru 'exposes the plot'.

Richard Gundumuro Magomo an author, a social, educational and political analyst.

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