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Where are Zimbabwe’s leaders?

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By Nevanji Madanhire

There comes a time when one has to look up and ask: “Hey guys, what’s our problem?” This calls for deep self-introspection. All the hardships experienced everyday are the signs and symptoms, of a deep national malaise.

What explains the deepening political and economic crises? What explains the sheer lack of workable solutions to these problems? What explains the fact that in the past 20 years the same problems have occurred and recurred yet those in positions of responsibility have used the same failed methods to try to solve them?

Is it time we all asked ourselves where Zimbabwe’s leaders are? Whenever that question pops up people look to the same political leadership that has buggered this country. They look to the leadership of the ruling Zanu PF party and the main opposition Citizen Coalition for Change; never at themselves.

This political binary has stifled the emergence of new voices and new ideas, and spawned a culture of acquiescence among the majority that has helped entrench the intractable problems the country is facing. This has to be changed. People must begin to emerge from their cocoons and face reality, and that reality is that Zimbabwe’s leaders are in each one of us!

Once in a while a leader, who is not corrupted by the current political dichotomy emerges bringing a lot of promise. I will cite Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag Movement. He galvanised Zimbabweans in opposition to Robert Mugabe’s rule. He is often accused of having been someone’s project but he showed what is possible when a single individual comes out of the woodwork to champion a cause.

Jacob Ngarivhume is another such. He emerged about a decade ago when he formed a political party, Transform Zimbabwe. At its launch he implored Robert Mugabe to allow peaceful political activities without hindrance, harassment, threats of persecution or the abuse of power by state security agencies, a message he continued to preach until his incarceration. Now he is languishing in prison, unknown and forgotten. People failed to recognise the leader in him even when he had several run-ins with the police since 2014.

I should add to this list the coming in of popular journalist-cum-political activist Hopewell Chin’ono who has used adversarial journalism to push the national cause. Fadzayi Mahere, to me, also makes the list.

These are people who have recognised the leaders in themselves and have sought to make a difference at huge cost to their own freedoms. World history is full of such characters. Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, Nelson Mandela, Abdel Nasser, Amilcar Cabral and Thomas Sankara quickly come to mind. Zimbabwe had its own such characters, Herbert Chitepo, Ndabaningi Sithole, Joshua Nkomo and others who rose to lead the armed struggle.

These leaders are not God-ordained; they are individuals like you and me but who have identified a purpose, larger than themselves, which they wish to live for and make a difference to their country and their compatriots. Zimbabwe is crying out for leadership but its call is like that of a chimera in the desert. Each of us are the leaders we are waiting for! Lead with purpose and conviction from where you are, with what you have, and Zimbabwe will be better for it.

In Conversation with Elisabeth Valerio

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It all started with fighting for Wildlife Conservation against a Chinese company that wanted to take over land preserved for animals in Hwange. After successfully appealing for the protection of the wildlife land, Elisabeth Valerio, 2023 United Zimbabwe Presidential candidate, and a team of like minded Zimbabweans were being called by other people in different communities to solve similar challenges. Elisabeth says the direction Zimbabwe is taking is alarming and we must act without delay. She says she has been called to serve and protect our land from foreign entities. Watch her episode here..

Audience Responses

From the Elisabeth Valerio episode, our community had this to say:

The Village Guardian:
I hope her party grows to compete and make a difference. We need these kind of politicians for our country to develop and be relevant on the international stage.
Taurai Zinyawu:
She is real, bubbly, passionate, draws attention away from herself, sincere, caring, honest, and all the good that you would want from a president. Thank you Trevor for giving a voice to all the aspiring Presidents of this great nation.
The Grey Pilgrim:
In a truly democratic Zimbabwe there will always be space for the likes of her however right now Zim needs revolutionaries 😢

Coming Next: In Conversation with Rumbi Katedza

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Don’t miss the next episode with Film and Television Director Rumbi Katedza In Conversation with Trevor.

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Podcasts

in conversation with trevor Zimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube sits
down with various high-profile guests in a series of candid,
conversations that seeks to go beyond the headlines
and beyond the sensational.
  • Tashinga Bvekerwa; an Associate in Emerging Africa who holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in Law with Business and a Master of Law (LLM) in Information Technology & Intellectual Property Law from the University of Sussex in England.
  • Fred Swaniker; founder & CEO of the African Leadership Group.
  • Archford Rutanhira; a Partner at Scanlen & Holderness.

Book of the Week

book cover

State Politics in Zimbabwe by Jeffrey Herbst

Order
yours on Amazon

Recommended Reading:

This Mournable Body

by Tsitsi Dangarembgwa


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