Resolving Old Problems: Managing New Realities

After a period amounting to more than three decades of political turmoil characterised with economic meltdown, it is going to be very difficult to any emerging leader in Zimbabwe to decisively confront ‘old’ problems whilst striking a delicate balance with the new reality or challenges. Any, new leader who will emerge from the 2013 elections has to face a plethora of challenges. If the MDC is going to win political power, a Herculean task lies ahead of them. Firstly, the new leadership has to confront head on the crisis of governance that has become a common feature in the parastatals such as National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) amongst a host of other virtually ‘dead’ parastatals. Therefore, any leader who emerges should take serious steps to do away with misgovernance or bad governance both at a micro and macro level.

In a country were the national economy has been reduced into being a milking machine for the few political elite-there remains a strong need for institutional re-engineering. Thus, the new crop of leadership should address the phenomenon of institutional decay so as to take Zimbabwe back on the road to recovery. The challenge of the new leadership also lies on whether it will be able to create a crop of so called servant leadership. Servant leader must first learn to serve before taking on a leadership position. Servant leaders should be guided by natural love and humility. Literally; the new leadership should prepare leaders who are responsive to the needs and suffering of the millions of powerless masses. These are the leaders who can fit in George Ayittey’s classification of a ‘Cheetah Generation’. It is a generation of leaders who brook no nonsense to corruption, ineptitude, laziness and inefficiency. Taking from our troubled past, you will agree with me, that we now need more of these ‘Cheetahs’ than the ‘Hippos’ in Zimbabwe.

Shockingly, Zimbabwe has also been ranked as among one of the highest corrupt country under the sun. Zimbabwe’s corruption index  (C.I) has risen exponentially in the previous years. Coupled with this high corruption rate, Zimbabwe’s bribery index (B.I) has also been on the increase as according to the 2012 results from the Transparency International. It is against such a background that, Zimbabwe now needs a strong leadership that can stir the country into being a ‘developmental state’. It is a leadership that should be able to manage effectively the cancer of ‘lootocracy’ and the ‘grab mentality’ that has been necessitated through the chaos theory and practice (chaos praxis).

As a nation,we need to guard against facilitating the emergence of so called new leaders who are, a resemblance of old wines in new bottles. As a nation, we should have a break with the past. In most cases, many countries suffer from the dilemma of managing change and continuity. Oftentimes, there is continuity without change in the everyday politicking by the so called ‘new leaders’ in Africa. Basically, this is attributable to our poor or weak institutions in Africa. Consequently, many leaders remain prisoners of the so called ‘path dependency’. In a country with recycled ministers who have been sitting on the very same posts with a record of similar results, something seriously should be done.

In Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular, now it’s the time to nurture a leadership that listens, a leadership that walks the talk and a leadership that delivers. It is a leadership that should rise above the MDCisation of Zimbabwean politics or the ZANUnisation of Zimbabwean politics. It is a leadership that do not play politics on the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project. Rather, such a leadership should address pressing everyday bread and butter issues ahead of sloganeering, political gamesmanship, grandstanding and propagandeering. It is a leadership that will seek to address issues of growth, development, creation of sustainable value chains, employment creation, peace and social harmony. It is a leadership that will look into revolutionising the railway system, breathing life into ‘dead’ parastatals, taping from the Chinese for them to expand power generation at Kariba. The time is now for a leadership that believes in the transparency in the mining, agriculture and industrial sector. It is a leadership that will also prioritise the cutting of government expenditure, taking a cue from Malawi’s Joyce Banda, who believed the inherited Presidential jet was an expense and waste of tax payer’s money. However, as old problems remain, it is still going to be difficult for any leader to manage new challenges without first looking back in retrospect. I don’t want to end on a pessimistic note. Rather, I am of the strong conviction that, with the requisite political will and sound leadership it can be done! Zimbabwe will emerge stronger with a buoyant economy. Her children will live in peace without fearing the knock on the door after dusk!

God Bless Zimbabwe and whoever will emerge as its new Leader. This is my Vision for a New Zimbabwe. A nation were we will all live happily ever after.

 

1 Peter (5:2-4)

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve.

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The Secret I Carried

Sarudzai was shapely built, sexy, angelic and pretty. In few words, she was an eye candy. I preferred to call her Saru in short for Sarudzai. Saru was light in complexion. I am cocksure, she formed part of the sixth ‘natural’ wonders in Africa. For the 2years I had known her, we almost shared every secret in our lives. However, there was one secret that I kept away from her. It was a secret that continues to haunt me as I lay on my bed. By, the time the story starts, and by the time it ends, I am still single.

Sarudzai had been transferred by her company Croco Motors from another town to come and work in the capital city, Harare. She had no friends, and I was always there to help. I assisted her in settling down and in introducing her to the capital city. She didn’t like the pace of life in the capital city, which she said was fast and confusing. We virtually did everything together, from shopping to having dinner. We also happened to share the same flat and the same floor. Saru preferred calling me, the ‘dude’ next door.

There are three words I wanted to tell Saru. These words kept on nagging in my mind. I wanted to tell her, the following words ‘I LOVE YOU’. Surprisingly, each time I tried to utter these words, I failed. Whenever she gave me that girlish smile, I literally melted. I know it’s hard to believe, I thought this only happens in a soap opera or in some mythical fairy tale. But, here I am to bear witness, to the overcoming power of love. Whenever she looked at me, I would shy away. I guess, she had noticed that I had feelings for her. As each day passed, I hoped one day I would summon the courage to tell Saru that, I had feelings for her. I remember how I used to take much of my time searching and reading Romantic Love Novels, reading online dating sites. I remember very well reading one article on a dating website entitled How to Approach a Woman and Make Her Melt.

Even after reading all this love related stuff, I still failed to tell Saru about how I felt. I kept my secret closely guarded. I was just unsure on how to break the news to her. I was also afraid, she will turn my proposal down. More importantly, I had grown up a quite guy; I had not approached any lady before. I had only written a love letter to a girl, whilst at High school. So, I was somehow a newcomer in the world of love and courtship. As days coupled into months, I kept on trying hard to get Saru’s attention. At some point I thought of sending her an email. Then another thought convinced me, ‘Boy that’s being awkward’. Then, I thought of slipping a letter under her door. My heart was torn apart.

We had just finished having dinner. It was Saru’s 21st birthday. I wanted to tell her, I admired her. I reached for her palm, ‘Saru you know whaaaat?’I stammered.

She responded, ‘Go ahead Gift, I am listening’, she replied with a contagious smile.

I noticed she had milky white teeth. I cleverly changed the topic.

‘I wanted to tell you that, you are the best friend-cum sister I have ever had’, I added.

Saru squeezed my hand and shyly said,

Really, I will take that as a compliment’, she said with a broad smile.

I had felt so weak; I felt butterflies in my stomach. Days passed by and at times she would come to my room seductively dressed. Still, words could not come. On many occasions I would feel tongue tied like a teenager. I was a prisoner of feelings and love. I was a secret admirer who was short of words. It came a time when, I had to go to study for a short course for 10 months in Germany. I never felt like leaving. She hugged me and bid me farewell at the Airport. Actually, that was our first hug. I nearly choked from the scent of her perfume, her breasts were pricking me, I felt weak and powerless. The aroma of her perfume filled my nostrils. Surprisingly, I wished the hug had lasted longer! In no time, I finished my studies. I took a taxi from the airport heading straight to my apartment. That night it was raining cats and dogs. As the taxi man was helping with my luggage, I was already knocking on Saru’s apartment.

Another lady with a baby strapped on her back, and with a green drying towel tied around her waist greeted me. After I told her, I was looking for Saru. She replied ‘We are the new tenants here, we don’t know about her’. She said, before she wished me goodnight. Maybe Saru had got married, maybe she had relocated, and maybe she had gone outside the country. All these thoughts flooded my mind. But, I wondered why she didn’t  notify me, that she would vacate her room. Maybe she was angry at me.These were just random thoughts. On this fateful night, I had come armed with confidence and I wanted to look straight in her eyes and whisper slowly…

Saru, I love you’, I was eventually courageous and bold to let my feelings known to her.

The lesson I have learnt in life is, to tell the one you love about how you feel towards him/her before it’s too late.

*****

In Memory of the Professor Part 2

This is a continuation of my Interview with the Professor,which starts from Part 1, of my previous blog posting.

Gift: Good afternoon Professor.

Makumbe: Good afternoon Mwonzora. How are you?

Gift: I am pretty fine. Firstly, I would like to thank you for agreeing to be my interviewee. It’s a great relief to me.

Makumbe: You are just on time. Don’t mention. I am at your service (chuckles)

(Phone rings) Sorry I have to attend to this.

Gift: No problem Prof.

Makumbe (Hello, I’m fine, Can you call me after 20 minutes, I am in another interview)

Makumbe: We can continue. By the way, you said you are studying in which country?

Gift: In the Netherlands at ISS.

Makumbe: How is life at ISS?

Gift: Not bad, actually it’s quite an experience, new environment and I like the academic standards.

Makumbe: So how best can I assist in your research?

Gift: I am researching on the diamond rush and the relocation of the Chiadzwa community. So I would like to hear your opinions/insights on the role and intervention by NGO actors in seeking to address or assist the affected population in the Chiadzwa community.

(In what I had anticipated as a question and answer session, it ended up as a lecture. Of which I liked it.It was so helpful)

Makumbe: Not much was done by the civil society actors in assisting the affected population.

There was no formation of class action. This is so because, generally the civil society in Zimbabwe is weak and seriously intimidated. The very important role of civil society was not done properly.

(pauses)

However, the project affected people in Chiadzwa should not lose heart. If the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is going to be functional, the affected community can approach this commission in the de jure sense. However, in the de facto sense there is no where they can appeal to, since they have exhausted all the available judicial remedies as evidenced in the failure of their court case appeals.

I hope the courts should have insisted for a reasonable and just and adequate compensation. I believe if there was class action, the courts would have found so much in their favour, since they are being relocated for the purposes of economic benefits for the state.

(PAUSES)

I hope NGOs working around this issue will help you. But, take care as you progress with your study!

Makumbe: Mwonzora, you need to look at these seemingly small things, but they are rights.

Look at the disaggregation of rights violations across the victims,that is gender (men and women, young children, People living with HIV/AIDS etc)

Look at deprivation of education to the affected children,which is a major human rights violation.

On whether the mining will benefit the individual or state, that’s a new investigation all together (breaks into laughter)

Gift: Thanks so much Prof Makumbe.

Makumbe: My Pleasure. By the way, are you able to download articles on Social Science Research

from your Institution. We have limited access to some journal articles here.

Gift: I will definitely do that for you.

Makumbe: Take my email

Gift: Thanks for your time Prof.

Makumbe: Don’t mention.

Many were touched by the untimely death of such an academic icon, a man who was so humble and down to earth. He was a man who inspired many. A man who always spoke his mind at a critical hour when others chose to be silent over issues that matter.I am touched,if you are not touched,will you ever be touched!

This was  the First and last interview i had with the Prof, by the time he passed away he was marking my PhD proposal entitled Role of the MDC in the democratisation process in Zimbabwe. 2000-13.Two months down the line, I got admitted for a PhD Study. I wish he was around, I would have dedicated the PhD project to him, and it would have come out as a labour of love.

Some say you are too painful to remember, I say you are too precious to forget’ R.I.P

 

In Memory of the Professor Part 1

He was a man of immense academic stature, yet he could afford to stoop so low, to mix and mingle with students and the common man in the streets. He was so different with other professors in many respects. He was a man who refused to bow down to the BIG MEN SYNDROME that affects most African professors, who think they are ever busy and important, such that, they can’t even relate with the commoners. He was a humble and jovial man. A man who categorically said NO to Injustice. A man who fought a legitimate struggle for the cause of the albino community in Zimbabwe. He was so sensitive and committed to the struggle for democracy, human rights and social justice. We had met on countless times during my working days in the trade union movement, but we had never been so close.

The time I came close to him, was actually my first and last one-on-one encounter. May his soul find calmness in the serenity of death. Rest in Eternal peace Professor Makumbe. I had to interview the Professor during my Masters Study. I had just returned from Europe in June 2011 for my fieldwork data collection. We had met at a local hotel and I requested him to be one of my interviewees in my research project, of which he agreed without any hesitation. We then slotted for an interview date.

Days passed by and the day of the interview arrived. I had to choose my dressing carefully; I wasn’t sure whether he was a darling of formal wear or not. Also, as is the norm, when you are meeting respected people in society I just opted for formal wear. The art of presentability. Luckily, he was in his office on that particular day. As I knocked on the door, he opened and offered me a seat.

To Be Continued….

When a Woman Loves

It was already midnight and she could not get sleep. She was wearing a night gown that was so tight fitting.It shaped her curvaceous body.

Inside the gown she was wearing a body top with a lettering PISCES inscribed across it.

The loosening sound of the springs of the bed could be heard. As she stared at the wall clock, she realised, the clock was striking fifteen minutes towards midnite.Nana had been in bed, but for all the 7 hours she had been lying in bed, she was literally awake.

She was suffering from a stubborn insomnia.

Nana could feel the cold emptiness of their matrimonial bed. Her mind was miles away. Her thoughts rushed back to the days she had met Sam, how he had proposed, and their blissful love life and of course their colourful wedding. She was trying so painfully to recreate those bygone good days. The days when she would develop goosebumps at the sight of Sam. Her heart would skip and she REMEMBERED the stolen glances. All what was left now, were memories. She traced all those good memories with nostalgia. As much as she tried to re-imagine the good olden days, the more she felt tears flooding her eyes.

Loneliness was eating her to bits. Holding a pillow to her budding chest, spending a night awake, Nana wondered whether such long lonely nights will ever come to an end. She wondered how long she would have to endure such ‘hell like’ kind of a marriage life. On a day like this, Nana had mixed feelings. It was one of the days, when she was longing and craving for a romantic treat. She wanted a masculine touch. And the anticipated treat never came. All what was in her thoughts were thoughts about Sam, her hubby. A husband who was never there for her in times of need.

Nana went on to switch the television. She deliberately turned on to the Emmanuel T.V channel. In times like these, she definitely needed to watch such a station. She was undergoing some tough times that require some divine intervention. As years passed by, a creeping claustrophobia took hold of her. She felt confined,enclosed, deserted and lonely.  In the two years they had been married, their marriage had started to show some cracks. The more she tried to make things work in their marriage, the more she felt she was losing Sam.It was until when she heard a knock on the door, that’s when she realised the television was still on, and nobody was really watching. Her mind was somewhere else. As she opened the door for her husband, she tried to conceal the anger and pain in her.

She attempted a fake smile, which never came!. Sam was dead drunk, he was holding a bottle of Amstel beer in one hand and he could hardly stand. She helped Sam to find her way to the bedroom.

She wanted to vent her anger at him, she wanted to be touched, and she wanted to be kissed like any other woman who waits patiently to kiss the lips of her hubby gently at bedtime. She wanted to be treated like a woman.

In no time, Sam was in a deep slumber, he was snoring hard. Nana was overpowered by tears, she cried until her pillow was soaked in tears…As she tried to pack her bag, she thought about their courtship days…..Those good memories made it difficult for her to make a decision. She went to the walls and pulled down a portrait. It was a portrait on their first anniversary. It brought fresh memories of happier times, before the bottle took her Sam away from her…. It was a tough decision to make, but a decision had to be made…

When a woman loves, she loves with her whole heart, soul and mind…

*****

The Machines Coming

We heard the loud sounds of the machines

With a cup of ill-cooked porridge

She dashed out of the plastic shack

She looked in all corners

Little did she knew,

The days of happiness were over

Little did she knew, she would wake up, with no roof,

Over her head,

She stood there,

Like a statue

Froze to the ground

She was staring helplessly at the debris,

 

The remains of what used to be home,

All was now in ruins,

She hears the distant sounds of the moving machines,

She sees the caterpillar moving to descent to the next innocent victims,

All she tries to do, is shout the word ‘My God!’

BUT

Her voice fails her,

She can only move her lips,

Words cannot come,

It only happens,

 In a country,

A country were the King cleans the street for the Queen

At the expense of the roof of the innocent,

Homeless kids and women

A country with inconsistent housing policies

Zimbabwean police are under orders to destroy \

 

Why Voting

In a country were army generals

Believe the bullet is mightier than the ballot

In a country were they swear

The country will not be sold by ink

In such a country

 

I wonder,

Why do people vote

In a country were the winners are decided,

Not by the franchise,

But by those who announce…

The electoral results

Are we masters of our own destiny,

Why do we vote….

In a country,were it is not worth voting,

In a country were the ink,is not worth the victory….

Why do we still go to the polling booth?

In a country were elections are mere rituals…

Why do we still vote…

 

 

 

In my father’s House

We were watching over the window,

For the rain was still dripping and oozing

Everything, outside the hut was rain socked

For that was the end of the dry season

Heralding a new beginning

For we had waited in anticipation for eternity

For the precious

Drops

Come, come, come the children sang,

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain

Only if they knew, these songs were slowly but,

Painfully subdued by the echoes of the rains,

We had no food,

We had slept on empty stomachs,

We were now tired of begging,

To our neighbours,

Our hut was leaking,

Not only from the roof,

But even from sideways,

We thought father should have repaired it,

We had no paraffin to light a lamp,

We had ran out of matchsticks

To light the fire

Yet, we felt cold

But we were in our father’s house

Poverty was written all over

We wished we were born,

To a different father

In our father’s house