Performance, not words matters


Every team has a joint goal to which team members are expected to work tirelessly towards.
When Cabinet ministers are chosen, it is not for their ability to fatten themselves, but for their ability to fatten the lean and poor souls.
In 1980, the masses of Zimbabwe were always described as “the toiling masses”.
Zanu PF indirectly laid down a performance standard – stop the toiling.
By now, if performance standards were to have been insisted on, the masses would have been described as contented masses. But alas, they are still toiling.
To make it worse, they are like starving children who are asked not to embarrass their father by begging for food.
More than three million of the toiling masses were forced to decide between singing praises to the dear leader and starve or running away from home and live.
The recent Cabinet refocus (I prefer this term than reshuffle) by the MDC-T has generated a diverse range of reactions. The most fascinating is an attempt by the dead wood in Zanu PF to attribute the refocus to a purported power struggle in MDC.
The second type of response came from those that felt were unfairly judged and the third type from those that sought to understand the nature and reasons for the reshuffle.
In all these responses is an expression of a new phenomenon in government which holds ministers to account and subject them to performance standards.
It was so obvious that the establishment was taken by surprise because performance was never an issue.
Loyalty coupled with no ambition, availability to be used and heartlessness was the only requirement.
Ministers publicly confirm this when defending themselves against any scrutiny by declaring “only the president who appointed me can remove me”.
The Tsvangirai doctrine appears different. People are elected to deliver individually and collectively.
The premier was responsible for assembling a team and not just a list of single performers.
This is where some appeared surprised. They looked at what they believed were their personal achievements and did not understand why they were dropped from the team.
What they should ask themselves is what they contributed to the team effort, or what they brought to the table.
Some excellent performers join a team and share nothing, but only boast of shady achievements and do very little to enhance the team. Some come into the team and share the very little they have. Some think they should fatten themselves on the Cabinet trough.
NO. You bring fat to the Cabinet table as a token of your contribution.
Like a soccer team, not all stars play at the same time. Those that have been dropped should cool down and think positively.
They are all excellent leaders and should realise and take comfort in that they have skills that attracted Tsvangirai’s attention initially for him to appointment them.
It may be that they did not share that which the prime minister expected.
All they need is to demonstrate that they have learnt from this experience and do better in an alternative assignment.
The one thing they should not do is to pay attention to the crocodile tears from the Zanu PF dead wood who believe being a minister is pension and recognition for one’s exploits during the liberation struggle.
They feel offended by the mere thought of being sacked.
This is why they always shoot back and menacingly remind whoever that “we fought for this country” even though, as leaders, they were far from the action.
They don’t even understand, in their own world, what a performance review is. Some of them were declared 99% incapacitated by their own Chenjerai Hunzvi (the late leader of the war veterans who fought for gratuities in 1997), but still hang on.
Their names are now, literally, ‘chef’ or ‘minister’. If performance mattered, some of them are beyond the rational or cognitive age to remain in office.
At home, their relatives have learnt to ignore and tolerate their amnesia.
Back to the dead wood. These people should simply be ignored.
Starting with their spokespersons, it is very difficult to find a single achievement in their lives.
Some of them have no savings despite being in office since 1975. They live from government coffers and are finally buried by the government.
They can’t even afford coffins. Never mind looting, they lose it all. They are scared President Mugabe might embrace the new Tsvangirai performance approach. To hide their fear, they have concocted theories ranging from the coming MDC-T congress to power struggles. They tried to mention names and to even suggest that President Mugabe rescued Finance minister Tendai Biti from the chop.
They come up with conspiracy theories about Ian Makone, Tsvangirai’sa advisor. If Makone is not part to the PM’s decision-making process, then he is not a worthy advisor to the PM.
These Zanu PF apologists err in that they transfer their party’s modus operandi onto the MDC and seek to draw parallels.
This is their folly. MDC-T is totally different from Zanu PF. Decisions in the MDC-T are made through consensus (or near consensus), whereas in Zanu PF it has always been treasonous to harbour “presidential ambitions”.
It is a given that all the serious contenders in the MDC-T want to lead the party and country. There is no quarrel about that. MDC-T does not need “million” marchers to declare or endorse the party president.
To the people of Zimbabwe, let no man lead you astray.
Wolves, grievous wolves are out there to steal your approval. The nation should gladly embrace the concept of performance appraisals so that public officials are held to account.