Human capital investors argue empirically how integrity, relevance and competence (must) improve as one stays longer in a job.
This explains why airplane pilots evoke confidence by brandishing “thousands” of flying hours.
A neurosurgeon in service for 30 years is more trusted than a rookie from medical school. Long service and incompetence are mutually exclusive, yet such common logic cannot be applied to the politics of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu PF).
I am turning 52 in September this year, a mere teenager in April 1980 when the then 56-year-old former schoolteacher Robert Mugabe was declared Prime Minister.
I am convinced that since 1998, he and his trusted lieutenants have shown visible signs of exponential degradation in proficiency, exacerbated by delusional fear of loss of political power.
Take for instance party stalwarts and “career ministers” Didymus Mutasa, Nicholas Goche, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Herbert Murerwa, Olivia Muchena, Ignatius Chombo, Stanislaus Mudenge, Patrick Chinamasa. Going about their work with vain arrogance and dangerous precision, this compliant cabal of autocrats has helped mutilate everything in its wake: the economy, parastatals, commercial agriculture, education, health, infrastructure and democracy.
Length of service equals to competence — no! This applies not to Zanu PF — only mustering self-centredness, crude sense of political perquisite and anointed entitlement!
President Mugabe’s Cabinet at one time hosted more PhD holders than any other in Africa. He himself, we are told, is a “hoarder” of several degrees, having counted for zilch in light of abject poverty and political despair afflicting progressive Zimbabweans.
To be fair to Zanu PF, their so-called long service in Zimbabwe’s politics has at least exposed us to the hazards of rogue expertise!
Misplaced knowledge has far-reaching negative implications than modest admission of failure. Consider “doctoral experts” Joseph Made, Chombo and Tafataona Mahoso — the so-called gurus in agriculture, local governance and media respectively.
Dr Made’s “expertise” has presided over unmitigated destruction of Zimbabwe’s strategic grain reserves, supervising the assault on property rights that disenfranchised 5 000 Zimbabwean citizens.
The devastating downstream effects are deforestation, mass destitution, forced migration and the wrath of the free world. The vampire mentality embedded in the “indigenisation” policy, epitomised by Zanu PF’s smash-and-grab ideology is used in international politics as a classical example of bad governance.
Michael Bratton and Eldred Masunungure, in their essay The Anatomy of Political Predation, confirm:
“Between 2000 and 2002, some 11 million hectares were confiscated from 4 000 white farmers and redistributed to an estimated 127 000 small-farm families and 7 200 black commercial farmers.” Most of that arable land now lies derelict — hoarded by a grateful band of gluttonous zealots.
Dr Mahoso has never owned a media house yet is portrayed as a moral guardian of news and views, subjecting millions of Zimbabweans to toxic Adolf Hitler-type State propaganda while thousands of journalists wallow in poverty.
At a time when most, if not all, of Africa is revelling in multiplicity, Mahoso and company continue to subvert media freedom.
Dr Chombo’s false ideology ventilated with chronic abuse of the Urban Councils Act, himself inebriated with misguided self-confidence, has been crudely exposed by his estranged spouse. He is not a qualified municipal anti-corruption campaigner.
Let me conclude. Bratton and Masunungure note dangerous expertise as an extension of “predatory leadership” defined by Peter Lewis (1996) as “a personalistic regime ruling through coercion and material inducement . . . that tends to degrade the institutional foundations of the State as well as the economy”.
2013 democratic elections must rid our system of this 32-year-old Zanu PF governance scourge. Only then can Zimbabwe regain pole position on the summit of sophisticated, democratic nations.