HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsDiscard chef-ism culture to heal Zimbabwe

Discard chef-ism culture to heal Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe is the sick man, or if you want, woman of Southern Africa. The country remains chronically ill from a struggling economy, increasing uncertainty, hopelessness, despondency and fear of the future.


Zimbabwe continues to score low on corruption indexes as well as perceptions on the business environment.

Zimbabwe’s economy is a classic and perfect case study on how to shrink an economy to nothing in a decade as well as how to survive with a near 80% unemployment rate. Zimbabwe is most ironical for having the most educated population in Africa yet among the impoverished societies in Africa.

The link between education and prosperity has been lost. Without naming any country, we are slowly slipping into the mode of some known African countries where children are born and survive in the streets where their parents hawk anything, the young grow to join this trade, have their own families and die doing the same.

In the same countries the political class and the rich continue to grow richer, politics remains the same and the army, intelligence and police protects its wealth and that of the political class. Citizens are fed propaganda daily and those who dissent are bashed. The chaos is the order and the way of life.

One thing dominates such societies, a sense of resignation to fate and a struggle to survive day after day and always looking out for an opportunity to migrate.

Despite all the high-sounding nothing political pronouncements and promises pre-July 31, as many Zimbabwe are slowly wishing for the Government of National Unity (GNU) days which President Robert Mugabe called a three-headed monster yet served Zanu PF well politically as all blame was heaped on the MDC parties.

Post-July 31, Zanu PF has been to town and back singing its election manifesto and determination to see it through. Evidence on the ground, however, points to increased suffering of ordinary citizens and with that increased despondency.

While Zanu PF cannot afford, politically, to see Zimbabwe back to the pre GNU or pre 2009 economic scenario, the party appears lost and clutching to the new economic strategy ZimAsset, which is being talked of more than being implemented.

For many who are wondering what this document is about, the only concern is that at least, and by some miracle Zanu PF must hold the line where it is and with luck make a few improvements. GNU nostalgia is not good for Zanu PF and citizens will remember this well come 2018.

It is with 2018 in mind as well as the fear of being judged against the GNU performance that Zanu PF crafted ZimAsset. ZimAsset is a well written document carrying in it the right language and niceties and yet unrealistic projections.

One key issue missing from ZimAsset is a changed attitude in leadership as well as the sacrifices that its movers will make for
ZimAsset to succeed. ZimAsset talks of a results-based management system that will allow the Zanu PF government to measure the success of the planned economic turnaround programme.
There is, however, no clarity on how leadership or a lack of it will be measured and dealt with in ZimAsset, that is issues of
non-performance and corruption.

The success of ZimAsset will not be on the basis of the amount of media coverage and sloganeering or mere intent, but the doing part and the doing needs a committed leadership which is in deficit in Zanu PF.

Zimbabwe desperately needs a leadership that delivers, not one that propagandise. The question that has to be asked now is whether the current Zanu PF ethos or culture of doing things corresponds to the desired economic outcomes.

Does the Zanu PF leadership have common purposes of serving and saving Zimbabwe or self-interests be it economically and politically and this drives the party leadership? It is for this reason that ZimAsset needs a whole chapter on leadership and how Zanu PF needs to and is going to bite the bullet and transform its leadership culture from one of chef-ism to one of serving the people.

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