The President I want

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My President must appreciate the fact that Zimbabweans will never live up to their full potential until we heal the deep wounds of the past.

Guest Column by Vince Musewe

It is such a humongous and prodigious responsibility and honour to be called President of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, this title has been earned to date by a man who outfoxed and outplayed everyone, a man who ensured that none could compete with him for the position; a man who surrounded himself with yes men and insulated himself from the people; a man who sacrificed his life to be there and then sacrificed our well-being in order for him to stay there. That is not leadership.

I am not convinced that those aspiring to take over from Mugabe have any different inclinations or dispositions from him. I worry that they could even be worse than him, given what we have learnt of their insatiable appetite for personal wealth accumulation at all costs and the fact that they certainly have learnt from their master for the last 34 years.

Zimbabwe needs a president who serves only the Constitution and puts the people first. A president who does not owe any favours to anyone, and has a high self-esteem not from what he has done or his material wealth, but from who he is and what he stands for.

Our president in the future must appreciate the fact that Zimbabwe will never live up to its full potential until we heal the wounds of the past.

Too many of us have been emotionally, psychologically, physically and financially harmed by this regime. Only recompense and healing will create a new door to a better a future. The past is gone and we cannot continue to blame our history, but we have to acknowledge those things that have gone wrong and correct them. We must look to the future, but only learn from our past. It will take courage and humanness to cross that bridge, but the ultimate benefits to our society are much higher than the costs.

The rot in our society, in general, must be arrested; our values as a society are repugnant. We shall need a man or woman at State House who ensures that we change direction as a nation in what we value most. This I think will be the hardest thing to do. We shall need someone to begin to reengineer our society in all spheres so that we can start a new chapter centred on the respect and dignity of our people.

Our churches have deteriorated somewhat in giving spiritual and moral guidance to our citizens and this trend must be arrested. My president must play a significant role on this through leading by example, it is important.

The president I want must clean up the police from the top and also ensure that those in the army that are no longer of service to the future objectives of the country are retired. The struggle is over and inculcating this in the brains of the top echelons of our army will take some doing, but is important. A new ethos of service, honour and the respect of our Constitution must arise. God help us.

We need an open-minded individual in State House who does not fear change and recognises that open societies develop better and faster. This will demand a new paradigm and leadership style based on persuasion and vision, not on threats or violence.

I want a president who recognises that as more citizens participate in creating the future, the more exciting and sustainable it will be. We can only create better solutions through an inclusive agenda that acknowledges that all of us in our diversity have something to contribute.

An open media, universal access to new information, freedom of association and speech all create empowered societies and everyone wins. My president must promote this.

I want a president who is not a racist or tribalist; a president who understands that all Zimbabweans, regardless of the colour of their skin have certain inalienable rights that he or she must protect at all costs. He or she must not blame others for our problems, but take full responsibility for them.

My president must truly believe that we indeed have the capabilities and resources to come up with solutions to whatever challenges we may face in our country. That is the patriotism I expect.

Zimbabwe has fallen behind so much in the last 20 years in all spheres. As a result, our quality of life has suffered despite us having the resources. As long as we have someone in State House who does not understand future trends, we will continue to regress. We, therefore, must expedite the use of new technologies, ICT to accelerate development. We need a grand vision and strategy on how we can catch up. The future is no longer what it used to be.

I want a president who embraces Zimbabweans in the diaspora who offer our country impressive talents and have a critical role to play in creating a developed state.

So, whoever is there at State House, must not only be technologically literate, but must acknowledge that our country will remain underdeveloped as long as we remain internally focused and ignore the reality that the world out there is moving on, faster than we can imagine.
I want a president who is not arrogant or self-important. My President must know that he or she will not have all the solutions.
My president must put Zimbabwe first!

45 COMMENTS

  1. good wishes my brother bt let me tell that therez no perfect gvt in the world n human beings wil always be greed,violent,liars,cheats n wth gvts,a tendency to rule wth an iron fist. Thats politics fo you. The Americans are crying foul over the invasion of their privacy by the gvt(tapping of phones) bt the Constitution z there. My point z dont put mch trust in a piece of paper or the person in the State house. Once again gud luck.

  2. well said and if only the President could read this. I think we have suffered more than enough guys and we can blame this and blame that but we have to look at our own contribution first before blaming the neighbour. Peolpe have hellipades over their roofs, houses everywhere, cars are like toys in the yard and all these riches where aquired between 2000 and 2013 when things were really bad and only the well politically connected were getting their way. Todya marara here nokuti hatina hama muhurumende?

    • @jayjay, wealth and riches stolen between 2000 and 2013 is the tiniest drop in the ocean compared to wealth stolen in the 100 years leading to independence. Is it not wiser to focus on both ends, ending corruption now and also fight to reclaim the real wealth stolen that is more than enough to purchase nations that make cars and helicopters? Why aim so low as to remove a very small government when the power to change the entire world is within your grasp?

  3. Sad reflections from a thoroughly colonised mind. Vincent’s looking back probably does not go beyond 1980. Vincent moving forward in all likelihood, does not anticipate leapfrogging USA or being alternative to EU. Vincent is one of the people who produce the President he castigates. The quality of life of the people of Zimbabwe is their direct responsibility and the quality of the people of Zimbabwe was and continues to be messed up by colonial interests. Vincent himself is an example of that. Vincent pontificates about the President he wants with no reference at all about the citizen he wants; the citizen he should be. Vincent by inference, wants a country that dances to the President’s tune seeing as he makes Presidency central to fortunes of the country. Vincent has thought well within the regime change parameters, selling regime change as the panacea. Dear Vincent, there is no box for you to think outside. Dear Vincent, you and your fellow countrymen have the highest natural resource endowment per capita. Simply exploit it to progress a local vision.

    • @Ken.The presidency is central to fortunes of the country because he provides leadership of the country..It is his vision that gives direction to where the country aspires to be..If it were not the case, why would we need one? ‘”Simply exploit it to progress a local vision”..you dont think this is one way of exploiting the endowment by getting a president who can translate this to progress of the generalty of the citizenry. I am lost in the mountains here, is this criticism something private and personal that we just chanced upon because it seems to be all contradictory gibberish or twaddle?

  4. Vince suffers from a psychological problem,the guy needs help,i feel for his family if he has any.All his articles are negative,and you want to force us share your sorrows.Yes we want an improvement in life but a persistant negative mind will yield nothing

    • @James- No err doctor..what is the name of this disease that Vince suffers from? How does the public get forced by a sick person to share his sorrows? How do you know this..or are you the doctor Vince should see? And how does stating the kind of a president one would like to see become a persistent negative mind..if it were how do we move from this to positive territory and what is it?

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  6. Unfortunately your articles betray you as an MDC-T activist. Remember the way you attacked Zhangazha for daring to criticize Tsvangirayi the other day? So for you everyone should think like you! Unfortunately there are no takers for your now boring articles.

    • @Godfrey Gudo-I did not know that Vince was an MDC activist. Eitherway even if he were is he not entitiled to an opinion because of this alone? Zhangazha was praised and criticised by others much as Vin is praised and supported by others..is this not what rational discourse is all about then? “No takers for his now boring articles.” Really, you believe this?

    • This is an article that reflects reality on the ground for us ordinary people.It is therefore relevant
      ant has many takers.It is clear that those few benefitting from the corrupt system will claim that
      this article has no relevence.

    • @gudo; Why trouble yourself reading if the articles are boring? Spare yourself the burden and ignore them.

  7. Wabwereketa apo ndicho chishuvo chedu tose kwete mutungamiriri anotonga ane uta namakano kuti timuhle asi zvichatora nguva kuti zviitike nemabhinya emuZANU anoda kukambura voga rifa renyika ruzhinji gwuchitamba nhamo .

  8. @Vince, I believe we all want a perfect president who is wise and excellent. Nobody wants a bad president. There I am in agreement with you, my bro. Could you please state how far the wounds of the past go? I am guessing your past does not go beyond 1980, but you can correct me. There are far deeper and many more wounds before 1980 than after; atonement for those will cause the entire world to be turned upside down and the balance of power to shift. If we are talking 1980 it will be a simple regime change, nothing more and nothing less.

    • Scotv, no need to go back to beyond 1980 backwards. 1990 is when our economy took a nose dive and our problems (99% of us) started and for me that is the period I relate to Vince’s opinions, which he is entitled to? Maybe Vince or you Scotv can come up with an opinion paper for the period before 1980?

  9. The difference between Mugabe and the other politicians in Zimbabwe is the others are/were what I call “impulse politicians” – people who never had any designs on politics but were merely loudmouths in the community whereas Mugabe yearned to be leader from an early age and worked tirelessly to achieve this using whatever method was at his disposal. As soon as Mugabe saw former colonies like India getting independence in the late 1940s he set out to achieve his goal in Zimbabwe. This is precisely why he went to live in Ghana in he late 1950s to copy ideas from Kwame Nkrumah. Anyone who says Mugabe was a reluctant nationalist is a fool. I have read stupid reports he was invited by this or that person to join politics – utter utter nonsense. He might have been tentative but definitely had designs for political leadership. I came to this conclusion after looking back at things I witnessed from the 1960s including the formation of Zanu from Zapu in 1963. Whatever the then leader, Nkomo, did or said was fiercely opposed by some antagonistic elements in the party. And Mugabe was the full-time Publicity Secretary. A person with such a mindset as Mugabe is very very difficult to dislodge or change. With Mugabe it is all about him – self-preservation and total control whatever the circumstances. He is pre-occupied with his own self-importance. Just look at his outrageous motorcade. Any other person would have resigned after the Guk*rahundi atrocities came to light but Mugabe carried on regardless with not a shred of remorse. He worked so hard to be leader and he was not going to give that up for some piddling atrocity.

    • Ian Smith, the model leader known for having the happiest Africans on earth promptly resigned following that piddling atrocity where thousands of refugees were bombed in Moza by the rhodesian forces; he exhibited unfathomable remorse!

  10. @scotv – nonsense. Where does Ian Smith come into what I have stated? Was Guk*rahundi revenge for the bombings in Mozambique? I cannot see the connection between Guk*rahundi and Ian Smith.
    You are just a time waster. You are not in a position to argue about the Smith era. You were either too young or not born at the time. The Rhodesian economy, despite being under UN trade sanctions from 1965 to 1979, was second most prosperous after S Africa on the African continent for your information.
    I have no hesitation whatsoever to state that we, blacks, were a billion times better off in Rhodesia than we are right now. I am in a position to compare the two periods because I was born under white rule, went to school in Rhodesia, had children under white rule.

    • @ Musona, your fantasy tales and your age cannot be corroborated. Fiction does not become fact just because you say so; those lacking good sense read your fabrications and come to the conclusion that you are an old man who ‘had children under white rule’ when you could be a boy in short trousers hiding behind a computer or smart phone. You could not possibly know my age and nothing you say about rhodesia will erase the horrors that many faced during that evil regime!

      About your failure to connect the dots; you say anybody but President Mugabe would show remorse and resign in the face of atrocities committed by their own regime yet your hero Smithie did neither.

      • @scotv – do you think the only person surviving who was born in Rhodesia was Mugabe? Which part of my remarks is fantasy? Smith is not my hero. I am merely stating facts as I see them. I voted for Zanu in 1980. You cannot compare the way Smith ran the country and the way Mugabe is running the country. Rhodesia had the second best economy after S Africa. If you don’t believe then ask Godfrey Chidyausiku or Chinamasa who were present in Rhodesia just before 1980. Why do you think people have been unhappy when they were living in the second best economy in Africa? I cannot praise Mugabe just because he is a black man.

        • Facts as you see them, what a contradiction of terms appearing in conjunction. If the way you see things is flawed then your so called facts become fantasy; my sources are from recorded history, witness testimonies, actual events and good old fashioned common sense. Godfrey Chidyausiku or Chinamasa can attest to the happiness of blacks in Africa’s second best economy and contentment under a racist regime, as you claim, yet the very same blacks took up arms to free themselves? From what?

          Our government has recorded a number of failures, but that does not and will not make rhodesia better. I am happy my children are growing up in independent Zimbabwe and you are a fool to believe that any black man would wish for his to grow up under ‘white rule’ like your fantasy children did.

  11. Musona, well said, and that should put to rest the debate on someone’s opinions. Vince carry on please, some of us, born in Rhodesia and went to missionary schools in Rhodesia, need to be constantly reminded of where we should be not where we are now. Our children, now in the diaspora constantly ask us what is wrong with us to tolerate all this.

    • Are you sure Vince finds joy in having a fan base of black rhodesia sympathisers? If I were Vince I would be disgusted, it is one thing to oppose the government of the day and quite another to yearn to be in thrall to an abusive racist regime.

  12. Respectfully, you are entited to have a view and an opinion, agreeable or not, its your right. Simple response here to your comment Vince, good luck to you. When you see the Pres you want, please vote for her or him. In the interim respect that any and every Zimbabwean will choose for themselves who they want their next head administrator is to be. May you note though that they will choose a public administrator of their choice not a king. Am highlighting the difference as your opinion piece over plays the role and purpose of a President somewhat that it comes across as though your interest is in a king or queen and not a president. The populous gives mandate to the office of the president and whoever occupies it with an expectation of deliverables, which deliverables are monitored by a parliament chosen seperately by the same population. So, national economy management is not a one woman or one man job. A company analogy is a President or even Prime Minister is CEO, parliament is Board of Directors appointed by shareholders. If the system is problematic on the shareholders can fix it for themselves. Learning this system’s workings is not an event but a multi-generational process for any population and in Zimbabwe’s case 30 years is too short a time to ingrain the principle of parliamentary accountability. So good luck to you in your wish, in the meantime, we will deal with our reality, its threats, concerns, opportunites and growings pains rather than some concocted fantasy.

  13. @scotv – do you think the only person surviving who was born in Rhodesia is Mugabe? Which part of my remarks is fantasy? Smith is not my hero. I am merely stating facts as I see them. I voted for Zanu in 1980. You cannot compare the way Smith ran the country and the way Mugabe is running the country. Rhodesia had the second best economy after S Africa. If you don’t believe then ask Godfrey Chidyausiku or Chinamasa who were present in Rhodesia just before 1980. Why do you think people had been unhappy when they were living in the second best economy in Africa? I cannot praise Mugabe just because he is a black man.

    • If, for whatever reason, your experience was pleasant then, that does not take away the loss and suffering of others. Do you think that in their final moments, the dying black folks took comfort in knowing that the person slaughtering them by raining fire on their village is responsible for building Africa’s second best economy for the benefit of a few thousand white people?

  14. @scotv – Musewe is much younger than my eldest son. Musewe’s father was a woodwork teacher at Highfield Secondary School. Musewe’s mother taught my daughter at Chipembere School in Highfields. Vincent father’s house is next door to late politician George Nyand*ro near Cyril Jennings Hall where the first nationalist meetings were held in the 1960s. Musewe’s family is like this – eldest -Norman ( medical doctor who I last heard was living in Canada), second – Angelina (medical doctor – wife of late banker, Dr Hatendi), third – late Roger, fourth – late Lydia (Financial Controller Duly’s), fifth – Owen (Electrician), sixth – Vincent.
    A few blocks away from the Musewe father’s house was Leopold Takawira’s house. About a kilometre away is Mug*be’s house which is also near Enos Nk*la’s house at the time.
    I lived in Highfields when it was still called Four Miles Township, before Machipisa Shopping Centre was built, before New Highfields was built, before Mufakose Township, before Kambuzuma township. That was the time whites lived in Highfields. Highfield was built on former Highfields Farm.
    That shows you how old I am.

    • Knowing the Musewes’ data is as much evidence to back up your fantasies or prove your age as is my posting data on the royal family proof that William and I were buddies at Eton College!

    • @Musona and Scotv- Not wanting to be embroiled in this debate I just wished to confirm that I too was a student of old man Museve at Highfiled Secondary School in the mid/late seventies. He was a great teacher! Of course I sometimes find myself disagreeing with both you and Scot but it does not have to deteriorate to this level. Having said this I have to say kudos to Vince for stirring debate in these columns, this is as it should be!

  15. The problem with African leaders is that they think politics is about power when in actual fact it is about service. It’s a vocation and NOT a profession. Well said Vince but this will NEVER happen in our time unless we give the new generation of leaders a chance. If you want to know how that generation looks like, ZUNDE is a good starting point – http://www.zunde.org.

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