The most dangerous idea that we can accept is that MDC-T belongs to an individual.
Guest Column,Vince Musewe
I am told that the greatest power that we humans have is the ability to detach our self-worth from desired outcomes. That once we do something and are able to dissociate our egos from what the outcome may be, we become powerful creators of endless possibilities of the future. We free ourselves from that which limits our unlimited potential.
The problem is that we have not recognised this power within us, so we go along hoping and stressing for a desired outcome and when it does not turn out in line with our expectations, we become anxious, depressed, defensive, irrational and erratic.
As the German author Ekhart Tolle puts it in his book, The Power of Now; “When we identify with a mental position or a desired outcome, then if we are wrong, our mind-based sense of self is seriously threatened with annihilation. Our ego cannot afford to be wrong. To be wrong is to die. Wars have been fought over this, and countless relationships have broken down.”
And yet, the ego is merely a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind. The ego is very vulnerable and insecure, and it sees itself as constantly under threat. It feels vulnerable and threatened and so lives in a state of fear and want.
Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things. It needs to be both defended and fed constantly. The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, social status and recognition, power and control.
At most times we do all we can to satisfy our egos, even when it is apparent that we will not achieve the desired outcomes. We hold onto things, positions and ideas and we justify it in our own minds by believing that we are indispensible, invincible and in control; yet it is through this false concept that we destroy not only ourselves, but the possibility of preserving that good that we may have done.
This has happened to almost all political leaders in Africa since Kwameh Nkrumah in Ghana, Mobutu Sésé Seko in Zaire, Idi Amin in Uganda, José Eduardo dos Santos in Angola, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and many more.
The inability of our leaders to dissociate their self-worth from the external identification of power and material possessions and move on will continue to be an albatross on Africa’s development.
I would guess that Morgan Tsvangirai is going through the same mental conundrum that only Nelson Mandela conquered. It is not an easy choice.
Zimbabwe needs a fresh approach and a new narrative of the future. In my opinion, that narrative must be fashioned by those who use the future as the basis of their action and not the past. Leadership renewal is not a theoretical concept, but even nature itself must constantly renew itself for its own continuity and sustainability. The same applies to our socio-political development as a country.
The polarisation that exists today between Zanu PF and MDC does not serve our country nor does it benefit our people. No matter how we may justify it, it is remains based on myths that have been created by Mugabe’s ego in order to protect itself; an ego that feels vulnerable and threatened and so lives in a state of fear and want; an ego that is always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it — who is he? It’s time to destroy these myths.
My advice to Tsvangirai would be for him to understand that in order to achieve change in Zimbabwe the game must change and so must the players. The circumstances we face require a new perspective and a new style of leadership. They require a new paradigm and new methods of thinking.
We cannot use the same people and methods that have not worked in the past and expect different results. His state of the nation address was somewhat underwhelming and lacked any new perspectives or insights on how we must tackle our problems. If anything for me, it reflects the need for a change in leadership in MDC.
If Tsvangirai is really committed to see a new Zimbabwe it is time for him to detach the possible outcomes from his ego or self-worth. It is only then that the Zimbabwe we want can emerge. It is indeed a hard pill to swallow, but it is time to let go.
My message to Tsvangirai is simply that; we cannot afford the same egos that have destroyed our country to prevail. We cannot allow the MDC to degenerate into the very same animal that Zanu PF has become.
The narrative must now change. These are the hard choices that come with leadership which Zanu PF has avoided taking and look where we are.
The pain to let go might be unbearable, but the achievable outcome of a new and prosperous Zimbabwe must surely be more compelling. It’s time to be a true leader who knows when to go.
The people come first!
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org