Zimbabwe’s leadership failure


The graft and corruption that is now being unearthed means that the President has failed to do his job.

Guest Column by Vince Musewe

The main responsibility of any President must be to effectively preside over the affairs and administration of the country. In order to achieve that, the President appoints ministers who should be appointed on merit. Their responsibility is not only to ensure that government policy is effectively implemented, but to ensure that it is effectively administered and in line with the Constitution and the laws of the country including adherence to the National Budget.

In addition, the President is provided with all the resources he needs to ensure that he is effective in carrying out his mandate according to the Constitution.

The President is even provided with high-level security and all the necessary comforts to ensure that his decisions are objective and serve the interest of the country first. This is to ensure that he stems corruption, fights graft and is not easily influenced or swayed in making decisions that may prejudice those that seek to disadvantage the interests of the country as a whole.

The graft and corruption that is now being unearthed means that the President has failed to do his job.

President Robert Mugabe should take full responsibility for the failure of public institutions to serve the needs of the country, including the mismanagement of State enterprises and our national resources. Of course, those he has deployed to manage our economy have failed in their duty, but they should be answerable to him and him alone.

Unfortunately the unearthing of the monumental deception committed through abuse of public funds is now being framed as a victory for Zanu PF, which is most absurd. How can the very people who produced this vomit get the credit for finally cleaning it up?

The MDC-T, including its president, must also take responsibility for its failure to highlight and expose those fleecing State enterprises and national resources during the Government of National Unity (GNU).

This is not the time for excuses. It is just not good enough to say we knew about it, but we could not do anything about it. Of course, Zanu PF prevented the effectiveness of the MDC-T, their rival in the GNU. However, the minister responsible should still have done something about it. The least he could have done is to expose it. But, once more, he has excuses and refuses to also take responsibility. This, again, shows how our leaders continue to blame circumstances for poor performance and failure to deliver.

All this, and the recent nearly violent and abusive reaction of MDC-T youths including some of its leaders to calls for Morgan Tsvangirai to retire, has shocked me to realise that our politics is really not about competence or delivery. Rather it is more about popularity, and if necessary, threats of violence against those who may see things differently.

This has also happened in Zanu PF, mind you. We have seen supposedly intelligent and mature people avoiding the discomfort of the truth and failing to challenge Mugabe’s leadership incompetence, despite everything showing that this country is facing catastrophic failure because of mismanagement from the top. Instead they must pretend that all is well, as long as they have their perks and keep their positions.

This is the culture that we are faced with; a culture that has nothing to do with performance, but rather a culture of fear and always shifting blame; a culture of avoiding the inconvenient truths. It’s comical because if you criticise Zanu PF, you are an agent of the West; and if you criticise MDC-T, you are an agent of Zanu PF. And so the circus continues. How ridiculous!

Unfortunately this culture has now permeated all sectors of our society including the private sector, where our executives earn huge packages, avoid tax, but cannot meet payroll obligations. At this rate, it will surely take eons for us to create a modern State in Zimbabwe. It is true then that the people will always get the leadership they deserve.

I had a very interesting conversation the other day about the nature of our politics. The poor masses provide the numbers during voting time, and that’s where it ends. This explains why a bag of mealie meal can buy a politician unfettered five years in power. The masses seem easily swayed by foolish things. As a result, the quality and standards of our leaders are not really challenged; the masses will deliver the vote anyway, so why worry?

As long as this is the case, we are unlikely to see a vibrant democracy and a modern State where our leaders are accountable and do not always blame someone out there. We must break this pattern.

The one solution we have is to establish a new democratic mass movement, but the challenge will remain on how we get the masses, especially our exuberant youths and rural folk, to understand their responsibility and the need to value leaders not because of their names or history, but on their competence and on what they can do for Zimbabwe in the future.

It will take educating the masses and forcing them to realise that unless we change the game, they will continue to be taken for a ride as electoral fodder.

Zimbabwe needs new vision and a new ethos in politics that puts Zimbabwe first and continually challenges our leaders to behave and be accountable.
Without that, I do not foresee any improvement both in our political discourse and democracy.

The people come first!

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com


  1. At least we are geting there but let us give the old man credit for the efforts he is puting rit now at least they realised it that their tricks and ill comings are overdue..zimbabweans are peaceful populace of individuals who are hardworkers and elites who can underwent certain degrees of hardships in life..our leaders take that sweet advantage and shove it again into our predicaments…the storm is ceasing now and the smokes of sanity is promising….fellow zimbos let us move on,politics is for the politicians and our own way to speak to them is through ballot box meditation short period wit the leader of our choice….zimbos we prefered our father bob and let us forgive him and give the old man respect he deserves like the AU and sadc did….they are not fools..my hope is to see zimbabwe in perpetual economic and political boom….we deserve it after all……thank you brethren

  2. in agreeing with the hooker above i have to point out that it is not in us to go out attacking HE for idiosyncracy and vicissitudes of the nuts above beneath and amongst us who have put our governance here in disrepute. you vince i am sure would agree too that the father is the family whose overall efforts shall not be undermined by vanity. keep your eye on the issue re: the baloon of corruption !!

    • Corruption will only manifest itself where it is not checked/allowed and the behaviour of any society is a reflection of its leadership. Do you honestly think that the things being exposed were not known until Jonathan Moyo fired the ZBC board established the salary of the CEO and that the Famous earner CD was the Chairman of ZBC and author of HM’s appointment letter. Corruption cannot be separated form those who are employed to guard against it, particularly the president who sets the agenda for the nation.

  3. Hooker,you are right but hey its difficult coz these pipo saw it coming and they reluctantly ignore the facts that no one will get away wit everything and now they have to pay wit the demise of their political parties..let’s move madzimbabwe…we have a lot to do rather than crying in limbo

  4. ruling part has failed I agree, but if u want to blame the MDC whom have tried to change things, then u are wrong.u can as well form o own political party n see if u will man up jus as close as Tsvangirai did

    • apton u ar right tsvangs has managed to bring in some changes under difficult ground of play. The people ar to blame for not standing up against a rotton gorvenment. Look mahachi was reinstated bt with all evidence available and what ar people saying, nothing bt busy talking abt Tvangirai’s marital problems. Muchatongwa na Mugabe kusvika afa.

  5. I know most if not all of you will disagree with me but honestly one man one vote is quite stupid considering the caliber of voters we have in Zimbabwe. In the end the toy toying rural folks whose decision on who to vote is largely influenced by getting/not getting a 10kg bag of maize will win because they are more than the reasonable, educated Zimbabweans. That makes the government not to really care about accountability because it will always get away with anything because our rural idiots do not question anything.

  6. Zimbabwe is run like a spazza shop.thz thugs which are a farmily like are running the country thus wy even the old man is failing to dismiss all corupt pple in the gvt

  7. @ apton:this is exactly what vincent is saying….why can’t mdc be blamed for its failure in the GNU, it sleeped and snored enjoying the perks of government and failed to deliver…just because its the most popular opposition we do not havr to defend it in its shortcomings,lest we are creating another untouchable zanu pf…lets judge our parties on competence and delivery…so far both mdc and zanu pf have failed dismally and cannot lead period.

  8. yu right jj that the rural voter are full of shit am sorry for the word but its true they are taken for a ride for the next 5 years in exachange for beer! Museve you got to remember this is zim politics yu shouldnt blame mdc during gnu era. Remember yu may pay the price with your life if yu damn point a finger at zanu looting. Ok if yu say the mdc is wrong, then what can the Harare mayor Manyenyeni from mdc do now to reverse what Chombo did? or yu saying chombo is right? I respect your brilliant observation but the rot is in Znpf hierarchy. Zim is in dilema! cry my beloved motherland. Do you surely believe that the wealth of some top figures in znupf is purely out of hard work and must not be investigated? try and yu pay with yo life, you will not even appear anywhere in zim history its sad my brother.

  9. The first thing to do in Zimbabwe is to wean the young generation from this mantra that Zanu and Zapu “liberated the country” from “racist colonial regime” which has been inculcated into their minds by power-hungry politicians. The young generation, including you, Vincent, are of the mistaken notion that we were so oppressed Zanu and Zapu “liberated us” and we owe then a debt of gratitude when the truth is that we were quite free to do as we liked the only thing that held some of us back was poverty, lack of unique skills, and our own backwardness which was not caused by the whites. We all wanted black majority rule because we felt we were at a stage were we able to govern ourselves but the reasons given by our politicians are all false. It was our votes which got Zanu into power in 1980 not something they had done.
    Rhodesia had laws like Land Apportionment Act, Land Tenure Act and other laws on paper but in reality were ineffective. Despite these laws wealthy black businessmen were able to buy commercial farms (George Tavengwa, Tobias Musariri, Phillimon Murambiwa (Machipisa), John Ruredzo, Mwamuka, Enock Mwayera, Ben Mucheche, Isiah Samuriwo); wealthy black businessmen were able to send their children to white schools (Jaqueline Ziyambi, Kelvin Sifelani, Albert Chanetsa, Peter Chingoka, Dr Ngonyama’s daughter, Mandy Mundawarara); there were black Company Directors in Rhodesia like, Solomon Tavengwa at Rio Tinto, Honor Mkushi, Amos Chirunda, Patrick Chipudhla, Abner Bosch (he is black – I don’t know how he got a whiteman’s surname), Muchadeyi Masunda; there were hundreds of black apprentices in various companies and trainee technicians at PTC attending Salisbury Polytechnic with white apprentices getting the same salaries. There were black Members of Parliament in Rhodesia like the present Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, Ronald Radomba, Jasper Savanhu, Paul Chanetsa, Chipunza, Albert Chaza, Patrick Rubatika and Percy M’kudu. The examples are numerous. For as long as the blacks had money and guts the sky was the limit not the lazy distortion about “racism” trotted out by politicians. It is silly to trot out “racism” saying blacks were not allowed to do this, that and the other when other intrepid blacks were doing these things. If some people were not clever enough whose fault is it? The first thing is to tell the truth as it was if we are to move forward and people must realise the political struggles in the 1960s to 1970s were solely for power’s sake.

    • Access to wealth and skills is a result of state policy, whichever way you cut it wherever you look across the world. The whites who arrived here first had money, guns and the know how to subdue the unindustrialized continents because their governments made sure education and access to wealth was necessary, everything was decided for them for the glory of the queen, who is the ultimate beneficiary. Being not ready to govern ourselves and to manage our own affairs by the 70s and 80s is your opinion, not fact. I believe we were and still are more than capable given the staggering number of sound minded men and women we have produced. The post 1980 disasters and our current state of affairs is not a result of an inability to govern; that is too simplistic a view. Bad governance is a factor but not the factor; if you were to study events without being tunnel visioned you will see much more than your one dimensional view.

      The list of a handful of blacks who swam across the tide to succeed proves that we were not free to do what we wanted. A list of whites who succeeded purely on inheriting wealth and a support system as opposed to creating their own wealth will number a couple of hundred thousand names. That is by design, blacks were never meant to be included because the ultimate beneficiary of the wealth and the labour of Zimbabwe is still the same as pre colonialism; the design of global wealth distribution has and will never change. just because a handful of blacks fell through the cracks to prosperity does not mean the system was fair; just because the current government cocked things up does not mean blacks were not ready for self governance.

  10. Corruption and leadership ! Well let’s cut this shit.Corruption where ? In Zimbabwe ? Aha, we are a very free country, we are enjoying our sovereignty and except for the British and American sanctions, we are very free indeed. We take what we want when we want because we have sacrificed a lot for this country. In fact we brought to you independence, freedom and indigenisation, so whatelse do you want now ?You can name us, shame us and then what ?

  11. thats why above tichizviti muchohwe munoona.
    keep up the spirit of muchohwe and your prick targeted at the baloon of corruption so all may play a role helping those of examplary leadership down the foreign UFO.
    the president alone cannot do everyting !!

  12. I personally think Zimboz deserve to suffer they deserve all this.On another note there is an education crisis perpetrated by the so called fundis if such a word exists, this country is currently bring run by education fools instead of intelligent people.Just reading most uncommon words in these articles simply shows there is a craving brought about by a clear misunderstanding of the objective which is communication in a clear and concise manner so that your facts can be clearly understood.if MDC is wrong it’s wrong let’s nit cover it how are they hoping to know that they are wrong if we do not point it out?Same goes for ZANU of if they are wrong concerned citizens need to point it out to them so they know and correct themselves .If Robert Mugabe is wrong he is wrong he is only human let’s point it out to him so he can be a better person.Our culture does not allow us to air our disgruntlement we told to not to question elders or authority which were all this mess we find ourselves in originated.I think we need a paradigm shift and start slowly from were we are getting the basics right and am sure all pieces will fall into shape.

  13. Makes you really wonder what the MDC was doing in government for years besides those nice spanking brand new cars (two each) they allocated to themselves. What I find breath taking in its arrogance is that Minister for Parastatals says he knew about all this all along but was powerless to do anything..Really? You know one begins to believe there is a God out there, because I shudder to imagine where we would be headed if the MDC had become government with their blindness (read the para story) and their love for the sweet life (la dolce vita) with mansions in Highlands and all those other feather beddings. I believe the GNU is the best thing that ever happened to Zimbabweans because it was through this we really got to see how the MDC related with power.. they loved it and the people were never in the equation at all just like at ZANU..otherwise how do you explain this new call by the MDC that they would really love to have another GNU2..really? They really must think we are all idiots just like their friends at ZANU think we are. When is a fresh face going to emerge out of the 14 million of us and save the land? Both ZANU and MDC had their turns…This includes Ncube and the others..What the land needs is a clean new face…

    • @Falcon in as much as I agree with you on most issues there is but a difference in that the MDC concentrated on proving to the electorate that they where the best in running the country in terms of the economy and development.Lets not forget that the Police Commisioner is Zanu pf to the core so he says, so is the Attorney General.I am of the opinion you are aware of the Ant-Corruption Commission’s Case against Kasukuwere and Obert Mpofu vis-avis the Platinum Empowerment scheme and the bullying and harrasing of Justice Hungwe.Still its easy to blame the MDC even though Zanu Pf went to the extent. of hunting General Tongogara’s daughter who was at one time in charge of the Anti-Corruption Comission.I attend to agree with Gorden Moyo that he was powerless.

      • @guranyanga- Moyo could or should have made the para shocking salary document public..salaries of thieves were never a state secret..Its like Sibanda, chief cabinet secretary who appears to be sitting on the document. At least Sibanda can be excused he is a civil servant. I still insist Moyo should shut up and go back to sleep, something he has proven to all and sundry he is very good at.

  14. Chokwadi ndechekuti zimbabwe haina Mutungamiri tinemufananidzo chaiwo. Pane corruption dzese dzirikuitika kana kumbo sumudza musoro munhu waPresident
    , munoti pachine zvemunhu ipapa. Zvakafana naBaba vanokwirirwa mwana vakatarisa seGonzo .

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  16. @Vince, I agree, the President has a lot to answer for; however, Zimbabweans must be exposed to the truth. Our problems are because of a 2 sided coin type scenario. Dealing with one side is only half the solution. We have government corruption and maladministration on one side, greedy global oligarchs and self serving rhodies on the other. Both sides exist to profit by fking the people!

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