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A different culture of leadership


Today is my birthday — please be polite and wish me well on this side of heaven. I am a “born-free”. I was born at a time when independence was attained and growing up in a country where there were no guns blazing has been such a blessing.

My elders tell me that war is very, very bad and my teachers share that it is retrogressive to development. I am from a generation that strongly believes we are responsible for our own destiny. We do not wait for opportunities, we create them, and we are the Twitter generation that believes in the 140-character principle. If you cannot package your message within 140 characters, that is, letters of the alphabet, trust me, you lose us in translation! So this year is very special, I celebrate this birthday on the backdrop of the just-ended Zanu PF conference. What has been our country’s leadership legacy in my rather short life? One leader? More than that, it is the culture that I am more interested in.

There seems to be something amiss somewhere in Zimbabwe’s leadership culture and system. It is almost like a silent fart where everyone actually smells it, but no one is brave enough to verbalise and ask or even inquire what the smell is all about! It is a system that is ruthless and is ready to pounce on the outspoken as you disappear like Itai Dzamara.

It is a system that is brutal to the very citizens that it governs and does not pause to think so, it spares not vendors the harsh realities of police brutality. It is a system that will pounce at any hint of “uprising” like was the case with those innocent female student leaders leading a very peaceful march. This system is violent. It does not care who you are, where you come from and what you do.

WOMEN  Demostrate during the Launch of National Campaign against rape and sexual abuse of children in the capital city of Harare recently.

Oh no, wait a minute, you might just be spared if you were one of the few flown for the latest conference, but again even those do not have a guaranteed future, last December was an example! This current system in governing a nation rich in natural resources and a wealth of human resources is sickening to the core especially when you are youthful and progressive and watch as other nations go through many transitions that take their countries to heights of productivity!

There must surely be a much better way of being, zveshuwa (for real), this is just pathetic. It is truly depressing. While some are busy make shifting with the realities of seeking for better options such as the ability to meet their bread and butter needs, others are wining and dining. They are making the very best of their annual get together and having fun. After all they are the custodians of this system aren’t they?

I do think that it would be a fallacy to say things will transform in the blink of an eye, but guess what? They will one day transform. After all, there is nothing new and permanent under the sun. So let me console this my young soul and hold hands with others who have the same dreams of a better Zimbabwe. If only we can raise our children to believe that there is better. It does not matter you were born post-independence and have known only one leader, we all need to understand that there is culture of leadership that is inclusive and incorporates the contributions of others outside our intimate circles.

It is very possible for leadership to seek the views of as many players as is possible and develop an all-inclusive solution to resolve realties of situations. There is a world where freedom of expression is guaranteed both before and after speaking. A leadership culture that considers the heart of those led and ensures that their needs are met with an embrace so warm it is shockingly progressive. It is that culture of leadership that seeks to ensure that the National Budgets are dedicated to social development.

Women and youth issues are addressed and take centre stage as the leadership understands that these groups are the most vulnerable yet most potential brains a country can ever have. Surely, there is a new way of exploring synergies with other nations, not just the usual culprits who are so keen on mortgaging the future of generations to come. We can indeed hold hands with nations who have a respect for human rights, sovereignty and whose politics is not about siphoning Zimbabwe’s natural resources. I do know that this alternative leadership system is possible.

Today as I celebrate one more year added to my life, I want to take the time to say that I do believe Zimbabwe will foster a new culture of leadership. I call upon all women and men who socialise children to bring them up in a manner that will help them think differently. In a manner that will facilitate for peaceful transfer of power, love other human beings more than amassing personal wealth. This is a call to bringing back the humanity amongst human beings. It is dream to realise that there is much more to life than positions and corruption.

Remember always that what we sow in the world will surely return to us, it is the law of nature they say or is it karma. We can have a better Zimbabwe. Where news is balanced and not biased towards the negative, the ugly and the annoying. We can choose to use our power wisely and not abuse the next brother or sister.

It does not matter where we lead from, all there needs to be is a culture of tolerance, respect and dignity. Zimbabwe can experience the good, better and very best. It takes you and me holding hands and doing the small and even sometimes-random acts of kindness such as smiling to a stranger. You do not have to belong to a political party or be wealthy. It is us the citizens of Zimbabwe that need to say enough is enough, we smell something and we chose to do something about it.

This is not the time to keep pointing fingers and unpacking our lived realities neither is it a time to continue developing blueprints, it is a time to act! It is a time we fold our sleeves and get our hands messy and dirty as we rebuild this nation, one life at a time. One heart. One human being. You and me are the one’s who will rescue this country from its doldrums. We can choose to utilise our experiences, skills and knowledge to help the next person. Yes, others may give us aid and support, but ultimately, it is we — the sons and daughters of the soil who will answer to the call of transformation and make the necessary changes. This is my birthday present to this nation; we do the things we ought to, no fear or favour. Let’s do this!

lGrace Ruvimbo Chirenje writes in her personal capacity and loves stimulating conversation. She would be excited to hear from you. You can contact Grace on graceruvimbo@gmail.com, follow her on twitter @graceruvimbo or Facebook: Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje. Chat soon.

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