By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
WHO can forget those days when we used to be asked by our parents and teachers what we wanted to be when we grew up?
I remember those days like they were yesterday, since they are a regular feature of our conversations with our parents, and an integral part of our school curricula.
In fact, a particularly interesting occasion in Grade Seven, at Redcliff Junior School, swiftly comes to mind, when my teacher, Lesley Castelin, went round the class with that all important question.
The entire class burst into uncontrollable laughter when my classmate and friend, Tafara Maunze, jokingly said he wanted to be a heavyweight boxer.
During those years (I did Grade Seven in 1986), sport was not really a commendable and reputable professional option — as the academic path was regarded in very high esteem.
Of course, Tafara never became a boxer, and is now a successful entrepreneur.
However, there were other fascinating career options that I found rather peculiar during that time.
There were those who confidently proclaimed their desire to become medical doctors, lawyers, air hostesses/flight attendants, nurses, teachers, and, so many more.
Yet, what was clearly odd about some of these choices was the obvious disparities and contradictions between one’s preferred career, and their personal attributes.
It was perplexing why someone who never showed any compassion towards others’ pain and suffering, or would never naturally rush to an injured schoolmate’s side, to offer them comfort, and some form of first aid — would say they desired to be a medical doctor and/or nurse.
It was amazing to hear someone who never exhibited an inherent desire to assist fellow pupils with their academic work — pronouncing their intention of becoming a teacher.
In fact, how many times have we come across someone with dictatorial tendencies being touted as possessing leadership attributes?
Yet, a leader is the complete opposite — loving, humble, always placing the interests of others ahead of his or her own, having a knack for uniting everyone and resolving conflict, protective of the weak and young, ensuring that everyone was well taken care of, and strongly standing against any unfair treatment of others.
Such distortions between one’s personal attributes, and their chosen profession or career, are what have led me to pen this piece.
I am always shocked at the number of people harbouring, or even openly expressing their desire to be Zimbabwe’s head of State.
I, then, ask myself — what makes all these individuals believe that they are presidential material?
Is it some childhood lie told to them that they were born leaders — as a result of their bullying other children, demanding absolute obedience from all around them, greedy for acknowledgement and glorification, and an entitlement mentality?
Why does Zimbabwe have people who see themselves as worthy of occupying such a high office, when they are known for brazen cruelty, possessing a sadistic desire to instil fear and terror in others, and always considering those who disagree with them as enemies and bad apples who need to be rooted out?
Why do we even have someone who is so vindictive and hateful, that he has absolutely no qualms ensuring that an estranged spouse is subjected to untold suffering and torture, while denying her urgently needed medical attention — yet, reportedly has ambitions to one day lead this country?
What manner of a person seriously believes that they deserve another term to be at the helm of a nation, when he is not even humble enough to embrace those who speak against him? Yet, as fellow citizens, they need to be treated with respect and their views taken seriously?
Can someone who finds nothing wrong with living an opulent life — gained through massive looting, and corrupt dealings with shady characters, honestly be said to possess presidential attributes?
People of Zimbabwe, let us not be intellectually blind and open our eyes to the real cause of our unending suffering and pain.
We have the wrong people as our leaders, people who do not have the necessary leadership attributes. It is as simple as that.