Fear in not an option
Zimbabweans United for Democracy ... Determining our own future ... We demand real change ... Fear is not an option ... Tiri kuvaka ramangwana redu ... Tinoda sanduko chaiyo ... Hatichatya ... Siyakha elakusasa lethu ... Sifuna inguquko yobala ... Asikhethi ukwesaba ...

 

It is time we had leaders who listen

by Moses Chamboko
Secretary General of ZUNDE
18 June 2018

For all his shortcomings, real or imagined, Morgan Tsvangirai had two great strengths – humility and the ability to listen. My first direct interaction with him was in 1999 in Gaborone, Botswana, when he was on a regional tour campaigning against the draft constitution which was to be put to a referendum the following year. I next met and spoke to him almost twelve years later in Perth, Western Australia, when he was Prime Minister. I am yet to see his kind of humility, clarity and selflessness in any of those he left behind. Anokodzera korona (He deserves a crown).

Tsvangirai_and_ZvogboThe only other Zimbabwean politician of repute whom I have known for similar traits was the late Eddison Zvobgo. These two men could talk to anybody on any day and would never interrupt you until you finished talking. Zvobgo would even ask "Mapedza?" meaning "Have you finished?" In contrast, former President Robert Mugabe thought he knew it all. He would not listen to anyone. In the process, he reduced his ministers and deputies to mere placeholders. He also disconnected himself from the people to the point that for 37 years, most of us only saw him in the media. Consequently, he became a dictator and a monumental failure. That era must be gone for good!

Looking at some of our leaders today, I get the impression that most of them like to hear their own voices more than they want to hear anybody else's. They are only willing to listen to other voices if they are full of praise. If you tell them the truth, you become an instant enemy. They are immune to frank discourse. They forget that you learn more from criticism than praise. They would rather be proud than wise.
At his inauguration, soon after his return from his short exile in South Africa, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said "The voice of the people is the voice of God". This has become almost a mantra. It was his way of reaffirming the fact that he would be a listening president. He carries the burden of his promise.

In the past few months, I have noticed that some of our aspiring leaders are showing worrying signs of dangerous vanity to the point of not listening to any dissenting voice. As I have said elsewhere, a combination of superficiality and arrogance can be disastrous.
Primary elections in both camps, ZANU-PF and MDC-T were chaotic. Imposition of candidates became the order of the day while some candidates were sidelined or frustrated. Some were surprised to find their names missing from the ballot papers. We saw a manifestation of the confusion and shenanigans at the Nomination Court as well.

As we have always done, without fear or favour, ZUNDE spoke out against these irregularities. Personally, I challenged the decision to sideline or frustrate Jessie Majome from contesting in Harare West. I have known her as a genuine, fearless, consistent, intelligent but humble colleague in the democratic struggle. I am not surprised that she has decided to contest as an independent. If leadership had listened to the people, this situation would have been easily avoided.

There is also some perennial deadwood that has made it to the final list of ZANU-PF candidates. Some have been senators for many years but have never opened their mouth to say anything in senate. continued next page

© ZUNDE Inc. 2016

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