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Opinion / Columnist

Old age, a cancer to African leaders

12 Jul 2017 at 15:42hrs | Views
In the 21st century, whoever examines the leadership crises in Zimbabwe seems to have a few questions which still remain unanswered: Could there still be some incorruptible leaders out there which the country must reach out to? If yes, why have they refused to step forward at a time when the Zimbabwean people need them most? Why do people with strong moral backgrounds never seem to be interested in the political discourse? Can Zimbabweans  continue to leave the fate of their children in the hands of those greedy politicians that are seeking political power as a means to their financial breakthrough? I could be better of doing some research on the emerging trend where corporate institutions are rather facilitating the systems that worsen our woes in a more sophisticated manner. In fact, just when l thought Zimbabwe is on course to uproot corruption for good, I was shocked to discover that what we have witnessed from previous years were just a tip of the iceberg. Its actually getting worse. With the advent of science and technology, corporate greed and neo-colonialism is still at work. Zimbabwean leaders are still looting the country on a daily basis and evidence is there to see but no one is doing anything to make things right.

Curiosity they say kills the cat. I began a journey in search of answers to help save mother Zimbabwe from the hands of these traitors.These corrupt and selfish leaders are depositing our hard earned money somewhere in Europe and America without any media outrage whatsoever. Yet under their leadership, these are the very leaders who lead the crusade to solicit for more loans on behalf of the Zimbabwean people, as if to say such loans are truly meant for our development. What fails to make the news is the percentage of such loans that end up in offshore bank accounts. It was very interesting reading the tall list of overseas financial institutions which have been collaborating with corrupt African leaders to steal African moneys for decades. Imagine this is all done by our leaders who are very old.

Perhaps the sad part is that many of these African leaders often die, leaving the huge sums of looted funds in offshore banks which is later confiscated by the Western politicians for their use. As we speak today, all the billions of dollars that was stolen from Nigeria and recently in Libya have all gone 'missing'. Nevertheless, the West have never made any accounts to Africa on the whereabouts of such moneys though many of such African leaders have long died and gone. For instance, what has happened to all those dollar accounts owned by African politicians secretly held in Swiss Banks? Has Europe made any effort to return these looted funds to Africa, though many of such African leaders have long died and gone? The West have carefully designed such sophisticated methods with the sole purpose of robbing Africa of her wealth. I became completely astounded about the sophisticated nature in which corruption has eaten deep into the moral fibres of our leaders. What is more worrisome at the moment is the nature in which some fellow Africans are willing to collaborate with the perpetrators of these criminal activities while remaining anonymous.

In order to end the crisis, the old age-style leadership must end. The youth must be given the opportunity to exhibit their youthful exuberance at the leadership front. For many years, Zimbabwe has suffered enough from the hands of old men who never see the need to pave way for young and fresh ideas. This is despite the fact that many of the youth are beaming with fresh ideas and solutions. Our constitution for instance have cupped the age requirement for the office of the president at 40 and above. This trend has completely side-lined all the youth from daring to venture into the highest office in the country. Anywhere the positions of chief executives are being advertised, "Minimum age 50 years" appear to be the 'normal age requirement'. This they attribute the need for so-called experience. Of course I believe in the man with experience just as I believe in the man with vision. However, in the 21st century, I strongly believe that vision may be more important that experience.

It is time the country searches for men with vision rather than merely looking for men with experience. If we're to critically examine the average age of the African leader, over 80% (8 out 10) of them are aged 65 years and above. Meanwhile the current statistics has it that the youth still remains the largest category of people on the continent. Therefore with youth unemployment on the continent currently standing at over 80%, where is the country heading towards? It will take a serious revolution to rescue the future of Zimbabwe before the apocalypse finally occurs. But I can see that we're not far from that day yet. We need to urge the youth to register and vote so that we get rid of the oldest man in the State House.The future is ours only if we take care of the present. Of course, no one can doubt the fact that wisdom is found in old age and that having a couple of old men leading Zimbabwe can be ideal at some point, only if they can be advisors.

This seems to suggest that allowing more energetic and vibrant youth the opportunity to steer the affairs of the continent could have been more appropriate. After years of failed leadership, there is a clear indication that Zimbabwe currently faces a lot of difficult challenges which requires the services of young, vibrant and energetic men and women who have the charisma to adequately address such needs. However, I must admit that the youth alone cannot make a successful country. There will be the need for guidance and wisdom from the elderly to make them excel on the leadership front. If the youth truly remains the future of the continent, then there is the need for them to be given a fair representation in the affairs of leadership across the continent. The current practice of side-lining them and blocking their chances of taken up leadership especially in government at such a time when the continent begs for leadership is completely worrisome. I concurred with Dr Nkosana Moyo when he suggested that if he wins the 2018 elections, he will trim the cabinet and remove Deputy Ministers then replace them with junior ministers who will sit in parliament. The youths are not making demands just for fun but have a burning social and financial reasons. All what the President must swiftly do is to see to address their issues, that will be the only reasonable way to solving the emerging problems in the country.

If the President wants to make a concerned and conscious effort to deepen cooperation that can advance the cause of a Better Zimbabwe, he must stop dreaming and wake now to tackle frictions and misunderstanding causing rises to unnecessary agitations in the country. After all you don't sit down and expect your shadow to be moving.

Are you undecided about who to vote for in 2018? Are you confused about what the parties stand for and what they are offering?The next step is for people in the opposition  parties to say 'enough is enough'. The problem is that there are vested interests standing in the way. I would hope they realise we are getting into dangerous political waters – parties with very limited legitimacy trying to form governments. The biggest misconception we hear is this: "If you're registered as an independent, that must mean you're undecided and you are a Zanu-PF  project". I beg to differ because we all want the same thing, getting rid of the evil Zanu-PF and its leader. When  people are promoted above their  competence, perhaps through patronage, and they lose the link between performance and output,the results are poor. Man is a product of his material conditions. Another Zimbabwe is possible.

BY TENDAI MAZENGE PDP SECRETARY FOR POLICY HARARE PROVINCE  tendai.mazenge@gmail.com

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Source - Tendai Mazenge
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