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When Political Power turns to Misbehaviour: Part 1

24 Nov 2019 at 09:06hrs | Views
In the life of representative democracy, political authority and the holding of public office is in the behalf of most, if not all, members of society - the collective good. Motivation in leadership is genuinely service and general welfare of the represented. By people-power or ballot-consensus, political leaders are rendered capable to act and carry out a function on behalf of the social classes, further public improvement and satisfy the hopes and shared vision of the masses. While with power of influence, a political leader has at the same time the role of co-leading and collaborating with the people, and that of serving and siding with the people. A commitment to public office is always in relation to the people and is an acceptance of a cause to better their lives.

As a practice within democracies, political leadership is enacted by the people, for the people. It is the people that ratify and sanction the power and function of leaders - for leadership exists not for itself, but the people. Representativeness is an integral principle and constituent of the system. It defines the nature of power relations and influences in the system, and shapes the obligations involving both the representative and the represented. In principle, political power does not imply "power over" the people, but "power of" the people. Where political power and leadership is self-enriching and presents an absence of effectiveness to improve social well-being and make better people's lives, it is within the right and duty of the people to call for change in persons that are self-serving and have no outcome to benefit a majority.

If one is to form a critical opinion of Zimbabwe's political authority and leadership it would however fall far short of the ideal of servant leadership and a people-centred character. It is not my agenda to demonize the country's political leadership and its institutions but, by and large, our political leadership leaves much a great deal to be desired. If taken in the context of its capacity for people's welfare, political power and leadership in Zimbabwe has lamentably turned unjust and falls outside of what is considered functional or serving the interests of the people. Thoughtfully consider the political actor and public office-holder who withdraws medical supplies from a clinic simply because they have been funded by a member of the opposition party; or one who lines his own pocket, imports a luxurious supercar, but has no capacity and aspiration to add value to the lives of the people; or one who goes on a bloody rampage and mass shooting of civilians over protests; or one who incurs a massive bill on medical treatment abroad at the expense of the taxpayer and does nothing to fix the country's deplorable healthcare system; or one who uses state security organs to silence and violently purge political opposition; or one who is thrilled by air space adventures in a luxurious private jet, blowing the country's scarce foreign currency, and shows no concern for the country's financial mess and poverty. These are just but a few of the notable examples where political leaders are not at the service of the people and are found without a desire to do a greater good.

Politicians enter into political space due to multiple reasons and these vary from person to person. While I keep an open mind to this fact, it is my humble opinion that the most able leader has above all things the will of service and a people-interest. Whatever maybe the case, if motive and ambition associated with political leadership are not founded on service and the well-being of others, only one thing becomes certain: crooked and dishonest politicians who are driven by greed and an insatiable power-seeking ambition. Questionable motives and ambitions in politics affect quality in leadership and present a dark side in leadership. It is my humble opinion again that the apparent challenges and failures besieging the country have come about largely as a result of motives and ambitions of political personalities that are off, manifest through bad leadership and corrupt practices by the political class.

The Leadership Question
It is the brutal and, yet, regrettable truth that reason why Zimbabwe is where She is today is largely due to bad, ineffective and failed political leadership. This is not me just slinging mud at the politician in office, but leadership in the political arena and affairs of the country has for decades impacted negatively on the socioeconomic. Dysfunction in the country's political life has left a substantial portion of the citizenry with no story of success despite hard-work and talent. The political class has failed to define the tone and pathway of prosperity for the country, and has not enhanced the quality of life and well-being for the people, except the fortunes of the political elite. With a high level of political corruption, a severely distressed economy and non-provision of public services there is no other remarkable tale to tell of a non efficient outcome by the country's leadership.

There could be other factors contributing to the downstream impact on the country. However, in my view, at the heart of these factors is the practice of bad leadership and management cultivating them all. I am without a shred of doubt that good and effective leadership is the one key-instrument with a totalizing effect to stimulate fruitfulness and success in the country. Anchoring on such leadership would mean the difference between continued deterioration and rebuilding, continued failure and the long-awaited prosperity of the country. Bad and ineffective leadership is the monster in the room and we need to tackle it head to head.

Writing in personal capacity.

Musavhunduka, Part 2 is loading. Regai ndimbopedza zondo rangu.

Gift Tawanda

Source - Mthwakazi Institute of Research
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