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Opinion / Columnist

Let's not be a nation of stooges!

06 Nov 2022 at 19:20hrs | Views
Zimbabwe scares me, sometimes!

It is terribly unsettling and outright creepy, to say the least, whenever I watch how some Zimbabweans treat their leaders.

I try to imagine if I had been the president of this country, or ruling or opposition party - and, we had people who actually wore my face on their clothes, ululated to everything (no matter how mediocre) I said, shouted and jumped in exceeding excitement wherever I walked amongst them, and even started dancing the same way I did!

That would certainly be stuff of hilarious comedy shows, or even cartoons - or worse still, horror movies.

Yet, in Zimbabwe this is real life - happening right here!

Why on earth would any normal person regard everything I said or did as impeccable, infallible and without reproach - as if I were some god or deity - yet, simply another breathing mortal human being, waiting to die one day?

On what grounds do we find those who praise, support and defend every little thing that our leaders would have uttered or done - without ever holding them to account or correcting them where we feel they have erred?

Surely, the best way of learning and improving oneself is via open frank engagement, whereby - whether one holds a leadership position or not - can be, and is welcoming to, criticism and correction.

In fact, that is the main reason writers as myself place as much contact information as feasible on our articles, since this enables easy communication with readers - whose honest responses, whether in agreement or disagreement with what I would have written, have been a wonderful source of profound learning and expansion of my knowledge base.

Those who have taken time off their busy schedules reaching out to me would attest to my welcoming and immense appreciation of the candid and sincere discussions and debates - particularly, with those who either did not agree with my opinions, or felt that I could have done better in articulating my points or in researching my facts.

That is how I learn, and improve my work.

I do not regard them as enemies - but, invaluable assets and amazing sources of knowledge, of whom I am eternally grateful.

If I did not want to be corrected and criticized, I would have easily removed all my phone numbers and email address from my articles.

Therefore, it becomes rather unnerving and positively disturbing when we have Zimbabweans who cannot, or do not want to, treat our leaders in a similar manner.

If brutally frank open debate and criticism can significantly improve my knowledge base and skills as an individual - just imagine what it could do to any entire country, if we did the same to those in power.

Yet, we seem the have the grave misfortune of a people who would rather 'commend, applaud, thank, praise, and hail' each and every thing that is done or said by our leaders.

Are we not, unwittingly, actually allowing them to take the country in the wrong direction - resulting in the same praise-singers' and hero-worshippers' own suffering and poverty, as the country crumbles right in front of our eyes - whilst, we clap, ululate and encourage nonsense and destructive policies?

Surely, my heart sank this morning watching how some sycophants, gathered at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport in Bulawayo, shouted and ululated in wild excitement, after President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa had simply indicated that he would be traveling to Egypt next week.

They did not even bother waiting for Mnangagwa to finish his sentence - since, before he could tell them that he would be attending the UN COP27 Climate Change Conference, they were already jumping and screaming in celebration!

I wonder how many of those in attendance actually understood what this conference of parties would be all about - however, it was clear such little details were not going to stop them from singing in joy and praise!

Honestly, where are we going as a nation?

What country develops and prospers when its people do not hold their leaders to account - as well as a leadership that does not welcome and appreciate open frank criticism and correction?

Then, we are shocked or perplexed as to why we are always suffering - whereby, we try to blame all and sundry, except ourselves and our leaders, for the unspeakable misery we find ourselves.

Learning and betterment comes from rebuke and chastising - and, unless and until we acknowledge this basic principle of life, we will forever be crying.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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