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In Zimbabwe, we get leaders we deserve

07 Aug 2023 at 06:40hrs | Views
THE ongoing so-called "star rallies" being held by the ruling Zanu-PF party leave me speechless.

As expected during campaign for public office, especially for a sitting president and political party, touting successes achieved is at the fore.

It is, therefore, not surprising to hear supposed "accomplishments" by the President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa government being used as Zanu-PF's trump card for the August 23 harmonised elections.

Some of these "achievements" include the rehabilitation of some roads, sinking of several boreholes, construction of a handful of dams and the temporary reprieve in the electricity crisis that has bedevilled Zimbabwe for decades.

As much as this "development" is well and good, there is one sorely troubling issue: Why would anyone, surely, re-elect a president and party simply on the basis of these supposed "accomplishments"?

Surely there is far much more involved in choosing a national leader and governing party.

I am of the firm belief that even if Mnangagwa's administration had substantially improved the economic status of ordinary Zimbabweans, that alone should never earn him and his party another term in office.

Elections are an integral component of any democratic society and they take place regardless of the socio-economic situation prevailing at any given time, meaning that governing parties can be voted out of power even if they are doing well.

For instance, at the end of former United States President Barack Obama's two-term tenure, his country's economy was performing relatively well.

Under Obama, 2014 and 2015 were arguably the economy's best years, with 225 000 jobs created each month (while Black employment was at an impressive 7,5%), and economic growth at 2,3%.

Who would not fall in love with such figures?

Yet, come the 2017 presidential elections, Democrat party candidate, Hillary Clinton, was still defeated by Republican Donald John Trump.

Furthermore, Trump himself did not perform too badly either, especially before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with the US economy growing at 3% per annum, reducing the number of Americans on food stamps, and significantly increasing consumer and business confidence (particularly after cutting taxes in 2018).

As a matter of fact, this period of Trump's reign was described as "the best since the late 1990s".

Be that as it may, that also did not guarantee him a win over Democrats candidate Joe Biden in the 2021 presidential election, where he was convincingly beaten, although he refused to concede defeat.

What point am I trying to make with this illustration?

Just because a sitting President and his government have a couple of "positives" to boast of is not enough for the electorate to grant him another term in office.

Citizens who know what they want in life — desiring only the best their country can give, and reaching dizzy heights of success — do no settle for anything lower than their expectations.

They do not accept mediocrity.

That is why, in spite of all these economic figures — which are undeniably something to write home about — ordinary Americans still expected far much more from their leaders.

Regardless that the economy was growing at 2,3% under Obama, they knew that their country deserved better, which is one of the many reasons they rejected Clinton.

That is why despite many challenges the US has been facing — both on the political and economic fronts — it remains the largest economy in the world.

One of the secrets to this success and resilience is a population that does not brook nonsense and mediocrity from its leaders.

They fully understand that to be the best, you need to demand only the best.

As such, even if it may appear that a president and his administration are performing relatively well, Americans will still demand more and better.

In other words, they will never tolerate even the slightest depreciation of their economy.

That is why in the United Kingdom, they forced then Prime Minister Liz Truss to step down in September 2022, after a mere 49 days in office, due to the British pound's fall of three and a half cents to the US dollar.

Nationals in these countries never sit back, with their arms folded, while their local currencies depreciate, let alone its half the population is plunged into extreme poverty, three-quarters earn below the poverty datum line amid daylight looting of their country's wealth.

Which brings me back to Zimbabwe, where we celebrate the sinking of boreholes, resurfacing of a few roads and the fact that electricity load-shedding has decreased (for now).

Most disturbing is that we celebrate boreholes being sunk in towns and cities, which actually had running water in homes.

And we are being asked to re-elect a President and party who have turned our towns and cities into rural areas,

In Zimbabwe, we are jubilant when we receive food handouts and free agricultural inputs, or when our children are stripped of all their hopes and dreams and forced into vending.

A few weeks ago in Centenary, Mashonaland Central province, a lady was over the moon that Mnangagwa had brought to their town one set of traffic lights.

Even worse, some have been extremely excited over a currency that is trading at a shocking $4 500 to one US dollar.

If all these are among the so-called "developments and achievements", it boggles the mind why anyone should tell me that Mnangagwa deserves another term in office.

Surely, are we to be taken seriously as a people who know what they want in life?

Why do we cheapen ourselves in such disgraceful fashion?

Are we serious as Zimbabweans?

Americans reject presidents who grow their economy at record levels because they desire more and better, but in Zimbabwe, we prefer those who push us deeper into poverty.

My parting words: In life we get what we deserve. If we tolerate and accept rubbish, we get rubbish.

In Zimbabwe, we will forever be suffering, because we celebrate poverty, brought upon us by those who oppress us, who happen to be our own leaders.

Source - newsday
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