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Why do we vote for poor leaders promising us riches?

03 Dec 2014 at 06:54hrs | Views

The on-going tussle in Zanu-PF has awoken the country to raw politics. It is crude, uncensored and Live! Even those who have been planning to buy satellite equipment for christmas to get away from ZBC are now considering buying clothes for their children instead! There is a gripping thriller in the ruling party - it is loaded with suspense, spying, whodunnits, suspected murders, comedy and even mini-skirts with possible sex!

The politics there is dirty, it is proper grimy. It is dog-eat-dog. Most of all though it is desperate!

What could drive grown-ups to tear each other up like this? Threatening each other with extermination using gamatox? Some are even placing secret recording devices on each other! Thus far it seems gamatox camp is being gamatoxed by the weevils.

This article seeks to argue that Zimbabwe's political space is overloaded with leaders with no clue on wealth creation when that characteristic is essential for the country's current needs and future. Politics is their livelihood and losing their place there means the end of income. It will seek to argue that the current crop of players in Zimbabwe do not match what the country requires - credible wealth creators who can deliver jobs and tangible development.

Zimbabwe's Current status - Sekuru Gushungo

By all accounts of his youth the president was born of a poor background like many in his time. He then became a teacher before spending a significant part of his productive years in prison. This was followed upon release by leading what was then labelled a terrorist organisation. So just when did Robert Mugabe cut his teeth in wealth creation before we gave him full charge of our hard-earned taxes? There is no mention of him even ever being a Headmaster.

Before he looted his way into latest armoured Mercedes Benzes he forced school children to carry him! Our shoulders continue producing the tax funds he clings onto power for.

Does a 90 year old man with no known business ventures or experience other than that gotten out of politics (public tax funds that you and I pay) match delivery of that need? Zimbabweans want jobs, at every election they are promised these in abundance, time and time again but in vain. So in nearly 40 years we have not learnt that Baba Chatunga has no clue about how to deliver on that? Are we such fools that we cannot wake up from the hypnosis induced by his silky oratory skills? Indeed he is an amazing speaker, he is a grandmaster - just like every conman, but why aren't we growing wiser to him?

We took farmland from the whites but our average standard of living has been getting progressively worse since. So just who do we blame for failure other than poor leadership? If Mugabe had been a decent wealth creator with a vision, the brightest young Zimbabweans who are doctors, engineers, accountants, computer specialists and others would have been channelled into Agro-business in preparation to lead the farming.
The blunt truth about why black farmers aren't doing as well as they should is that the best brains in the country do not venture into the muddy profession. There is a deeper love for office work even when the pay is poor and jobs insecure. You could blame individuals for that culture, but when it is a national epidermic then we have to lay the blame squarely on the leadership.

Zanu-PF is filled with similar kind of people. Persons whose occupation of the seats to drive our economy is based on how well they fought in the war 40 years ago but have since not achieved anything else to boast about other than plundering state funds. No wonder most of them were declared over 50% disabled in assessments used for looting the War Vets funds in the 1990s!

Mnangagwa, Mujuru, Mohadi, Sekeramayi, Walter Mzembi, Simon Khaya, Ignatius Chombo and all others have no traceable previous achievements in enterprise before suddenly making money through politics. Just how are they going to lead in enterprise should they be given the reins? Why do voters needing someone to stimulate creation of jobs for them elect untested people to deliver on this?

The teacher and his pet boys (who would have thought they would ever thug each other) - Solomon Mujuru, Mugabe and Mnangagwa in 1980

Why do we choose people whose only boasts is that they were Gandangas and chimbwidos 2 generations ago to lead us in a war of economics that they have demonstrated zero skills at? Why are we quietly watching desperate drama to control our lives involving clueless competitors at the Zanu-PF congress?

As for tycoons like Chiyangwa and other professional state fund pilferers this article will not waste space on them as we know the carnage their kind of enterprise causes! We will therefore focus on real business people.

Leaders of the opposition

Do any of these players on the political bench know how to make serious money?

Morgan Tswangirai
Mr Tsvangirai has previously worked non-skilled jobs before being involved in the art of complaining about working conditions which propelled him into politics. The brave gentleman does not have any significant history in entrepreneurship. So why do we look up to him to deliver any better on the economy than his useless opponent? Would we not be perpetuating our downward spiral of the economy in giving him charge to manage our resources?

A quick look at his close lieutenants reveals a similar pattern to their opponents. Nelson Chamisa went straight from Student unionism into politics - the same applies to Job Sikhala as well as most of the top hierarchy of the MDC-T.

Weshman Ncube and Tendai Biti
Whilst law is one of the most popular professions supplying politics with players - they are usually better suited at power lever of politics rather than the vital lever of economics needed for Zimbabwe. Like their former leader Morgan Tsvangirai they have no significant business experience. While they both performed quite well as ministers in the GNU between 2008 - 2013 it is hard to recall any of their lasting contributions to the nation.

Ncube is a Professor of Law - you usually get that when you are in love with books, not money. He has been a lecturer for a long time and has made strong contacts and networks with his former students but all that does not qualify him as a decent money maker. When all is not well he has retreated into farming - by no means at serious commercial level. Technically he has been a glorified child-minder at the UZ for decades. Does that mean he is prepared to look after our billions and multiply them?

The new Democratic Union party is dominated by former student activists who went straight into politics without significant cutting their teeth in enterprise or management. Examples include Jacob Mafume, Promise Mkhwananzi, Gorden Moyo, Priscilla Misihairambwi and a lot more.

Some prominent politicians who sublimed straight from student politics to national politics. Just when have they learnt to budget billions, never mind create and save thousands? (Biti, Mashakada, Chamisa, Gorden, Qhubani, Mkhwananzi, Maengahama, Mafume, Sikhala, Madzore and Misihairambwi-Mushonga)

None of them has a respectable business enterprise that employs numbers of repute - so just how are they going to create wealth and jobs if we give them control of government?

Dabengwa and Simba Makoni

Do these even deserve a waste of time discussing them as they too are wasting people's time? The former has recently been making noises about Zapu properties grabbed by Mugabe during Gukurahundi - so what stopped him raising the issue while he was in government and a lot closer to Mugabe? Yes you guessed right - the gravy train of our taxes glued his lips! Now that he is off it he suddenly remembers a freebie. He should work on the farm that he has productively and encourage fellow Zapu/Zipra war vets to do the same on their own farms before making demands for properties that he won't even be able to utilise.

Changing our politics

The picture described above points to the political landscape being dominated by career politicians with no acumen for wealth creation. The question every voter needs to seriously introspect over is whether the priority of their government is politics or the economy at this point in time.

We need to ask ourselves how a Strive Masiyiwa or Nigel Chanakira given the opportunity to redistribute the land resource might have led to current loss of production. Would they have presided over a loss-making ZBC that was not paying its workers for 6 months while its executives were taking home almost a quarter of the budget?

Challenge to Business people
While blaming the voters for continuously electing leaders with no ideas of how to steer our economy to success, what choice do we have when those who know business aren't on the ballot papers? How does a voter avoid electing Joseph Chinotimba promising to create employment for everyone when he has never ever employed anyone else before - when the alternative is a similar chap from the opposite parties?

Business and enterprise people in Zimbabwe are a big let-down to fellow citizens. In successful countries like America the electoral rules protect the consituents from having impoverished people taking charge of the country. Ours does not have them yet, a true testament of how we don't value our resources. If we fully understood the value of our country, her natural and human resources then we would make sure that we do not choose people who know nothing about productivity, management or enterprise.

Would these proven managers and entrepreneurs come up with better growth reversing budgets like Pari-tricky China-messy? Shingai Mutasa, Masiyiwa, Chanakira and Nkosana Moyo

There is an element of selfishness and lack of a patriotic spirit in business people behind their absence from politics in Zimbabwe. A cloud of indifference towards politics seems to occupy their mindset. To be fair to them there is also justifiable fear of getting involved given the violent and desperate nature of current players. What sheep decides to hang out with hyenas with a hope of ever leading them? However for the sake of the country people who know how to make money need to step forward into the political arena.

Way Forward
While the arguments presented may sound like poorbhobia or poorism (neology for being anti-poor) it is an uncomfortable truth that Zimbabweans have to begin confronting. We will remain a very poor country as long we keep choosing shoeless people promising to deliver boots to everyone! It starts with encouraging local problem solvers and entreprenuers to put themselves forward to lead rather than the noisiest character. 

The on-going war in Zanu-pf has frozen government business. In addition to the pains brought about by the politicians' absence from office, Zimbabweans do not really matter at that congress. We do not have a say! Infact even those in Zanu-pf do not even have it as the president has taken away the choice to elect influential posts - he now appoints!

A new wave of poor but noisy and violent people will be taking up positions in the political field of play soon and then another round of state looting begins all over again! Meanwhile, on the substitutes' bench we have former trade unionists, lecturers, ex-combatants, and others with piles of certificates but nothing in the bank to show for any progress they made after they acquired them.

The Zimbabwean voter needs to decide what he/she needs more….more politricks or more delivery of tangible growth and prosperity? Let's get pushing those local wealth creators into politics and tell the thugs to go hang. Cry the beloved country…..

Source - Shingai Mugochi, A lay concerned Zimbabwean
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