If ever there were words or phrases I longed to hear coming out of our Zimbabwean leadership’s mouths – both at local and national government levels – these would be, “We’re to blame”, “It’s our fault”, “We take full responsibility”, and, “We are so sorry”.
I am quite certain that I would literally faint in utter disbelief, if I were to hear such words – as in my country, these are treated as the most vulgar and explicit things a leader could ever say.
If it were a movie, it would have to be rated “R” (restricted)!
Why, is it that we have a leadership who find it most difficult, or impossible – possibly, even incapable – of admitting that they had erred, made a mistake, or downright messed up big time?
However, what I find rather ironic, or even comedic, is their readiness to always place the blame for anything that goes wrong under their watch, on everyone else.
How many times have we heard our national leadership faulting supposed “economic sanctions imposed by the West”, “saboteurs”, and other “nefarious bad apples” for the economic crisis we have been faced with as a country for the past two decades?
And then, there are our local authorities who have no qualms at all pointing an accusing finger, for pathetic and shambolic service delivery, at central government interference, the broader economic challenges troubling the entire nation, and defaulting residents (who are not paying their bills)?
I am not going to bother disputing the veracity of these accusations – as that is not the gist of my discourse – but, there is undoubted shameful hypocrisy in all these assertions by our duty bearers.
Why do they find it alright to blame others, but hardly accept culpability for the dismal and unacceptable situation in our country, and urban areas?
Surely, if others can be blamed – why should we not find fault with those obligated with delivering particular services, yet failing?
I always find it laughable when those mandated with finding solutions to our national and local problems, turn around, and deflect their own responsibilities on those that they are supposed to lead.
What could be more ridiculous than someone in an office of authority uttering such disgraceful words as, “Please, let’s stop the blame game, but offer solutions”.
Yes, it all sounds good – but, have our leaders never heard of one of the most basic and fundamental principles of leadership…”THE BUCK STOPS HERE”?
One of the cardinal tenets of leadership is taking responsibility for everything – and, I mean EVERYTHING – that goes wrong under one’s watch.
Anyone who can not grasp such basics of leadership, has no business occupying such an office.
Indeed, we all need to work together, by uniting our minds in harmony in finding solutions for the phenomenal challenges in our country, and urban areas – but, deflection of responsibility by our duty bearers (who have an obligation to shoulder the blame) is counter-productive and counter-intuitive.
At times, I am forced to conclude that those in positions of authority in our country have absolutely no clue whatsoever in what their role entails.
As a matter of fact, I strongly believe that everyone in a leadership position (both at national and local government) needs to regularly attend courses and workshops on leadership.
I am not trying to poke fun at them – no, not at all – but, all of us (in our various vocations) regularly attend refresher courses, and other trainings that upgrade our learning and knowledge of what is expected of us.
Honestly, if our smartphones need to be updated frequently, to keep them up to speed with latest configurations – why should the same not apply to our president, ministers, mayors, members of parliament, councillors, and every other public office occupant?
Personally, I have never come across any news report saying that the president was attending (as a participant) a workshop on good leadership, or democracy, or good governance, for instance.
For any leader – in whom the people can place confidence in – there needs to be reassurances that they understand exactly what is expected of them…the first being taking full uncompromising responsibility for whatever happens under their watch.
After which, they can bring together everyone around them, and galvanize ideas and solutions on the best way forward.
Yet, what we have the misfortune of witnessing is a leadership that loves taking responsibility only for the good and positive – but, rejecting any bad and negatives.
This is plainly self-conceited arrogance – a very negative and undesirable trait in a leader.
Why should anyone believe they can never err, do wrong, or even mess up?
Those characteristics stand against everything that is leadership.
How can anyone be expected to improve when they are not prepared to acknowledge being in the wrong, or making wrong decisions – since such a negative attitude prevents learning and correction?
I honestly have no confidence in such a leader.
I sincerely and earnestly implore our public duty bearers to advance themselves on what constitutes leadership – that way, we have a greater and more optimistic chance of succeeding as a nation, and in our own local communities.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org