Mnangagwa should actually be the lowest paid person in Zimbabwe!

Source: Mnangagwa should actually be the lowest paid person in Zimbabwe!

I learnt so much from my parents – more so, my mother.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


If only I had practiced what these wise beloved people taught me – I would have avoided most of the pits I fell into along my life journey.

Nonetheless, one of those vitally important lessons of life – I witnessed especially from my mother – was to put those one leads ahead of himself, as well as ensuring that they were well catered for before oneself.

I am sure that is how most mothers are – well, at least in my day – who always made sure that their families had enough to eat before they would themselves eat.

In fact, I always found my mother’s habit of always taking furtive glances into my plate during mealtime most irritating – although deep down, I was well aware that she wanted to be certain that the food was adequate, and should she feel otherwise, would never hesitate to share from her own plate

I can safely say that, my first lessons in understanding leadership and what it entails, were from my own dear mother.

Those were the lessons I strove to live by throughout my life, as the gold standard.

In spite of failing to meet these standards on so many occasions – nonetheless, I have never given up on trying harder and harder.

The bottom line is, a leader – or, should I say, a great or exceptional leader, since virtually anyone can be a leader – places the interests and wellbeing of those he leads ahead of himself.

In fact, the concept of servant leadership is not new – but, has been witnessed even in the Bible, when Jesus taught his disciples that, he who wanted to be the master should actually act as the servant – a fact he demonstrated by washing their feet.

It was not simply some meaningless gesture, steeped in empty symbolism, rhetoric and fake humility – but, a real display of how a leader ought to relate with those who follow him, on a practical level.

That is the type of leadership we notice in our mothers.

Yet, when I look at the kind of people who call themselves our leaders here in Zimbabwe, I see the complete opposite.

Here, we have a bunch of self-centered people who actually perceive themselves as more superior than anyone else – as if they own the country, all its people, and all its resources.

They behave as if they have a greater right to enjoy the nation’s resources than any other citizen.

Nonetheless, such skewed thinking is twisted on so many levels.

Let us remember that my parents owned the house I grew up in, and all the property I used, and all the food I ate.

By virtue of conceiving and giving life to me – they could even claim to ‘own’ me.

Yet, they still made sure I lived like a king, was well kept and had enough – to the extent that my mother would sacrifice some of the food that she had bought, so that I could have enough.

Therefore, believing that they own the country, all its people, and all its resources can never be justification for the behavior we watch in horror exhibited by those in power in Zimbabwe.

In fact, such thinking is grossly ridiculous and inaccurate beyond measure – taking into account that democratically elected leaders are only representatives of the people, not their masters.

They do not own anything in this country beyond what they bought with their own monies, and titled in their own names.

The nation belongs to the people – as equal shareholders – who, as in a company, then choose a few amongst themselves to do the actually day to day running of their collective possession.

That is why I keep repeating that, the president is not my boss or master – but, at best, just a fellow shareholder and citizen of Zimbabwe, or by virtue of his office, my servant.

We, the people (shareholders), put our leaders into office (employ them), and pay their salaries through our taxes.

It is as simple as that.

That is why one of the founding values and principles in our Constitution is the ‘respect for the people of Zimbabwe, from which the authority to govern is derived’.

Therefore, it is so shocking when learning how much those in power are giving themselves as remuneration – particularly when compared with what the average citizenry are getting.

How can the president be earning a staggering ZW$5.8 million (about US$8,946) per month – when a civil servant is being given something in the range of US$200?

What manner of madness is that?

In fact, what type of leadership is that?

If the government continually moans over its inability to pay its own workers acceptable dignified living wages – with the current salaries falling short of the poverty datum line, or just teetering on the brink – where do those in authority suddenly get such horrifying amounts to pay the president?

Furthermore, this figure is not just for the president, but also his deputy.

I will not even go into the unbelievable reports that each Member of Parliament (MP) will be awarded outrageous loans amounting to US$40,000, deputy ministers US$350,000, and ministers US$500,000!

Needless to say, only one out of the 350 MPs – the principled and morally upright Norman ‘Rusty’ Markham (Harare North, CCC) – saw the cruelty and heartlessness of such an offer, and is said to have refused to sign up for such nonsense.

Of course, in a country riddled with repugnant greed and corruption – it was not surprising at all that he was the lone ranger, even abandoned by his own fellow opposition (CCC and MDC Alliance) MPs – who were clearly all too eager to lay they hands on the cash.

In spite of the opposition’s consistent and persistent loud condemnation of the ruling establishment’s self-serving insatiable lust for wealth, in the midst of indescribable poverty – they finally revealed their true colors, after money was dangled in front of their covetous eyes.

As I have always asserted – all politicians are the same, as they are motivated by their own selfish ambitions for power, status and wealth – and, the ordinary citizens regarded only as pawns that enable them, through elections, to fulfil their goals.

If the popular vote had not been the route to power, status and wealth – I can tell you, these politicians would never come to us claiming to care for us, and wanting to improve our livelihoods.

One is left wondering what hope is there for the nation of Zimbabwe, when it has clearly lost its soul?

What bothers me the most is why we appear to lack leaders who understand what leadership entails?

Surely, in a country with so much poverty and suffering – where millions of citizens are unable to put a decent meal on the table, or send their children to school, or access affordable health care – how does one get the courage to accept such alarming amounts of money without feeling so much as an iota of guilt or shame?

The nation’s resources are a shared blessing – which should be distributed equitably amongst all the country’s citizens.

Let us remember that ‘equitable’ means to be marked by fairness and justice.

As such, let us assume that we have ten people, and there are ten loaves of bread to be shared equitably.

How does one share these?

It means that we have to look at each person – what they already have, their abilities to fend for themselves, and their needs.

In other words, if there are those with the means to buy their own bread, and others who lack such abilities (possibly, the elderly and incapacitated) – how should this bread be shared equitably?

Should those with the ability to acquire their own bread be given any, or should those incapable of fending for themselves be the ones to benefit?

At the end, would be it surprising that out of the ten people present, and the ten loaves of bread – a few, those without the means and disadvantaged, will actually receive more than one loaf each – whilst, those who have the means leave empty-handed (as they can afford their own)?

With such logic in mind – how should the limited resources in our country be shared equitably amongst the people of Zimbabwe?

When there are such monies in our national treasury, who is deserving of more than others?

Surely, does it make any sense when the president and his vice, ministers and their deputies, and MPs receive such enormous lumps of cash – yet, millions of Zimbabweans are living on less than US$1.90 per day (classified by the UN as extreme poverty)?

How should the principle of the equitable distribution of wealth operate in this case?

Who deserves more than others?

Does President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, for instance, not already posses a thriving farm in the Kwekwe area, as well as a host of other business interests?

Why, then, should he take precedence – as far as a share of the national cake is concerned – over the rest of Zimbabweans who may not have access to similar opportunities?

Imagine what a princely sum US$14 million (for the 350 MPs in total) – in addition to the US$500,000 and U$S$350,000 for each minister and deputy minister respectively – could do for this country.

Of course, not forgetting the monthly salary of US$8,946 for the president and his vice.

What can such a figure do for this country’s learning institutions, most especially in rural areas, which are lagging light-years behind the rest of the modern world, especially in the field of science and technology?

Surely, with ordinary citizens failing to access the most basic health care – with countless cancer patients needlessly dying due to non-functional radiotherapy machines – would such large amounts not resolve this problem literally overnight?

We have urban residents who have been without any potable water in their homes for months and even years – what delight can such a huge sum bring?

What about our rural areas that have never seen electricity ever since the world-changing power source was harnessed and brought into people’s homes by Thomas Edison in 1882?

Yet, most rural folk have never experienced the pleasure of switching on a light bulb in their own homes – let alone using the energy for cooking, watching television, or for income generating projects.

However, in typical ‘vapambi vepfumi’ fashion – our leaders believe that they alone are entitled the best the country has to offer.

Already, they can easily fly, in charted jets, for the best medical treatment the world has the offer, their children attending the most expensive schools on the planet, whilst they live in opulent mansions only affordable to the world’s richest.

That, in my book, is the epitome of failure in leadership of the grandest scale!

How do such people even look themselves in the mirror, or sleep at night?

How do they even manage to mix and mingle with leaders from other countries, without shame written all over their faces?

Surely, there is no way I could face my friends if I knew that my wife and children back home were starving, with nothing to wear – yet, I can afford the latest expensive smartphone, dressing in the most exquisite designer clothes, and driving a posh car.

All I can say to our president and his vice, ministers and their deputies, as well as our MPs is – shame on you!

  • 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: