via Bernard Bwoni Charamba-Moyo- ushering in a brand new Zimbabwe political phenomenon? 11 February 2014
As citizenry of an acquisitive society, Zimbabweans have deeply entrenched metrics for success that are derived from the external manifestations of a distorted self. Whilst the distinction between serving the self and serving others is powerful and viable, it requires those in leadership positions to have that inherent courage. With the recent revelations about the sleaze and salary scandals the dilemma we are faced with is a loss of uprightness and the question to pose is do those implicated have the intrinsically sustained stamina and courage to be accountable for their individual indiscretions? The only gate-keepers to losing one’s moral conscience are courage, self-awareness and empathy which are integral to social and emotional intelligence.
President Mugabe has been dismayed by the recent revelations and instructed that action is taken directly from those ministries implicated in the scandals. Jonathan Moyo has been the most proactive and instrumental in initiating and unmasking these financial felonies and there has been a sense of urgency in defining and driving up national processes and national trajectory. There is a reframing of leadership from being heroes and celebrities to being servants of the people. The recent salary sleaze and economic transgressions by individuals must never be allowed to tarnish the great name of the revolutionary party. Individuals are entirely responsible for their individual impropriety and irresponsibility. The public outrage and associated emotive responses to the revelations are understandable under the circumstances but in all fairness have to exonerate the revolutionary party and target the independent offenders. The revolutionary party is bigger than any personality and individuals are mere component parts of this ideologically-affluent composite structure.
Leaders are human and therefore fallible. Those who lose their way are not necessarily bad people but rather they lose their moral bearings, often giving in to worldly seductions in their paths. There is no one who goes into a position of power for external gratification for fulfilment or to do wrong, yet we all have that susceptibility to actions and behaviours we will end up regretting unless if we stay grounded. Along the way the rewards, the bonuses and other alluring trappings fuel increasing desires for more and more.
Courageous individuals do not make excuses when they are wrong, they come forward and boldly say ‘I was wrong’. I have utmost respect for someone like George Charamba who shows no hesitation in admitting his mistakes. At least you are adequately armed and you know exactly what you are dealing with. Apologising freely requires a great deal of courage and Charamba coming forward and doing that surely must be uncomfortable but the fact that he has done so publicly shows that he is putting honesty and honour ahead of personal comfort and self-preservation. The positive power of acknowledging and apologising for one’s misdoings is inspiring and courageous. I am fully aware that excusing people’s behaviour is in essence trying to redefine what is and what is not morally acceptable in society and I am not about to do that. In every unethical predicament the costs vastly exceed the benefits.
George Charamba’s morally-conscious stance is a brand new phenomenon in Zimbabwean politics and he deserves credit not outright castigation for admitting that he was wrong. Emotions and outrage aside, Charamba coming out and admitting his mistake could possibly have enhanced his legitimacy and in the long run likely going to increase solidarity, innovation and openness in Zimbabwean politics. Any individual in a position of leadership who can admit to an error in judgement embodies a positive measure of character. Humility and the ability to admit error and error of judgement is probably the most important quality in leadership. Charamba is embracing humility and in admitting his mistakes and hinting on resigning he is showing a unique understanding of self and those around him.
The biggest fear of admitting error of judgement is the fear of being entirely dipped in the illegitimacy immersion and rightly so. The honest truth though is that I have more respect for someone who has the courage to come out and say I am sorry and I was wrong. I trust Charamba more than those who remain engrossed in their self-serving egotistical preoccupations with portraying and preserving a picture of assumed righteousness. I find Charamba’s acknowledgement sincere and he is secure enough to realise and recognise his weaknesses. I listened to his interview and he seemed very self-aware and did not seem weighed down by any insecurities. The problem for Charamba is that the fact that he has acknowledged the mistake does not necessarily erase it or make it any better, it remains a mistake and error of judgement at the end of the day and that he has to live with. However his saving grace is that he has been brave enough not to try to conceal any wrongdoing which could have created the perception of a lack of integrity and self-awareness.