We must be the change – Vince Musewe

via We must be the change | The Zimbabwean 28.01.14 by Vince Musewe

I continue to be gripped by the need to create an alternative voice of reason and new social systems so that our country can once more take the place as a country renowned for its work ethic and its educated population second to none in Africa; a country that has humble and peace-loving ethical people who deserve good principled leadership; a country that has some of the largest mineral reserves in the world; a country with fertile soils that can feed its people well and then some.

Zimbabwe has all it needs to rise above our current circumstances if only we could have good leaders.

I am much disturbed of the trend where our CEO’s are not ensuring that their workers are paid on time while they ensure that they are paid on time and in full each month. I am repulsed by the wage disparities I hear of. Some of our CEO’s earn 100 times and more what the workers earn. They continue to retrench, but personally retain the comforts and packages that are not only colonial but obscene.

I am still to be convinced that most our CEO’s contribute 100 times more value than workers to the businesses which they manage. I can’t fathom why poor workers must pay for CEO’s children’s school fees and yet their children are being kicked out of school for failing to pay school fees on time.

I do not know how our industry leaders can defend driving the huge and expensive company cars fully paid for and maintained by the sweat of their workers. For goodness sake they should at least pay for the cars they drive. This is now international practice.

You see, these are the very conditions why the black man decided to wage the armed struggle against white minority and the income inequalities of colonialism. I am afraid that the very same conditions and behaviours during colonialism exist today and some of us have become complicit in continuing their existence. The enemy is within us.

Our country needs good men and women who are driven not by personal material gain, but by doing the right thing. It is not right that our children should be denied schooling for a mere $100, which our leaders freely spend on a bottle of imported whisky. It is not right that an increasing number of our people die because they cannot afford to pay a mere $40 to be admitted to a hospital while CEO’s pay club fees much more than that. That our pensioners who created this economy with their sweat must survive on a mere $60 a month. This is not right.

I cannot stand in front of anyone and claim a high moral ground here, nor do I seek to prescribe to people how they should conduct their lives. We all have freedom of choice. I am merely driven by a sense of responsibility that requires me to point out those inconvenient truths which so many of us avoid.

Our country will never achieve its full potential where we do not value each other and treat each other with dignity and respect. I am convinced that the time has now come for us to commit ourselves in all we do to work for and promote the dignity, security and prosperity of all our citizens.

In order to do that, we must all re-evaluate who we are and what we are doing. We are postponing the attainment of personal freedoms that we all desire through oppressing others.

I still have to be convinced that Zimbabwean companies must pay for motor vehicles, petrol, a second car for the wife including petrol, maids, school fees for the children, holidays, club fees, telephone bills, travel allowances, per diem allowances and some even get a clothing and grooming allowance! We must remember that all these are being paid from revenue generated by workers who are lucky to earn $540 a month, the poverty datum line income.

As far as am I am concerned, these CEO’s cannot point a figure at the corruption and waste by our politicians because they too are complicit in this charade. There is also the trend of having CEO’s for life, even when it is clear that they have become stale and complacent.

The logical impact of all this is that our production costs as a country become too high and uncompetitive. You then get the CEO’s gathering and complaining that Chinese imports are putting them out of business because they are cheaper and yet they themselves are the biggest unit cost of production in Zimbabwe. I implore the ZCTU to take this fight seriously.

The cancer of unnecessary extravagance and waste within the state and its enterprises has permeated our private sector at the expense of ordinary workers. How then can we expect our country to be competitive and productive? As I always say; we have to be the change we want to see and the sooner that happens the better off Zimbabwe will be. The Zimbabwe we want is based on equity, work ethic and fair remuneration especially a decent wage. The people come first!

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at vtmusewe@gmail.com


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    Nyoni 8 years ago

    Vince this problem has existed forever in our country. You mentiöned the Colonialists but you forget that we had the highest standard of living anywhere in Africa. The very same receipients of that standard domicile in this government today. So we have Black people today trying to live like Whites or better and at the same time baying for White mans blöod. What Hypocrisy. In all honesty we must learn to be ourselves first , respect all others as stated in the UN Human rights charter and try to unify all of us to enhance the lot of all our peoples. Nothing more nothing less.

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    nesbert majoni 8 years ago

    The problem in our country today is those few who are enjoying the fruits of independence have become so powerful and arrogant like the white pple of Rhodesia. If the hungry and the weaker complain they say you want to give the country back to the white man. As long as the status quo continues our country will sink deeper. We want a change and restart afresh as a nation.

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      Reverend 8 years ago

      Mr Nesbert Majoni, it is so sad that you continue to live in the bitterness and unforgiveness of the Rhodesians who handed the jewel of Africa over to black rule in 1980.Even though
      the “Rhodesians” left in and around 1980 the white Zimbabweans stayed and our commercial farmers were the best in the world without question untill Mugabe in a do or die situation to gather votes in an upcoming election turned on the commercial farmers and in a suicidal decision he destroyed the “Breadbasket of Africa” Zimbabwe. This foolishness was stimulated by hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness by a leader out of controll and this is what we are left with.
      Sir, we all, black, white, and brown need to hang up our gloves, forgive one another and move forward together. It is totaly rediculous that we keep accusing each other of the past which we cannot change. We can change the future, but we need each other and need to draw together in the love of God and He will make a way.

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    John Thomas 8 years ago

    In the interests of full disclosure and so that we can truly understand what a wise and great man you are Vince please tell us how much you earn and from where. We would want to think you are one of the very fellows who is living very well while everybody else is having tough times

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    Vince, it has been instructive to watch what has been going on this week as a result of Elton Mangoma speaking out. The paranoia of the scribes who support Tsvangirai have prolifically attempted to crucify Mangoma. What’s worse is that good men and women are nowhere to be seen when they should be standing alongside the very principled and couragious stand Mangoma has taken. He has been accused of just about every trick in the book from being power hungry to the ridiculous accusation of mounting a coup. It’s an absolute disgrace that a person cannot speak out without being vilified to such extreme extent. Democracy does not exist because so few will stand up and defend Mangoma’s right to express his opinion. Let this be a warning to people of Zimbabwe that freedom will never come to our country when good men and women do nothing. It is the reason why evil continues to prosper

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      masvukupete 8 years ago

      @NZou. You are so damn right. When someone disagrees with the leader they are termed power hungry, or some other faction leader. Is it so foreign in our values that we find disagreement as insubordination, puppetry, or whatever other. In the US and other better developed democracies disagreements and ambition are the cornerstone of development.

      In Zimbabwe there is a phrase “we agree to disagree.” We have been so polarised by the President’s utterances to fellow Zimbos, Tsvangson’s utterances towards the ruling party, and the media professionals who do not understand their position in state.

      We have been so polarised that it has become a social abomination to be ambitious. Obviuosly the likes of Muchechetere, Cashbert, Mugabe, Tsvangson et al have furthered that abomination.

      What is wrong with Mangoma wanting to become President of the MDC and possibly of Zimbabwe, the same for Biti, Mutambara, Mujuru, Munangagwa, Mutasa neniwo Masvukupete. I think Mangoma should be bold enough to come out and state his ambitions. Hopefully the MDC will accept the challenge.

      Vince it is this type of mentality that will always keep Zimbabweans in the doldrums.

      In “developed” nations ambition is a cornerstone of development. In Zimbabwe we write it on our job adverts but seems like we do not know what the word entails.

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        masvukupete, you raise some good points.

        As for Mangoma, he may or may not have ambitions. I don’t think it is necessary for him to state his position either way until there is an elective conference. I think he simply confining his focus on immediate leadership issues of repetitive failure, unilateral decision making, poor leadership judgement, leadership behaviour and accountability. He has addressed it in a responsible manner and judging by the reaction against his person, he has hit the bull’s eye.

        We all know that since the GNU began, we have all witnessed repetitive failure, unilateral decision making, poor leadership judgement, poor leadership behaviour and no accountability whatsoever!

        Mangoma should be applauded for having the courage to put a voice to what so many Zimbabwean feel at this time

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    Danza wa Masunungure 8 years ago

    The problem we have is that our dear country is heavily militarised and so many fear to stand up and demand their freedom. Freedom first and all these politically condoned corruption issues will be stopped.

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    ” I am afraid that the very same conditions and behaviours during colonialism exist today and some of us have become complicit in continuing their existence. The enemy is within us.” Vince with all due respect to you I do enjoy your articles and as a black man who has lived in both worlds you speak of the statement is a bit off. The conditions and behaviour now is a lot worse than during the colonial period. I never condoned what happened then, but I have moved on, into hell I might add. The spoken about colonialist did not plunder in this way. If they did it was not noticeable because they built and built and built. Roads, Dams, Lakes (Kariba) The current crop have destroyed and destroyed and destroyed.They promise and promise and promise. Sorry Vince I have to agree with the Reverend . There is no comparison here.

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    Vince as always a good article with many good and solid points but you are shallow on the issue of the colonialists. Sure they were privileged, sure they kept the blacks down, sure they had more wealth, sure there was discrimination and inequality and as you say that is why the chimurenga was fought. But what we did get was, effective civil service administration, effective municipal,district and rural administration, excellent infrastructure, schools, hospitals, dams, power, water etc. Do you ever remember Harare running out of water for months on end, the rubbish was always collected. All rural communities were serviced by very good rural clinics and district hospitals. The list goes on and on.
    And records will show that government ministers and heads of parastatals were paid low but liveable salaries based on proper cost and revenue streams subject to proper audit by the relevant watch dogs.
    There is little to none of that today. ZPF have run the country into the ground, and the people of Zimbabwe have sat back and watched. Shame on us.

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    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    Vince, the starting point if you want the country to progress should be getting rid of the MWANAWEKUMUSHA AND GUKURAHUNDI mentality.

    The idea that you get appointed to a position away from your own home and the first thing you do is to look out for your own instead of engaging the locals is what I call the mwanawekumusha syndrome.

    The Gukurahundi mentality entails forcing things, so you can have your way. No respect for local ways of doing things; local languages and cultures; failure to engage in a democratic fashion – but simply imposing yourself onto others etc, etc!

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    former farmer ( White ) 8 years ago

    Vince I enjoy your articles and looked at you as a progressive son of our nation, possibly one of our future leaders but you have now gone down the same route as Mugabe Tsvangirai etc. and start comparing our nation to the colonial period. Our nation gained independence in 34 years ago and those that did not want to be governed by a black left. It was their choice and they were entitled to it, BUT, the vast majority of those that remained committed to proud Zimbabwean citizens. They were offered the hand of reconciliation and took it. Many spoke either shona or Ndebele and lived in peace. Farms had schools, clinic’s, clubs etc. built by the owners, they invested in their workers and respected them. Times and ways changed and we had a great nation that grew to be stronger and more respected than Rhodesia or South Africa. This was only because of the combined actions of all citizens. It is only the corrupt and evil who went on to destroy all this through poor governance and blamed the “colonial whites”. In reality there was no such thing but it was a powerful political tool that and increasingly desperate people took to when in reality they should have been questioning the leaders. Just yesterday I was enjoying a good laugh with a fellow Zimbabwean – in shona and in the UK – and like 99.9% of those I meet he was apologetic and sympathised with my loss and the loss it is to our nation.

    So we need to forget about blaming everything on the Colonialists – they do not exist – and get on with leading ourselves out of this mess and they only way forward is to get as many of the farms productive and back to what they were, not just the food production but the employment and infrastructure that was there too. The land issue was purely political and nothing else, just like the present indigenisation nonsense we are seeing destroy what is left.

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      Dayford 8 years ago

      Good analysis Former Farmer. I get irked by my fellow countrymen who want to make such comparisons Smith era to Mugabe era. Its totaly irrelevant, we must look at the leadership problems we are faced with today and find coomon ground on how to solve them. I have equal respect for Vince but he does slip up on some issues.

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      Dayford 8 years ago

      Wise words Former farmer

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    Khaya'bonina 8 years ago

    Today i can vote for Mkhwanazi, this tribalism issue is always a hell to Zimbabweans ,we need to be one before we dream of progressing , we look down upon each other , Shonas still call themselves Somanyika , meaning that Zimbabwe belongs to them , i am Mt South citzen , ifeel like i am not a citzen of Zimbabwe , we are so divided and i can’t be proud about it, ZANU PF as ruling party must line up things , check their cabinet which is dominated by one tribe , what the hell is that , thats exactly mwanawakumushu as Mthwakazi got right .

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    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    Vince, I once attended a funeral in Whange. Attending the funeral was one Shona speaking District Administrator (Yes indeed, a Shona DA). He was given a slot to address the mourners and lo and behold he addressed the mourners in SHONA, can you believe it?

    Imagine a Ndebele speaking official in Mashonaland addressing mourners in some village in Ndebele – just imagine?

    Vince, we all know that whilst Zimbabwe’s political problems are a creation of gukurahundi ZANU PF; a lot of the social problems rest in the hands of the citizens themselves. In Matebeleland in particular, our main problem are the Shona people who have chosen to live among us. They refuse to integrate into the very fabric of our communities and instead choose to stand out like a sore thumb. Even if the Shona speaker is one among say ten locals, he bulldozes with his Shona instead of using the local languages.

    No amount of pleading for social cohesion, unity, peace, blaming ZANU PF/Mugabe etc etc will change this scenario unless and until the Shona people change.


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    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    P/S Vince, before you lecture me about the Shona being the majority – please be advised before hand that Shonas are a MINORITY in Matebeleland, they are NOT a majority!!!

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    Gushungo 8 years ago

    @ Vince Museve what exactly do you mean when you say having good leaders? According to my understanding there is no a good or bad leader. Leaders do whatever they can to keep them in power whether it can be regarded as right or bad to the povo.

    Even opposition leaders who campain to be become presidents the can use sweet tongues or sweet voices to pesuade the povo to vote for then and even promise the democracy at all costs, but once in power that is when you will see the true characters of these leaders. So please stop fooling about Zimbabwe having good leader as there is no such a thing like good or bad leader!

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    adalandoinda 8 years ago

    Once again we go back to semantics.
    Leadership means the ability to convince the people to follow your vision willingly.
    the idea being that they will derive assorted benefits from the vision individually and collectively,eg.liberation struggle.
    the great leaders are those who have made the right decisions,at the right time for the general good.(the majority).

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    Only Fools 8 years ago

    Really Vince you think it was about a huge wage differences etc that drove the blacks to war? Blame game again and again. Why don’t the blacks have an armed struggle against their wealthy black brothers like they did against the whites? They had good reason then, so why don’t they do it now? Very convenient to have whites as an excuse to rebel! And NO the whites weren’t as corrupt as you think either, In those days, the cops could NOT be bought, and any CEO of any organisation or company was never paid anywhere near what the present thieves are paying themselves. As a matter of fact the Ministers under Ian Smith drove around in RENAULT 4’s. Ian Smith drove himself to work in a RENAULT 4. Blacks were never charged Income Tax or Sales Tax either. Its common practice for our present society to blame the whites of the past for how blacks behave today. The Shona tell the whole world they are peace loving people!! Yeah right. Its because they have no back bone. We wait for better days. In the meantime the CEO’s get richer and richer. What a complete farce. A “looter continues”

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    Murombo Chikuve 8 years ago

    The argument about colonialists is a spent force. I am tired of us Zimbos. We are great analysts-the best in the world but cowards when it comes to bold action. We look the other way when Zanu PF and its cronies make us suffer and now the Cuthbert Dubes, Tendayi Mahachi, Happison Muchechetere the list is not yet complete and all we do is make a few noises before the matter dies a natural death. It is now a culture and chronic disease where we respond to our national issues with despondency and apathy.

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    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    Vince, why do you run away from the crux of the matter – that is Shona tribalism?

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    moyokumusha 8 years ago

    Vince, listen to the people. We don’t want to apportion blame but only want a fair society where all have equal opportunities and leaders are leaders who listen to the peoples cry.