Zimbabwe needs new heroes

via Zimbabwe needs new heroes — Nehanda Radio NOVEMBER 28, 2013 by Allen Hungwe

For me, the liberation struggle will forever stand as the defining era of the history of Zimbabwe.

The liberation struggle will always be the foundation upon which the future of the country will be built. Every defining moment of a country’s history always has heroes and heroines who have stood as the gallant instigators of that history and its decisive moments.

The liberation struggle certainly had its own portion of heroes and heroines. Some of them are late, and will always receive our invaluable regard.

Others are, however, still alive and must accordingly be recognised for their role in having been a part of the struggle.

However, I am totally convinced that our country now needs what I have termed as “the transition frontier for heroes”.

We desperately need a new breed of heroes. We need new heroes, able to pick up from where the past heroes have come from and gotten us to. Heroes are nearly always specific for a certain period.

Beyond that, they cease being relevant, and at worst begin losing their heroism as the challenges of changing eras threaten their significance. There are some critical issues that have convinced me that Zimbabwe now needs new heroes.

Firstly, I have seen how the government of Zimbabwe has put concerted efforts into attempting to rescue what it calls ailing or closed-down industries. At one point, there was a fund set up simply for this purpose.

At the time of the dollarisation, the impetus brought about by this currency change led to injection of capital to re-open some industries that had earlier closed down.

Unfortunately, some of those companies that were opened after dollarisation have now closed again or are about to.

In Bulawayo, the case of ailing and closed down industries has been topical. A few weeks ago, a South African business delegation led by that country’s trade minister visited the city’s now deserted industrial areas because government was calling for revival of these industries.

This scenario simply demonstrates just how much the heroes of yester-year have become obsolete in the context of new realities and demands for relevant solutions today.

The issue here is that: when these industries closed shop, the type of industrial processes and equipment they employed has now become too costly to operate. They have therefore become uncompetitive given the new technology being employed by similar industries across the globe.

In that case, reviving the industries will simply return them into operations but without being competitive in terms of production output, cost of production and product quality.

Should the task to get them to re-establish their operations be successful; then sustainability will become the next bottleneck. As happened with some in 2009, after the dollarisation, they will still fail to compete with imports, and will eventually close again.

This is what led to one member of the delegation led by the South African trade minister to say what was on offer was simply industrial space and not industries, as the Zimbabwean government had conveyed.

Besides the issue of equipment, there are also indications that some of the products have also become overtaken by market trends. For example, there is a specific company that was once a market leader in producing baby napkins back in the 1990s.

There is still a push by some government officials to get it back into full operations. Those who have had young children within the last five years will tell you just how much the baby market is moving away from napkins to “pampers”.

This disconnect is a classic example of how the heroes of yester-year have become incapable of leading the country into a creative and innovative future. It reflects just how much a whole country is being held at ransom by a past-thinking mind-set not able to engage with today’s solutions.

It has led to questions on whether the country needs to revive ailing and old industries or it needs to establish new technology industries? Are historical products still relevant or is there need for emphasis on new product lines that supply new niche markets in relevance to new market demands? Why do we bring in investment delegations and offer them opportunities in pre-historic industrial establishments, when it is only the industrial land that is worthwhile?

Government has also recently released the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset). The document contains some passionate intentions around what needs to be done and what the country needs to project at.

While many don’t disagree much with the pathway set in Zim Asset, it is the fundamental issue of the capital to drive it, which government is surprisingly mute on, and therefore exposes a disconnect with reality. There has been a lot of pomp and fanfare in launching the economic blueprint, yet government is unclear where resources to operationalise the outlined plans will come from.

Upon winning the elections on July 31 and forming government thereafter, many of us expected that there would be concerted effort in creating a common compelling vision for the country.

Many developmental states that have now matured have always begun with a compelling national vision. Countries like China, Singapore, India and Brazil have had to start by crafting national visions which have always become persuasive in bringing that vision to reality.

Today, Zimbabwe merely embraces the ZANU-PF election manifesto and now Zim Asset. However, these documents simply focus on outlining targets rather than a national vision.

A national vision attempts to address a couple of questions. What values define our nation? What nature of a state do we desire to see in the medium to long term? What status do we desire to achieve for general citizens of our country in the medium to long term? Where do we desire to locate our country in the midst of the global community in the medium to long term?

I have always encouraged ZANU-PF to learn from the Chinese when it comes to transformative government. Besides their 10-year renewal of leadership, which is a form of seeking new heroes, the Chinese also usually take courageous decisions to consider their country’s real standing in the context of changing global and local dynamics.

In November, the Chinese launched the “Third Plenum” — a progressive review of socio-economic fundamentals meant to align the country to the compelling need for continued development.

The “Third Plenum” isn’t simply a wish-list; it is a practical development review, which the Chinese seem to have ample capacity and resources to implement.

Realising the fast changing domestic and globally socio-economic and political dynamics, the Chinese have taken courage to adopt a modicum of reforms all meant to trigger and sustain growth. It’s interesting that the Chinese “Third Plenum” has been launched after the party’s change of leadership earlier on this year.

The notion of new heroes prompts the courage to bring about positive national transformation. There seems to be a correlation between the conception of new heroes and the relevance of their solutions to the development of the country.

Maybe it’s time for Zimbabwe to realise the need for new heroes. The Chinese seem to be doing that and what better lessons for Zimbabwe than from its “Look East” policy.


  • comment-avatar
    Michael 8 years ago

    What a load of bullsh1t. Zimbabwe does not need heroes. Zimbabwe needs is democracy and the rule of law.

    Had Zanu not interfered with commerce and industry by imposing price controls and implementing apartheid policies such as indigenisation Zimbabwe industries would be competing on the global market. The only good heroes are those that lay in Heroes acre. With no need of the yellow parasites (Chinese) that are now raping our nation.

    Move on…..

    This site’s comment system is as delinquent as the present government, when I try to submit comments they just do not appear on the site, WHY?

    • comment-avatar
      Boss MyAss 8 years ago

      Great leaders must move from intention to impact. A powerful intention coalesces our thinking, belief and emotions around the transformation we want to create. Empathy is always the most difficult pinnacle in the transformation process. It focuses the direction of our efforts and helps chart the way forward. Intention is a deeply subjective mindset arising out of a personal story, which becomes a platform for change and transformation. Impact, however, happens in the external theatre where our personal story must engage effectively with the reality of the situation. The journey to impact only happens when leaders master the feat of holding this paradox together. Transformative leaders do two things simultaneously: they see the world through their eyes, and they see their actions through the eyes of the world.

      For that, leaders must learn to watch their intention through the eyes of the world, and in so doing, regulate and shape its expression. Intention and impact must go hand-in-hand; while the former provides a subjective map that helps us go forward, impact provides the objective compass that shapes what we must do in order to fulfil the intention. If it is self-awareness that allows the intention to flower, it is situational awareness, or the ability to read reality that regulates intention. The two must never stray away too far from each other.

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    mokone 8 years ago

    The message is amazing,very clear and comprensive

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    ZimJim 8 years ago

    Well said Michael, and well done “Moderator” for letting him say it!

  • comment-avatar
    Michael 8 years ago

    I can hear Africanson, screaming “you should offer an apology” 🙂

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    Ephrain Gumbo 8 years ago

    Those gallant heroes who gave their lives for the liberation of our country must never be forgotten. Neither must we forget the cause and principles upon which the liberation struggle was founded. That being said, how can we all just stand by and witness our assets being stolen for the benefit of a few greedy individuals. We removed the white colonials hoping for freedom, fairness and justice only to find a far worse form of oppression and our whole economy in a total shambles with health, housing, local Government and education all deteriorating far below former colonial standards.
    The MDC is not the solution – we need new fresh leaders and people genuinely committed and willing to serve this nation. We need to be properly liberated so that we may realize our true potential not for just a few but everyone. A 5th Chimurenga is now vital.

  • comment-avatar
    Haruna 8 years ago


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    Zindoga 8 years ago

    New heroes are already emerging. Look no further than http://www.zunde.org.

  • comment-avatar

    We must understand the correct terms to use , the word liberation struggle will never be what we need today , the word was good for our chimurenga war , that was a war against our colonisers the (whites), it is therefore incorrect that after we liberated ourselves in 1980 we still have got people out there who feels that we are not yet liberated , heroes rose up after the chimurenga war , some of them lost their lives becuse of that reason .

    We don’t need new heroes in our country , we don’t even need a liberation struggle now , people must refrain from using uncalled for terms solely to drag readers , this country got its liberation in 1980 , what we need as a nation is true democracy , we need to see policies which will bail us out from unfair practices of laws , we don’t need heroes but we only need change of leadership , we need creative leadership to deliver services to the disadvantaged people of Zimbabwe, we need a new government which will abolish corruption and consider people first .

    Mr writer this article makes sense to me , but it is of paramount importance that you must understand expression/meaning of words , they are some of the words that we used during the chimurenga war (really liberation struggle ) which we can’t use today , they are some of the liberation songs that we can’t sing today , they were meant for that time .

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    To the Moderator….does the truth hurt you?

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    Well may be Mugube has lost those teeth which once bite me , lets try the liberation struggle , i will send the boys infront to feel the pinch , heroes heroes , who is ready to sacrify by his life , heroes must die or survive , i don’t see any heroes emerging , all cowadies , easy to talk boys , thats why in this web site we hide our names because we fear the old man ,only Tsangarai stood up and face the man , MDC T will be a true democratic party , that is the party which will bring hope to Zimbabwe. Tomorrow , provicial elections ZANU PF will be dead by tomorrow evening , wait for tomorrow splitting ,splitting , succession ,succession battle , oh!! baba samaNyika Mugabe , finished .

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    mwana wevhu 8 years ago

    We liberated ourselves & set out to progress.Why have we stagnated and regressd?A successful nation is a collective responsibilty. A government is a pilot employed by us on merit.The question begs,HAVE WE EMPLOYED A COMPETENT PILOT ON MERIT &/0R HAVE WE EVER HAD ONE AFTER 1980?

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    Mugabe had been on power since 1980 with a huge backup from tribalism , his backup was mostly from the 2/3 majority population of Mashonaland provinces , Ndebele are 1/3 of manority of the population of the country , then it had been not easy for them to convince the nation that the country should change the leadership , i am happy that the whole nation (Shonas/Ndebeles) now realises that our leadership should be changed , then we don’t need guns to do that , the rigging is over , should they rig 2018 , then we will sort them out Mugabe will never be there anymore .