Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Leadership for Zimbabwe

Leadership is a vital component of the development process within a country. Leaders since time immemorial have been instrumental in changing the way things stand and chart a new path into the future. The world has seen a good number of such leaders. Nelson Mandela is an epitome of such leadership. He is a leader who is followed by people because he does not elevate himself above them, yet has achieved greatness in his humility and humanity. Martin Luther King’s story speaks for itself and the changes that he fought for during the 1960s civil rights movement in America are beginning to come to fruition. Ghandi was another leader who inspired people to action through simple yet effective solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges. So was Mother Teresa.” Zimbabwe today suffers a dearth of leadership. Robert Mugabe’s leadership has gone from the apex to the lowest rung. Today, on talkZimbabwe we run a story that Mugabe has seized his third farm despite his numerous exhortations for cronies to surrender extra farms. Such hypocrisy has led Zimbabwe to where it is today and Mugabe has quickly deteriorated into a cantankerous, argumentative and arrogant leader.He has delivered close to nothing by way of performance. Under his leadership, roads have fallen into disrepair, the Zimbabwe currency has depreciated to the lowest level and real prices have inflated, health services have weakened, life expectancies have slumped, people have gone hungry, schooling standards have fallen, civil society has become more beleaguered, the quest for personal and national prosperity has slowed, crime rates have accelerated, and overall security has becomes more tenuous. Corruption has grown. Funds flow out of the country into hidden bank accounts. Discrimination against white Zimbabweans (and the poor black majorities) has become prevalent.One of the major paradoxes of leadership is that while people expect a leader to have a significant amount of self-confidence, they may be repelled by such a leader if a perception develops that he is veering towards ignorance and arrogance. Mugabe has veered towards both. He seems to have lost a sense of purpose and direction and is not sure where he wants to lead the people of Zimbabwe. The once passionate and visionary Mugabe, who gave a memorable speech at Independence Eve in 1980, has been replaced by an autocratic and despotic individual with no sense of purpose or the will of the people of Zimbabwe at heart.Recently, I listened to Mbeki make the state of the nation address. He is very passionate about what he is delivering. You get the sense that he has a vision of how to change things for the better and that he is willing to marshal the South African people behind him in reaching such goals.It was embarrassing to witness the sulking and paranoid Mugabe leave the Sadc conference earlier than scheduled because Zimbabwe’s economic policy had been the subject of controversy. It was even more disheartening to see the Botswana president, Festus Mogae, wine and dine with Mugabe without addressing the crucial aspects of the two countries’ relationship. The questions that many Zimbabweans and Tswana people wanted answered where never addressed. Festus Mogae has a reputation for forthrightness and straight-talking. This time around he put that reputation in jeopardy.People are inclined to appreciate a leader if they perceive them as having integrity and an ability to connect with people. Mugabe has lost both. He is no longer considered genuine and Zimbabwean people know he is not concerned about the needs of the broader populace. Countries that have come to enjoy a great degree of stability and economic growth tend to be endowed with good leadership. Zimbabwe for the past two decades or so has lacked good leadership and this has hampered our drive as a people to free ourselves from poverty.Mugabe and Zanu PF have tended to look after their own interests at the expense of those of the nation. They have plundered the nation’s resources to a scale unimaginable. Any attempt to quantify the level of plunder is inevitably subject to huge margins of error. Government officials have made a major contribution to property crime. We have seen, recently, prosecutions of people like Jokonya and the impending prosecution of deputy information minister, Bright Matonga. Their cases pale into insignificance beside the ‘grand plundering’ by those closest to, and protected by, Robert Mugabe. Yesterday I was reading an article on an ex-friend of mine who is married to Vice-President Mujuru’s daughter Kumbi. He is also now involved in farm seizures and is said to have evicted two white farmers and taken over.I realised how grave the crisis has now become. This is a guy who knows nothing about farming and has no interest in farming whatsoever. The Zimbabwe situation has become a children’s playground where the rule of law has completely disappeared. It’s a dog-eat-dog situation.Such level of plunder, by strengthening Zanu PF, makes it difficult for the resourceless opposition to unseat Mugabe.The greatest challenge facing Zimbabwe is to develop a leadership corps that is not entangled in corrupt practices. For the electorate, this means voting for quality leadership. At a broader, constitutional level, there is a need to put in place safeguards that will ensure that there is no rigging of elections so that the leadership that is in place in Zimbabwe reflects the will of the people. Zanu PF has started to resemble groups of organised crime or racketeers. Since the repressive and extractive activities of Zanu PF constitute the largest current threats to the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans, Zanu PF now acts essentially the same way racketeers work – with the only difference that racketeers do not have the sanction of the government.Zanu PF has to be best understood as a creation of coercive and self-seeking leaders. It has failed to accept restrictions on its power as the price of organising the Zimbabwean population efficiently. As a failed state, Zanu PF has been locked in controversy with those institutions that would otherwise function properly if conditions were different. It claims one big entitlement, which distinguishes it from all other functioning organisations – the entitlement to do things which if anyone else did them would constitute violence and extortion – a monopoly of the use of force. Zimbabwe leadership rules by force. This is not leadership. Zanu PF’s criminal leadership has been unleashed on Zimbabwean people through the use of proto-states. Proto-states include the following: personnel organised and equipped for the use of force (the Green Bombers); and prisons and institutions of coercion of all kinds. The central bank has been used as a proto-state of violence with Gono and the Reserve Bank virtually transformed into a commander and army institution. The use and threat of physical violence remains central to Zanu PF leadership in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF proto-states come together to form a socially recognised identity which persists over time (even if the membership of the organisation changes). Zanu PF makes decisions and implements them, sets goals and pursues them, follows rules and breaks them with the inevitable effect of confusing the Zimbabwean people.Zanu PF obviously does not always act as a unitary force. Institutions that make the Zanu PF state do not necessarily share a single set of interests and goals as we have witnessed with the Mujuru and the Mnangagwa camps. Nevertheless we have seen Zanu PF’s coercive leadership apparatus’s tendency to act in a coordinated way (even if this conceals internal conflicts) in light of opposition or where they feel people might be getting more powerful.New leaders for Zimbabwe The onus is on us whether to continue dilly-dallying about the situation we find ourselves in or do something about it. TalkZimbabwe commends the ZCTU, MDC (both factions), National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) and Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), SW Radio Africa,, Studio 7, ZW News, ZimOnline and many other organisations and individuals for their efforts. The strides these organisations are making are necessary for the transformation of Zimbabwe into a more democratic nation. Each one of us has a personal responsibility for whatever goes on in Zimbabwe and should start by making those small, but necessary moves.It is discouraging to learn that there are other people who view the crisis in Zimbabwe as only solvable by Mugabe’s death. Many people said that about Hitler, or Idi Amin, or Saddam. Others feel like writing of these articles is unnecessary. This is very unfortunate. When the liberation struggle was being waged in Rhodesia, no-one gave up. The same criticisms were levelled against those who were fighting the Smith regime and the biggest challenge was strategy and getting people to rise up.Responsible leadership is needed in Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube will have their squabbles, but what is most important is to focus on the Zanu PF regime, especially Robert Mugabe and his national and international networks. These networks are disrupting all the progress that those at home and in the diaspora are trying to make. He has created organisations parading as businesses to disrupt the general order of things and any likelihood of Zimbabwean people rising. Zimbabweans have to realise that security is at the top of Mugabe’s agenda. Mugabe listens to no-one except the military. We have seen the military infiltrate every corner of Zimbabwe’s economic life. CIO agents have been dispersed all around the world as students, business people and as “anti-Mugabe activists”. Zimbabwe spend billions of dollars on the military every year. This is evidence that Mugabe intends to be in for the long haul and succession politics, as Mugabe admitted himself, is "nonsensical".Zimbabweans either have to wise up and not work with these organisations and individuals or suffer the wrath of Robert Mugabe for a long time to come. We have to be vigilant and make sure that the institutions we build are not threatened by a failed and collapsing regime because failed states compete with functioning institutions.Good presidents guide governments to perform effectively for their citizens. They deliver high security for the state and the person; a functioning rule of law; education; health; and a framework conducive to economic growth. They ensure effective arteries of commerce and enshrine personal and human freedoms. They empower civil society and protect the environmental commons. Crucially, good presidents also provide their citizens with a sense of belonging to a national enterprise of which everyone can be proud. They knit rather than unravel their nations and seek to be remembered for how they have bettered the real lives of the governed rather than the fortunes of the few.Mugabe is not a good leader, nor a good president.

Zimbabwe Safaris

Be stunned by the waters of the Victoria Falls, be amazed by the rolling hills, experience the circle of life with the enormous elephants and buffalo and never forget, go back in time with the rock arts that were created even before civilizations sprouted.

Although Zimbabwe safaris are only some of the seemingly endless offerings of Africa, wonders of nature can still be found in here that may not be found anywhere else. In this article, we have collected some of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that cover vacations in Zimbabwe.

Chimanimani National Park, situated at the eastern region of Zimbabwe, this park is the only one that allows hikers and trailers to travel without guides. It is a botanist's paradise since it boasts hundreds of plant species.

Chizarira National Park, famous for its panoramic views, Chizarira is not for the faint hearted. It has difficult access that very remote. Nonetheless, it offers its guests amazing sites of natural wonders.

Gonarezhou National Park, at one point in time the elephants dwelled in here thus the name Gonarezhou which literally meant as "abode of elephants". But people are now trying to recover its past but the elephants never forget. They tend to become nasty to visitors.

Hwange National Park, being the premier game viewing area of Zimbabwe, Hwange is the largest national park. It never gets crowded though. The driest months are the peak season for the visits. This is when game viewing is most excellent since animals congregate within water holes. This park also harbors the largest and most diverse animal species in the region, some 400 birds species and the combination of plain animals and the predators.

Lake Kariba, a man-made water reserve, Lake Kariba now serves as the haven for water adventure lovers. It features water skiing, fishing and sailing. Swimming is not allowed since it is also the haven for crocodiles and other reptiles.

Matopos National Park, this is where history seemed to centralized. Packed with many cave men drawings that depict the existence of life in the soil of Zimbabwe even before it was discovered. It also harbors thick population of wild animals including the rare black rhino.

Matusadona National Park, featuring wild mountains and flat plains, Matusadona is truly a land of rising and falling altitudes. It is also known for nursing large herds of both fish eagles and buffalo.