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Armed struggle's 'failure' dampened spirit of sacrifice – NewsDay

Tendai Ruben Mbofana
THE huge mystery surrounding the inexplicable “fear“ by the people in bravely standing up and speaking out for themselves, has never abated.

If anything, as our suffering has increased, there seems to be a proportional increase in our docility and cowardice.

Yet, one would have expected the opposite to be true — where as people increasingly become dissatisfied with the way they are treated by those who oppress them, the higher the probability of them showing resistance and rebelliousness against their tormentors.

At least, that is the case in other countries where citizens do not tolerate nonsense from their leaders, and will rise up when their rights are trampled upon.

Of course, I do not condone violence in expressing one’s grievances but there are ways for peaceful resistance. This is a phenomenon propagated by revolutionary luminaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Junior, who led from the front, with their fearless and unrelenting people standing up for their right to a dignified life.

This is not to say that their oppressors were gracious in restoring peace.

In fact, their peaceful resistance was met with cruel and savage attacks by the ruling elite. This never dampened the people’s spirits to fight on.

So, what makes Zimbabweans a different breed, who appear to be fodder for the world’s reject leaders?

Why do we seem content with surrendering our obligations to politicians who obviously harbour power ambitions, that have very little, or absolutely nothing, to do with the welfare of the populace?

We only come into their minds when they need our support and votes at election time. Election is the only constitutional way for the attainment of those political goals.

If these politicians could enter the halls of power without the need of the popular vote, those believing that political parties care about them, would have had a rude awakening to the realities of life on this planet.

As a matter of fact, politicians’ true colours are regularly displayed  but, for some strange reason, we choose to be blind.

How many times have we complained that they only remember us during elections?

However, soon after naively providing them a free berth into office, the gifts they showered us with during campaigns suddenly dry up, our “loving, sociable and ever-present” leaders vanish into thin air, and those promises of “heaven on earth” never materialise but our plight actually worsens.

Politicians do not care about our lives, expecting them to place our interests ahead of theirs is foolishness at its worst.

It does not matter if Zimbabwe is a true democracy or not, people should stand up themselves and demand their rights.

No wonder we witness these trends even in the so-called “democratic nations” since their citizens comprehend their role in ensuring that their leaders fulfil their mandates.

They do not sit back, fold their arms, and expect things to work out on their own.

We need to push and demand our inalienable rights.

Surely, if you lend people cash and they fail to pay back at the agreed time, would you not demand it back?

So, why can’t Zimbabweans demand their rights from their leaders?

Demanding one’s rights does not equate to hatred of the system.

There are those who have raised a very valid point  that Zimbabwe is not a truly democratic country, but they faced brutal reprisals from those in power.

It is understandable for Zimbabweans to be afraid given the brutal response of the regime to dissent.

However, I still have serious problems with such a line of thinking.

There has to be something more to this.

When confronted with imminent danger, the natural reaction is either to flee or fight. So, why do we always appear to opt for “fleeing”? Why can’t we “fight”?

There has to be an underlying cause for Zimbabweans’ fear  which, goes beyond the natural apprehension of pain and death.

When one’s family is under attack, the natural reaction is to fight as opposed to fleeing although I have come across some men who ran away leaving their wives and children to face the enemy alone.

Therefore, the question is: Why  do Zimbabweans appear to be automatically wired to the “flee” mode, even when they need to stand up for themselves in the face of untold suffering and impoverishment, cold-heartedly authored by their leaders?

Why does the “fight” mode not kick in?

From my analysis I concluded that there is something that discourages Zimbabweans from sacrificing for the greater good of their country, themselves, and future generations.

There is something that has made us ask ourselves: why place my life at risk, or waste my precious time on endeavours that seldom bear fruit?

I am more than convinced that the answer to this question lies in our history, our liberation struggle history.

There was clearly a time at which Zimbabweans were not driven by fear and stood up for themselves, sacrificing everything (family, future, education, comfort, and even their lives) confronting a more powerful and ruthless colonial Rhodesia regime, without quivering or looking back.

What came out of this admirable courage?

What became of the lives of not only those men and women who gave their all for the independence of Zimbabwe and the dream of a dignified, equal, and prosperous way of life for every citizen of this country, whether politically-connected or not?

Do we not come across numerous people — especially those old enough to remember life under colonial rule — who, through utter dismay and disgruntlement at the untold poverty and suffering in “independent Zimbabwe”, never shy away from daringly declaring that, “Rhodesia was better”?

In fact, in spite of the thousands of Zimbabweans who thronged the streets of the capital Harare in November 2017, having played a very insignificant role, but did not sacrifice anything, in the removal of then tyrant, the late former President Robert Mugabe during the military coup d’etat, have we not heard people saying the situation has actually worsened under the so-called new dispensation?

Therefore, it becomes clearer as to why, possibly, Zimbabweans would rather (as if by default) automatically choose to flee, as they no longer see the benefits of sacrificing their lives.

They have seen the pathetic and painful gross failure of the liberation struggle. When they face trials and tribulations, they simply ask: Even if I sacrifice my life, what guarantees are there that life in Zimbabwe will improve?

This is nothing short of tragic — that the failures of the past now impair and negatively impact the present.

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He writes in his personal capacity.

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Matsekete talks leadership – The Zimbabwe Mail

Samuel Matsekete



Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group, or organisation to influence or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organisations. Zimbabwe is full of such leaders yet one area of concern is that they may not pass on their leadership skills to upcoming generations. In a broadcast brought by Zimpapers TV network (ZTN) in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ), Andy Hodges (AH) talked to the Group chief executive officer for Old Mutual Zimbabwe and Head of Banking Portfolio, Old Mutual Rest of Africa, Samuel Matsekete (SM) on the Leadership talk show and discussed on his leadership journey so as to inspire the next generation of leaders. Below is an extract of the interview.

**********

AH: Sam you have served in various roles with multiple organisations over your career, from banking to asset management, insurance and you even worked for a roofing and piping materials company TH Zimbabwe. Diverse companies indeed. Did this contribute in any way to your leadership journey to where you are now as Group chief executive officer for Old Mutual Zimbabwe and Head of Banking Portfolio, Old Mutual Rest of Africa?

SM: Certainly, I worked for a number of organisations as you outlined and different industries hence that makes me unique in my own career path, but the major benefits that I drew from this were just interacting with different environments, cultures, organisations, and different industries always present different challenges, the flexibility and ability to adapt to each of those is one of the skills that I bring to the bay in my current position or in my responsibilities.

AH: You said something interesting about people staying in an organisation for twenty years and hopefully they get to the top and others can move upwards, leadership to leadership positions by joining different organisations. Both are equally as good depending on what suits you as an individual.

SM: Certainly, I think when you look at the way that industry and commerce are involved just generally now you would find out that the trend is involving one where people seek to have variety will probably now have fewer careerists than people that are saying I want to try new things.

AH: Sam your experience and expertise are anchored on the core fields of finance, banking, investment management, insurance, and risk management. You state that your leadership skills have been developed from exposure at the executive level spanning a number of industries within local and international organisations. In what way, maybe you can expand on this?

SM: In the areas of my career the main drive in the earliest years was about being responsible and what was available at the time, I was definitive about my career and l went after it.

AH: Do you think it is important for future leaders?

SM: It is very important because in mind it gives you more control about what you want to be. It also gives you the sense of fulfilment because you become purposeful and you also would have processed what you would want to be in that industry.

AH: What have been the highlights and milestones of your leadership journey?

SM: My highlights would be a privilege to be involved with situations of change, to be part of the change in the organisation that I was involved with, and to be leading some of them. I went to Old Mutual at its demutualise, I was part of the team setting it up, putting up the structures and l remember celebrating getting my first license from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The most fulfilling phase above all was the transition at Barclays where you would have seen an organisation as part of the global group has its brand known globally being bought and transforming getting into being a part of a regional entity, bringing a new name to the market and being the helm of that organisation with the sensitivities and all changes that had to happen around it, leading through that phase was satisfying.

AH: Was it an easy or difficult journey?


SM: It has its challenges and that’s what the fulfillment comes from. For example, the transition at Barclays into First Capital one would have seen the way customers responded, needed to be managed and there were sensitivities around that, even colleagues, the internal change, cultural shifts that needed to be managed.

AH: In your opinion, what are the attributes of leadership?

SM: Leadership means leading people and it also means you actually have to harness what’s within people and you realise as sooner as you do as a leader that you are not a leader because you know everything or you know better and you cannot claim to be everywhere, every time so work through people and you need people to deliver whatever it is that you set out to do.

AH: So how important is it to listen?

SM: Very important and I think in today’s leadership rules it is even more critical, that is how you ensure that you are close to the pulse of things because it is very easy to be far from where your reality is, far from the pulse and when you lose that touch you would think that you are still leading when you are having your own lonely path without anyone following.

AH: As a leader, you cannot do everything, how important is building your team around you as an effective leader.

SM: You build your team through listening but also involving and recognising that the team can also lead you some of the time because they actually have what you might not have for the task that you face at that particular time hence they add value.

AH: I note that your background is in Accounting, in fact after your degree you started by serving articles of clerkship with KPMG chartered accountants. In your opinion, how important is education to any budding future leaders? What advice would you give concerning education?

SM: Education remains important in my view since it offers the capacity to learn and that is how we adapt to the changing environment, new things will come and new technology. As leaders, we need to respond and we cannot do it without learning and that is how we adapt to the changing environment because new things will come up, new technology, and new ways of seeing things hence we cannot do that without learning.

AH: Every successful path comes naturally with failure. How did you and would you recommend that future leaders deal with this important issue?

SM: If you want to draw any benefit from failure is to learn from your mistakes and lessons and also how can you avoid them because every occasion that you fail brings loads of learnings. Allow yourself to fail because it’s in trying to push the frontiers. Take more risks and continue moving forward.

AH: A journey is never done alone. Was the support of your family important in achieving your goals? How important is it to networking?

SM: My family contributed a lot since they anchored my pathway, encouraged me to go for it and explore it. My mother encultured a sense of adding value, being productive, and also working hard in me while my wife and children gave me the space and appreciated me.

AH: It is said that Leaders are problem solvers and solution providers, and an important trait is that they must learn to listen. What do you consider to be the greatest challenge facing leaders in Zimbabwe today and in your opinion how can or should these be navigated?

SM: I would say it is the way we have always done things, being conditioned and feeling that you are buttered hence you will fail to see things differently. Being open-minded, looking at your current environment with optimism will bring a change.

AH: What advice would you give to future leaders? What would you consider the most important attributes that they should focus on or have?

SM: As leaders, l would encourage us to listen and listen more. Be close to the action and be able to adapt because changes march faster.

AH: Finally, as one of today’s leaders, what do you think is your legacy? At the end of the day, what would you like to be remembered for?

SM: If l can be remembered in some role for shaping our industries in the financial services but most importantly being remembered for calculating a way of doing things which is to do things right, in my opinion I think it’s much fulfilling. – Sunday Mail


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ZEC Boss Chigumba Under Fire Over Poll Remarks – New Zimbabwe.com

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By Newsday


CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) yesterday blasted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for claiming that rights groups were funding registered voters to re-register multiple times to discredit the ongoing voter registration exercise.

Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba told a local television station, ZTN, on Wednesday that the electoral management body’s system had picked up several multiple voter registrants sponsored by civic groups.

But Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiCZ) spokesperson Obert Masaraure said that the Zec allegations were meant to frustrate potential voters and the voter registration awareness campaigns.

“The commission and government officials should not bad-mouth patriotic citizens who are working hard to strengthen our democracy. The coalition is moving in to co-ordinate voter mobilisation among its membership to avoid duplication of their great efforts,” Masaraure said.

“We salute all citizens who are working around the clock to mobilise citizens to register to vote. Our democracy is strengthened when the majority of our people are afforded the right to vote.”

Residents Associations Coalition for Electoral Reforms spokesperson Marvelous Khumalo described the allegations by Zec as “shocking”.

“As civil society, we are actually shocked that government is actually blaming CSOs and accusing them of assisting in terms of raising awareness on voting processes and doing some kind of voter education,” Khumalo said.

“As CSOs, we are non-partisan in terms of the scope of our work, so instead, government should be actually appreciating our efforts that we are going out of our hands in terms of making sure that we reach out to the communities

“I can only laugh at such an allegation because look, what is our incentive? Where will we be getting such kind of money to pay people to vote? … they should simply approach the police and register a complaint and then the law must take its course.”

Project Vote 263 chairperson Allan Chipoyi added: “Chigumba doesn’t even know or understand how the biometric voter registration (BVR) system works because it refuses to register a name that has been already registered. Secondly, she doesn’t understand how BVR works.”

He also said CSOs were only providing transport for people who wanted to register to vote, adding “people are never rewarded for registering to vote. No one pays them.”

Zec has said it would roll out a voter registration blitz in February and April to ensure all eligible voters register ahead of next year’s general election.

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CSOs hit back at Zec – NewsDay

BY LORRAINE MUROMO/SHARON BUWERIMWE
CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) yesterday blasted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for claiming that rights groups were funding registered voters to re-register multiple times to discredit the ongoing voter registration exercise.

Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba told a local television station, ZTN, on Wednesday that the electoral management body’s system had picked up several multiple voter registrants sponsored by civic groups.

But Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiCZ) spokesperson Obert Masaraure told NewsDay Weekender that the Zec allegations were meant to frustrate potential voters and the voter registration awareness campaigns.

“The commission and government officials should not bad-mouth patriotic citizens who are working hard to strengthen our democracy. The coalition is moving in to co-ordinate voter mobilisation among its membership to avoid duplication of their great efforts,” Masaraure said.

“We salute all citizens who are working around the clock to mobilise citizens to register to vote. Our democracy is strengthened when the majority of our people are afforded the right to vote.”

Residents Associations Coalition for Electoral Reforms spokesperson Marvelous Khumalo described the allegations by Zec as “shocking”.

“As civil society, we are actually shocked that government is actually blaming CSOs and accusing them of assisting in terms of raising awareness on voting processes and doing some kind of voter education,” Khumalo said.

“As CSOs, we are non-partisan in terms of the scope of our work, so instead, government should be actually appreciating our efforts that we are going out of our hands in terms of making sure that we reach out to the communities

“I can only laugh at such an allegation because look, what is our incentive? Where will we be getting such kind of money to pay people to vote? … they should simply approach the police and register a complaint and then the law must take its course.”

Project Vote 263 chairperson Allan Chipoyi added: “Chigumba doesn’t even know or understand how the biometric voter registration (BVR) system works because it refuses to register a name that has been already registered. Secondly, she doesn’t understand how BVR works.”

He also said CSOs were only providing transport for people who wanted to register to vote, adding “people are never rewarded for registering to vote. No one pays them.”

Zec has said it would roll out a voter registration blitz in February and April to ensure all eligible voters register ahead of next year’s general election.

  • Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe

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