The importance of responsible leadership

The importance of responsible leadership
Published: 23 April 2018 (298 Views)
There is a well-known saying in politics that the "perfect is the enemy of the good". This means that while there are unreasonably high expectations for a certain politician or policy to be perfect, we are distracted from the fact that the politician or the policy is actually good and doing well.

The clamour and excitement of the peaceful revolution in November gave way to an almost irrational belief that everything in Zimbabwe will now abruptly change. This is perhaps understandable because literally overnight so much did change.

In a matter of hours, Zimbabweans took to the streets in unprecedented numbers and the 37 years old dictatorship was gone. We had our first taste of true freedom and people power in a couple of generations and anticipation was high.

The fact that Emmerson Mnangagwa led this change placedsome impossibly high expectations on his shoulders. A nation saw him as an agent of change and anything that even slightly pricked the bubble of expectation would be dismissed.

It was almost as if people were waiting for the manna from heaven to alleviate all of Zimbabwe's problems in days, weeks or months. However, leading a country at any time is a gargantuan task. Trying to reverse decades of repression, mass inflation, currency shortage and large unemployment in a short period of time is absolutely impossible, especially when you are trying to attract the necessary foreign investment and end international sanctions and isolation.

International investors are gravely afraid of populist policies that will only put a nation's economy further into debt and create greater risk. They need to see a stable policy of getting an economy back on its feet towards long-term growth.

I know that a stable economy and long-term growth are not sexy terms and not what many Zimbabweans are demanding, but they are the building blocks for our national future.

ED could have given our nation the proverbial "fish" to eat today, tomorrow, and perhaps until the elections, but instead he is providing our nation with the tools so that we can eat for a lifetime.

That this policy is working can be seen all around us.

International investors are returning to Zimbabwe in record numbers and ED has already secured many billions of dollars in foreign investment commitments. Many nations and international businesses are looking into opening up offices and factories in our towns and cities which will create countless jobs. Not every Zimbabwean can see or experience it yet, but like a cascading waterfall it will eventually reach every single person. We are on track for a promising national economic recovery.

ED has achieved this while lowering inflation and not enlarging our bloated foreign debt. Furthermore, the signs of the old regime are nowhere to be seen. The police roadblocks have been bravely removed from our streets and we are now looking forward to arguably the first ever free and fair elections this country has ever seen.

We don't hear the rhetoric or witness actions from the leader of the country that make us believe that our voices will once again be stolen, in fact, the opposite is true. ED has taken many steps to reach out to the Opposition and civil society in ways absolutely inconceivable a few months ago.

All we have to do to ensure that we are not getting ahead of ourselves is remember back to last October and contrast and compare everything, the atmosphere, the opportunities and the almost daily reminders that this is a new Zimbabwe, unlike anything any of our ancestors could have ever dreamed to experience.

Anyone who has ever captained a large ship will tell you, if you try and make a hairpin turn your vessel will capsize taking the crew and passengers down with it. The way to turn around a large speeding ship is to first slow down the vessel and then take a long arced and measured turn which will ensure that all aboard are safe and well.

This is a good analogy for a country. Those who believe that Zimbabwe could have taken a 180 degrees turn in the weeks and months after the revolution would have sunk our country, perhaps beyond repair.

A true captain or leader knows that first we must put the brakes on and only then take a careful and measured turn away from the problematic policies of the past before steering into a bright new future.

It might not be a perfect few months since ED took office, but by all indicators it is certainly good and we are only at the beginning of the turn.

I for one am excited to see what happens when ED has stabilized the country and we are moving full steam ahead.


- Mike, Harare

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