Respect can only be earned

swazi.jpegElsewhere in this newspaper we carry a story about chiefs demanding to be called kings. A number of chiefs from Mashonaland East has told the government that they also want to be provided with palaces. (Pictured : Bare - breasted young Swazi virgin girls)

They would also like to be allowed to conduct the annual Swazi reed ceremonies, where bare-breasted young maidens bring reeds to the kings palace. While they are dancing for him, he and his minions ogle the girls and ultimately one is chosen as his new wife. What our would-be kings may not be aware of, is that Swaziland has only one king. In Zimbabwe we have more than 50 chiefs. As self-proclaimed custodians of our Zimbabwean culture, we are not a little alarmed that the chiefs now want to import foreign cultures. The reed ceremony is totally unknown in Zimbabwean culture.

We are further alarmed at what is emerging as an unhealthy pattern in Zimbabwe, whereby various groups make frequent and unreasonable demands of the government. Recently we had the war veterans demanding 20% of the countrys wealth. Obviously they can see how the senior echelons of the Zanu (PF) kleptocracy have robbed the state and are enjoying exclusive access to un-earned riches. Then the war collaborators and former detainees all jumped on the bandwagon to demand recognition, respect and, of course, money. A few weeks ago some chiefs reportedly demanded luxury vehicles in order to regain respect which they said they had lost because of their poverty despite the fact that they were given vehicles, and in some cases farms, in order to ensure their loyalty to Zanu (PF).

The mayors of various towns and cities now also believe that driving a expensive and luxurious vehicle is the way to gain respect from the mere mortals who pay the rates on which the urban authorities base their budgets. Zanu (PF) ministers, army and police chiefs and the party hangers-on have, over the years, driven around in these expensive vehicles setting a bad example. A smart vehicle does not equal respect. The way in which a person conducts her or himself is the sole criterion for earning respect from others. We would urge Zimbabweans to remember this. Making silly demands for palaces, fancy titles, wealth and foreign culture are guaranteed to destroy any remaining respect. Respect can only be earned.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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