Zimbabweans need to elect those with real solutions to the country’s challenges not mere talkers!

If there is one issue I have always had with us Zimbabweans, it is that we are more of academics than doers.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


We are exceptional when it comes to talking – with all manner of high-sounding academic analyses, policies, and programs – but, seldom posses the ability to deliver on the ground.

In other words, we are a nation of big talkers – but, zero on action.

At times, I blame this on our obsession on academic achievements – characterized by ambitions of attaining degrees, especially doctorates – rather than on being “on-the-ground” people, who know how the world truly works, from a practical perspective.

No wonder, we have professors and other PhDs who run our finance ministry – carrying with them all those fancy bookish formulae, strategies, and theories – however, pathetically failing to deliver when dealing with a real country’s affairs, and real life problems.

That is why I love the adage, “Those who can, do – those who can’t, teach”!

Nonetheless, this has not been restricted to the ruling establishment, but is also a common phenomenon in the opposition.

In fact, due to my numerous writings – many people have approached me, urging me to run for office, either as a councillor, or member of parliament (MP).

I find these to be noble and appreciated sincere pleas – coming from a suffering people, who have had enough of the unending and ever-worsening unbearable economic yoke that has been choking and burdening them for decades.

Nonetheless, my response is usually the same – “I’m truly humbled by your vote of confidence in me, but how exactly are you sure I have the solutions to these problems I speak about everyday?”

It is one thing being a vocal analyst and commentator – but, completely a different story having workable and implementable solutions to the plethora of challenges this country has been facing for the greater part of two decades.

That is the same issue we are clearly faced with in our opposition political parties – no matter which name they go by.

It is one thing identifying problems, weaknesses, and shortcomings – as well as, formulating all these dreamy and purely academic programs and plans – yet, when it comes to implementation on the ground, it is a big fat ZERO!

Let me give a football example.

During the ongoing AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations) championships – there is never a shortage of clearly exceptional soccer analysts (whose abilities and credentials in this arena can never be questioned) who will readily proffer their expert views on how our own Zimbabwe national team is performing, where they are being found wanting, and what measures can be put in place to strengthen the squad and bring positive results.

As much as these analysts’ suggestions and analyses can be right on the ball, and spot on – it will be most ridiculous and quite foolish to ask someone like Charles “CNN” Mabika, to take over either as the team captain, or even coach.

In spite of his undoubted brilliance as a soccer analyst – however, Mabika would certainly stink as our captain, or even coach.

This is where I believe we miss it as Zimbabweans, in the field of politics.

We tend to elect into politics those we either erroneously believe are learned enough (especially, those already in government), or vocally and fiercely anti-government enough (particularly, in the opposition) to run the affairs of the country effectively.

Yet, when we meticulous scrutinize what they have to offer, and even how they have performed over whatever tenure they have served – there is very little to write home about, and nothing much to show for their efforts.

As a matter of fact, all they have left behind has been a trail of failures and disasters – whether its the ruling party (who have ruined a jewel of a country into an embarrassing basketcase), or the opposition (that has turned once glamorous urban areas into unlivable hovels).

All these political parties have always had their Manifestos, filled with all sort of high-sounding articulate programs and policies – on such issues as economic recovery, currency stabilization, electricity generation, urban water provision, and other matters afflicting the people, both at national and local government level.

Nonetheless, when given the opportunity to govern, and finally implement these ideas – nothing positive has ever come out…except excuses after excuses.

Listening to both our national and local government leadership, one would be forgiven for mistakenly assuming that the challenges we are facing today, rared their ugly heads only a day ago – and, the various political players are still trying to identify them, and figure out solutions.

Honestly, how can we have a national ruling elite that still uses “economic sanctions that were imposed by the West” and “economic saboteurs”, which the regime has been crying about since the turn of the century (some twenty years ago) – as a reason for their failures to significantly progress and develop the country?

Why do our local authorities continue to cry about non-payment of bills by residents and even central government interference, for their inabilities to efficiently and effectively deliver expected services – a challenge that has been with us for decades?

Did they not know the existence of these challenges when they were busy campaigning to be elected into office, either as councillors or MPs?

Did they not already have a plan on how to deal with “economic sanctions”, and “economic saboteurs”, or delivering services in urban areas where residents were not paying their bills, or circumventing undue interference from central authorities?

However, I am quite sure, when the ruling party was campaigning in the five elections we have witnessed over the past two decades – they were promising phenomenal economic prosperity, local currency stability, huge foreign direct investment, magnificent infrastructural developments, millions of jobs, salaries that are competitive in the southern African region, and many other castles in the air.

The opposition, similarly, was assuring voters (especially, in urban areas, where they have won seats) regular running tap water for all, efficient refuse collection, repairing of street lighting, and rehabilitation of severely damaged and unnavigable roads.

The question, again, would be – with all the already well-known hindrances (of “economic sanctions”, “economic saboteurs”, ratepayers not fulfilling their obligations, and central government interference), why did they believe they could still make such promises without an effective plan?

Does this not prove my earlier argument – that we, in Zimbabwe, have the uncanny knack of electing those who really do not have any meaningful solutions, that are actually workable and implementable on the ground?

Have we not merely chosen our leaders based on academic documents and bookish ideas, that sound splendid on paper – of which they have absolutely no ability of implementing on the ground?

Is it not time that Zimbabweans elected those who can actually “play the game on the field”, instead of mere academics, analysts and activists – as those are exactly the people we have been putting into office, yet failing us all the time?

@ Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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