For a country that was a British colony why has Zimbabwe not leant that no leader is remotely indispensable?

As I was listening to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing his expected resignation, this afternoon, I could not help being engulfed with a sense of admiration for the beauty of democracy, and found myself quietly wishing if only I had been from Britain.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

How else was I to feel, when watching a leader, although clearly reluctantly – as Johnson himself confessed – choosing to step down, amidst a plethora of scandals, indiscretions, and law-breaking that have dogged his administration, ever since rising to power on 24th July 2019 (nearly exactly three years ago), after replacing Theresa May, who herself was forced to step down at the height of Brexit disagreements within her government.

As much as I am not a fan of Bojo (as Johnson is referred to), the source of my excitement at this resignation is not specifically targeted at him as an individual, but the concept of witnessing democratic processes at work.

For some of us residing in a country where the ruling elitist clique feel a sense of divine entitlement to lead, or rather rule – and, will do anything, including unleashing savage reign of terror upon the citizenry, in order to retain power – it is always refreshing to hear a leader actually proclaiming that, “no one is remotely indispensable”, as fresh capable leaders can always be found.

Johnson, at no point during his rather short tenure, ever declared, “tichingotonga, tichingotonga, tichingotonga” – we will rule, and rule, and rule, till the kingdom come.

It was a clear sign that the people of Britain were mature and intelligent enough to appreciate that leadership renewal was the pillar and cornerstone of any truly civilized and progressive society – which, in spite of Johnson’s shenanigans, nonetheless, had to be an integral component even in the absence of scandals or poor performance.

So, why do our so-called leaders in Zimbabwe appear to believe that leadership renewal is some shameful idea to be shunned and disdained – as if one ceased to live, and had no life, after vacating the corridors of power?

Why do those in the ruling elitist clique seem to be convinced that moving from being a president to an ordinary citizen is somehow a bad thing – to be feared, and the very thought seemingly crippling them with indescribable terror?

Surely, when Johnson wakes up tomorrow, no longer the Conservative Party leader – or, whenever he will finally relinquish his post as British PM – I am quite sure he will still be able to hold his head high, live a full and satisfying life, as well as continue to play a vital role in both his country and international affairs.

Even here on the African continent, did Nelson Mandela lose anything by only serving one term as president of South Africa, or did Kenneth Kaunda become less of a man after losing power in Zambia – amongst a whole host of other leaders?

We can go a step further, closer to home.

Let us not forget that Robert Gabriel Mugabe was certainly not the first head of government in this country – since, during the colonial Rhodesia era, we experienced the smooth and peaceful transfer of power on numerous occasions, which witnessed several political parties being elected into office.

Ironically, the coming in of independence in 1980 was the last time there was any change of government in this country.

The question then arises – why did we not learn anything from the colonists who used to rule over us, who clearly exercised a measure of democracy, albeit restricted to within their own white communities?

Why did we not expand this concept of the free, fair, and peaceful transfer of power to the entirety of Zimbabweans after independence?

Indeed, we can argue that, we now have leaders whose hands are soiled with the blood of the innocent people they massacred, and guilty of widespread corruption – horrendous crimes they fear will result in then languishing in prison for the rest of their naturals, in the event of them losing power.

However, my concern is why they even committed those villainous acts in the first place.

Was it not on account of their believing that they were untouchable, since they had no intentions whatsoever of ever leaving office?

As such, was it not that lack of desire for democracy the main reason they did not feel deterred to kill innocent civilians, and plunder national resources, as if there was no tomorrow?

For a country that was under colonial domination from nearly nine decades, why were we unable, or incapable, or unwilling to learn the beauty of the democracy they exercised amongst themselves?

We definitely envied the homes they possessed, we desired to eat in the hotels they frequented, and wanted to attend the same schools they learnt – even continuing with those ridiculous wigs for our judges, the president riding in an open Rolls Royce surrounded by horses, in typical Queen of England fashion – so, why did we not also have a desire for their democracy?

It is such a disgrace being presided over by a bunch of kleptomaniac, brutal dictators – who think they alone are worthy of leading, and are prepared to kill to preserve that power – yet, others elsewhere, are ready to leave office for the good of their countries, even if that is done reluctantly.

Let me remind this ruinous government in Zimbabwe – no one is remotely indispensable, and leaders have to be changed regularly.

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

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