....as economic chaos becomes the order of the day; 20-hours no electricity and no more tap water. HARARE
--Can anyone surely wake up in the morning, take a bath, don his suit, put on his scarf, and look himself in the mirror with a satisfied smile, calling himself a leader - when the country he leads goes for hours each day without electricity or tap water, whilst the citizenry cannot afford basic commodities, as the local currency flies through the roof? What manner of a person can be happy being referred to as 'Your Excellency', when it is clear that his leadership is nowhere near excellent? Where is the 'Excellency' in someone who fails miserably to lead and govern a small country of only 391,745 square kilometres, and 15 million people - which is three times smaller than South Africa, in both area and population? Yet, Zimbabwe is endowed with some of the most sought-after mineral wealth on the planet.
Surely, can there be a larger monumental failure than failing to provide a simple thing as electricity, water and affordable food to the people whom one claims to be the head? Most assuredly I say, had this been me failing to provide such basic necessities to my own family, of whom I am also the head - they would have dumped me as a loser a long time ago.
Oh wait, actually it already did happen - when in 2006, the mother of my son ditched me in the midst of the worst economic crisis to hit Zimbabwe - as I failed dismally in taking care of their needs. As a matter of fact, the main reason I have never faulted her for leaving me, nor ever harbored any ill-will against her, is because what she did is perfectly logical and understandable. Anyone, especially in a position of leadership, who cannot adequately perform or fulfill his duties, and deliver on his mandate, has absolutely no business being in that office.He should be removed, rejected and ditched!
The position of a head of state or president should never be a mere title of prestige and status - but, carries with it very high expectations.
As such, anyone who occupies such office is held to similarly high standards, which he should deliver.
That is why the presidency is referred to as 'His Excellency'.
It is not an empty title, bordering on brainless sycophancy and hero-worshiping, neither is it some form of endearment - but, signifies the high standards of near perfection expected of the incumbent. Admittedly, there is no soul under the sun who is perfect - nonetheless, the willingness and sincerity in trying to be one, should be visible for all too see.
Therefore, it goes without saying that, when a country goes for an average 20 hours each and every day without electricity - that is nowhere near perfection. There can never be any high standards of leadership when a country's towns and cities go without potable tap water for months and years.
When the price of bread and mealie meal (the most basic staple foods in Zimbabwe) skyrockets beyond the reach of millions - there is no excellency at all in such a presidency. Surely, can anyone claim to be 'doing his best', when the local currency is now trading at a horrifying ZW$3,500 to US$1 (on the more commonly used unofficial market), and ZW$1,888 to US$1 on the official RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) auction system?
If presiding over an annual inflation rate of 666 per cent (which is actually 'rigged', as it incorporates components of a more stable and firmer US Dollar in prices of goods and services) is what the president considers 'excellent' - then, Zimbabwe has no leader at all! Surely, if a leader cannot deliver on such basics - which citizens of other countries take for granted - then what can he accomplish?
Is the grand looting of our national resources, at deplorable and shocking levels, by those in power - for their own self-enrichment - the only thing this leadership is capable of achieving? With the billions of dollars' worth of diamonds, gold, chrome, lithium, platinum this country is blessed - why are we still failing to generate enough electricity, construct adequate water reticulation infrastructure, or anchor our currency?
Or, is it because our so-called leaders would rather plunder these resources, than use them for the development of the country, and the up-liftment of citizens' livelihoods?
We can certainly do better than this, as the people of this once prosperous and phenomenal country.Why do we keep holding on to a failed leader - yet, we have the power in our hands to change our situation?Let us not act as if we have become accustomed to suffering, and now fear a better life for ourselves and our families. There is really no need for us to continue languishing in this misery, as if it is our fate and destiny.
This country was once great - even described as the 'jewel of Africa' by the late Tanzania president Mwalimu Julius Nyerere - and, we can definitely regain that shine! What is needed now is unity of purpose, whereby we reject and ditch those who have turned our lives into a living torturous hell. Even the mother of my son refused to take any further nonsense from me by dumping me - so, why do we, the people of Zimbabwe, brook all this nonsense from our leaders - as if we love, and have become attached to, our misery?
As long as we allow ourselves to be divided along political lines, we will always be crying in Zimbabwe. This has far transcended the mere and shallow boundaries of any single political party - but now is a national emergency, which needs every Zimbabwean to loudly and fearlessly declare, 'enough is enough'. If we have those who defend this abject failure by those in power - simply on account of being of the same political party - then all I can say is, 'please wake up!'Zimbabwe has been going downhill for decades, and is now about to crash and burn!
All of us are at great risk and danger - and no one can afford the luxury of supporting the same leaders who have ruined their lives, and have effectively destroyed their children's hopes for a bright future. My fervent prayer to Jehovah God Almighty - which I made even this morning - is for the people of Zimbabwe to finally have the light, wisdom and courage to stand up for themselves, and reject those who have turned their lives into a horrible nightmare.
©️ Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, and social commentator.