Friday, April 20, 2007

Reclaiming the legacy of the Liberation war

"... No single individual delivered us from bondage. It was a collective effort. Across the length and breath of this country and in neighbouring countries such as Zambia , Mozambique and Tanzania , our sons and daughters came together, with a single purpose- to free Zimbabwe . For the record; Yes, Robert Mugabe was part of the liberation war effort. He was involved in the nationalist struggle. However, in that war he was a spineless coward who could not even fire a pistol. To this day he does not even know how to return a soldier’s salute. Those who fought in that war can attest to this characterization. He was the lucky coward of the liberation war.

As matter of principle we have no problem with spineless wimps, neither do we fault lucky cowards. What becomes problematic is when such shameless morons then appropriate the entire liberation war legacy as theirs, to the exclusion of those who actually fought in that struggle. That is what offends us as Zimbabweans. We take strong exception to that. We fought for our country as a people and freed ourselves as a united collective. We want to put it on record today, on our Independence Day, that the people of Zimbabwe do not owe Robert Mugabe anything. We owe ourselves as a people. We were masters of our own destiny.

Furthermore, let us reflect on the basis and foundation of the liberation struggle. The war of liberation was an all-inclusive, anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist protracted armed struggle. The principles and values of that struggle included democracy, freedom, liberty, equality, universal suffrage, justice, equity, socio-economic justice, and prosperity. When we look at the state of our nation today, the question is: Have we achieved these aspirations? The unequivocal response is NO. ...

Maybe because of the marxist groups who terrorized innocent people were allowed to run the government, instead of marginalizing them.
That is the dirty lesson of all "liberation wars".

Zimbabwe is at the crossroads where to advance forward requires nation builders, visionaries, statesmen and stateswomen; those skilled in the art of crafting states. Statecraft speaks to the expertise and wisdom in the effective management of public affairs. We refer here to leaders in the genre of Lee Quan Yew of Singapore, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Indira Gandhi of India, Angela Merkel of Germany, Ernesto Che Guevara in Cuba, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. These were (are) men and women of immense talent, resolve, vision, and strategy. More importantly they were (are) masters of the art of execution and implementation.

Nation builders are able to unite and mobilize people for a national cause. They channel national energy and synergy towards the growth and development of a country. Unfortunately, Robert Mugabe does not belong to this group of nation builders. Great and significant leaders go beyond the limited scope of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that ends with self-actualization. They thrive to self-transcend, go beyond self and leave a legacy. Presumably, Mugabe’s favorite political text is that classic by Machiavelli, The Prince, where it is argued that the prince (leader) must pursue, obtain, and maintain power at any cost. However, Machiavelli also wrote a second book; The Discourses, where it is explained that the prince (leader) must also care about his legacy and judgment by history. This means the prince (leader) must be a state crafter. I guess our learned President has not read this insightful text, or if he did come across it, he never understood its import. What a shame.

The skills required for nation building are very different from those required to fight colonialism and imperialism. A new generation of leaders is required to take our country to the next level. The time has come to pass the baton from liberation struggle leaders to globalization savvy nation builders. The issues of technocratic capacity and technical solutions have never been more critical. Zimbabwe needs accomplished business practitioners, business thought leaders, management and economic thinkers, financial engineers, public policy thinkers, master entrepreneurs, technologists and scientists to drive our economy. Zimbabwe must become a globally competitive economy that rivals such nations like Singapore , Malaysia and Japan . We need creative dreamers and parallel thinkers who do not fear globalization, but rather thrive on chaos and uncertainty. Only freedom can allow our citizens to attain their full potential and take our nation forward.

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