I have been having an internal debate for some time. For the longest time, I have wondered what could be the one thing that is holding this small nation of mine back from rubbing shoulders with giants. For a tiny Africa country, we have had the same kinds of problems that other countries around the world have had. In fact, I say this frequently, much to the dislike of people I know: the problems that Zimbabwe are NOT unique to us. I know a few people who try and make it seem as though Zimbabwe is a special needs case. In some instances, it is. As far as I am concerned, we are at least 3 decades behind the rest of the world in terms of our thinking, our way of life and our understanding of what is really going on.
For too long, people have preferred the default position of “head in the sand.” It is easier to feign ignorance and say “I don’t know what’s going on, and as a result don’t care”. That’s fine. No one needs to be forced to give a hoot what’s going on.
However, I digress. There are a plethora of reasons that can be given for this little nation of mine struggling to get over the first three hurdles of this dash. I could spend a whole lot of time talking about government spending, corruption, and weak institutions. Fortunately for you, I am neither a lawyer, an economist or a policymaker. I am just a citizen of this country.
The main issue I would like to talk about is the aspect of a shared vision. What is a shared vision? According to the all-knowing Google, “A shared vision is what you and the other members want to create or accomplish as part of the organization. A shared vision is not imposed by one or a few people as an organizational mandate”. Using the Zimbabwean context and my own interpretation, a shared vision is when all interested parties are actively involved in the steering of this nation. Now I can already hear some of the people who are in the terraces shouting that this can never be done. “Humans are a problem. How would they ever agree?”. To some degree, I concur. Having a shared vision for a country like Zimbabwe is a waste of time and energy. Maybe it wouldn’t work.
So I have these friends of mine who are living in the UK. They are as thick as thieves, however, they are not thieves apart from one of them who is an accountant (but that is a story for another day!). Every year, for as long as I remember, they get together and go on holiday as lads. They plan it, they fund it, then enjoy it. Job Done. That’s is a shared vision. An aim to achieve a certain goal as a collective. It requires negotiation, buy-in from other members, it needs to be financed, it requires transparency and also requires tough decisions and proper leadership. It requires for the collective to be sold a dream and to buy into that dream, to then follow that dream all the way from inception to project closeout. It requires contingencies to be put in place should any of the initial plans fall through.
Unfortunately in, and especially in Zimbabwe, the idea of a shared vision is a dream that will take some years to become a reality. The politics is so toxic that the opposition cannot and will not support the ruling party when they do something. Not everything they do should be supported. In fact, a lot of their actions have resulted in the situation we are experiencing. The opposition is where a lot of discontented Zimbabweans take their lead.
Zimbabweans have too much time fighting with each other. It has been an “us against them” situation since I can remember. I hazard to say since I was born. White vs black, Ruling Part vs Opposition Party, private school educated vs public school educated, rule of law vs lawlessness, young vs the old, those who fought in the liberation war vs those who didn’t. It shouldn’t matter whether you are white or black, Zanu PF or MDC, whether you have “war credentials” or not. Right now the time is not about who is more worthy than others. If you need a blood transfusion and you are in the hospital, the doctors won’t ask you which political party you support, or if you mind if the blood donated is from a black or white person, they will simply save your life.
A shared vision should be like receiving a blood transfusion. How it is administered and by whom are other issues that can be addressed in their own time.
The biggest danger that I see from this lack of shared vision is the development of the nation. We will continue to accept mediocrity and act as if it is ok. We do not have to agree with each other politically or ideologically. However, if we are talking about how we want the best for ALL Zimbabweans, we must be willing to come together, as that good is bigger than your religion, race, sex or ethnicity. We need to stop the vitriol that is can be seen on social media. Zimbabwean’s are angry, but they are angry with the wrong people, and most of the time at the wrong times. Less anger this decade. Please.