Constructive criticism of leaders needs courage

Kembo Mohadi

The Honourable Vice President KEMBO Mohadi’s Shenanigans have touched a gas cylinder there by creating a social media blast. Many people have urged party members to keep silent and not comment on this. Some have gone further to suggest that any one who disagrees with the behaviour of the VP is not a patriot and should not be regarded as a true Zimbabwean.
by Dr Masimba Mavaza

Those who think keeping silent in the face of a presidential embarrassment should know that discussing about it is something which keeps the true essence of democracy alive in a country. We are not disciples of our leaders but we pay allegiance to our Country, our party, our leaders and then ourselves. In any action we take we do it to the best interest of our nation and our party. The leaders in our party deserve our respect and we look up to them to guide us in patriotic human cultural and traditional ways. Our leaders must be our pride and our glory. Their custom must be in sink with our traditions.

Supporting one’s leadership is one part of keeping them on the path of prosperity and development, while keeping track of government activities, being vigilant about them and highlighting loopholes in policies are also needed in a democracy. Our leaders themselves expect us to guide them and when we speak against their immoral behaviour we must never be mistaken as being against the party or ways of the party.

The party needs Courageous membership which is what every leader hopes for and what every political party needs. A courageous membership  guides their leaders without stamping out faithfulness and patriotism they lead by example, and they stand at the helm of the party’s membership giving everyone behind them confidence to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Members of any party exercise what is known as Try courage: Try courage is the courage required to take the first step in something. There is a type of trust which is shown through the behaviour of our leaders. This not only shows your leaders that you trust them, but also that they can trust you not to micromanage their work. They want to know that you are listening to them too and you can tell them off when they go astray.

It’s not wrong, it is necessary that leaders be told clearly that they are wrong. If their wrongdoing is in the public domain so they must be rebuked in that domain.

Unfortunately, there are still many people in the country who bootlick they could have you thrown into a labor camp or killed or your family harmed if you criticize your wayward leader. It is these people who only want to sing praises who make our leaders not improve on their public images.

But when a long train of abuses or affairs which can only be called a scandal and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them to yes men it is their right, it is their duty, to tell off such leaders in order to protect the country and the party.

The point  of this is: no leader is perfect. And those being led must keep an open mind. Talk to your leader tell him where he errs. There will always be things about our leaders we disagree with. It is our duty as citizens of a country to question that leadership and remind them that such an office is beyond mere political fight but it’s national. The office of the Vice President is beyond party politics. for what we want. It’s slightly more civilized than having another person rebuke our leaders.

In our country, we have people with different ideologies – some criticise the government policies and some support it, while others remain at the top of it appreciating the good policies and highlighting the drawbacks to improve governance. It’s common nowadays to see society divided into segments each with a different perspective about the policies undertaken by their governments; it is something which keeps the true essence of democracy alive. There are many instances in the past of governance and society improving because of the positive criticism by some people or group of them. These examples give democracies around the world a chance of improving the quality of governance and hence create a better society.

In Zimbabwe a Vice President is not elected because he stands for the whole country. He does not need a constituency. The whole country is his constituency. So the behaviour of the VP if not checked it harms the party which chose him.  In recent years in Zimbabwe there has been a gradual change in perspective of the people regarding their governments.

While some of them are a very good sign of a progressive society, some of them are quite worrying too. There is a common notion among some citizens that if they speak something against the actions of their leaders then it’s probably against the nation too. This thinking is obnoxious and despotic.

Allow the people to have a go on their wayward leaders. It is shameful to label anyone who fires a slovo at a morally challenged leader as not patriotic.

The patriotic true and faithful members possess Tell courage: Tell courage is the courage you need to speak openly and with conviction about your beliefs and ideas. You need to voice your concern in the channels provided and let your leaders know that their members do not brook nonsense. Courageous cadres do provide leadership with positive and constructive feedback on a regular basis, even if what you have to say is going to make someone feel uncomfortable if it is to save the party it has to be said.

If you become a courageous cadre that will make you a stronger leader for yourself, your team, and your party.

You have to be a courageous member, no matter what. You have to be willing to climb over obstacles, to say what’s difficult, and to keep saying that every day. A courageous member is someone who constantly asks themselves if they are being courageous enough. Courage is a muscle that must be strengthened day by day and choice by choice.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because you are never meant to please everybody in your path.

This idea which is significant in numbers need to be thoroughly assessed. Chances might be there that some of the criticism may not be on the right note, but many of it if considered by the leaders can be helpful in the real-time assessment of the needs and expectations of the people. Unfortunately, there is a decline in these voices nowadays because of other comrades who think that telling someone off is a sign of selling out. The one who keeps silent while you make mistakes is the biggest sellout ever cursed the earth. People who are not strong in the party think that it’s wrong to speak against the leaders they did not elect to power.

People should realise that it is not the driving force of praise and overwhelming support which keeps the wheels of leadership moving but also the steering force of people’s participation which keep a check on leaders and modify it, if their behaviour fail to meet the expectations of society as a whole. If people’s criticism reaches the leader’s ear at an appropriate time and in significant numbers, then the future behaviour of our leaders can be utilised wisely for some other activities which are brought to notice by the people. Some experts believe that praise and support of people are very crucial for maintaining efficient leadership as it keeps leaders motivated to work more to increase the overall output of governmental activities on the ground. This is true in practice too but it should be kept in mind that the power vested in the hands of people in a democracy is not only utilised for blindly praising the leaders but it should be used as an aid, to advise and correct the leaders whenever required so that the efficiency and quality of leadership is maintained.

Courageous cadres are people who are able to push through uncomfortable situations. They are willing to make difficult decisions and do not back down when things get too hard.

Democracy is supposed to be rule of the people, by the people, and for the people. But in order to rule effectively, the people need political knowledge. If they know little or nothing about their leaders it becomes difficult to hold political leaders accountable for their behaviour in the public eye. Unfortunately, public knowledge about politics is disturbingly low. The public thinks talking about a leaders pervasive actions amounts to politics. In addition, the public also often does a poor job of evaluating the political information they do know because they are afraid to be labelled. This state of affairs has persisted despite rising education levels, increased availability of information thanks to modern technology, and even rising IQ scores. It is mostly the result of rational behavior, not stupidity. Such widespread and persistent political ignorance and irrationality strengthens the case for telling off your leaders where they embarrass the country party and nation.The Extent of IgnorancePolitical ignorance in Zimbabwe is deep and widespread.

Source – Dr Masimba Mavaza

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