Lessons from our Leaders

I was asked what have our leaders taught us and are they taking us in the direction we wish to go in. What have they done to demonstrate that we are moving in the correct direction? I started thinking of an old interview with Mugabe saying that all he ever wanted was to teach his people is to be self sufficient. 

I responded that our leaders taught us the value of education and that we should continue to suffer if it means that we will never be second class citizens in our country again. Now I have always been told that I am unaware of the “real situation” in Zimbabwe, the levels that people are suffering. 

I have started to argue back and tell them people your only experience is of Zimbabwe I have a “global experience” and I have seen that Black people are treated as second class citizens and are the living in relative poverty everywhere we are.

When reflecting on what has “occurred” in Zimbabwe we look at it in a vacuum forgetting that struggle is not ours alone. There are others that helped us to be free and their contributions were so that all Black people would be free, not so that we could continue to be “Africa’s bread basket” while bowing down to our oppressors. 

We have repeatedly seen that when Black people that have tried to be self sufficient they have been met with resistance wether it be the Haitian revolution or the many Black businesses that have been taken or destroyed by whites in the southern states in America. 

Yet somehow as Africans and in particular Zimbabweans we have removed ourselves from our black history as if independence came out of thin air.

Corruption is not the only cause of “the situation” in Zimbabwe. Capitalism gone wild is one of the reason why so many Black people find themselves in poverty. Money that is made through corruption touches the hands of those that sit at the United Nations while pointing their fingers, telling Africans to do better while knowing that their nations benefit from our newly independent communities and countries lack of adequate organizations and infrastructures. 

I acknowledge corruption contributes to many of of problem in Africa but we can agree that corruption is everywhere including in America where Trump is currently president. There are endless claims that he is corrupt and that he has rose to power through unfair practices. Yet when we discuss the poverty that is experienced by Black people in America we do not say this is the result of corruption instead we say “they do not work hard or they are to blame” 

Why is it that we can blame institutions only in Africa but in western countries we switch the responsibility to the individual?

Trump and corruption are not unique phenomenas because people attended rallies that were in support of Trump and not only did they attend rallies they also voted for him to become president. If this was an African state were the majority of people voted for someone else but they were not president it would be labelled a dictatorship. The west would be demand a rerun and if the state refused they would be forced through sanctions or being ostracized by the international community but in America it is business as usual. 

Similarly you can lie and say everyone hated Mugabe and other dictators but there are people that benefit from whatever corruption they are responsible for including people in the west. There are also those who question his methods but support his ideology. 

We cannot forget that there are those that simply opposed  Mugabe because he was in between them and the ability to loot from Zimbabwe utterly and completely. I will not say that the west has been the only benefactor of corruption because as we know we are all implicated in the failures of our countries and communities. 

Another element we never discuss is that corruption does not work alone. In a country corruption does not thrive alone everyone is a part of it. If you can bribe police then you are making the situation worse, if you pay to get things done faster you are making a situation worse and most people will say I do not pay bribes, but what about taxes. As an African have you been paying ALL your taxes? If not then you too are a part of the problems that plagues our nations. 

We love to say that politicians are corrupt but we the ordinary people that help corruption thrive then complain about how our country is terrible. In a developed country you cannot dream of bribing the police because taxes are paid to make sure that the regular police officers  do not need bribes is the same true in Africa? So ask yourself what have you done to make the situation better or worse. But that is a side issue let us get back to the lessons learnt. 

When you stand up to a bully at first it is hard because chances are they will continue to pick on you or they will even increase the terrible things that they are doing to you. But you just have to hold strong and know that eventually you hope that those around you learn from your courage and they will stand up against any bullies in the future. 

So what have I been taught by our leaders? 

  1. There are those that value money over true Black empowerment, give them time they will reveal themselves   
  2. If you believe something is right you have to be strong in your convictions and you have to be willing to say I think this is correct even at the risk of looking like a villain. 
  3. If you are Trump supporter trust there are other Trump supporters. You have to stand for what is right and let people know I agreed with giving land back to Black Africans regardless of the cost to Zimbabwe’s economy. 

Tigere Tese – Black Political Theory