Being a leader is a huge responsibility that requires more than just enthusiasm and a love for leading others. Good leadership goes hand in hand with deep understanding and innovation. We need leaders who will take the Mthwakazi nation not where it wants to be but where it ought to be; from where we are to new and better confines. Integral to leadership is justice for, ‘By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.’—Proverbs 29:4
Delays on political progress in Mthwakazi are down to the fact that many want to be led and many believe and are waiting for born leaders to emerge from somewhere and take up leadership roles. The reality is different, research suggests that only about 30% of leadership is genetic, while 70% is a result of life lessons and experience.
It is thus our strongest belief that while there are valuable innate facets that distinguish one leader from the other or make some leaders stand out from others, the vast majority of attributes of a great leader are learnt; leaders are not born but made.
But who makes leaders? This is a deliberate but multifactorial societal construction; however, primarily leaders make themselves and leaders are made. This happens through various societal structures (formal and informal) that avail to individuals contextual models and/ or opportunities to learn, to understand, to obey, to listen, to follow, to be humble, to make objective decisions about presenting choices, to develop innovative ideas, etc. and develop skills for leadership roles.
Every society gets leaders it deserves; Mthwakazi is not any different, we have a responsibility to create strong checks and balances without hindering innovation within the political space. Our challenge is to set up a political space that will broaden public access to a large pool of talented individuals to leadership positions and equally allow a large pool of talent access to corridors of power. What we have observed in Zimbabwe is the privileged access to the corridors of power through family connections and something akin to an old boys’ network, this must be defined in its rightful terms – an abuse of power.
How we perceive leadership to be is fundamental to how we frame our political environment. Great leadership is about influence and not authority. As the Mthwakazi society we have the responsibility to create an environment that is conducive to and encourages the development of effective and innovative leaders.
If we are to progress we need individuals who will fully appreciate yet not necessarily embrace everything about the political space as it pertains today but will see beyond it, ably energise and motivate the rest of us to follow them and their progressive vision to a next and successful Mthwakazi environment.
The challenge to those committed to taking leadership roles in changing Mthwakazi is finding ways to support communities so that people everywhere can access the knowledge and tools that they need to actively participate in making the political transformations required for a better Mthwakazi.
Understand that before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself; it is about building your understanding of things, building your expertise, building a clarity around your vision, etc. When you become a leader, success is no longer about you but all about laying the groundwork for others’ success. It is about keeping the population believing and focused on the long-term goals and motivated to do all they can to achieve them.
There is a further serious point to be appreciated by anyone who wants to lead Mthwakazi; this is the point that specificity matters. You cannot be pro-Mthwakazi and be a member of either ZANU PF or the MDC because these two believe in managing than leading Mthwakazi. These organisations are believers in the majority rule that silences minorities; they believe in the universality of Zimbabwe based on who makes the majority of the population and they take this approach to politics to the detriment of the social and cultural fabric of a diverse Mthwakazi. The reality however, is that every place is different from every other place. If we are ever to hope that Mthwakazi will begin to live sustainably in place, we will have to remember specificity is everything.
It is critical that we understand that like other elements of survival leadership is learned and like any other subject, some students would be better than others at it. We have a responsibility as society to build an environment that allows the safe development of good leaders, that means a democratic setting for people to be innovative. Good leadership matters not only because it promotes growth and stability, but because it helps ensure prosperity, liberty, freedom, safety and security are widely shared. Broader access to education, talent and corridors of power regardless of background – social, tribe, race, religion, sex – plays a critical role in lifting communities out of poverty, in empowering women, and in helping build a sustainable and diversity conscious government system.