Editorial Comment: President Mugabe outlined the template
President Mugabe has once again spelt out the hallmarks of good leadership, defining what it takes to be a good leader and what his or her responsibilities are.
These are nuggets that people should bear in mind as they elect leaders at any given time, and words of wisdom that should also be taken into consideration by men and women who aspire to lead at whatever level.
The President’s remarks made during the unveiling of his sister Cde Bridget Mugabe’s tombstone come at a time the Zanu-PF Women and Youth leagues are gearing for their conferences next month.
They are also words of counsel, which should guide the ruling party’s cadres as they prepare for the December elective Congress.
President Mugabe defined a leader’s major traits: embodying qualities that identify himself/herself with the people and the willingness to make sacrifices that drive national objectives forward.
He also underscored an important element for successful leadership — love. “You need love with the family, love with the community, love that exceeds the narrow vicinity of village, cell district, province and other limits of the nation. Sacrificing, the struggle was about that.”
Selfless love and love for others irrespective of status is a major building block for anyone seeking to be a leader. Leaders should know, live and propagate this love for people.
Love does not impose itself on others but it should come naturally that a person loves everything that is Zimbabwean, including its people.
An aspiring leader who lacks this important value system — love — will not succeed. Their leadership will be a façade, not rooted in reality, which are the people they intend to lead.
If there is no rapport between the leader and his/her followers it will be like an unequally yoked pair or oil and water.
President Mugabe’s remarks also come on the back of people who want to assume leadership positions but with little understanding of what leadership entails.
For some of these people, the desire is self-centred where they would want to get the rich pickings from the leadership positions, while the people gain nothing.
Some of the people seeking leadership positions believe in a sense of self-entitlement where they benefit instead of ensuring that the people they lead are the major beneficiaries.
Failure to understand that a leader is a servant of the people has also led to a failure to realise that when you work for the people, they should not only benefit, but that if need be, you sacrifice all, including limb and life if need be. That’s leadership.
President Mugabe went on to say: “That is why we regard those who dedicated their lives in order to free us, to give us the freedom and Independence; those who died for the country, worked for the country, sacrificing so that we live a happy life in this country.
“They were above those who say ‘I want my kids to live a good life’. They dedicated their lives for the whole country to be free. That is why we say leadership should be like that, dedicated so that we continue to empower our people, to continue giving them ideas so that they empower themselves.
“Giving them a good living, empowering them: that is what our leaders should do. If you say, ‘I want people to work for me so that I get a status in community’, you would have lost track.”
Legacies are made out of these trademarks of good and preferred leadership.