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Will Zimbabwe ever reach a place where we don’t hero-worship the president?

by Tendai Ruben Mbofana

There was a time when someone asked me why I never joined active politics.

The answer to that could never be a simple one – since this is a very complex and complicated matter that may actually need an entire discourse.

At the top of the list of reasons, and probably the most obvious, is that politicians by their very nature are largely devious and deceptive characters

Their interest in active politics is driven, to a great extent, by their desire and craving for power as well as the control of resources.

Of course, the trappings that accompany those ambitions – such as wealth and a high status in society – are the icing on the cake.

In so doing, all the talk and even actual work in serving the population – as if they were genuinely concerned about our welfare and wellbeing – is usually mere pretense.

They have no choice.

This is all motivated by a ‘pesky’ stipulation required in most democracies for politicians and their political parties to fulfill their real objectives.

They need to be elected by the citizenry first!

Without winning the hearts and minds of the electorate – thereby winning elections and the desired public office – the door to those dreams of power, control of resources, wealth, and status is effectively closed.

I am quite convinced that, had elections not been necessary in the attainment of power, the term ‘the people’ would have never been a part of politicians or their political parties’ vocabulary.

Is that not why most of these politicians only remember their constituencies just before elections – having been forgotten for the past five years since the last one?

As a matter of fact, that is the reason some parliamentary and council candidates in Zimbabwe decided to remove or shut down their campaign donations or projects after losing the 23rd and 24th August harmonized elections.

Why discontinue these donations and projects if their motives were noble and genuine?

This is not the worst of it, though.

Since politicians are inspired by personal ambitions – and not those of ‘the people’ they claim to care about – they are never beneath resorting to the most deplorable and despicable means of achieving those dreams.

That is why there is so much backstabbing, mudslinging, lying, and even pure unadulterated brutality – as these politicians fight for power.

Surely, if this was all about ‘serving the people’, what reason would there be for all these power struggles and all manner of disdainful shenanigans?

Why would anyone even need to rig elections in order to win if their only desire was simply to ‘uplift the livelihoods of the citizenry’?

Let’s be honest, if two people truthfully wanted to help an elderly woman carry a heavy load, why would they end up trading blows just to be the one to assist her?

That would be the stuff for cartoons or some comedy skits!

Fortunately, I do not have it in me to be such a person.

My interest in social justice is birthed and founded on a sincere desire for the dignity and prosperity of the people of Zimbabwe.

In other words, it is impossible for me to lie, back-bite, mislead, fight, or even cheat – more so for an opportunity to supposedly ‘serve the people’.

I am already serving the people with my writings and in other ways that are honorable.

Nonetheless, there is another reason I have never been involved in active politics.

I can not, and will never be able to, hero-worship or bootlick another human being.

There is only one God for me – and that is Jehovah and His Son Christ Jesus.

It is rather sickening whenever I listen to people who sink to great depths in praising and glorifying, at every turn, their political leaders.

There is nothing I find so shameful and disgraceful, as it strips people of all their dignity.

I was watching the state broadcaster this evening, and I could feel my bile rise in my throat.

Honestly, do Zimbabweans have to thank and sing the praises of President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa for every little thing.

It is beyond belief and the boundaries of absurdity that we feel the need to exalt and evoke the name of Mnangagwa even after receiving food handouts from the government.

There are those who will extol the virtues of the president simply because they had a clinic constructed in their village.

At times I check international news channels to see if nationals of, for instance, South Africa, the USA, Britain, France, Australia, or others in the democratic world ever behave in such a disturbing manner.

I can not imagine, say Americans, singing and dancing in exaltation of President Joe Biden for a new road passing through a Whitefish (Montana) neighborhood.

Or, South Africans glorifying President Cyril Ramaphosa for a new classroom block built by the government in Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Some may be tempted to accuse these people of being ignorant and possibly semi-literate, predominantly rural folk – who have been forced into a Stockholm Syndrome mentality, where they now feel indebted to their oppressors.

Indeed, it is quite possible since it has been scientifically proven that captives may end up endearing themselves to and empathizing with their captor – most especially when he (captor) appears caring for his captives.

This may sound crazy, but it happens more often than most may want to believe.

In fact, that is exactly what we witness in Zimbabwe – where the poor and suffering actually support, glorify, and even defend the architects and authors of their misery.

However, this extends to other senior government and party officials.

There is nothing these officials will do or say without giving unrestrained and oftentimes quite bizarre praises to their leader Mnangagwa!

Every little thing that the government does is attributed to the ‘astute visionary leadership of His Excellency, the President, Cde Dr. Mnangagwa’!


Are we for real?

It is quite obvious that all these officials, in spite of their high learning, feel that they need to lick their leader’s boots so as to be retained in office.

They do not believe in their abilities and competencies but rely purely on currying favor through sycophancy.

Before those in the opposition are filled with excitement over this article, unfortunately, they are not excluded from this circus of the crazy.

I appear to have singled out Mnangagwa because, by virtue of being head of state, these incidents are more evident in the public glare. 

Let’s remember I said this was one of the reasons I have frowned against entering active politics – as such, this is not, by any means, confined to the ruling ZANU PF party.

There is no way I will be going around glorifying any leader – be it Mnangagwa, or opposition CCC’s Nelson Chamisa, or anyone else.

As far as I am concerned, leaders are meant to be held accountable by all of us.

It is not a sign of hatred or animosity when citizens question their leaders, particularly those elected into public office.

In fact, this is an obligation expected of each and every one of us as responsible citizens.

Quite frankly, despite what many who read my articles may assume, I do not harbor any personal ill-will towards Mnangagwa.

What I write is purely out of my responsibility to hold our leaders to account and make them answerable to the people they are supposed to serve.

I also do the same for the main opposition leader, Chamisa.

There is no way we can expect great leadership and the development of our nation when we do not keep those in power under close scrutiny.

Nonetheless, that is not possible when we treat these leaders as demigods who are infallible and beyond reproach.

Doing so is akin to public transport passengers who cheer on and even defend their over-speeding drunk driver!

Who will be the biggest losers at the end?

Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

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