One of The Sunday Mail’s online readers, posting on our website under the profile name Landela, recently said, “Small minds discuss succession, great minds discuss developmental ideas.”
It is a simple truth that many in Zimbabwe’s political classes are somehow grappling to appreciate at present.
Nathaniel Manheru, a columnist in our sister newspaper The Herald put it differently and perhaps more profoundly back in February 2013 when he concluded one of his installments thus: “After all, is it not a fact that without electoral success there can’t be any succession?”
Again, somehow our political classes struggle to wrap their minds around such a simple truth.
Those minds would rather obsess themselves with trivialities such as what coffee mug a person uses in their own home.
Too many people in our political classes consume themselves with scheming.
Admittedly, some of the scheming is quite brilliant and points to well-developed intellects fully consumed by an objective. But they are still driven by trivialities nonetheless.
It would be good to see all that masterful scheming being put to better use, such as turning around Zimbabwe’s economy.
For all the brilliance of the minds engaged in trivialities, it is amazing that they cannot grasp the simple truism that the best way to succeed is by succeeding.
After all, nothing succeeds like success.
So the best way to get yourself a shot at succeeding politically is to succeed at the most basic, practical level: by ensuring people have food, water, healthcare, accommodation, education and other such services and amenities.
Zimbabweans want to see champions of economic turnaround and not champions of political scheming that does not feed any mouth except that of the triviality-obsessed politician.
It is from those champions of economic turnaround that Zimbabweans will look for a successor. The people of this country want the successor to be a successful person and not some pretender who thinks that the long shadow he/she casts over the public sphere implies greatness.
(Besides, is it not true that the size of the shadow is not determined by the size of the object but rather by its positioning in relation to the light? It is an illusion, which is why even dwarves cast long shadows as their suns set.)
Which is why we are eagerly anticipating implementation of the Command Economy approach that we report on elsewhere in the pages of this week’s issue of The Sunday Mail.
There is much excitement already about Command Agriculture.
With Command Agriculture, Government simply went back to the basics and came up with a programme to support production so that the nation can feed itself.
Implementation has been watertight and even if one were to go by anecdotal evidence alone, there is little to none of the kind of abuse that was allowed to happen with past interventions designed to boost agricultural production.
There has been a seriousness to Command Agriculture that can only serve to inspire confidence of an economy that is starting to oil its cogs once more.
It also shows that we can do things right if we set our minds to it, and that we still have some in the political classes who genuinely aspire to President Mugabe’s vision for an empowered Zimbabwe that reaches a stage of prosperity that is different from the false wealth driven by corruption.
Of course there will always be shortcomings and gaps as is normal for fallible humanity, but at least we are well on the right track with Command Agriculture.
It therefore should not come as a surprise that Government is looking at ways of expanding the core concept of Command Agriculture to encompass other productive sectors of the economy.
Such an approach to mining is certainly workable, as it would also be workable — with the necessary sector-specific adjustments — were it to be applied to manufacturing, infrastructure rehabilitation and development, and other areas.
The challenge has been thrown to our political classes: will they rise to it or will they continue to be dwarves with long shadows as the sun inevitably sets?
The harmonised elections are coming and success in the economy will very well determine success elsewhere.
Let the people see a political class preoccupied with proving their worth by showing that they can get things done.
When this happens, there will be success all round: for ordinary people whose livelihoods will improve, and for politicians who want to succeed.