President Adv Nelson Chamisa has said that the biggest challenge facing Africa is the challenge of leadership but the MDC is giving Zimbabweans a fighting chance in the upcoming elections to avoid the country's citizens from sliding into the same trap of failed leadership.
In his Oxford Union address in the United Kingdom yesterday, where he charmed the crowd with his vision and novel policy programme for Zimbabwe, the people's leader said Africa had fallen into a severe crisis of leadership.
"Everything in Africa rises or falls with leadership. Once we get leadership right, everything else goes right. The shortage in Africa is not a shortage of resources, but a shortage in leadership which is manifesting itself in a shortage of many things. When you see diseases in Africa, you are not seeing disease but a death of leadership. How do we cure that? We cure it by making sure we put Zimbabwe on a path to a free and fair election. We have put certain benchmarks to achieve that free and fair election," he added.
The MDC and its Alliance partners have made 10 demands in their Plan and Environment for A Credible election in Zimbabwe (PEACE) document to ensure that the country holds truly free, fair and credible elections in the next few months.
"We are giving a fighting chance to the people of Zimbabwe as we go into this election. Why am I saying so? We are saying so because we know in any struggle we must be able to stand up and be counted and to define a narrative to which people have to come through. We did it before as a people. During the liberation struggle, we forgot about race, we forgot about class, we forgot about tribe, we forgot about all the other classes that may separate us to look at the great idea of liberation. We achieved that liberation," President Chamisa said.
He said it is sad that that struggle was checked halfway because of poor leadership and selfishness by those who assumed leadership after independence.
"Unfortunately, that liberation was checked halfway, why? Because of exhausted nationalism. Why? Because we had those who came into power failing to realize that occupying power is not for self-empowerment or self-entitlement. Title is not for the self but for others. We have not done things for others but for ourselves," he added.
He added that because of such attitudes towards leadership, Africa remains stuck in an era of extreme poverty for the majority of its people.
"This has been the biggest problem on the African continent. That when leaders assume positions of responsibility they forget that the primary objective is service and sacrifice. And they begin to think about themselves, building a parasitic elite that is focusing on self-aggrandizement at the expense of the populace. That is what we need to cure" he added.
He added that there has been change without change in Zimbabwe as the ‘new dispensation' was simply a reproduction of the old, tyrannical system. He said that he respected the young Mugabe but had reservations of the old Mugabe who betrayed the reason why he participated in the liberation struggle.
"I have a lot of respect of Robert Mugabe the young, though I do not have any respect for Robert Mugabe the old, because he betrayed the ideals of Robert Mugabe the young, who was a liberation icon. I suppose there is something wrong with age, but I don't think so. Age comes with wisdom, but for Mr. Mugabe, age came alone. And these are the things we want to make sure we are able to deal with.
The People's President, Nelson Chamisa was addressing students at the Oxford Union. The Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, England, whose membership is drawn primarily from the University of Oxford.
President Chamisa is in the UK where he addressed Zimbabweans in Bedford. He will take the opportunity of his presence in the UK to interact with Zimbabweans, UK government officials as well as address various think tanks.
He returns to Zimbabwe later this week.