(1) Ladies and Gentlemen, to begin with, I wonder why we are looking at 2040 when we are failing to address the issues of today. Why are we resigning ourselves to 31 years from now when we should be laying the foundations that will determine the successes of the future we are looking at? Are we being serious?

Let us have an approach that is intended to solve the crisis in which Zimbabwe finds itself.

Our nation is going through massive problems that seem insoluble. Yet if we collectively work together as a nation, we should be able to provide the necessary solutions needed to lift our economy from the problems it finds itself in.

If I may ask this question – are we really serious about nation building? If we are, today marks the beginning of providing collective solutions that should lead us to greater successes as we visualise 2040.

As I see it, the provisions of laying sound foundations for the future do not lie in government alone – they lie in what we can do together as a people. The problems we are going through cannot and should not be left to one individual, or one group of individuals or one party or parties but it should be faced by the nation as a whole.

(2) Let us not forget that “a nation without a vision perishes” and so we need to define what is meant by a vision. My humble understanding of a vision is that a vision lays the practical direction that should be followed in examining the progress and successes of what we consider as our future. My way of thinking tells me that the power of vision when translated into practical terms should be seen in its productiveness and in its application.
If it does not produce practical and productive results, then it is an illusion.

In my life experience I have observed many visionaries who simply see things as if they are seeing a mirage. That is to say, the pictures they perceive as a vision are just mid-night dreams that can be described as phantoms.

I want to repeat – any nation which is not guided by a practical and productive vision perishes. Zimbabwe has perished because most of what we have been calling economic visions have been mid-night dreams that cannot be translated into practical terms. 

(3) If my memory serves me well, I remember a number of economic plans and economic revival strategies that we had imagined as being productive and progressive and yet they amounted to nothing. As a result, they have been consigned to libraries of history that researchers may spend their time on.

Are we not still walking the same route of self-deception and nothingness? Fellow countrymen, let’s revise the way we perceive our political and economic way forward.

From 1980 to today as I speak, what sound socio-economic and political frameworks have we provided for the present day? Let us look back to see whether or not we have produced sound, visible, practical and lasting results in the development of this country.

As of now where are we? Our socio-economic and political framework has perished. Our currency has collapsed. It has dried up as a well without water. What have we done to cause this situation? We are now using other countries’ currencies!

May I appeal to our consciences? Why did we fight a liberation war? Did we go to war so that we can destroy our country and bring to zero what colonisers had done for this country? I am not condoning colonialism but wisdom would have us build on what was of benefit to us instead of destroying it.

Again I would like to ask the following questions – if possible all of us should ponder on the answers:

a) Did we go to war for self enrichment at the expense of the nation?
b) Did we go to war so that we the leadership can loot the country?
c) Is the country not on the floor and our people struggling as they are?

Let us not forget that there is a generation of intelligent young boys and girls whose future has been permanently destroyed because of our selfish actions. What a tragedy!

d) Can we honestly say the wealth we have accumulated as leadership is truly justified?

e) Are we in leadership to serve the nation or to take advantage of position and use it for personal gain?

Once again let us ponder on these questions and make amends where we need to for the good of ailing Zimbabwe. I am certain as we do this, the God of Heaven will come on our side and bring healing to this nation. Please let us reflect as we look to 2040.

(4) Ladies and Gentlemen, if the truth be told, I honestly believe we are our own enemies not Britain, America or the EU and therefore, the solutions to nation building and economic recovery do not lie with outsiders but with us collectively. We need to deeply and genuinely self-introspect and clearly see our contribution to this demise as leaders. Unless we address ourselves squarely and ruthlessly, I believe we are not serious with nation building. We are merely philosophising and in the process rendering ourselves obsolete and unworthy to lead this nation.

We need ubuntu, hunu as a guide to our leadership. I want to repeat: We need ubuntu – hunu among those who find themselves in positions of leadership.

We need to close the door behind us and criticize each other in a spirit of nation building. Correct each other’s mistakes so that something positive comes out for the good of all.

We need to set up proper national structures and institutions that go beyond individual personalities and the present practice of hero worshipping a leader or leaders. Zimbabwe needs to arise and put structural and institutional frameworks that allow self-perpetuation of leadership of integrity that will serve this nation with excellence, without fear and intimidation. Here I am talking of structures and institutions that recognise the dignity of all Zimbabweans and their right to fulfill their God-given destinies as they serve this nation without fear and intimidation.

I want to observe and believe that we have a wealth of potential leaders in this country who are being oppressed and intimidated to the nation’s detriment. Zimbabwe needs a future. In fact, in my view, most of Africa needs a productive and mature leadership.

Politics evolve. Nations and societies have evolved from the dark ages to the present period of enlightenment. Has Zimbabwe not retrogressed? One person or a group of people have seen themselves as the only ones possessing the visions and answers to our development.

We are responsible for our own destruction because we have allowed one individual, one party to run this country for 29 unproductive years. These have been years of self-enrichment by some at the expense of the majority. This one party, one leader mentality must stop forthwith so that others may play their part. I must say I am happy that I see that there is as of now eight opposition political parties in existence namely:

1) MDC-T
2) MDC Mutambara
3) The resurrected ZAPU
4) Makoni/Mavambo
5) Puma
6) Zanu-Ndonga
7) UPP
8) Zapu-FP

This is very healthy. If all of you lose in the next election, then blame no one but yourselves for the chaos we are living in. I am not excluding myself from this chaos in which we are in. Indeed it is not my intention to individually exercise a critical eye. I want to believe I had a role in the collapse and destruction of this country. If you want to know what negative role I played, please invite me to another meeting where I will explain the negative role I am referring to.

(5) May I propose that what we need are selfless leaders who dedicate themselves to lifting up this country from the massive problems it finds itself in. The killer-poison has been the leadership. I repeat the killer-poison has been the leadership. I believe that what we need for the future well-being of this country is leadership that knows when to call it a day and hand over the baton to others.

We need leaders who are not afraid to retire from the political limelight. This is Africa’s dilemma. In this regard I salute the former President Thabo Mbeki who when asked to resign by his party, complied. I also salute former President Nelson Mandela who voluntarily retired after one term in office. President Julius Nyerere is yet another example – upon realisation and acknowledgement that his programme of Ujamaa had not produced results, voluntarily retired from the Presidency without fear and handed over the baton to young and vibrant leadership. As a result, Tanzania is prosperous. Leadership change is very healthy for democracy and development.

Let us consider the countries around us – Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and indeed Mozambique. Are they in a situation in which Zimbabwe finds itself? All of them have had problems in the past and yet they are now in the direction of prosperity because all of them have had new leadership. How do we compare with these countries? Do we compare ourselves favourably or unfavourably? If unfavourably, then we need to do something to improve our situation.

We left family and friends and spent years in detention and prosecuting the war of liberation:

• Was it to later kill our own people?
• Was it to later stifle democracy (one man one vote – which was our slogan among others)?
• Was it to later engage in tribal colonialisation?
• Was it to later imprison and dehumanise our own people?

(6) Ladies and gentlemen, I see that a new constitution is being developed. In developing this constitution, we should not forget to put a check on the authority and power that has been given to the office of Head of State (President).

Authority and power should be guarded against being used for personal aggrandisement. It should be equitably distributed between parliament, the judiciary, cabinet and other administrative organs of the state. In my view, let us go back to the Banana/Mugabe situation where the President did not have to himself all the executive powers.

May I propose that the foundation of the oncoming constitutional arrangement should be dual in nature and operation. That is to say, we should have a Head of State and Prime Minister who share these executive powers with a strong cabinet that objectively examines proposals and issues that are put before it without fear.

True independence is when men and women in positions of leadership are allowed to express themselves freely without fear of repercussions. One gets the feeling our leaders are so afraid. Many good men and women have been corrupted by the systems currently in place. Their spirits are broken. They have lost their soul and deep inside are so sad. Their spines have been broken. They can no longer be what God intended them to be. They can no longer genuinely serve this nation as they should under God given inspiration.

“Unless God builds a nation, they labour in vain that build it.” Leaders in this nation can no longer lead according to their consciences. We destroy and corrupt leadership when there is intolerance of dissenting views, when truth and objectivity is no longer the norm. When leadership is corrupt and has a master/s to please, then the nation has no hope. Evil men will sneak in and destroy the nation for selfish gain. Let us develop systems that encourage and develop good and fearless leadership.

When we started politics, we were fearless. We spoke freely. We criticised freely. We spoke from the heart. There was no hypocrisy. Things moved. Zimbabwe what has gone wrong?

We did not kill and maim our own – let alone others unless in a state of war. We had respect for human life and dignity – hence the policy of reconciliation at independence. Where did it all go wrong for us? Was it greed on our part? Was it clandestine agendas against our own and each other?

We need to understand the mistakes of the past that have landed us thus far in order to avoid the misfortunes of the future. We are talking vision 2040. We need good and solid foundations on which to build. There is no meaningful vision worth its salt without redressing the mistakes now. Or are the mistakes intended?

(7) I believe our new constitution should also allow Parliament to:

• operate objectively without fear
• examine relevant issues
• be given the power to vote out the Head of State and Prime Minister when it feels they are usurping their authority and undermining the people’s freedom of expression and right to good governance.

There should also be strong and well designated provincial governments with their own Prime Ministers and Cabinet to administer the affairs of their regions. Personally I visualise a situation where-in there are four provinces namely:

1. Manicaland
2. Mashonaland
3. Masvingo
4. Matebeleland

These should form the basis of provincial governments so that no one tribe has the monopoly to exercise executive and political power over other tribes as is the situation in the present set up. What this means is that there should be meaningful devolution of power given to these four provinces.

I note with sadness that there has been an abuse of other tribes by one tribe. This tribe has entrenched itself in all key institutions of power and has even put itself above party politics. Many have blindly followed and to this day have no real appreciation of what is going on in this country. How can the God of Heaven bless us as a nation when there is such treachery?

Some provinces have been totally marginalised, insulted and abused. There is no way we can remove this perceived abuse of power without redistributing these powers to provincial assemblies.

(8) In conclusion, I am sorry if I have pricked certain feelings but I cannot find it in my heart to hypocritically discuss vision 2040 without addressing the above issues which I think are of fundamental importance in laying the proper foundations for moving this country forward. Perhaps the South African model is an appropriate model for us to examine and learn lessons from.

There is power in diversity if well managed and if hearts are sincere, one to another. I fought a cause in my youth and genuinely so but have been left wondering whether we were truly sincere one to another. Unless there is equitable distribution of power and authority, there can be no lasting socio-economic and political development of this nation.

I love you all.
Let the truth be told.
I thank you.

Enos Nkala is one of the founders of the Zimbabwe African National Union and served as Minister in various portfolios after independence