By Hopewell Chin’ono
I have spoken so many times about the importance of a leadership structure, which shouldn’t be confused with grassroots structures.
It is important for me to share with you my personal experiences that mad me realise the importance of leadership structures and make me continue to demand a leadership structure in CCC.
Sometimes the public needs to know why a person keeps repeating the same thing over and over again. In 2019 August, I was in England where I met a local mayor who offered to assist the Harare City Council with 10 used ambulances, and 10 used fire engines.
I immediately phoned Nelson Chamisa in the presence of that mayor and told him about this, Chamisa spoke to the mayor. All that was needed to be done was for the leadership structure of his party to get the process moving after an instruction from Nelson Chamisa.
I assured Chamisa that I would fundraise money to bring these vehicles to Harare because Zimbabweans in the UK would readily assist. I suggested that the vehicles be shared amongst the cities his party governed, and as such, you would ask diasporans from Kwekwe to fund for theirs to be shipped and the vehicle for Mutare would have its freight fees funded by diasporans who come from Mutare.
I suggested to him that this would give citizens a sense of ownership if they participated in getting their ambulances and fire engines home. Nothing was done, I explained that since I was not a member of his political party, I couldn’t get involved in governance issues. That offer died like that, there was nobody from the leadership to push it?
Chamisa is the President, he required and still requires people around him to help him, and this can only happen through a structured leadership. Last year I met a Zimbabwean heart surgeon based in Cape Town on a plane. He asked if he could take a selfie with me and I agreed as I always do.
He sent the selfie to my doctor, Dr Nyasha Maboreke whilst the plane was taxing preparing for take-off, and he showed me the WhatsApp message to Dr Maboreke, that is how I knew that he was a medical doctor. As our flight progressed, he told me that he was a Cardiovascular Surgeon, he is the man who told me that Zimbabwe didn’t have a single heart-by-pass machine at that time.
I asked him if he would come back home to practice if the machine was bought, he said that he would come back. When I came back home from Cape Town I called Chamisa and told him about this man. I suggested to him that I could fundraise for a Heart-by-Pass machine which costs only US$700,000, this would save lives.
I said to Chamisa that since his council was in charge of 2 major hospitals in Harare and 6 mini hospitals called Poly-Clinics across the city, he could set up a heart-by-pass machine at one of these hospitals, get the surgeon to come back to Harare where he could do his private work there, and in return he would do public work as a payment currency for using the heart-by-pass machine.
Nothing came out of it because there was no structured leadership with a qualified health person in place. Last year in April on a flight to Geneva, I met a Zimbabwean who works in California for a company that manufactures radiotherapy cancer treatment machines.
She got in touch with me weeks later and said that her company wanted to help after reading my tweets. Zimbabwe doesn’t have a single working radiotherapy cancer treatment machine in all its public hospitals. I wrote a paper for Nelson Chamisa and told him that this company said it wants to speak to his health advisory team, and not him because their discussion would be technical.
There was no such team or anyone skilled and tasked with dealing with healthcare matters. There is still NOBODY!!! I wrote in the paper that since the central government had failed to provide radiotherapy services, he could get this machine for free and have it fitted at one of the council hospitals.
The company said all that was needed was a service contract, I spoke about this to a Zimbabwean millionaire businessman and pleaded with his wife who is a mutual friend of Nelson Chamisa and mine. They were willing to listen, but it needed someone competent in health matters to motivate them.
But CCC doesn’t have such a person in its leadership structure, there is no leadership structure. I also spoke to a Zimbabwean Oncologist who spoke to the then mayor of Harare, Jacob Mafume. But because there was no Health shadow minister to push this, it just died too. Last year a Zimbabwean engineer for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) offered me 50 dialysis machines. She told me that it pained her that her people were dying when she could assist.
She told me that her colleagues from other countries were assisting their people back home. Again, I wrote a paper explaining to Chamisa that since the whole of Harare had only 9 dialysis machines, and since citizens were dying daily from kidney failure, his party needed to get onto this deal and implement it in the healthcare centres they controlled.
The dialysis machines were offered free, I also offered to pay for their freight. My doctor Nyasha Maboreke offered his building in town for free if the machines needed to be housed at one place. Two senior British embassy officials who came to see me at home offered to look at this and see if they could help since the machines would be coming from Britain. This was meant to save lives, this was all put in the paper, but nothing happened. Before the elections, I approached two Zimbabwean doctors, again my doctor Nyasha Maboreke and my High School classmate, Dr Godfrey Mungwadzi. I told them that I was pained about how poor people in Zimbabwe had no access to specialist heathcare. I proposed that they set up a team of senior doctors who would go into poor communities at weekends and offer specialist consultancy sercices. I offered to pay for the fuel and food for these doctors. Dr Maboreke and Dr Mungwadzi agreed and told me not to worry about paying for anything.
They said they would take care of everything, all I needed to do was organise how it would work. Again I put this on Nelson Chamisa’s doorstep, but nothing was done because he doesn’t have a structured leadership to implement things like this. He is the president of a political party , he can’t do everything! Nelson Chamisa is a decent guy, but without a leadership structure that can help him execute, nothing meaningful can be done.
These three examples amongst many are the reason why I have asked him to have a structured leadership that can push such programs. Running around shouting “Ngaapinde Hake Mukomana” when you are not asking leaders to be responsible creates a dysfunctional society where leaders are hero-worshiped and not asked to account for anything.
Making excuses for leaders instead of getting them to deliver is irresponsible citizenship. In 2019 I set up Save Our Hospitals as a citizen and put together a group of eminent Zimbabweans, I did this as a citizen and we managed to bring goods worth millions of dollars into our hospitals. But there are things that require institutional systems like radiotherapy cancer treatment machines.
I do not have a hospital to put them, but Nelson Chamisa and his councils have them, but as the Carlifornia company said, they require health specialists in structured positions to execute. A council in Britain can’t give 10 ambulances and 10 fire engines to a private citizen to take home, it required an institution, and that required skilled leadership tasked with handling that.
A company in California can’t give a radiotherapy machine to a journalist to take home, it required structured leadership to handle that. Some said I hate Chamisa, some even said that I am jealousy of Chamisa, why would I have brought all these things to him if I hated him or I was jealousy of him? Chamisa has been to my home countless times, but I could see that he needed people in his party who were skilled to handle specific tasks, and that is called Structure Leadership.
I am now stepping back from all this, Zimbabweans are not worried about having an alternative without structured leadership. As the saying goes, a people get the leadership they deserve, it is time for me to focus exclusively on my work and personal life.