… as stakeholders embrace youth leadership
By Edward Dube
NEWLY appointed 21-year-old Headman Nduku in Zhombe Central Communal Lands, born Munashe Dube has promised to deliver on his mandate and inspire other youths to take leading roles in community development, Community Voices Zimbabwe (CVZ) can reveal.
In a ranging interview with CVZ, the youthful traditional leader indicated that the immediate task is to foster cohesion and consensus for his community and mark a departure from a past characterized by division, hate speech and discrimination. While appreciating his predecessor, John Dube who was acting headman for 15 years, the incumbent is geared towards spearheading inclusive development processes.
Nduku said he is going to take a lead in initiating development projects.
“I promise to work well with the people I lead in fixing the past mistakes and advance their aspirations. I also want to ensure food security, build schools, clinics, improve mobile network as well as road rehabilitation”, he said.
The youthful leader also said he will prioritize innovation programs and uniting the people. The greatest task beforehand, according to him, is to bring together people of different political persuasions and affliations in his area, who, of late were acutely polarised.
To resolve human occupation on the grazing lands, Nduku promised to take steps in relocating them to suitable settlement areas. The move is intended to protect forests, wetlands and rivers in Zhombe Communal Lands.
Headman Nduku promised not to meddle in political affairs, clarifying that as traditional leaders they must discharge their duties in an apolitical manner as provided for by the constitution. He said he will embrace his supposed enemies, including those who ill-treated him since childhood, saying he will leave it to God instead of taking revenge, adding that his main concern is peace to prevail in his area.
Using his personal upbringing which he described as defined by pain and sorrow, Nduku’s progressive mantra is ‘letting bygones be bygones’ reminiscent of former President Robert Mugabe’s post-independence reconciliation proclamation of ‘turning swords into ploughshares’. His approach, if it is anything to go by, sharply contradicts the general averse approach of traditional leaders in Zimbabwe. The youthful leader expressed his readiness to work with civil society organisations in stirring community development in his area.
“As of now, I don’t work with any NGOs, but my wish is to partner with them in development programmes. I will be so glad to find one.”
Community Voices Zimbabwe established from various sources that, Nduku’s reign has come against background of series of errors by his predecessor, John Dube who among other things, is alleged to have illegally resettled people in wetlands, and riverbanks, grabbing land from vulnerable villagers and selling it. Strangely, Nduku’s homestead is reported to have been demolished under the instruction of the former headman with his stand being sold to ‘desperate’ home seeker.
Dube stated that his personal life experience is instrumental in shaping his leadership style which, obviously, has to reflect the deliberate steps for inclusive development processes that caters for both the voice and needs of the vulnerable members in society.
“I will guided by the urgent need to provide for the elderly, the underprivileged and those living with disabilities. These people are at the “bottom of my heart”, he said
Renowned development practitioner in the Midlands Province and current Executive Director for the Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association, Mr Cornelia Selipiwe said all the development hopes and prospects the youthful headman is looking forward to champion are only possible when there is enough funding.
“His promises are good, they’re really juicy, but as a headman, does he have enough capacity to mobilise resources to come up with these projects he’s talking about.
“Everyone deployed in a certain role to play faces a lot of limitations and in this case financial constraints comes as his greatest limitation.
“It’s a good thing to be ambitious, but all the promised he (Munashe Dube) is making are only possible there is enough funding. A lot of funding is required to achieve his set goals. Zimbabwe as a whole is going through a lean spell economically, making it more difficult for him to secure funds for his projects. He’s actually a headman who is switched, despite the challenges in the country,” he said.
The Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) , a youth networking organisation committed to the full participation of young people in sustainable development through advocacy and capacity building of youth and youth organisations in Zimbabwe embraced the ascendancy of Dube to the position of Headman.
In an interview with CVZ , the Youth Advisor for YETT, Mr Taziwa Machiwana said, “We are very excited with news coming out of Zhombe of the appointment of 21year old Munashe Dube to be headman. We commissioned a study last year entitled, Youth: Driving force for National Leadership. The study revealed that there is very little youth representation in key in decision making spaces more so, in traditional leadership spaces. There is slightly an improvement in youth leadership in municipalities where we begin to see young councilors but if you look at the committees especially the key committees you see we still have a long way to go. We appreciate and acknowledge steps being taken by government to address this anomaly. We have engaged and presented our findings to government through the parent Ministry of Youth through the parent parliamentary portfolio committee.
“We are happy that we are starting to see progress towards meaningful youth leadership representation in these key decision making spaces so that we reach a stage where the leadership matrix in the country whether local government, national level and even in traditional leadership roles represent the make-up of our society. To the recently appointed 21year headman, we congratulate him and I would want him to urge him execute his mandate to the best of his abilities and to raise the flag of young people by being an icon of good leadership so that other young people can be inspired by him and see many young people taking up leadership positions”, said Machiwana.
The Junior Brigadier General, Dylan Chiponda weighed in saying time for youth leadership is now.
“It’s about time youths engage in leadership. Being a headman at 21 years in my view is not bad but if it was 18years I would say it unnecessarily exposes children to the hazards of such positions if not well groomed. For one to be a member of parliament one should be 21 and above and this latest appointment of Nduku is testimony that the law is real. I’m actually happy to see that the youth are rising and are on the verge of influencing national, regional and global leadership matrix”, he said