Don’t shoot the critic

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OPINION

BLACK  EDWARD

IN order to solve our problems we have to first identify them, but we human beings have an inherent flaw of not being able to give ourselves an accurate self-evaluation more often than not, so who else is better placed to rightly pick out our shortcomings other than our critics?

Simply put: We benefit a lot from constructive criticism, as it enables us to spot our faults and come up with possible solutions.

Now and again, I pray that our leaders humbly accept criticism and not become defensive or, even worse, attack their critics. Shortcomings can’t be defended and attacks won’t make them disappear.

There’s no doubt that it takes an enlightened leadership to realise that a government can’t operate optimally without critics constantly checking its performance, coming up with contrary views and compiling reports. The onus falls on the leadership to read those reports, analyse them and take corrective measures.

Leaders must understand that critics are not the “bad dudes” and shouldn’t be treated as enemies of the State. Actually it is the bootlickers who are the bad dudes. In fact critics are a blessing, who — if their views are taken positively — will help in getting to the root of the issues being raised and add value to the performance of the leadership.

Any government, anywhere in the world, has to be questioned on its decisions. When quizzed, it mustn’t jump to conclude that the motive is to destabilise it. Critics help in preventing chaos in a country as they push its leadership to pay attention to good governance and transparency as well as establish a tight system of checks and balances.

The leaders, therefore, should allow the critics to clarify issues they raise and give specific examples. That way they will be able to process the information and share their perspective.

The State will attract unnecessary international attention by snubbing constructive criticism. Our re-engagement drive with the West and international financiers will lose momentum if adverse reports are not dealt with and our mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business” will suffer further, giving ammunition to those who advocate continuation of sanctions.

The Daily News on Sunday and its sister paper the Daily News always give acres of space to critics to air their views.

The leadership shouldn’t pay a blind eye to these reports. Recently the focus of some critics was on human rights and the two publications did an excellent job in capturing the gist of the reports. The critics addressed the issue of

Zimbabweans exposed to the alleged abuse from the-powers-that-be. They focused on the need for ordinary people to become empowered. Rights groups have accused the government of suppressing people’s freedom through the alleged use of brute force.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) revealed in a report that more than 4 000 cases of human rights violations were recorded in June.

In its report, the human rights watchdog indicated that in addition to worsening economic conditions in the country, citizens were being subjected to rights violations under the pretext of enforcing lockdown regulations.

Recently, United Nations (UN) experts slammed the government over its reported pattern of disappearances and torture, saying that they appear to be aimed at suppressing protests and dissent.

The ZPP further said that the rights violations witnessed in June were an indication that Zimbabwe was sliding into full autocracy, characterised by artless arrests and abductions.

The UN special rapporteur on rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Clement Voule, presented a report to the Human Rights Council alleging the government is failing to implement sound economic and political reforms, while shrinking the country’s democratic space.

Voule visited the country last year, on the government’s invitation to assess the level of enjoyment of the rights to freedom of assembly and participation.

He presented his findings to the Human Rights Council, which indicated that more needed to be done to promote the right to assembly, association and democratic participation in the country.

Let’s embrace criticism in a bid to spruce up the image of Zimbabwe, which is viewed unfavourably by international investors.

 

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