Tackling the unemployment condition in Zimbabwe.

The principle of service is senior to everything, including the governing authorities. The phenomenon of unemployment is due to the inability to apply the principle of service as senior to everything. Our guiding vector, ought to be Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. When Jesus walked on this planet, who was His employer? With that question in mind, we can chart a path that provides answers to all problems of unemployment, leading to the current desperation.

This world needs people who serve, more than those needing service. What prevails are more people needing service than those serving. The greatest miracle would be the reversal so that those serving could outnumber those in need of service. There is nothing wrong with being served, as those desiring to serve wish that there were more people in need of service. The elderly, the sick and the disabled are among those in desperate need of service.

However, due to commercialization, service is accorded in exchange for remuneration. This brings us to the phenomenon of the high unemployment rate in our country. The unemployed are aplenty, yet those in need of service are also aplenty. Those needing service are ever complaining of there not being people who can serve them. Yet those capable of providing service remain in need of being granted the opportunity to serve so that they could be paid for their services.

This describes the problem of humanity. The net effect is in receiving, rather than giving. There is a solution to this problem. But before attending to the solution, let us first deal with the meaning of life. One finds him/herself alive in this world, after being born. Others are born in families that easily provide for their upkeep. Yet others are born in precariously, unlivable conditions.

Everyone needs survival, as long as living on this planet. To fend for themselves, those born in apparent unlivable conditions, require providing service to other people. These are different from those born among families that are able to provide for their livelihoods. Life, itself, becomes life when the organism is in motion, provided by energy.

Zimbabwe's Unemployment Rate Hits 95%

That happens to be the only condition by which life manifests, rather than the condition of static. When permanently static, the organism is pronounced dead. The inability to work exposes a person towards death. This is another reason why those retiring from employment deteriorate faster towards death. The principle of life, therefore, requires activity. Without activity, there is no life.

Consequently, life is life, only when there is activity. An organism can still survive, as long as some of its limbs continue functioning. Others remain bed-ridden for a long time, after having been struck by stroke, yet still alive. The organism lives on, as long as some of its limbs continue functioning. But that means more work for the functioning limbs.

In other words, if my right hand is not functioning, that means my left-hand performs what my right-hand would, otherwise, perform. For survival, my left hand is exposed to working harder. This is common sense. My survival continues, as long as my other limbs still function. This analogy applies to the livingness of humanity, just as it applies to an organization.

The irregularity in few people offering service, against the bigger number of those needing service is common. Such irregularities are caused by many factors, the greatest of which is unemployment. In Zimbabwe, the unemployment rate is projected as over ninety-five percent of the population. This can be described as signaling a nation in intensive care. Under those circumstances, the functional limbs cannot sustain the burden of the comatose body anymore.

The life of a nation is sustained by the working people. The Trade Unions’ outcry is directed to the governing authorities, as expected to craft policies that enable the creation of employment. There is, however, what is called informal employment—the implication of which could provide answers, one way or the other. The formal employment enables the governing authorities to collect taxes, thereby, attending to administrative responsibilities. This becomes impossible under informal employment.

The governing apparatus includes security, law and order, health care, education, and many others. These cannot be catered for, under the informal arrangement. A properly run government could, actually, handle such responsibilities, providing the required security. This is impossible with a government in intensive care. Quick solutions become necessary to resuscitate it from its imminent demise, signaling the death of a civilization, including its people.

Of course, the demise would be attributed to wrong policies in running a government. But that government was installed by people, themselves. The introspection should, therefore, be on people, not those in government, necessarily. Everything starts with each person asking himself, the question on what service is given, towards other people. The value of an individual is in the ability to serve.

The issue of unemployment is answered when each individual answers this landmark question. What value does one give to his fellow-men? This has got nothing to do with the question of what other people do to one. Benefitting others is what makes him valuable. This is like one of the limbs of the body beginning to show signs of motion through energy.

People have different skills. For the sake of illustration, let us use a game of soccer, requiring a team of professional players. As long as potentially good players are not coordinated, nothing materializes. The services of a good communicator would, therefore, be necessary. That person could link up with best footballers, around the country, before a skilled coach could then organize a formidable team.

The aspect of remuneration is out of the question, at that stage, as everyone starts at zero. But those footballers would be united by one thing—passion for playing football. Their zeal and interest in playing football are what drives them, as talented in playing football. As to how long it would take before being accorded the professional status, depends on their commitment and dedication.

Nevertheless, those footballers sacrifice a great deal, in order to professionally develop themselves in the business of playing football. There appears to be a law, requiring sacrifice, before receiving income. In other words, before reaping, one needs sowing, cultivation, and waiting for the harvest. Professionalism enables good remuneration at the end.

Footballers become professionals when committing themselves to discipline, before preoccupation with issues of remuneration. The same applies to other professions. The government and sponsors are known to come aboard, only after observing successes on the ground. Professional footballers, therefore, sponsor themselves—spurred by talents and passion to play soccer.

Using football as an example does not mean limiting such initiatives to sporting activities. The most important cognition is that we are all created with different talents and abilities. The only time a person fails is when not doing that which the person was created to be. Everything starts with the individual, desiring to be of service to others. See [Is it necessary to teach another person to be good?].

Another important factor is that service is another form of sacrifice. The person concerned does not require being served before serving. If the ninety-five percent of the population wait, as needing service, that means waiting forever. They would be in need of service that would not be offered by anyone. It is not even necessary to blame the government, under those circumstances. This has been the quandary, affecting the youth, in particular.

But, instead of being the effect, the youths can take the responsibility to put in place a highly effective mechanism to generate employment.  It should be noted that among the ninety-five percent of the unemployed youths, a big number of them are informally employed. This enables survival under these difficult conditions. The point is that there is a need to come up with workable innovations, rather than continuing to place hope on a failed government.

The alternative is revolting, yet detrimental to everyone. The only workable solution, under the circumstances, is for youths to take responsibility and come up with workable solutions. Others have resorted to criminal activities, due to joblessness. However, when reconditioning the mindset towards principles of service, those youths could initiate a different civilization, bypassing a corrupt system.

Survival requires providing service, which is senior to being served. The more one requires being served, the more problems one creates for himself. Such problems vanish by the same proportion that one focuses on serving others. There will always be people needing service. It is a question of there being more people serving than in need of service.

This sounds like advocating for informal employment, thereby leaving governance unattended? A government is catered for by those providing services. What has been misunderstood, all along, has been separating the government from the people providing service. Many people, especially in rural areas, assume that a government is separate from them. To them, the government is a god, making this the only reason why they idolize politicians.

The provision of democracy enables the principle of service. What is happening is that we have people aspiring to become politicians, for purposes of receiving, rather than for purposes of service. The only reason that causes death to an organism is incapacitation. One can purchase the most beautiful car and park it. As long as that beautiful car would not be on the road, it would be as good as a wreck.

This is why service is senior to everything. Any person who takes comfort in being served would, actually, be junior to those who serve him. Most people are not aware of this truism, but get surprised when observing what has become of Zimbabwe. Jesus put this aptly:

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Matthew 20:25-28) (NIV).

Interestingly, most readers would attest to having reverence for Jesus—taking Him to be Lord in their lives. But it seems they do not realize that what makes Jesus Lord is what He, actually, said in verse 28: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” No-one can serve Jesus. Before leaving, He taught His disciples the principle of service that they ought to have adopted as a culture.

“So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you’ (John 13:4:10) (NIV).

This shows a Peter still struggling to shade off the idea that those serving others are junior. Like our failed state, Peter had all along held to the error of all ages. What Jesus did, demonstrated the principle of service. Those assuming to be followers of Jesus ought to know better.

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me “Teacher” and “Lord,” and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you’” (John 13:12-15) (NIV).

Nothing else shows the principle that eliminates all prevailing problems in our country. Any person engaging in service becomes a senior to everyone. This has got nothing to do with the car that the person drives or his palatial residence. It’s about service. The more the person serves, the more he becomes senior, regardless of accorded status in this world.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.

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