Defining our corporate patriotism

HARARE - There are times when the sense of profligate entitlement among corporate heads of quasi-governmental institutions prompts ordinary people to ask for an intrinsic re-definition of patriotism.

Patriotism defines a habit of identifying oneself with a single unit nation and placing it beyond good and evil while recognising no other obligation than that of advancing its interest.

Fighting anything that puts one’s nation in harm’s way ought to become a patriot’s passion.

And patriotism boils down to self-introspection about what one can do for his country; not what the country can do for them; how one can advance the interests of a nation; not how one is easily tempted to abuse a leadership position for personal gain.

This tenet extends into the corporate world at this crucial moment when most companies and institutions are teetering on the brink of collapse but when most heads of such institutions seem unbothered by the precarious situation.

One such time is recent revelation of the obscene salaries that Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holding management awarded itself, when fellow workers were denied monthly wage entitlements and compelled to scrounge in order to survive.

Few still do not believe the decision to scale down their salaries by 40 percent is altruistic neither do they consider it as a gesture of goodwill but for absolution.

It is indefensible that most corporate executives have failed to grasp that deferring gratification until such time that the economy picks up could save most of the companies tottering on the brink of collapse and salvage the executives’ corporate patriotism.

To them, nothing can be allowed to come in the way of their executive entitlement and outlandish perks even if it means dragging companies further down into operational abyss; or rallying their subordinates to the barricades braying for their blood at company premises.

Such callous indifference to the fate of institutions and firms that executives are entrusted to superintend over and are their very source of livelihood as well as that of others exposes a disturbing lack of moral responsibility.

Quite how corporate leaders allow such sweeping lack of obligation to bounce off their conscience still remains a mystery to all rational Zimbabweans that look up to those in position of power and leadership to set examples of personal sacrifice.

The alarming revelations of a single corporate executive who creams off close to 14 percent of a loss-making holding company’s average monthly revenue as personal emolument seems to portray renegade corporate patriotism and flagrant incompetence for corporate leadership.

It is a harbinger of the corporate hurdles that proposals the ZimAsset blueprint enunciates could encounter in its much-vaunted prospects of lifting the nation out of the economic rut.

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