Johannes Mudzengerere, chairman of the Institute of Directors, Zimbabwe (IoDZ) and managing director of Engen Zimbabwe, tells How we made it in Africa’s Tawanda Karombo that the country’s business people should become more active in influencing politics.
What challenges does the Zimbabwean operating environment pose for businesses, especially on the corporate governance side?
We do not take ownership and we are delegating our future to foreigners – it’s a wrong mindset as we do not believe that we can do it on our own, we think someone else has to do it for us. This kind of mindset is the single biggest challenge in our operating environment and this covers the entire spectrum of doing business, including corporate governance. We simply need to change as business leaders.
What would be your word of advice to current and aspiring Zimbabwean directors, especially against the backdrop of the unpredictable political environment?
Politics is part of our life and cannot be separated from business. It is important for company directors and business leaders to be involved in influencing our politics. We need to give direction to the full-time politicians. We are all politicians, the only difference being some are full-time and some are part-time.
What is your understanding of good corporate governance?
In simple terms it’s about corporates doing the right things in the right manner to ensure sustainable businesses. One cannot really separate good corporate governance from ethical behaviour at corporate level.
As chairman of the IoDZ, what would you say is the role of the organisation in fostering responsible corporate governance in Zimbabwe?
The IoDZ plays a big role in promoting and fostering good governance in the country. It provides a platform for company directors to network and discuss pertinent corporate governance issues which are crucial in accountability. The institute also provides corporate governance and related training to enable company directors and executives as well as aspiring company directors to manage their entities in a better manner.