GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, from where I stand, there is neither a new dispensation nor a second republic to talk about. As I see it, the late former President Robert Mugabe regime reneged on democratic tenets just as your current one.
As Job Sikhala ultimately walked from the incarceration he was subjected to, my mind went back to the ruthless intolerance which the opposition has always been shown by government and the ruling party. His fate is a progression of the highhanded rule which only a dictatorial regime can mete out.
Without mentioning the Gukurahundi atrocities, two senior Zimbabwe African People Union (Zapu) members Dumiso Dambengwa and Lookout Masuku were caged in the early 1980s on allegations that were spurious through and through. Their only crime was that of subscribing to alternative governance principles to those practised by the government.
Fast forward to 2003, the late firebrand political leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, the founding principal of the opposition party, Movement of Democratic Change, was detained, accused of treason. His co-accused Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela were subsequently discharged, leaving him to face trial on his own.
Although the allegations Tsvangirai faced could not be substantiated, even at face value, his ordeal went on for a year, only to be discharged by Justice Paddington Garwe in 2004, true to Nelson Mandela’s book titled, No Easy Walk To Freedom.
Your Excellency, when Nelson Chamisa recently publicly said he and his party were under siege, the words of the true liberation icon, Joshua Nkomo, “The hardest lesson of my life has come to me late. It is that a nation can win freedom without its people being free,” became a veritable substantiation of the state of politics and governance in Zimbabwe. I reckon there is neither second republic nor new dispensation to talk about.
Methinks Chamisa was by no means dramatising issues like a crybaby clamouring for attention. Rather, he was stating things as they were that his party was being haunted and hunted like prey.
Given that the shadowy Zanu-PF associate, Forever Associates Zimbabwe has no constitutional mandate to manage elections, his claims of being under siege were a genuine plea that the electoral arena was not amenable to credible polling. Little wonder, election observers without exception, concluded that the August 23 and 24 harmonised election failed the credibility test. It, therefore, stands out like a beacon that your government has zero credibility.
Your Excellency, in your state of the nation address on the eve of the World Aids Day, in December last year, you mentioned the quest to ramp up Zimbabwe’s reclamation of her influential position in world affairs. All things being equal, this is a remarkable quest to pursue.
Yet, as I see it, your government is its very own impediment to the noble quest to ramp up processes for Zimbabwe to reclaim her influential position in world affairs. In the words of the famed continental public speaker, Professor Lumumba, Zimbabwe needs political hygiene.
Methinks the transformation that is the prerequisite for the quest to be achieved is the inculcation of democratic ideals in their entity. Regrettably, there is evidence galore to confirm that democratic tenets are an anathema to your governance and political modus operandi.
It was small wonder that your invitation to the coronation of King Charles caused an uproar in the British Parliament. It set forth vehement protests, characterised by calls for the cancellation of the invitation, citing the clampdown of democratic space in the country.
In a candid protest letter to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development secretary, James Cleverly, they stated, “The coronation will inevitably be used by President Mnangagwa as tacit acceptance by the United Kingdom of publicly evidenced political violence and repression in the run-up to the forthcoming harmonised elections,” the gist of their concerns read.
It was, indeed, a national embarrassment as the House of Commons members argued and advocated for the cancellation of your invitation. It is my conviction that it was a massive demonstration of Dutch courage that you eventually attended the coronation. It must have been as dreadful as a visit to the dentist for you to attend, knowing that you were not welcome.
Their protest letter substantiated the grave concerns over the shrinking democratic space and government heavy-handedness that were also raised by various organisations, notably Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders.
Your Excellency, it is apparent that there is no second republic or new dispensation to evidence given that the former regime’s blood thirsty style of governance and politics is being replicated, despite your military orchestrated ascendancy to the Presidency.
Methinks the recent report by the World Health Organisation that Zimbabwe is experiencing the highest depression and suicide rates among adults compared to other African countries amply demonstrates the severity of consequences of an absence of freedom.
“Zimbabwe’s people experience higher rates of depression and suicide among older adults compared to other African countries. Mental health awareness was ignored and only to be initiated recently. The ignorance was evidenced by the slight budget that was allocated to to Mental health expenditure in which most of the funds did not cater for the desired purpose,” the gloomy report read.
Methinks the quest to ramp up Zimbabwe’s reclamation of her influential position in world affairs is jeopardised internally as opposed to the abused cliche of targeted economic sanctions. Duly, the country cannot be open for business on the backdrop of sham harmonised elections.
Your Excellency, with your readmission application to the Commonwealth still pending and with the withdrawal by the American government from the debt recovery talks, as I see it, it stem from the fact that there is neither second republic nor new dispensation to evidence.
Consequently, your quest for Zimbabwe’s reclamation of her influential position in world affairs warrants you to introspect.
Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public-speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist.