AMHVoices: Open letter to Mirriam Majome

Miriam Tose Majome

DEAR Miriam,

Thank you very much for your most interesting article titled What are Zimbabweans known for, dealing with how Zimbabwe is perceived globally, largely due to our own media messages.

I partly agree with some of the reasoning behind your assertion, especially pertaining to that of some Zimbabweans who are heavily obsessed with unjustifiably denigrating our country at every turn, and an apparent enjoyment and celebration with anything negative affecting us.

This is, most certainly, very regrettable, and I do hope that your article manages to make all of us self-introspect as to the real effect and motives behind our actions and messages.

Nonetheless, criticising our perennially-bungling leadership is another cup of tea altogether.

I believe as Zimbabwe’s major stakeholders (the electorate and citizenry), who vote our leaders into office, we have an obligation and duty in holding them accountable, and always keeping them on their toes, especially when we believe that they are failing in their constitutional mandates.

Since you compared Zimbabweans’ behaviour against that of other seemingly “more patriotic” nationals, how would the world regard countries such as the United States (US), and the United Kingdom (UK), as their leaders are being castigated daily by their own people?

What day goes by without US President Donald Trump being blasted by the general populace, and most of the mainstream media — save for Fox News?

How was his “injecting antiseptic detergents” suggestion (to treat the novel coronavirus) received by the wider American populace?

Did the US mainstream media, and social media not have a field day ridiculing and mocking him?

The very fact that we, way over here in Zimbabwe, know of all these criticisms means that they are made loudly and clearly for the rest of the world to hear and know about.

Can we then accuse them of doing a disservice to their national image, or of being unpatriotic — when they are merely holding their leadership to account — as is expected of any responsible citizen?

In fact, who would be damaging the country’s reputation here — the people who dare harshly condemn the president’s apparently irresponsible actions and statements, or the president himself, who appears to bungle at every turn?

The same applies to Zimbabwe.

As much as I agree with you, some citizens have an apparent misguided habit of celebrating anything negative about our country — for instance, the misleading news reports over the drying up of the Victoria Falls.

However, most of our criticism towards our leaders is justifiable, understandable and obligatory, as they have managed to betray the nation’s trust at every turn.

They (leaders) themselves are, in fact, the ones embarrassing and denigrating our beautiful country through their propensity for irrational and chronic economic blundering, inherent and disgraceful corruption, and heinous and cold-blooded human rights abuses.

Are we then expected to silently and blindly overlook such unacceptable, despicable behaviour?

If anything, we are defending our country’s pride and reputation by condemning such treacherous and unpatriotic actions — on a daily basis, if need be.

If the world views Zimbabwe as a nation of brutal, corrupt and incompetent leaders, who is to blame for such a perception?

Is the citizenry that holds them accountable to blame? Or, is it solely the fault of the leaders themselves?

As a matter of fact, the international community laughs at and ridicules us for being so docile and agreeable to every whim by this regime.

They are always vexed by this, and often ask us why we are so cowardly and weak in the face of such kleptocracy, brutality and ineptitude.
That is the perception we are creating internationally.

Therefore, as much as I also disagree with all those fellow Zimbabweans who seem to find great joy in all our misfortunes, or even peddle negative news regarding our great nation, I, however, express my overwhelming and unequivocal support for all those citizens who are loudly and bravely exercising their democratic and constitutional rights (and obligation) to hold their elected officials answerable for their every actions — oftentimes at great risk of persecution.

Thus, if these same authorities mess up on a daily basis, then let us loudly condemn them daily, as that is what is expected of any responsible and patriotic citizen, who places the interests of his or her country ahead of anything else.

By Tendai Ruben Mbofana, Our Reader


  1. I think the reader here misunderstood the article. At no point does Miriam denounce freedom of speech or holding government to account. She does however stress the issue of our tendency to cut our nose to spite our face. As Zimbabweans we have a general tendency to bring in political arguments where they aren’t necessary.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Mbofana. In fact, I would go further and suggest that, if a leader finds the criticism unacceptable, then s/he if free to leave his/her position. If it is too hot in the kitchen, GET OUT.

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