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Mr President, people of good conscience will not remain silent

Opinion & Analysis
DEAR Mr President, It is my sincere hope that this letter finds you well. I am under no illusion that you are occupying a critical position, that of President of our nation.

DEAR Mr President,

It is my sincere hope that this letter finds you well. I am under no illusion that you are occupying a critical position, that of President of our nation.

As such, you have a smorgasbord of other positions whose authority is derived directly from your presidency. You are, therefore, a very important individual at home and abroad, our First citizen, Sir!

Your survival as our President, therefore, requires you to stay awake and alert. You have to be at the very best of your mental faculties because being a national leader is no child’s play.

Not only do I wish you good health, but also excellent mental health for sanity helps you to distinguish between rightful and wrongful political behaviour. This is necessary in the circumstances of our country, Your Excellency.

Socio-political and economic conditions continue to deteriorate under your watch, Mr President Sir, I know you must be under serious pressure at present as we battle the COVID-19 that has and is having devastating effects on our lives in this whole world.

Nonetheless, it is my hope that you will also pay attention to the accusations that your government uses a panoply of coercive tools to repress our freedoms and oppress your fellow citizens.

It would be redundant to bombard you with news of what recently happened to female opposition members, Cecilia Chimbiri, Joanah Mamombe and Netsai Marova, who all went through horrendous experiences of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Circumstantial evidence identifies our security forces as having been responsible for committing these heinous crimes, Mr President. Cruel and evil acts have no place in our nation Sir and you, of all people, should know better. As a father-figure, you could have protected those vulnerable ladies, Your Excellency.

Sir, you failed to exercise your role of President responsibly in this regard. In progressive nations, you would have resigned in shame. You seem, Your Excellency, to have no conscience at all.

Naturally, you would be surprised to receive an epistle from a nonentity, a person of no consequence like me, Your Excellency. This wasn’t my idea Sir.

But I found this to be a rare opportunity to write to our President on issues of national importance. I found this opportunity irresistibly seductive, Your Excellency.

I am not sure how much time you have at your disposal. But, I believe you will have a moment to interact with us through this column.

There is no direct way to reach you, at least from my perspective of being an individual of no importance, someone who is not as highly decorated as you are. For, Sir, how can I compare myself with people like you who survived the oppressor’s bullets?

I do not have any liberation war credentials. I wish my parents had been born and met earlier for my conception and birth to have taken place well before the outbreak of the liberation struggle. I would have loved to have been typically immersed in the thick and thin of the struggle so that, like your comrades, I would also proclaim with pride that this nation is indeed ours.

It came through the barrel of the gun and the gun indeed appears to have fortified your position ever since you usurped power from your late predecessor via what many described as a coup that fell short of a coup.

I also note that you are legally secure in your position, Your Excellency.

First, our legal and judicial institutions exculpated you from any wrongdoing. They justified that you, with the help of the military, had taken sound political action to obliterate the late Robert Mugabe’s stronghold on power. Without doubt, your predecessor had become a dotard as his physical and mental powers had visibly diminished. Second, our courts pronounced you the ultimate winner of the electoral contest that was mainly between you and Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the MDC Alliance. Most of us still question how you won that contest. That notwithstanding, you remain secure in your position, both politically and legally.

Developments in the MDC Alliance appear to be further solidifying your position. The opposition blames you for the leadership scramble that is tearing their party apart. We can only ask: To what end, Your Excellency?

Consider this to be an introductory letter, Sir. Henceforth, I am going to produce copious and elegant manuscripts addressed to you, Mr President. I am sure you are open to criticism. After all, aren’t you “as soft as wool”?

I am also morbidly aware that you enjoy ruling while most of us bark. If this letter has caused you considerable discomfort, please forgive me.

It is not my intention to make you angry or cause you any form of distress. I do not seek to undermine your authority, but I am contributing to a national discourse that seeks to improve our material conditions.

Sir, I hope through my letters, “to minister to the despairing and inspire hope in the hopeless” (Ellen G White). And I wish my fellow citizens to remember this: “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” (Thomas Jefferson).

Until next time, Goodbye Mr President!

Mutsa Murenje holds a PhD in social work from The University of Newcastle in Australia. He writes in his personal capacity.