Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong in Zim

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Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana

DEAR Mr President,

Oftentimes, I ponder over your Presidency. Frankly, His Excellency, I do not locate in you the requisite philosophy of a leader who is sufficiently conscious that he is at the helm of a nation that is in a crucible, tormented by a multifaceted meltdown.

As I see it, there are no indications in you of an awakened mindset capable of prescribing socio-economic remedies. Already, everything that can go wrong is indeed going wrong under your watch. What particularly perplexes me is that I sense presidential inertia.

Much as I endeavour to gather myself, it actually becomes clearer to me that the country is stuck in the mire. It is evident that something fundamental is missing. Citizenry is restive, desperate for a distinct stabilising voice; one that is calming, yet decisive.

Methinks there is growing citizenry despondency, if not revulsion, at your din. Basically, all your mantras are a misnomer for clarion calls. They are indeed hollow and do not signal the dawn of an era. If anything, they are empty on substance.

What renders them and your campaign promises to be mere glib is that there is no clarity of the end which you aim and the means by which you intend to pursue that end. Consequently, I am haunted by flippant solutions for addressing the worsening meltdown.

After all, it needs no divination for all and sundry to recognise that Zimbabwe is anything, but open for business. Also, the said new dispensation is devoid of the aroma and sparkle of newness. Even when given the benefit of doubt, it is new in word but certainly, not in deed.

His Excellency, it is not in my nature to stand aloof from issues that pertain to my welfare. Whenever my wellbeing gets threatened, I henceforth become expressly compelled to let it be known that the rag is being pulled from underneath my feet. I react with the courage of a lover.

It is precisely for this reason that I will be regularly drawing your attention. Governance is dear and near to my heart, hence it is my plea that you bear with me. Essentially, I will be figuratively scratching your back and whispering a word or two into your ears, now and then.

In fact, this is a patriotic responsibility I dare not renege on. As I see it, it is well within the warm-hearted camaraderie spirit which led you to open the democratic window you credit yourself for opening. Also, given the listening President you self-claim, dialogue is indeed inevitable.

Admittedly, anxiety consumes me whenever I ponder over your Presidency. I was looking forward to a watershed era of national felicity, reconciliation and reconstruction. Sadly, my expectations on you henceforth on your assumption of office suffocated and died in the crib.

It was unimaginable to me that your Presidency would deem it worthwhile to revive urban public transportation by recalling retired buses which used to ply rural routes. Methinks a mindset that recalled these rattling buses is a clear dearth of leadership probity.

With all due respect, the strategy to brand ramshackle buses with a Zupco logo is utterly retrogressive. It is devoid of sobriety and virtue. It plainly exhibits disregard for the safety and comfort of commuters and other road users as well.

Also, the formation of the so-called Political Actors Dialogue is basically “nonsensical”. It is a grouping that unnecessarily crowds the presidential diary. It would be better off for the Presidency to pass time by kicking a can down the street than huddling with political nonenties who do not have seats in any of the contested chambers.

Elsewhere, history abounds with leaders who ascended to power during times of peril but redefined the destiny of their countries. One such leader is former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She is fondly remembered for transforming her country immediately and gradually.

Basically, all what such esteemed leaders as Thatcher did for them to be endearing was to rally their fellow citizenry across the political divide to specific accomplishments. They did the delicate balancing act of passionately appealing to all and sundry for unity in diversity.

Your Excellency, it is such noble ideals that I expected you to aspire towards. Yet, it has so far proven that I was prodigal with my expectations. It saddens me to watch the perpetual downward slide of living conditions as if the country was abandoned by an absentee landlord.

My heart grieves over the freewheeling policy you have adopted with China. It is worrisome, if not grievous, that Zimbabwe has virtually surrendered gloves, boots, overalls and helmets to the Asian giant. However, let me surmise that China has a soft spot for Zimbabwe.

Inevitably, having China to construct our Parliament building is unsettling in more ways than one. Given that Parliament is a major democratic institution, extensive citizenry debate and discussion must have preceded the giving a nod to China.

It is my submission that a leader with courtesy and consideration for his fellow citizenry has an obligation to apprise even yokels like me on developments that have far-reaching implications as that of the construction of Parliament building, not to mention other projects.

It is, therefore, no small matter that such a fundamental obligation was bypassed. I shudder to imagine the spectre of my government deliberating in a Parliament building in which citizenry participation in construction was basically spadework.

Obviously, the destiny of citizenry plays second fiddle to that of China. Zimbabwe can be said to have been reduced to a province of China. She is more or less mortgaged. Actually, China rendered you pliable. It is doubtful that she regards you as an equal partner.

Therefore, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that our sovereignty could be the opportunity cost of what China is bringing forth. Given the magnitude of dependence on China, chances are that we are destined for a new version of colonisation.

Commonly, harmony and concord between benefactor and beggar do not always travel for long down the mutual path. There will eventually be payback time. My years in the corporate world socialised me that everything has a price, even that which is commonly referred to as free lunch.

My concern is that Zimbabwe is headed for such an eventuality which founding US President George Washington presaged back then in 1796. He was wary that passionate attachment of one nation to another produces a variety of evils.

He warned against the evil of excessive attachment to a foreign nation. He cautioned that it could result in concessions to the favourite nation of privileges which potentially injure the nation making concessions by parting with what ought to have been retained.

As I see it, the evil of parting with what ought to have been retained cannot be ruled out, given incessant Chinese freebies. It has been for such likelihoods that Washington stated: “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political as possible.”

It suffices to endorse the wisdom of Washington with Jesus’ trademark affirmation, “he who has ears, let them hear.” Amid the partiality towards China, campaign promises of investment, indigenisation and empowerment are being sacrificed for remedies that are more baleful than the initial ailment.

Your Excellency, should you infer that my letter amounts to a vote of no confidence in you, that would be actually correct. My trust in your superintendence has waned. Frankly, I do not locate in you a mindset capable of remedying the ongoing socio-economic meltdown.

Cyprian M Ndawana is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and columnist. He writes in his personal capacity.

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