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His Excellency, your promises trailed to nothing


DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

Your Excellency, in Genesis, a story is told of the Garden of Eden. It is said that in it, man does not have to work by the sweat of his brow to survive.

There is a tree of life located in the middle of the exquisite garden from which man may eat of all he wishes.
But, almost in the same breath, the story seems to contradict itself. Henceforth, it mentions yet another tree, the tree of knowledge of good and bad. Here, God instructs Adam in a do-or-die solemnity that as surely as he eats of its fruit, he will die.

This story of two trees, one of life and another one of knowledge of good and evil is a popular Sunday school topic. Methinks you were taught it as I was. My mentor, the late John Kapeta, underlined that it was a telling allegory of transcendent insights for cardinal virtue.

What adds spice to the story is the appearance of the serpent. After God and Adam had ended their conversation, which went on cordially, the serpent contradicted to Eve what God had told Adam. “You surely will not die,” slyly said the serpent. And, they ate at their peril.

Apparently, people reap what they sow. Since time immemorial, the fate of destruction and death is inevitable for people who stray beyond the tree of life. As I see it, whatever people ultimately become, be it individually or collectively, is traceable to the choices they made.

It is not mere coincidence that Jesus also affirmed the objective of bringing the Kingdom of heaven here on earth. He pleaded for the beauty and sufficiency of heaven to be replicated on earth. His prayer: “Let it be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” is indeed an earnest petition.

Methinks at the heart of this story sits the universal principles of accountability and responsibility. Each time I study this account, importance of obedience and diligence in caring for whatever providence places in my care gets driven deep into my personhood.

Also, I get the conviction that the imagery of the Garden of Eden is a portrayal of Zimbabwe. Given the beauty of her scenery and resourceful human and abundant natural resources, she is indeed a country of sufficiency. All things being equal, citizenry may eat all they wish.

Recent discovery of diamonds in Manicaland confirmed the riches bestowed on the country. Indeed, Zimbabwe is an earthly Garden of Eden.

Yet, sadly, citizenry wallow in poverty. His Excellency, it is due to fateful government choices that the country is in this socio-economic mire.

Over the years, government has been blaming a long list of imaginary enemies for impeding viability.

But, the basic truth is that its political choices have adverse effects on the economy. Like Adam, it transgresses God’s words, “You surely will die.” Yet, it blames others.

As I see it, citizenry should have had a day of national prayer and fasting for deliverance from untoward government policies than from coronavirus. True, divine intervention has power of transmutation.

But, methinks our prayer and fasting was a profanity, lip service.

Frankly, the challenges bedevilling Zimbabwe are homegrown. They are not from external forces, the so-called enemies of the State we talked about at rallies. Rather, they stem inherently from policies of government. All blame on third forces is platitude through and through.

Ever since the coronavirus went on the loose, the World Health Organisation (WHO) embarked on a round the clock enterprise to find remedies.

Although no cure has yet been found, the world health body promptly established effective preventive measures.
Given that some countries are already free from new cases of attacks, indeed, prayer and fasting no longer suffice as a strategy.

With all due respect to divine intervention, it is devoid of wisdom for anyone to darken heavenly doors when solutions are available.

It, therefore, deserves ridicule for government to adopt such a strategy amid the presence of the ongoing roll out of effectual scientific remedies.

It is indeed an indication of a stranded government, one that is kicking and punching air at the end of its wits.
His Excellency, the statement by Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube to the politburo that he was no magician runs contrary to your ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra.

Although he was sufficiently frank in his admission that the economy was in dire straits, his retort that he was not a magician was an underscore that he had resigned to fate.

It was unimaginable for one responsible for economic policy to be that much apathetic.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangundya also cast doom on the economy. Like Ncube, he too is resigned to fate, drifting wherever winds or waves take him.

His lamentation that the economy is manipulated by a ghost confirms that he is sapped beyond revitalisation.

It is apparent that both statements have a gross negative impact on prospective investors.

It is a premonition that the two uppermost officials at the coalface of national economic development could both be simultaneously under cloudbursts of resignation and dismay.

If public office was a football match, fans could be whistling for the substitution of Ncube and Mangudya. Inherent in their statements is apparent evidence of malaise, if not lassitude.

The duo has become mere hostages to fortune.

As I see it, they dissociated themselves from Treasury. Consequently, diminishing returns set in with each day they remain in office. Methinks their still being in office constitutes dereliction of responsibilty on the appointing authority.

Yet, amid the minister and governor’s publicly expressed doleful sentiments, alas, the Presidency was not fazed.
Instead, it was business as usual, devoutly counting down to what turned out to be an insipid day of national prayer and fasting against the coronavirus.

It is my conviction that the demise of the economy is traceable to choices government makes notwithstanding its lack of accountability.

Little wonder, inflation is ruling the roost; earnings are eroded, fuel stations are dry and prices of basic goods and services are skyrocketing.

Government forfeited the role of managing exchange rates to informal money changers. And, in the absence of effectual monetary policies, the market dollarised itself, rendering bond notes worthless.

Yet, no one is of sufficient probity to be accountable. His Excellency, the way your Presidency is panning out overwhelms me.

What particularly aggrieves me is that you are yet to awaken to the fateful reality that your four decades in government have culminated in this inconceivable socio-economic meltdown.

Methinks a parabolic inscription I read on a grave is seasonable. It compelled me to pen this open letter. It reads: “There will come a time when man shall awaken from his lofty dream, and find his dream still there, and that nothing has gone, save for his sleep.”

When a man awakens from his lofty dream to find that nothing has gone save for his sleep, it is affirmation that he has reached his mortal limits.

His Excellency, I implore you to awaken from your lofty dream. As I see it, sadly, your campaign promises already trailed away to nothing.

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

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