HomeOpinion & AnalysisMr President: Are you not kicking the can down the road?

Mr President: Are you not kicking the can down the road?


Goodday Mr President:Rashweat Mukundu

Dear President ED Mnangagwa,
Your Excellency, I hope I find you well. The political script playing out in Zimbabwe is quite familiar not only to me, but many other citizens now fed up with the never ending economic and political crises.

Zimbabwe marked a milestone 40 years since the removal of the colonial yoke, but you and I will agree that nearly half if not more of those years have been lost to political and economic crises with little if any focus on national development. You said so in one of your trips to China as Vice-President that Zimbabwe had lost nearly 20 years in which much could have been achieved.

Upon your return from the short exile in November to December 2017, you spoke greatly at the Zanu PF HQ about your vision. Do you still have those notes your Excellency so that they can remind you of what you set out to do?

Amid some hope in 2017, I saw a man relieved of the burden of living outside Zimbabwe at such an advanced age, and a man haunted by the events of the past few weeks. This fear that you had your Excellency is what the ordinary citizen has experienced for much of the time under Zanu PF and unfortunately worsening under your current leadership.

The 2017 speech brought out the best in your humanity which unfortunately has been eroded by events from 2018 to date, most notable being the 2018 and 2019 shooting of civilians which your acting party spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa wore as a badge of honour, a few weeks back, threatening more of the same should citizens dare to challenge your government on the streets.

The 2018 and 2019 shootings which your government brushed off, the many abductions that have taken place over the years which your bureaucrats blame on the opposition and so-called third force have all the hallmarks of a man who has a short memory, hounded by Mugabe, only to return and pick from where Mugabe left.

Have you reflected on the events of the past few months in which your government had political rivals abducted, and tortured including an MP Joanah Mamombe, councillors and hundreds of young people are in prison for exercising their right to protest. Have you reflected on what is the end game of all this tension and whether your vision of a middle income country can be achieved under such chaos?

In reflecting on these issues, your Excellency, what image comes into your mind more-so how different is your government from that of the late former President Robert Mugabe? Let us go back to history a bit and look at the animosity between Mugabe and the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and how the whole Zanu PF and State machinery resisted the opposition with numerous opposition people being killed, critical newspapers bombed and journalists arrested and others exiled, the violence that preceded every election from 2000 to 2008 and finally the ruling party conceding to a new Constitution, a government of national unity and some relative but short-lived peace and prosperity up to 2013.

Can you imagine your Excellency how life would be in Zimbabwe if Mugabe and Zanu PF had been more civil in accommodating the opposition, conceding defeat where you lost, allowing more civilised and inclusive political debate?

Have you ever imagined your Excellency how Zimbabwe would have been had Zanu PF not declared war on the opposition since 2000, leading to the ostracisation that still bedevils your government to date. Zimbabwe has lost much, in fact we have generation upon generation of young people who have never known normalcy be it in terms of education, health, employment, access to housing among other human needs.

The suffering of the majority of your people, with nearly half the population in need of food aid points to failure your Excellency. Power and dominance over an impoverished and fearful people is leadership failure. By perpetually relying on force to have your way, threatening citizens and the opposition, you have not only created a huge prison called Zimbabwe, but you also have become a prisoner of the political circumstances you continue to abet.

This is becoming the legacy of what your government calls the second republic, but seemingly a continuation and a worse version of the record of the leadership of Robert Mugabe. Just as Mugabe had his political nemesis in Tsvangirai, you now have your own in Nelson Chamisa.

I am sure you agree with me Your Excellency that political relevance is not derived from being accommodated by political nonentities such as Lovemore Madhuku, Brian Muteki and Thokozani Khupe among others who make up the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) platform that you created. It is to all intents and purposes an arm of your government with no iota of respect beyond the walls of State House. I could as well speak the truth that you equally have no respect for the grouping called Polad that regularly converge for tea and biscuits at State House. The same minnows, who make up Polad, have no respect for anything other than the allowances you are giving them.

Polad has no national significance nor value. The gesture or symbolism is welcome, but it unfortunately ends there. Real political dialogue is between political actors who matter and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission can easily help you with figures on who matters. Don’t listen to your advisers most of whom are hangers on, seeking their next meal and would gladly put you on the table for dinner as they did to Mugabe should the opportunity arise.

Do you trust the same people who feigned loyalty to Mugabe only to sell him out when it served their selfish interests, do you see nation builders in the same people who, with you, were part of the plundering for the past 40 years?, Many of your advisers are driven by self-interest and you are in a better position to check their past. In this regard your current relations won’t help Zimbabwe and your 2017 speech will remain a footnote in history without you engaging in genuine political dialogue with your political nemesis Nelson Chamisa. You are kicking the can down the road as Mugabe did from 2000 to 2008.

Zimbabweans are desperate to live normal lives, and this won’t happen in an environment in which you as the President cannot be magnanimous enough to sit with your rival and agree on an economic and political blueprint that the nation can rally behind. If the status quo is as a result of the nature of political transition which brought you to power, military tanks rolling on the streets, then persuasively engage your colleagues in Zanu PF and the security sector to be forward thinking.

The future of my children and yours including our grandchildren rests not so much on the security offered by the military, but on a harmonious society and this should be your true legacy. Would your Excellency want to be compared to the Idi Amins and Pol Pots of this world? A positive legacy for you will be to build a society free from poverty and want, this cannot happen when there is fear of the security sector that is part of the ruling party.

You should be remembered as a unifier, above party political interests and focused on the national interests. Your advisers, who are desperate for jobs and a quick buck, may not tell you this. Yet if you achieve national unity and refocus Zimbabwe on the path of national development outside partisan politics and end the violence that have pervaded our society your grandchildren will read about you with a smile and pride saying here was a great man. The reverse is equally true. Enjoy the day.

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