Zim in doldrums, crying out for strategic ingenuity

Dear President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

Your Excellency, patriotism mandates me to beard the lion in his den. I state it solemnly, with disarming candour, that you are in bondage. Apparently, you are incarcerated in a time warp of combat. I implore you to take your courage in both hands and liberate yourself from the shackles of the revolutionary mentality.

It is compelling that you take a hard and searching look at your Presidency. One person worth emulating is the scriptural character, the prodigal son. He took a critical look at himself. Ironically, scripture mentions him by his waywardness, than by his repentance, or better still, by his name.

Yet, his fortunes changed for the better after he took a look at himself. Assuredly, fortunes for Zimbabwe will also take a leap for the better once you likewise gather yourself. It is time you realised that Zimbabwe is in doldrums, crying out for strategic ingenuity.

It no longer suffices to persist on the stance that sanctions were imposed illegally by the West. This trend of self-pitying as a victim of hate and prejudice has since worn out. It was exhausted by the deposed late former President Robert Mugabe, though to no avail.

Methinks if ever you were sincere that your regime was well and truly a New Dispensation, it could have been evident in your handling of the sanctions impasse. Yet, you took off from where Mugabe left and embarked on his trodden path, harping the same blame game humdrum.

As I see it, mending relations with the European Union (EU), Commonwealth and America must have been uppermost your schedule. Inherently, you could have secured adherents of your Presidency had you apologised for wrongdoings of the past, especially negation to safeguard the sanctity of life and property rights.

Yet, this responsibility was not discharged, most probably for want of a contrite spirit. Actually, in your hitting the ground running, you were particularly energetic, but not witty. Consequently, the economy is taking a battering by the day.

Your Excellency, you remember well that government took the EU to court in 2012, accusing it of seeking to influence the way Zimbabwe conducted her affairs. Her claim was that sanctions were illegal and that they denied her her inalienable right to economic freedom.

Since then, it became government policy to blame the socieconomic meltdown on sanctions. Yet, no country ever had intent to render her right arm to Zimbabwe to bolster her stance. Little wonder, marching against sanctions was a diplomatic guff, one that evinced folly.

Meanwhile, living conditions for citizenry are a basket case. Frankly, there is no way Zimbabwe can be counted among progressive nations when the Presidency holds on to the lame belief that sanctions are illegal and meant to bully the country.

Sadly, your Presidency has reduced the dignity of citizenry to surviving on donations. It is disheartening that the elderly have nothing to show for their lifelong toil. Their retirement is a grind. Added to that, they are stripped of nobility by being made to sing and dance for food handouts. Their benefactors unashamedly glorify themselves on hearing recited words of gratitude.

As I see it, the combat prone of a revolutionary mindset has taken its toll on your Presidency. Your Excellency, it is propitious for you to rid yourself of the “we fought the war” dogma. Constant reference to war four decades plus after ceasefire is essentially a drawback.

It is not my intention by any imaginable literary nuances to disdain the gallantry of our armed liberators. Far from it. Actually, my endeavour is to underscore that the liberation struggle was an enterprise which needs to be complemented by progressive citizenship.

I plead with you to shake off rigidity of the mindset of a revolutionary. I implore you to be cognisant of the need to transition. Our former colonial masters, United Kingdom, set a good example. They provided for transition by converting an army barracks to a university.

As I see it, tenets of democracy require an approach that is not only different, but divergent, from that of war. It is for this reason that a military camp was transformed to what is now called Cranefield University. Its founding role was to defuse militancy and infuse tolerance.

If you observe diligently the mindset of a revolutionary, you will get an understanding of reasons why your campaign promises have since whittled down to nothing. Your Excellency, please awaken to the probity that the country is in dire need of investment.

Inevitably, time was bound to tell that your hyped mega deals were not bankable. All your chants are reminiscent of war cries.

Operation Restore Legacy was a catch phrase meant to sanitise a military intrusion in politics. However, an age-old verity has it that time will tell.

Your Excellency, a famed teacher, Jesus, was not overhasty in his deliberations. He was the epitome of the trait to wait for time to tell. Although he knew that his mission was for an eventful three years, he did not convert people hurriedly.

When frantic farm workers went to him, asking if there was probity in them to pull out weeds that had been clandestinely planted in a wheat field, he told them to wait for time to tell. True, there was urgency in their question, yet, he nonetheless advised them to wait for time to tell.

Theirs was apparently an anxious waiting. Yet, finally, true to his word; with time, wheat was separated from weeds. Also, in another incident, some Pharisees were baying to stone to death a woman for an offence punishable by death by stoning as per Mosiac law.

When they asked Jesus for his interpretation of the law, vis-a-vis the offence, his response thrust them into introspection. They stopped in their tracks numbed by his response, thereby allowing time to tell. Subsequently, each one searched his own heart.

And, each found his motives wanting. Thereafter, they receded one after the other, with none casting a stone. As I see it, it is wise to wait for time tell. Your Excellency, the heroic dignity of citizenry as they waited for time to tell since the graceless fall of Mugabe is indeed epic.

The ouster of Mugabe in your own words was meant to signify the birth of a new dispensation, but time has eventually proven that your Presidency is just the same as the former. Indeed, the bloodbath of August 1, 2018 was ample confirmation of the rock of ages from which you were hewed out.

Darn it! Frankly, your propensity to barking threats at citizenry is below the dignity of statesmanship. With all due respect, the stern warning you issued for wrong reporting about the coronavirus was heavy-handed, so was the recent caution to “unpatriotic citizens”.

It was in likewise combat style that your Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe held a Press conference with service chiefs in attendance primarily to recite the riot act to citizens he named. It is inevitable that your Presidency has failed to hold candle to statesmanship.

True, your half century plus camaraderie with Mugabe is indelible. As I see it, if your maker were to call you today, the Shakespearean statement, “His life was gentle, the clements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all world, this was a man!,” will sorely not apply to you.

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

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