By Cyprian M Ndawana
Good day Mr President
I HOPE this letter finds you well Mr President,
Zimbabwe desperately needs to have a political conversion. As Britain mulls imposing fresh sanctions on Zimbabwe, it is time government abandoned politicking. It is imperative to stop the trite narrative that sanctions were imposed illegally.
Your Excellency, the government stance on sanctions prompts me into action. My obligation to the court of public opinion mandates me to challenge the narrative that embargoes were illegally imposed by the West at the instigation of the opposition.
It is nonsensical to argue that the West, in particular Britain, was motivated by malice. Actually, calls for the immediate unconditional removal of sanctions, moreso the musical galas and demonstrations, are ineffectual because you did not correct the wrongs that caused their impositions.
As I see it, these activities expose the paucity of governmental intellect. It is ridiculous to contend that the humdrum solidarity speeches by some regional heads of State can amount to anything meaningful. It is about time government squarely faced reality.
Me thinks sanctions were justly imposed. They became inevitable at the turn of the century following government’s defeat in a referendum. State-sanctioned brutality, including commercial farm takeovers, rose to unprecedented levels, warranting imposition of sanctions.
Actually, sanctions are not the cause of the deep-seated crisis as government oftentimes claims. It is a combination of corruption, abuse of power, violation of human rights and the absence of rule of law that consigned the country to the economic deathbed.
Your Excellency, it is my onerous responsibility to herald the news that the country is on the single-digit countdown to the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and that a second round of sanctions is around the corner.
As I see it, the recall of duly-elected parliamentarians and councillors amounts to a reversal of the outcome of the 2018 elections. Despite being spiced with an aroma of legitimacy, the recalls raise stench. They stoked anger and resentment in the electorate.
Fair-minded citizenry shudder at the affront on democracy. Methinks the recall of duly-elected representatives is a wanton prostitution of democracy. It has far-reaching consequences that justify imposition of further sanctions.
Primarily, Parliament symbolises democracy. It is an institution of honour and reverence, just like a court of law. It embodies social cohesion, hence it is referred to as august House. Under the precepts of democracy, the electorate has a say in the affairs of a nation through elected political representation.
Yet, this was negated when a member of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), Thokozani Khupe, who masquerades as opposition, and her cohorts were sworn in as parliamentarians. Progressive citizens were aggrieved by the precedence set by her recent swearing in.
Consequently, October 7, 2020 is remembered as a doomsday, just as August 1, 2018. What makes Polad a sick political joke is that it comprises members with no significant political fibre.
Amid raging emotional rumblings, the muted reaction of the opposition spoke more eloquently than words. They felt disenfranchised by the recall of their representatives. It was an execution of primitive politics that left the opposition not only bruised, but practically broken.
As I see it, the resultant agitation is not only understandable, but justified as well. Inherent in democracy is tolerance of dissent. Essentially, democracy entails choice and freewill. It obligates the governing party to listen to competing perspectives.
It is imperative for government to recognise that opposition is inevitable for democracy to be functional. What the medieval social thinker, Voltaire said centuries ago is as valid now as it was then: “I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Your Excellency, wilful disregard for the opposition is an antithesis of democracy. It is erroneous to assume that the opposition is a privilege which government gives to citizenry. Far from it! Actually, opposition is an opponent which the electorate pits against the ruling party.
An attitude that is intolerant to divergent views does not culminate in a democratic government. It runs contrary to democracy for government to pool a bunch of malleable opportunists together and brand them as opposition. A pliant opposition is of no consequence to plurality.
The zeal to hamstring the opposition is on the upswing. It is executed with unbridled aggression like that of a prosperity gospel preacher. While the leadership has been subjected to all sorts of calumny, and even slander, the membership is deprived of its right to elect.
Their right to elect representation has been severely eroded. Apparently, the electorate is being politically shortchanged. Methinks push has now come to shove. It never ceases to amaze me how the opposition soldiers on despite the odds.
Resilience is bound to wane. There comes a time when the oppressed muster the courage to look into the eye of the oppressor. In fact, the downside of destroying viable opposition is that its anger and energy ultimately finds expression in confrontation.
Since independence the opposition has endured State-sanctioned brutality including Gukurahundi massacres. Many government opponents were tortured while some actually disappeared.
Apparently, the new dispensation is vile. It is red in tooth and claw. Although the late former President Robert Mugabe is now history, his degrees in violence were inherited in their entirety. Consequently, clampdown of opponents is as rife as before.
Little wonder, Britain recently clarified the rationale behind imposition of sanctions.
“Targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe were meant to rein in officials behind human rights violations,” said British Minister for Africa, James Duddridge.
Your Excellency, the onus is on me to announce the imminent arrival of the dreaded socio-economic tipping point.
Blaming imposition of sanctions on the opposition is irrational. They simply do not possess such power, not even the influence. It is incredulous of government to subscribe to the belief that the opposition was instrumental in engineering the sanctions.
Methinks it is delusional for government to claim to be a victim of Britain and her Western allies. Yet it is common cause that the sanctions are justified. They were deservedly imposed subsequent to a series of State-orchestrated gross human rights abuses.
There is nothing, not even by any stretch of imagination, to prove that the international community unduly meddled in the internal affairs of a sovereign State. If government was accountable, it would have reformed and embraced democratic ideals.
As I see it, Your Excellency, the second republic robbed itself of the opportunity to start anew.
Although questions on its legality continue to be raised, methinks your ascendency, despite the military involvement, was opportune for a return to democracy.
It is my fervent prayer that I do not shirk from the obligation to warn that recalls could be the catalyst for the imposition of further sanctions. It is not Statesmanship to use State institutions to destabilise the opposition. Indeed, Zimbabwe is at a tipping point. Whither to, Your Excellency?