DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa,
By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
Your Excellency, if ever I was to be asked what I valued more than anything else on this planet, my answer would be swift and unhesitant — unity, love, peace, and joy — which I regard more than all the silver and gold in this entire universe, I would rather be financially and materially poor, but live lavishly in the opulence of love … that is where all my joy comes from.
However, as with any other treasure that is worthy possessing, there is extremely hard work and sacrifice involved in attaining this well-deserved richness, and can never be forced onto a people, or wished into existence, especially when a relationship had already been severely damaged.
Let me give an example, if a neighbour was to brutally rape and murder your most beloved daughter, what would be the most reasonable steps to take in resolving this cruel and vicious act — if ever the two families were to live in unity, love, peace and joy?
Would it make any semblance of sense if the perpetrator of this heinous crime was to merely declare that there should be unity and forgiveness between him and the family of the victim and simply let bygones be bygones — without even the slightest acknowledgement of his sadistic deed, let alone a sincere apology?
In fact, all the perpetrator manages to offer is to rebury the remains of the girl!
How would you feel, as the father, mother, brother or sister of the raped and murdered child? Would this not be the most cruel and cold-hearted insult and slap in the face you would have ever heard in all your life?
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Your Excellency, yesterday December 22, 2020, marked the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the so-called Unity Accord between the country’s two main political parties — Zanu and Zapu — during the period stretching from the liberation struggle to the 1980s post-independence era.
But what was that misnamed Unity Accord all about? Did it truly unite the people of Zimbabwe, as is the common narrative, largely peddled by the political party that benefited from this agreement, Zanu PF?
Your Excellency, I am sure all those who listened to your address to commemorate this day would have detected a huge worrisome omission. There was no mention of why this Unity Accord was signed, and the events that led to this apparently “landmark” event.
Let us never forget that history is a “continuous, usually chronological, record and study, of past important or public events, especially human affairs, or the accumulation of developments connected with a particular nation, person, thing, and so forth” — and, as such, any genuine attempt at marking any historical event, requires the complete narrative of exactly what transpired.
We never heard any of that in your speech, neither have we ever heard it from anyone else linked to the ruling establishment.
Why? Well, the answer to that is quite simple and straightforward, which requires basic common sense to understand — firstly, this is the same regime (with some of the major players still holding pistons of power in the administration), that caused the disunity, which the “Unity Accord” sought to remedy, and, secondly, the perpetrators of this notorious act have no desire whatsoever to acknowledge what they did, remorsefully apologise, make amends, and take complete responsibility for their actions.
Your Excellency, I believe that, in any normal relationship — of the aggrieved and the “aggressor” — any genuine reconciliation and forgiveness, dictates these fundamental principles to be observed, otherwise it would be better not to have even bothered to come up with the process, as that only brings more anguish and resentment from the victims.
The same scenario with the person who would have raped and killed your daughter, whose only solution for reconciliation, forgiveness, and unity, would be to help bury his victim, which is what the perpetrators of the 1983 to 1987 genocidal atrocities, in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces, that led to the barbaric and satanic butchering of over 20 000 innocent civilian men, women, and children (as well as, the ruthless raping, torturing, maiming, beating up, and razing of homes of tens of thousands more, in addition to the gorging out of babies from their mothers’ wombs), by the Zimbabwe regime are currently doing.
Elements of which, I (and others in my neighbourhood) were forced to witness, at the tender age of only 11.
After committing this egregious savagery, all the regime can offer is to facilitate the reburial of its own victims, as well as some other things, like the provision of identity documents for the families, particularly the children, of those it cold-bloodedly murdered.
What about meeting all the surviving victims?
What about the deserved acknowledgement, and apology, that: “We are extremely sorry for killing your loved ones, and for raping your wives, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers, as well as, torturing, beating, maiming you, and burning down your homes”?
What about directly discussing with the affected families any restitution, and way forward?
What about respecting the families of the victims, by not deciding what is best for them, without consulting them?
This would not be “opening up old wounds”, but genuine efforts, by those who sincerely want to see unity, peace, and reconciliation in Zimbabwe — as the first step always begins with one taking full responsibility for his or her own actions — since, anything less, would be nothing but a slap in the face, that would only make matters worse.
Your Excellency, we all crave for unity, peace, love and joy, but it requires hard work, sincerity, and taking responsibility as there can never be any short-circuiting the process of reconciliation, since doing so only leads to disaster.