HomeOpinion & AnalysisNew dispensation a replica of the old

New dispensation a replica of the old

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By Cyprian M Ndawana

DEAR President.

Your Excellency, your ascendance to the Presidency was a political upstage which kindled hyped deliberations in the court of public opinion. Discussions on the probable direction the country was to take subsequent to your assumption of the mantle of power were vehement.

After your wresting the Presidency on the backdrop of a military-engineered deposal of the late former President Robert Mugabe, public gaze was intentionally fixated on you. Speculation on the way forward instantly inflamed to hyper-intensive proportions.

Two years after the death of Mugabe, comparisons and contrasts are still topical debate agendas. There has not been middle ground as some embrace you heartily while others vilify you with a vengeance, branding you a traitor who sacrificed his long-time mentor.

Although the Mugabe overthrow was enthusiastically celebrated by the citizenry of divergent political, ethical and religious persuasions, its unifying properties did not last long. Like dew, they evaporated without trace on the onset of sunrise.

Roaring cheers erupted as his exit was announced on national television. Although he initially dug in, the men in boots were nonetheless unremitting. Pride alone could not sustain Mugabe for long. He ultimately capitulated.

He was momentarily numbed by the punitive sting of rejection. It had never occurred to him that his marathon rule would end at the behest of the same military that used to prop him.

After all, the men in uniform had rendered him the kiss of life after his electoral defeat in 2008.

Your Excellency, in view of the wild chants that erupted as Mugabe doddered for the exit, it was a rational expectation that your entry would receive a rapturous welcome. Yet, it was not so as citizenry viewed you as a Mugabe by another name.

Despite your attempts to brand your government as new, there are no fundamental variances with that of Mugabe. With all due respect, not even by any stretch of imagination, is your government a new entity. Simply stated, it is a replica.

Your Excellency, as I see it, the more you attempt to differentiate your government from that of Mugabe, in which you were a key player, the more the similarities emerge. There is no emotional appeal in the use of such adjectives as new dispensation,  second republic and devolution.

Like Mugabe, you deny at your peril that you preside over an ill-faring populace whose welfare is despicable.

Social services are in shambles. Public transport, in particular, almost ground to a halt. As if the recall of retired long-distance buses, which are ramshackles, was not sufficiently desperate, the recent recall of rutty trains adds on to the dire plight of commuters.

Your Excellency, most Zupco buses are deathtraps on wheels.  Their discomfort, smoke emission and rattling are a tale of two cities when compared to your sleek and comfy presidential motorcade.

There are deficiencies in happiness,  health and wealth all over the country. Citizenry is deep in deprivation, be they urbanites or rural folks. Although your Finance minister dares not to implore tightening of belts, he is aware of the dire woes due to the economic mire.

In hankering for clues for the manner of President, you are bound to drive me hard into speculation.

Given your half-a-century plus association with Mugabe on one hand and your nickname, Ngwena, on the other, I envisioned your Presidency to be a bloodthirsty one.

Mugabe proved to be irritable before he even entered his second childhood.

Obviously, he bequeathed this trait to you. Added to that is your nickname, Ngwena. A crocodile is as scary as it is vicious. It pounces on prey in water and on the ground; with its teeth as with its tail.

Your Excellency, it is not far-fetched to assume that those who nicknamed you Ngwena knew you well. There must have seen crocodile traits in you. It is, therefore, unlikely that you could not have Mugabe’s brutal attributes, given that what one learns at the cradle lasts to the grave.

Mugabe, then Prime Minister, commenced his tenure in 1980 with the saintly pledge to turn spears into ploughshares. It could not have been coincidental that you also made a similar vow, claiming to be a listening President, who is soft as wool.

Despite the pledge, Mugabe nonetheless wielded the spear in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces in the early 1980s, killing thousands of civilians. His rampage claimed casualties that stretched further than that of the colonialists’ cross-border bombardments.

Your Excellency, it came as no surprise when blood streamed on the streets of Harare under your watch on the fateful August 1, 2018. Frankly, that callous incident confirms your proficiency as the real McCoy; a true Mugabe by another name.

Although the deposal of Mugabe bore hallmarks of a coup, the international community nonetheless extended an olive branch to Zimbabwe. There was an inexplicable outpouring of goodwill towards your ascendance. Yet, you could not capitalise on the world’s warm-heartedness.

Owing to your dogged adherence to the iron fist stance which Mugabe bequeathed you, prospects of a fresh beginning withered. They ultimately dried out due to your tendency of regarding democracy and freedom as clichés. Hence, the abounding socio-economic woes.

Your Excellency, evidence abound that contrary to your claims, you are intolerant to divergent views. Given the curtailment of democracy and other basic rights, you fail by a wide margin to be an embracing President. One looks no further for Mugabe than at you.

A life of sacrifice is about giving enormously of oneself. It is not about privileges, but about selflessness and love for fellow citizenry. As I see it, it is not what you did, but what you were and how you carried yourself. Ultimately, your place in history is dependent on character.

It was said of the character of former US President Dwight Eisenhower that no matter how heated the arguments were, he was always the coolest men in the room. He was genuinely puzzled by frenzy and hatred and never thought of his adversaries as enemies.

Your Excellency, your engagement and re-engagement policy remains ineffectual for as long as you do not revise your stance on the opposition. It is imperative that you embrace the character of Eisenhower, whose eulogy proclaimed him the rarest of men, an authentic hero.

  • Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker, and speechwriter

 

 

 

 

 

 

What manner of President impedes bona fide opposition on one hand, while he coalesces with a bunch of fringe political leaders on the other? Methinks the mindset that conceived the Political Actors Dialogue must be retired. It is not only tired, but expired.

Your Excellency, a public apology on the Gukurahundi atrocities could have secured you a seat among the hallowed ranks of Statesmen. Yet, your audacity to delegate to
local chiefs the responsibility of assuaging family members of the Gukurahundi victims does not exhibit regret or remorse.

A life of sacrifice is about giving enormously of oneself. It is not about privileges, but about selflessness and love for fellow citizenry. As I see it, it is not what you did, but what you were and how you carried yourself. Ultimately, your place in history is dependent on character.

It was said of the character of former US President Dwight Eisenhower that no matter how heated the arguments were, he was always the coolest men in the room. He was genuinely puzzled by frenzy and hatred and never thought of his adversaries as enemies.

Your Excellency, your engagement and re-engagement policy remains ineffectual for as long as you do not revise your stance on the opposition. It is imperative that you embrace the character of Eisenhower, whose eulogy proclaimed him the rarest of men, an authentic hero.

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