Mr President, all is vanity — take good care of Zimbabweans for a real lasting legacy!

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Vanity — that is a word packed with meaning, on which I wish all of us placed much significance.

Your Excellency, even the wisest man to walk the earth, King Solomon, thoroughly understood this fact — maybe, by virtue of his own mistakes, which he made as a result of his tremendous wealth and power, leading  him to live a life of opulence and frivolity, filled with worldly pleasures and numerous wives and concubines — which, at the end of it all, he finally realised was just but a passing shadow, had no real meaning, but rather filled with misery, fear, and discomfort.

Vanity — that which is vain, futile, or worthless; that which is of no value, use or profit.

Your Excellency, I only managed to catch the last part of the live broadcast of your official opening speech of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) .

In spite of the usual parachute jumps by members of the defence forces, the only other event I witnessed was your departure from the venue — as you boarded your long motorcade.

Your Excellency, I could not help feeling a tinge of sadness and even pity, as I watched a horde of security personnel surrounding the presidential car (ZIM 1), after which they proceeded to run along its sides — in what I considered a strange way of protecting someone seated in a vehicle.

Anyway, what I found most disturbing, leaving me with an element of sorrow in the depths of my heart – was the entire essence of this whole painstaking performance.

Your Excellency, I asked myself — why? Why would anyone feel that they needed to be protected in such a manner?

Why would someone desire life, and be terrified of death and dying, to such a frightening extent that elaborate efforts would be put in place to safeguard his very existence?

The irony of it all is that you will certainly pass away — just as each and every one of us!

Yet, due to the sophisticated training, as well as enormous monetary and manpower resources clearly expended simply in preserving one individual’s life — one would be excused for thinking that this was a sure way of guaranteeing eternal life.

Your Excellency, surely, should leadership not be more about serving the ordinary people, and ensuring that they, at least, enjoyed the best life during their stay here on planet earth — than spending one’s life immersed in some delusions of grandeur, as the Alpha and Omega of the country, and a cut above everyone else?

Your Excellency, would it not make sense focusing more on leaving behind another type of eternity — that of a lasting legacy of having provided the country’s citizenry a more  dignified, respectable, and decent livelihood worthy of people created in the image and likeness of God?

Should a leader’s life not be characterised more by simplicity, and an unparalleled desire to make the lives of others better than his own?

In fact, what does servant leadership entail? Is it not about placing the interests of the nation ahead of one’s own?

Your Excellency, how then, is this servant leadership exhibited when the obsession of the leader is self-preservation — instead of the preservation of the dignity of that elderly widow, vulnerable orphaned child, parents who are failing to take care of their families, or workers who toil and sweat the entire month for money that is not even enough to purchase the most basic of necessities?

What merit and credit is there in a president who believes is worthy of the right to life more than any other citizen?

Then again, sage King Solomon knew better — all is vanity!

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. He can be contacted on email