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Mr President, Zim has never known respite from terror

Opinion & Analysis
President Emmerson Mnangagwa

DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

Your Excellency, as we count down to the 2023 harmonised elections, it is my fervent supplication that you replicate the Madiba blueprint. Despite the massive support he enjoyed, he nonetheless resigned than holding on for a second presidential term. As I see it, you would earn immortality if you were to take a leaf from the late former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Ordinarily, elections are a key ingredient to democratic processes. They are a routine activity for the electorate to grant the mandate to form a government to the party that garners most votes. They provide legitimacy in the hope of reciprocal accountability and smooth transfer of power.

A democratic government derives legitimacy from the consent of the electorate. It is crucial for the electoral processes to be credible, free and fair. Ultimately, the winning party secures the honourable privilege to rule on behalf of the people.

And, the losing party concedes defeat and relinquishes power if it were the one governing, thereby validating the democratic processes. Conversely, citizenry concur to abide and consent to the governance of the winning party.

Your Excellency, elections are a constitutional obligation whose intentions are to secure accountability, responsibility and responsiveness from the government. They serve to determine which political party forms the next government and which one becomes the opposition.

Your Excellency, Zimbabwe has a lengthy history of disputed election outcomes. Her electoral processes are fraught with State institutions’ partisanship towards Zanu PF party. It is purely in word, not in deed that the State institutions are said to be independent.

Traditional leadership, which comprises chiefs and headmen, is mandated to be apolitical by the Constitution, yet there is an ongoing nationwide Zanu PF vote-buying blitz in the form of promises of enhanced perks for them which are meant to lure votes from their subjects.

Your Excellency, notably, Zimbabwe has been strife-torn almost since inception. She is prone to political violence. She is a comprehensive far cry of genteel society.

Politically-motivated mortality rate since independence ranges within the genocide category. Dried bones of the slain citizenry are rattling, crying out for reparation.

Your Excellency, as I see it, it is primarily for the prevalence of State-sanctioned brutality that peace and prosperity are unattainable. Methinks it is foolhardy that you are so desperate for a turnaround that you even expect the lifeline from a yesteryear British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Yet, Zimbabwe has long been the antithesis of tolerance amid fundamental divergences of socioeconomic and political perspectives. Her State-sanctioned violent culture is traceable to the immediate aftermath of the attainment of independence.

Ever since the Gukurahundi massacres were unleashed in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s, Zimbabwe has never known respite from terror. There has been an ongoing citizenry hue and cry for basic human rights.

Your Excellency, throughout the lengthy spell under your predecessor, the late deposed former President Robert Mugabe, the violent spell has been in continuity. He oftentimes bragged about his degrees in violence. Many lives were shortened in brutal circumstances, some in bizarre road accidents which involved military trucks.

Subjugation has been so pronounced that even then opposition leader, the late Joshua Nkomo, had to flee the country for his safety. Despite his liberation credentials, State-sanctioned brutality was nonetheless loosed on him. Many cadres from his Zapu party, notably Lookout Masuku and Dumiso Dabengwa, were intensely persecuted and subjected to lengthy detention.

Nkomo was branded enemy of the State following allegations of arms catches said to have been found in farms owned by his party. Granted, you were an integral party to the long practiced government standard operational procedure that secures political supremacy through State-sanctioned repression.

Your Excellency, government’s threshold of tolerance to divergence is indeed undemocratically stunted. Like a battle axe, it is quick to anger.

Bleeding and swollen images of the late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the incumbent youthful opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa are still fresh in the memory of most citizenry. They were severely assaulted, left for dead for being political rivals.

Your Excellency,  as I see it, you markedly failed to dwarf the track record of your predecessor. Despite your self claims of a New Dispensation, the State-sanctioned brutalities of August 2018 and January 2019 are a confirmation of your being red in tooth and claw.

Uncharacteristically, the Presidency is the prime instigator of the violence. It can only be in Zimbabwe where the head of State and government deems it to be within his province to threaten to shorten the lives of people whose perspectives are contrary to his.

Your Excellency,  there could not have been a prize for correctly guessing that the International Day of Peace, which is observed each year on September 21, was going to pass, with no peace to show for Zimbabweans. Truly, peace is conspicuous by its absence.

Given the rapidity of political violence, arbitrary arrests and threats to cut short lives of opposition politicians, peace is indeed notably scant, if not altogether extinct. Even the men in boots, whose mandate is to safeguard peace, are now engaged in armed robbery.

Apparently, human rights abuses and violence are a daily eventuality. With the opposition consistently refused the right to campaign and convening rallies, the political atmosphere is indeed toxic. It was against the backdrop of the oppressive traits that the European Union was heeded by the moral obligation to pray you to allow the opposition to campaign freely.

Your Excellency,  it is the hallmark of an untoward government that all the by-elections held this year were characterised by violence. It was bloodcurdling to hear a Zanu PF bigwig declaring that the military and the war veterans were bosom buddies of the party.

Ordinarily, in any country that pays strict adherence to the rule of law, the military and war veterans are apolitical. They are for the people. Yet, that is not the case in Zimbabwe. It is chilling to hear that they are an affiliate of a political party.

Yet, methinks there hardly can be peace and prosperity in the country when the military is regarded as an affiliate of the ruling party.

Your Excellency,  as I see it, as nature takes its course, crucial leadership traits such as energy, honesty and integrity naturally dwindle to the barest minimum in any mortal aged 80 years. Consequently, the false start of your said “new dispensation” is an incriminatory indictment for you to retire.

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