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Mr President, how far with the hyped mega deals?

Opinion & Analysis
President Emmerson Mnangagwa

DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

Your Excellency, there is still no evidence of the mega deals you hyped about during your inauguration. Corruption is still rampant. And, there is dead silence on the promise to name and shame land barons.

Essentially, presidential inaugural speeches are the basis of a social contract. They are the spirit and a statement of intent which citizenry look forward to with profound expectations. Failure to live up to them renders one to be unworthy of public trust and respect.

Your Excellency, methinks your speech ranks as an antithesis of that of the late former US President Woodrow Wilson. His New Freedom vision was for social righteousness reforms driven by a government of limited powers. He outlined the roadmap for his administration and followed through his promises.

His heart was in his speech. "We know our task to be no mere task of politics, but a task that will search us through and through, whether we will be able to understand our time and the needs of our people, whether we will indeed be their spokesmen and interpreters, whether we have the pure heart to comprehend the rectified will and choose our high course of action."

Wilson was mindful that the task before him demanded honesty, sincerity and utmost probity. He understood his time and the needs of his fellow citizenry. He had clarity of thought and a diligent heart to comprehend the rectified will of the American people.

Little wonder, his speech deservedly won acclaim as one of the most literate inaugural speeches in American history. His pledge, "This is not a day of triumph; it is a day of dedication. Here, muster not the forces of the party, but the forces of humanity," was sincere.

His supplication: “Men’s hearts wait upon us; men's lives hang in the balance; men's hopes call upon us to say what we will do. Who shall live up to the great trust? Who dares fail to try? I summon all honest men, all patriotic, all forward looking men to my side. God helping me, I will not fail them, if they will but counsel and sustain me,” was not mere parroting.

Your Excellency, as we count down to the end of your term, there is evidence galore that your inauguration promises largely remain unfulfilled, amid the passage of time. Methinks you did not essentially mean to deliver whatever you meant in the speech.

Evidently, you have not been true to your declaration for a departure from the past. Also, you have been anything but not a soft as wool or a listening President. There are more examples than the fingers on both my hands to confirm your having forsaken your inauguration promises.

Your Excellency, limitations of editorial space confine me to cite only one issue, the Gukurahundi atrocities. Unlike your predecessor, the late former President Robert Mugabe, you committed to attend to the State-sanctioned mass killings that were unleashed in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces soon after  independence

Ideally, the starting point in resolving the Gukurahundi issue ought to have been issuance of your acceptance of your contributions to the atrocities. Given that you were the State Security minister, it goes without saying that you were at the coalface, through and through.

Thereafter, your apologies ought be followed by the declassification of the two commissions of enquiry reports into the atrocities. As I see it, not until you in particular, and government generally open up, with remorse and a contrite heart, the intended healing will not happen.

Your Excellency, anxiety and apprehension are heightening following the narrative that the Gukurahundi massacres were resolved in 1987. It was said that they were covered by a clemency order by Mugabe. It is my fervent conviction that this narrative is hallucinatory.

It is a cheap distortion of truth that the Unity Accord which was entered into by Mugabe and his then adversary, the late Joshua Nkomo embodied a closure to the mass killings.

Unless otherwise I am the only stranger who is not versed in national developments, the narrative of Gukurahundi atrocities being a resolved issue does not come with sound reasoning. It must be altogether wishful thinking. It first came to my attention only in August.

According to Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, a clemency order was issued by Mugabe to cover the genocide perpetrators from prosecution.

Granted, this point of view does not appeal to me as credible, reasonable and worth of belief.

Speaking at the United Nations International Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in Geneva, Switzerland, Ziyambi went further to maintain that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) had no mandate to deal with the mass atrocities which were unleashed on citizenry during Gukurahundi.

Your Excellency, this school of thought is not just. It amounts to playing ducks and drakes with the Gukurahundi atrocities. Fundamentally, the minister's statement raises deep-seated policy questions given that it contradicted your statement on addressing the atrocities. As I see it, the Gukurahundi massacres deserve to be addressed with utmost compunction. Truly, the utterance by Ziyambi that government had no intentions on prosecuting the perpetrators was cold and callous, at the very least.

Your Excellency, methinks delegating the resolution process to chiefs does not evidence genuine care and concern on the part of government. Given that the chiefs are the very ones whose subjects were brutally assaulted, obviously they are too grief stricken to mediate.

Your Excellency, it is worrisome that the victims of the August 1 2018 atrocities are yet to be compensated, and the perpetrators are yet to be prosecuted as directed by the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission. It shows that there is no contrition on your part over the State-sanctioned killings.

As we count down to the 2023 harmonised elections, it is my fervent prayer that you make the honourable decision to retire. It is time the generation of leaders that institutionalised bloodbath stepped down. Methinks an epochal season has altogether begun.

Your Excellency, you stand at the crossroads. It is imperative that you introspect. As I see it, intuition is bound to reveal the verity that you are the last of your generation to preside over the affairs of the State. Ancient wisdom has it that there is a season for everything.

Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public-speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist. 

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