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I beseech thee that you truly unite us

Opinion & Analysis
President Emmerson Mnangagwa

DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Your Excellency, your recent tour of duty to Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, was destined to evoke memories of your walk in the shadow of death, as the Psalmist David described it.

You had gone to officiate at Blanket Mine and at the inaugural graduation ceremony at Gwanda State University. This turned out to be a fortuitous chance for you to wind back to your food poisoning ordeal at a Zanu PF campaign rally in Gwanda in 2017.

As you narrated the account of your dicing with death, your gratitude for the rescue that you received was testimony of your happiness for surviving the attempt on your life. Truly, your indebtedness, particularly for the arrangement for you to be airlifted to a Gweru military medical institution touched me.

Your Excellency, it was not a rehearsed rendition. Methinks the ordeal was well narrated, stemming from the heart. It was a story duly deserving of the moment's digression from the scheduled businesses of the day.

Rarely has the sanctity of human life been concisely explicated as in your speech. What particularly captured my attention, and possibly won my adoration, was your sincerity. Verily, your impromptu speech was stripped of all the aura of your lofty station in society.

Your Excellency, thank God that you were fortunate to survive the assassination attempt. Truly, you owe it to an inexplicable providence for salvaging you from the dreadful intentions of those who had connived to assassinate you by food poisoning.

It must have been disquieting for you to relive the horrors. Although you claimed to have emerged stronger from the wilful incident, methinks the reality is that mental images of how close you were to death will never be by and large erased from your subconscious faculties.

Your Excellency, it is inevitable that the attempt on your life will forever cast a dark shadow over you. Yet, on a positive note, there are all the reasons for you to be appreciative that your name will not be included on the roll call of Zanu PF cadres who succumbed to politically-motivated deaths.

Sadly, Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Tongogara, Solomon Mujuru and numerous other liberation luminaries perished owing to intra-party wrangling. They too would have loved to relive their horrors.  It was fortunate that you cheated death by a whisker.

Your Excellency, it could have been stately had you led your audience to a minute's silence for the remembrance of victims of political violence. Since independence, politically-motivated brutality has caused many deaths.

With independence still in its infancy, deadly fights, fanned by some radical speeches, had already resulted in loss of lives. Essentially, State-sanctioned force was regarded as a viable strategy for achieving political objectives.

It has long been common to hear inflammatory speeches emanating from the corridors of governmental power and authority. Regrettably, the State-sanctioned unleashing of the Gukurahundi massacres in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces in 1983 following some extremist speeches.

Throughout her post-independence history, Zimbabwe has been characterised by State aggression which resulted in loss of lives. Even the compulsory commercial farm acquisitions led to bloodshed.

Your Excellency, if we may fast forward to your so-called second republic. Apparently, there is no borderline that separates the two republics from each other. They are both characterised by subjugation.

Despite your mantra: “The voice of the people is the voice of God,” the military was nonetheless unleashed twice on the people, claiming slightly under 30 lives. And one Mboneni Ncube from Kwekwe was repeatedly stabbed to death for belonging to the opposition.

Described as the jewel of Africa by the late Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere, Zimbabwe has failed to live up to her full potential. She is endowed with bountiful resources which if well managed, there could be no reason to wait up to 2030 for the country to be an upper middle-class society.

Yet, the country is saddled with a culture of politically-motivated violence. There is a propensity for State-sanctioned brutality, coupled with high office corruption that have rendered the country to be an altogether no-go zone for meaningful investment and development. Despite the change of guard in 2017, civility remains elusive.

Apparently, human rights violations are rampant, while erosion of democratic principles and the rule of law are progressively falling. A case in point is the fate of some opposition members. Their serial bail applications were denied, even by the High Court, confounding the time honoured legal principal of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Methinks prospects of credible, free and fair elections are at the barest minimum, if not altogether non-existent. Given the partisanship of State institutions, characterised by their total forfeiture of independence, the electoral playing field is uneven, and not signposted.

Your Excellency, you are the last man standing among the leadership that assumed power at independence. It is my prayerful conviction that the reason you survived the food poisoning ordeal was for you to institute a frank national truth and reconciliation ceremony.

It would be your greatest heroic act if you were to seek for atonement and forgiveness on behalf of the founding generation of this country.

Your Excellency, it was pertinent that the Commonwealth assessment mission noted deep-seated polarisation emanating from mistrust.

Meanwhile, the recent comment that your Presidency has been a complete political and economic disaster is truly candid. With the economy in doldrums, the graph of human capital migration into the diaspora is on the rise.

It is my fervent prayer that Nancy Pelosi (82) spurs you to master confidence in the younger generation. Her declaration for succession was tinctured with the wisdom that enhances democracy.

“For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the democratic caucus that I so deeply respect. I’m grateful that many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility,” Pelosi stated.

Your Excellency, I beseech you to emulate her.

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