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We get older too soon and wise too late

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

YOUR Excellency, ancient wisdom has it that a guest sees in a minute what the host will have been blind to for a lifetime. Oftentimes successive generations stumble, one after the other, on the same obstacle.

They succumb to a particular predicament. Yet, the solution will be conspicuous, but hidden to their plain sight. As I see it, the ongoing socio-economic meltdown is a case in point. It is clear that corruption and oppression are your Achilles heel, as they were to your predecessor.

Although you promised to turn around the decades-old economic quagmire, my observations are that you are as blind to the remedy as was the late deposed former President Robert Mugabe.

Since attaining independence, citizenry has been living in abject poverty, haunted by corruption, oppression and economic meltdown. Despite bountiful minerals and other resources, the populace is nonetheless impoverished. Even the born frees are not free from deprivation.

Despite a number of economic recovery programmes, notably the hyped Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap), the country has been in perpetual socio-economic meltdown.

Meanwhile, international debt accumulated on the backdrop of corruption and misrule.

Evidence of the worsening of living conditions manifested in the immediate aftermath of the military-orchestrated ejection of Mugabe. It was widely agreed that his fall was not the panacea to the country's socio-economic challenges.

Life has become a grind for citizenry true to Seneca’s presage: “Sometimes to live becomes an act of courage.”

One does not need to be a rocket scientist to realise that an egotistic president, as egregious as the former one, had seized power. Instead of committing to your inaugural vows, you clinched the hatchet with wearisome abandon.

Apparently, you systematically amended the Constitution to consolidate power. Selective application of the law has eclipsed the age-old concept of equality before the law.

Your Excellency, added to that is your defiance to compensate victims of the military onslaught as directed by the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission of Enquiry. Also, your promise of compensation to displaced white commercial farmers is another dent on your management style.

As I see it, citizenry owe African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Akinwuni Adesina a debt of gratitude for his insights. His perspectives on Zimbabwe are pragmatic. His analysis on debt resolution is credible. It is not flavoured with sweet nothings. It does not meander for want of substance. Methinks Adesina belongs to the unique league of wise statesmen who Aristotle referred to as having the mark of an educated mind.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it,” said Aristotle.

True, Adesina was aware of the sanctions narrative. Yet, he did not entertain it. Methinks he mentioned sanctions diplomatically to assuage your ego.

“I wish to thank you, Your Excellency, President Mnangagwa for your determination to resolve well-known historical issues that led to the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe,” he said.

He knew that sanctions were a smokescreen for concealing repression, corruption, money laundering and mineral smuggling. Indeed, Adesina saw in a minute what his host, the Zanu PF government, had been blind to all along. He correctly observed that the past was hurting the present and future of the country.

True, Zimbabwe has a hurtful past that includes the Gukurahundi atrocities, corruption, oppression and electoral chicanery, to mention but the main thorns in the flesh of civility and democracy. It was inevitable that targeted sanctions were deservedly imposed.

“I am very concerned about debt accumulation from arrears that do not have an end in sight. Zimbabwe cannot run uphill of economic recovery carrying a backpack of debt on its back,” said Adesina.

A pragmatic man not given to sly manoeuvres; his analysis was practical.

Your Excellency, his erudite observations are the hard home truths citizenry longed to hear from you. They have had enough of the cliche that sanctions imposed by Britain and her Western allies including the United States of America are hurting the economy.

“It is time for comprehensive debt arrears clearance and debt resolution for Zimbabwe. But, getting there is not a walk in the park. We must address history to make history,” he said.

As Adesina pointed out, debt clearance processes require a progressive mindset. It is my fervent plea that you harden not your heart to his counsel. If his call to ensure credible, free and fair elections was to be heeded, it would be an eureka moment for Zimbabwe, the region and the world.

He noted that a revived Zimbabwe was good for Africa and beyond. Yet, in view of the credibility deficit of your presidency, I subscribe that president Benjamin Franklin's presage: “Tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late,” is pertinent to your predicament.

Your Excellency, as I see it, you are beyond conversion, in all facets of human faculties, to champion the revived Zimbabwe which Adesina envisages. It is my humble submission that you will secure lasting veneration if you retire now, without further ado.

  • Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public-speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist. He writes here in his personal capacity.

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