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Conceit is God’s gift to little men

GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Your Excellency, if you ask me, American author Bruce Barton was insightful when he said, “Conceit is God’s gift to little men.”

Methinks the utterance about enforcing command voting for the benefit of your party, Zanu PF, made by the Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant-General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe resonates aptly with the gift of conceit, an excessive estimation of one’s worth, which Barton said God gives to little men.

Oftentimes, little men use arrogance to camouflage their exaggerated self-importance.

Consequently, a keen sense of discernment of the nuance and subtlety behind Bruce’s insights confirms that little men are prone to conceit.

They fail to behold the fine line that distinguishes arrogance from confidence.

They routinely gloss over their inadequacies and insecurities.

I could not be reconciled with the haughty nuisances of superiority and contempt towards democracy and inferences inherent in the forced command voting Sanyatwe alluded to.

My placid disposition was roused. Considering that you owe your ascendancy to the presidency to the military and that you unleashed it twice on citizenry, methinks the utterances by Sanyatwe are self-evident that conceit is God’s gift to little men.

Your presidency is indebted to the conceit of the military, hence Sanyatwe bragged.

However, Sanyatwe is not the first military top brass to assert the unison of the military and Zanu PF, contrary to the Constitution.

Many men in boots before him expressed allegiances to Zanu PF.

Remember the declaration, “I will not salute a president without military credentials”.

Your Excellency, I was agitated by his flippancy and haughty aristocratic mindset.

His assertion that Zanu PF will remain in power until donkeys grow horns is an assault on the Constitution, which guarantees the right of citizenry to elect a government of its preference.

It appears to me that Sanyatwe prioritised his ego over prudence to stir up controversy with his command voting threats.

All things being equal, he should have received marching orders.

Yet, the entrenched military precedence of being pro-Zanu PF is immunity for straying from rectitude.

I reckon the contentious dispute he started, with its inherent arrogance, could not have been torched at an inappropriate time like now, as Zimbabwe languishes in credibility and legitimacy deficiency.

Given that your government is fretting to atone for the harmonised elections which failed the credibility test, such expressions should have been avoided.

It was not characterised by shrewd comprehension and political acumen.

Basically, it was not political.

It contradicts the mental image that any reasonable person has for a listening president who deems himself to be soft as wool and claims to be determined not to leave anybody and any place behind.

It ran in the face of ambience you want to portray for the upcoming Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) summit.

Although the chairmanship of Sadc you are destined to assume is basically on a rotational basis, I am of the mindset that you are looking forward to it with profound anticipation.

Yet, your government violated the regional body’s electoral laws and proceeded to unleash uncharitable remarks on the Sadc election observer mission.

“The elections fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act and the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Elections (2021),” the Sadc observer mission report read.

It is an irony of legitimacy that a deviant State assumes chairmanship on the backdrop of strained relations with Zambia, which reported your government to Sadc and the African Union.

Your Excellency, given that conceit is God’s gift to little men, it is a given that Sanyatwe lacked conscious knowledge of boundaries to observe.

He sought relevance utterly unacquainted to the far-reaching consequences of his utterances.

His arrogance of declaring that Zanu PF will rule until donkeys grow horns is politically discordant and thoroughly devoid of probity.

He apparently played to the gallery of his own diminished self-esteem, seeking validation and most probably approval from others, so as to feed his haughty ego.

Yet, he should have consciously endeavoured to pay heed to the development of his authentic personal growth as opposed to indulgence in mere self-aggrandisement.

It was against the backdrop of such foolery that philosopher Elbert Hubbard observed that the average man plays to the gallery of his own self-esteem.

He prioritises ego over integrity and authenticity.

He amply demonstrated that, indeed, conceit is God’s gift to little men.

However, Sanyatwe is by no means the only little man in your innermost circle.

Your Excellency, cry the beloved country, with all due considerations, if you were to look intently in the mirror, my humble submission is that you will encounter another one.

Methinks the impertinently bold impudence of Zanu PF to assert it will rule until donkeys grow horns is anathema to democracy.

It struck a discordant note to the democratic tenets that I subscribe to and guard jealously.

What roused me was that the thought was not expressed by a mere yokel like myself whom I could have laughed at as taking a break from the routine of kicking a can down the road.

Coming as it did from a beneficiary of the privileges of Presidential assignments that include ambassadorial and army commander appointments, the expression of forced command voting is assumptive and tiresome.

Sanyatwe stamped on my passionate quest for democracy and constitutionalism in his hard-warring boots.

As William Shakespeare remarked, he has an insolent saucy manner that mocks my pains, and makes my passions ridiculous!

Your Excellency, power is fleeting. Conceit may inflate a man’s ego.

Yet, it lacks the requisite substance to support him.

It is, therefore, imperative to be mindful that no human being is immune to fate.

As I see it, evidence that conceit is God’s gift to little men abounds, notwithstanding its absurdities galore.

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

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