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The gods must be crazy

Opinion & Analysis
Essentially, citizenry look up to the President for decisiveness and greatness. It is expected of him to provide leadership and direction for national priorities. It is him who personifies the government. And, it is him mandated with judicious observance of the Constitution.

BY Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana DEAR President,

Your Excellency, the gods must be crazy. How on earth could a plainly run of the mill decision as that of conferring hero status be bungled? What else would be expected to be decided on forthrightly if the basics of conferring hero status could be done markedly wrong?

As I see it, citizenry has justification for the apparent indignation towards your so-called new dispensation. Oftentimes, its decisions abound with Statecraft deficiencies. A case in point was the death of decorated soldier Godfrey Chanakira. He was initially accorded a State-assisted funeral.

Yet, within a short span of two days, a reversal on his status was issued. Duly, the reversal pointed to casual and flippant decision-making processes. He was then declared a national hero. This was a monumental leap from the lowest to the highest honour.

It is my fervent prayer that the spirit of Chanakira rests in eternity in spite of the ineptitude shown in the determination of his status. Rightly so, his family and fellow comrades deserve an apology.  It must be cardinal to accord due honour to the gallant liberators who sacrificed their lives.

It was a change of the scoreboard which sent tongues wagging. If ever there was a decision that exposed the paucity of credible leadership, it was the bungling of the awarding of hero status for Chanakira. It triggered speculation of hot button issues within the Presidency.

Discourse on power struggles within the highest office in the land was instantly topical in the public arena. Although there is merit in that school of thought, methinks the Presidency is basically  capricious, running on whims. Evidently, its decisions are altogether vagarious.

Granted, conferrment of hero status of armed liberation participants owes its existence to the independence of the country in 1980. Indeed, there ought to  be clarity by now as to the category each of the fighters qualifies for. It actually must be known without much ado.

There must not be errors which arouse disputations. Plainly, the Chanakira debacle  exposed a yawning dearth of Statecraft within the Presidency. It rekindled the ineptitude in which Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu and other liberation veterans were declared national heroes post-humously.

Your Excellency, a Presidency that is not conversant about its national heroes is obviously viewed with askance by citizenry. Apparently, such a leadership does not deserve the trust of its subjects. Hence, as we count down to the harmonised elections, I implore you to take heed.

Essentially, citizenry look up to the President for decisiveness and greatness. It is expected of him to provide leadership and direction for national priorities. It is him who personifies the government. And, it is him mandated with judicious observance of the Constitution.

It needs no elaboration that the President is the commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and principal officer of the management of the economy. He is responsible for the deployment of the military just as he is accountable for the performance of the economy.

Furthermore, the President is the voice of citizenry on the international arena. He is the chief diplomat for foreign relations. Little wonder, no other person receives as much media attention as he does. All the hopes and aspirations of the country are thrust upon him.

Former United States of America resident Harry Truman was wide awake to the enormity of presidential responsibilities. A plaque on his desk read, “the buck stops here.”. Indeed, the President is the chief executive officer of the giant bureaucracy called government.

Admittedly, it is not humanly possible for the President to personally perform all these tasks which are broad and varied. Yet, the ultimate responsibility for policy implementation none the less rests upon him. He is judged on the ethical imperatives of  his appointees.

Despite him being leader of the party in power, the President is expected to reach out to all citizenry across the political divide. He has the obligation to rally national appeals to the entire populace. He must be worthy of belief and attention, with an aura of credibility.

Essentially, citizenry expect the President to be skilled in consensus building. He ought be passionate about the common good of all nationals. The gods must be crazy to assign such a manifold roles on you, a mere mortal and expect implacable all-round performance.

Your Excellency, Statemanship is not cheaply attained. It is earned primarily through diligence and honour. Sadly, Zimbabwe is a classical illustration  of the adage, fish smells from the head. A dearth of credible leadership has pulled the country into socio-economic woes.

Methinks the goodwill that was extended by the international community henceforth your assumption of the Presidency in November 2017, in spite of the military orchestration, was the propitious impetus the country needed most.

Yet, it went to waste owing to a poverty of Statecraft.

A host of inauguration promises were abandoned in the immediacy of their being made. Even the easy task of naming and shaming land barons did not go beyond the speech. Also, the zero tolerance to corruption has so far been a barking which is not bolstered by biting.

It is self indictment that you perched the First Lady in the politburo yet you vowed in front of God and man that she was not going to engage in politics. Granted, failure to keep one’s word is below the dignity of a President. It robs any leader of credibility and credence.

His Excellency, the mega deals you hyped about are not evident on the ground. As the economy continues on the downwards trend, your claims of business saboteurs conniving with the opposition are utterly baseless, deserving of impeachment.

At the eminent risk of being branded as unpatriotic, methinks the readmission bid to the Commonwealth is destined to flop. As the Commonwealth heads of States and government (Chogam) meet this week,  their easiest task would be to reject your bid outrightly.

Truly, the series of amendments you signed into law,  including the extension of the tenure of the Chief Justice beyond the 70 years retirement age, are destined to spur citizenry to forego you in the ballot box. Voting for you would be akin to pressing the doorbell to hell.

His Excellency, probabilities for your delivering the Zimbabwe citizenry want are altogether forlorn and remote. As I see it, an academic who described your track record as an albatross around the neck of Zimbabwe spoke a wholesome verity with impeccable certitude.

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

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