DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Your Excellency, as I see it, your party, Zanu PF, exhibited the dearth of its democratic essence by denying the NewsDay crew accreditation to cover the party congress. Methinks the refusal was altogether irrational and ill-conceived.
It evidenced an irreparable seamy side of the party. Essentially, the party proved to be of an extraordinary resentment nature. It pitched itself as a thoroughly dyed in the wool entity, bequeathed through and through with an irreconcilable querulous habitude.
Despite self-claims to being a principled party, Zanu PF oftentimes erupts in annoyance, even towards imaginary adversaries. Apparently, rigidity is its essence. It abhors not only opposition, but counsel as well. A high-ranking delegation from its sister revolutionary party, the African National Congress (ANC) was roundly dismissed with contempt on its visit here.
Your Excellency, even within its rank and file, Zanu PF responds to scrutiny with unbridled vehemence and vengeance. A case in point is the torment that was unleashed on the cadre who questioned the legality of the processes that led to your ascendancy to the helm of the party.
Granted, the party operates on a cast in concrete intolerance to diversity. It has a closed-door policy on debate and discussion. It characteristically expects a tamed and tepid acceptance of whatever it does or sets. It deems the exercise of one’s mind in the affairs of the party as cardinal offence, akin to betrayal of one’s sworn loyalty.
Recently, daggers were pointed towards a senior cadre who spoke out on the diaspora vote. Although his views were as laudable as they were progressive, they were nonetheless contrary to the stance of the party. Hence, his fellow cadres went on a warpath against him.
They read the riot act, ordering him with certainty to cull his ambitions. It is most probably by dint of his stars that he marginally cheated dismissal from his lofty posts in party and government. Cadres who spoke out like he did are too numerous to mention. Yet, they were all unceremoniously cast out of the party, amid denunciations, like demons.
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Your Excellency, your party needs not bother about external destabilisers. As I see it, it has the infinite capacity from within for self-harm. Its temerity to ride roughshod over cherished freedoms of speech and publication it shown by barring a news crew from gathering news respects no bounds. Aptly, the refusal for accreditation was a crude form of censorship.
Be that as it may, the NewsDay obviously drew solace from the realisation that the refusal was the expected stipulated price for scrutiny. After all, the determination to impede Press freedom has a worse off presidential outcome than being denied accreditation.
Your Excellency, a printing press was actually set alight. It went up in flames under the oppressive zeal to silence criticism and scrutiny. Yet, since its inception, the doctrine of Press freedom was meant to prevent governments from placing undue restrictions on speech and publication.
Also, one has to look no further than the antagonism thrust upon the cadre who queried the procedures that thrust you to the helm of the party where alternative views are by all means frowned upon. Simply put, plurality is not tolerated.
Your Excellency, yet it is apparent that there is no political party or government that can be a darling to all and sundry. Methinks it was in the spirit of guaranteeing freedom of speech and publication that John Stuart Mill, in his famed essay, On Liberty, stated some transcendent verities.
It is my fervent conviction that the essay is as potent as it is transcendent. It is an embodiment of wisdom.
His presage: “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power to silence mankind.”
Your Excellency, as I see it, if Zanu PF had inculcated such wisdom, the country could long have been free, open for business and a prosperous upper middle-class society. There could be no such thing as citizenry incapacitation and lengthy detentions before conviction.
Granted, Mill would not ever contemplate to deny any news crew accreditation on the basis of its editorial policy which is analytical than praise chanting. He lived from 1806 to 1873, yet his democratic ideals far outstrip those of our modern-day ruling party.
He was a farsighted adherent of fearless debate on public affairs.
“However, unwilling a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that however true it might be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as dead dogma, not a living truth,” he said.
Your Excellency, the progressive school of thought that Mill subscribed to is not comparable with that of Zanu PF. As I see it, his insightfulness render Zanu PF’s appeasement culture a dead dogma.
Your Excellency, despite bountiful endowments of human and natural resources, it is sadly for want of a conciliatory and pragmatic government that the country languishes in socio-economic woes.
Consequently, an exodus of citizenry streaming into the diaspora has no end in sight. With the government apparently having a marriage of convenience with democracy, civility and prosperity, which are bye products of the rule of law, remain a distant dream. Social ills, amongst them corruption and oppression, are on the increase as citizenry wallow in poverty. It was unimaginable that Parliament, which is supposed to be an august institution, would also be involved in shady tender deals.
Meanwhile, what was supposed to be a contested elective congress turned out to be a much ado about nothing proceeding. It culminated in nominations of the same old guard, with some being recalled from oblivion, resulting in party being akin to an old people’s home.
Your Excellency, it is my earnest submission that fundamental values of public affairs can only be achieved when all competing views have equal opportunity to be heard. Humanity owes it to the likes of Mill who asserted that persuasion is superior to dictation and coercion.
Your Excellency, the lasting indebtedness a leader owes to their associates is to take to heart the warmly independent and sustaining perceptive they proffer. Methinks this calibre of camaraderie is priceless on one hand and few and far between on the other. This calibre of brother's keeper was conspicuous by its absence at the congress. There was none amongst the hordes that delivered solidarity messages who could implore you to contemplate on ramifications of a new five-year presidential term given your advanced age.