Mr President, you failed to uphold the Constitution

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

GOOD day President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, I have reason to believe there is overwhelming evidence that your presidential term was destined to be retrogressive. It has long been characterised by deviation from what you swore to uphold.

Events that happened during your tenure are not consistent with what is expected of one who swore to defend and promote democratic tenets. As your term winds down, its futility is as glaring as a messenger who arrives breathlessly, yet without the keenly awaited message.

It is my conviction that your avowal that you would do everything to remain in power  darkened our already failed democracy. Although you were told that you cannot lose an election when you are in power by your Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, as I see it, legitimacy is derived exclusively from democratic processes.

Your Excellency, it is devious to say participation in the liberation struggle accords you the prerogative to hold on to power. Rather, it is the democratic right of citizenry to elect a government of their choice.

Methinks it was not for the good of the nation that you amended the Constitution to extend the tenure of the Chief Justice by five years to 70 years. Also, it was for ulterior motives that the Patriot Bill sailed through Parliament.

With all due respect, your affirmation to respecting the Constitution was not followed to the letter and spirit. Evidence abound that promotion of pursuits that advance the nation was accorded flippant attention.

There were no endeavours on your part to lead the nation towards oneness under one flag, with tolerance to diversity. Brutalities like the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities were given scant attention. Consequently, they remain symbols of a culture of State-sponsored violence.

If the rule of law had been adhered to judiciously, people who died in two incidents within a few months of your ascendancy to the Presidency could not have met their fate which was executed by the military. These onslaughts were  the harbinger of what was to come for the citizenry — torment and hard times.

There could be no one languishing in pretrial incarceration as in the case of Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala. All corruption cases could not have ended in catch-and-release futile exercises. Duly, judicial impartiality should be the bedrock of our democracy.

Your Excellency, livelihoods have roundly fallen to scantily survival proportions. Apparently, the entire workforce is burdened by incapacitation as prices of basic goods and services skyrocket. It is an indictment for the Presidency that the economy has failed dismally.

It is worrisome that some defence and security officers, due to extreme desperation are now among the most dreaded armed robbers. Their salaries have been eroded. Their uniforms are worn out, which is ample testimony of misery.

Even university graduates and professionals are abandoning their jobs in a huff to flee to the diaspora, including to our former colonial rulers, for menial work. Apparently, your promise to deliver the Zimbabwe citizens want has failed to bear fruit.

There are no mega deals which you hyped about. My evaluation of your Presidency is that in your hitting the ground running, you preoccupied yourself with hastening your pace such that you left sensibility behind.

Your Excellency, after driving home the message to your regional counterparts that Zimbabwe was burdened by sanctions, it staggers the mind to imagine how they felt as you dished out huge sums of United States dollars to your inner circle in the ruling elite.

As I see it, you failed to adhere to the Constitution after Treasury approved “loans” for Cabinet ministers, their deputies, parliamentarians, heads of the intelligence unit and High Court judges.

In addition to these lavish “gifts” whose source of funding has not been made public, the Presidency has been making numerous donations with reckless abandon. Chiefs were issued with new off-road vehicles, in what can best be described as inducements.

Yet, the economic woes have all along been attributed to sanctions. Your Presidency can be equated to that of former South African President Jacob Zuma, whose tenure saw Gupta brothers having unfettered access to Treasury. In our case, only the privileged class is grateful for your Presidency.

Your Excellency, as cases of electoral litigations continue to spike, while Zimbabwe has entered the electioneering phase, are we going to witness free and fair elections? No sooner had August 23 been promulgated the polling date that disputations flared up. As it stands, the centre no longer holds.

While the nomination courts were sitting countrywide on June 21, already there were reports of an outpouring of grievances.

Today, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is being accused of favouring one party and failing to be non-partisan.

Complaints have been raised that it is failing to give the voters rolls to candidates as spelt out by the Electoral Act.

In the past months, daggers were drawn against Zec over the steep electoral fees it gazetted. Only Zanu PF afforded to pay for all its candidates. Other parties were left in the cold with each candidate having to scrounge around to pay for themselves.

Your Excellency, it is unprecedented that the mounting disputations portent the holding of credible, free and fair elections.

Methinks the elections will be an exercise in futility should you elect to heed the advice that you cannot be in power and lose an election.

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

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