Dogged polls will haunt you, Mr President

Methinks not until Zanu PF encounters an on-the-road-to-Damascus conversion, investors will never take heed of your mantra, “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, your statement during the official opening of the First Session of the 10th Parliament that the harmonised elections held on August 23 and 24 were credible, free and fair was a figment of a deceitful imagination.

The citizenry will neither forget nor forgive anytime soon for the despair and malaise brought by government cynicism during the harmonised elections.

There is credible evidence that they were a sham, held under a characteristically undemocratic environment.

As I see it, the William Shakespeare assail, “let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in his own house”, is destined to be recited to you.

Methinks not until Zanu PF encounters an on-the-road-to-Damascus conversion, investors will never take heed of your mantra, “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

They will cast an eagle eye elsewhere, not at the country that is battered by forces of recurrent disputed elections.

I believe that the Brand Zimbabwe campaign which was relaunched in September last year lost its appeal because of the sham elections.

Given that you oftentimes declare that Zanu PF will rule the country forever, it is inevitable that investors shy away.

All tenets of democracy, notably the right to elect leadership, are unjustly trampled upon with yet, contrarily, former Prime Minister of Britain Benjamin Disraeli noted that justice was truth in action.

It warrants underscoring that the Zimbabwe independence, with all due respect to the liberation troops, was granted through a negotiated agreement.

It is to the best of my knowledge that the fighters were sustained by both the rural and urban folks.

Your Excellency, there were reprimandable administration deficiencies in the management of the harmonised elections. There were electoral nuisances and callous indifference to the inconvenience of citizenry. Yet, the electoral body’s top brass was not held accountable.

Oddly, ballot papers ran out, necessitating the agonising wait for replenishments. It is shuddering to imagine the despondency of casting votes under candlelight. Ideally, your regime is rightly the second repugnant, not the Second Republic as you claim.

Methinks the resilience of citizenry amid the long and torturous waiting in which they subdued anxiety, fatigue, and hunger, was remarkable heroism. Their willpower was akin to the fortitude of the incarcerated-without-conviction opposition firebrand, Job Sikhala.

Many were consigned to the hell of not finding their names on the voters roll.

Significant others were confronted by the dispiriting commonality of occurrences of having been unilaterally transferred from their wards of residency. All that could go wrong went wrong.

Your Excellency, you forfeited dignity, integrity and probity that constitute the hallmark of Statesmanship with your statement that the elections were credible and already behind us.

Despite having elections after every five-year cycle, Zimbabwe is not a constitutional democracy.

As I see it, she is the opposite, an oligarchy, one that is ruled by an unyielding political few. Fundamentally, elections are a camouflage for the rule of the closed elite.

All successive elections since independence have not been credible. Hence, a culture of electoral disputes.

It must have now dawned on the electorate that elections are a smokescreen for the tyranny of the unelectable few.

Given that the processes were managed without due attention, it is credible to argue that Zimbabwe is not a constitutional democracy.

If ever elections had legal significance, they could not have been managed casually like child’s play.

Your Excellency, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission did not exhibit the requisite thoughtfulness to discharge the mandate of delivering credible and conclusive elections. Their temerity of submitting to you a delimitation report that was discredited was telling.

Methinks you were least concerned about electoral credibility. All things being equal, you ought not to have accepted the faulty delimitation report, given the magnitude of its glaring errors. It was compiled with incriminatory rank carelessness.

It was important for you to be diligent on spearheading the outstanding reforms. It must have dawned on you that legitimacy was earned from credible elections. It was imperative to amend the electoral laws.

They had to be following the endorsed Southern African Development Community blueprint for free and fair elections. Considerations of quitting Sadc have harmful consequences.

After all, the precedence of the delusional decisions was set when your predecessor the late Robert Mugabe quit the Commonwealth.

Meanwhile, it was a strange soberside that your Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa implored ethos.

Speaking at the Brand Zimbabwe relaunch, she said, “When we have a positive reputation in the international community, our tourism, our trade, our portfolio of investment, our diplomatic relations all derive pleasing benefits. There can never be a better for branding Zimbabwe."

Your Excellency, the ethos stated by Mutsvangwa ought to be the genius of your Presidency.

It requires a spirited dispensation of justice coupled with the practice of goodwill with all stakeholders, including the opposition, to establish a mutually beneficial brand Zimbabwe.

As I see it, it is a transcendent caution that William Shakespeare implored, “Do wrong to none.”

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

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