A weird Presidency

It compromises his professionalism if the general were to chant party slogans and don party regalia as the norm at politburo meetings

GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, the appointment of the Commander of the Defence Forces, General Philip Valerio Sibanda to the Zanu PF politburo as an ex-officio member, (by virtue of his job, office or position) must be rescinded.

As I see it, the ramifications of the appointment were not sufficiently considered. It sets a precedent that is at odds with the apolitical stance the military is expected to uphold. There are no credible enhancements for him to be a politburo member.

Methinks the appointment highlights the conundrum of your Presidency which is notable by the propensity to ride roughshod over conventions. It was not imaginable to me at least, that your daredevilry amendment of the Constitution for the benefit of the Chief Justice was a forerunner to more likewise unorthodox appointments.

It stands to reason that by virtue of Sibanda’s job, his key responsibility is to advise the Executive on defence and security matters free from party politics. It is mandatory that the general must be far removed from the coalface of party politics.

Your Excellency, the thought or dream of appointing him must not have been allowed to manifest into reality. His political affiliation, overt as it might be, needs not be amplified by appointment to the supreme decision-making body of the ruling party. He must not indulge in active party politics by virtue of his job, office or position.

It compromises his professionalism if the general were to chant party slogans and don party regalia as the norm at politburo meetings. His preserve is that of national defence, without indulging in partisan politics.

With all due respect, it is apparent that it is natural for you to violate the time-honoured tenets of civility. It is utterly nauseating that his appointment came hot on the heels of the appointment of your close family members to ministerial positions.

It does not augur well for progressive leadership and democracy that you had the audacity to exhibit favouritism in assigning your son and your late brother's son deputy ministerial positions. Yet, corporate governance frowns at nepotism.

Your Excellency, if it is true that your administration is genuinely a new dispensation or the second republic, methinks it is so by virtue of its depravity — being worse off than that of your late predecessor, Robert Mugabe. Fallen as he might have, Mugabe was not totally unhinged.

Although he oftentimes strayed from the straight and narrow path of rectitude, he had a sense of restraint. He did not throw caution to the wind to the extent of making appointments by compulsion. His selections to both party and government were not by and large willy-nilly.

Ever since the military perched you on the Presidency to succeed Mugabe in 2017, the norm of circumventing integrity has been your leadership trait. There is hardly a cornerstone of the time-honoured democratic tenets that you spared from trampling upon.

Your Excellency, overstepping the bounds of time-honoured traditions comes to you naturally and without second thoughts. Ordinarily, any self-respecting leader would shriek and resist the thought of appointing his close family members to government positions.

Yet, you are comprehensively oblivious to the cardinal points of direction. Like Alice in Wonderland, any road will do. Small wonder, Zimbabwe is confronted by multiple daunting odds in clawing back to her former coveted regional breadbasket status.

It is pertinent to point out the negative returns of the appointment of the ambassador at large Eubert Angel you recently made. At the very least, this appointment was made without the basics of matching prospective candidates to the job.

It never needed a prophet to foretell the imminence of a diplomatic disaster. As the investigative documentary, Gold Mafia was aired, the said ambassador-at-large was featured more as the “embarrassment-at-large”.

Your Excellency, from where I stand, it is my conviction that Zimbabwe is immersed in a socio-economic mess. With all due respect, your Presidency has probity deficiency. Granted, the poverty to prosperity for many you alluded to at the end of the Zanu PF national conference, held in Gweru, was a pipe dream.

Held under the theme, Towards Vision 2030 through Devolution, Industrialisation and Modernisation, the conference, like all others before it, was a talk show. There is no credence to your concluding remarks that the conference had shown that your said revolutionary party had a vision to provide a prosperous future for Zimbabweans.

Your applauding the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries for once again showing solidarity with Zimbabwe during the October 25 Anti-Sanctions Day was all but without substance and value addition to the recovery prospects of the country.

"The conference was convened against a background of several activities. These included the Sadc Anti-Sanctions Day, where we received increased support and solidarity from Sadc the progressive people of the global community on our call for immediate and unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions," you said, albeit visibly resigned to the apparent fate.

It is about time you owned up to the fact that the sanctions are targeted at individuals for corruption and human rights abuses. One such individual who was under the targeted embargo was the former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa.

He rued the sting of the targeted sanctions in May 2018 after he had been denied the United Kingdom visa and the money that was sent to him through Western Union was frozen.

Your Excellency, the pressure on Sadc was expedient. It was contrary to the spirit and letter of the assignment to engagement and re-engagement with international creditors, development partners, multilateral and bilateral financial institutions which is being spearheaded by the former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano and African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina.

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

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