Freedom belongs to the individual who possesses courage

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Your Excellency, methinks critical thinker Ralph Nader was extraordinarily insightful when he presaged that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders than followers.

As I see it, inherent in his imperative is the expectation that leaders are amenable to succession. They are sensible to the disservice they would render to society if they were to remain in public office as they enter their second childhood. They willingly relinquish power to a young breed of leadership.

Regrettably, my expectations were not met when the recent Zanu PF conference ended with no word on the retirement of party gurus who are in their dotage. It is my firm belief that a conference does not have to be specifically elective for succession to be tabled.

There are many who are age-weary. They are tired and ought to be retired, destined for the recently established Council of Elders chambers.

My deduction is that Zanu PF’s propensity for factions and violence is due to the world-weary old guard who defy retirement.

Your Excellency, I beseech you to meditate on a sobering ancient verity: “When the blood in your veins returns to the sea, and the earth in your bones returns to the ground, perhaps then you will remember that this land does not belong to you, it is you who belonged to the land.”

As Plato observed, the real challenge of life is when men are afraid of the light.

They remain on harness, yet it will be as clear as light that their faculties will have waned.

Pity, the deposed late former President Robert Mugabe, a well-read leader, set a ruinous precedent.

He unleashed violence to his detriment as he defied retirement. Small wonder, violence is the modus operandi of Zanu PF.

Following the politically-motivated assault that was perpetrated on some elderly people in Murehwa, Mashonaland East province ahead of the August 23 polls, dark clouds symbolising brutality have never dispersed.

It was portentous that 2023 would be yet another notorious year for politically-motivated violence. It was wilful for the untoward youths, overzealous to perpetuate the supremacy of their political party, to cross the bounds of respect for the elderly.

They thoroughly beat some senior citizens, accusing them of attending an opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party rally.

Apparently, that assault was the forerunner to many acts of gruesome harm on holders of divergent views from those held by Zanu PF.

However, it was to your credit that you interrupted your annual leave to speak against the violence. Yet, your speech was devoid of effect. It came markedly short of dissuading the ruling party functionaries from the culture of political violence.

Now, the opposition recorded over 1 500 violent cases of varying severity against its members throughout the electioneering season. Truly, the harmonised elections could hardly pass as credible, given that they were not held on the backdrop of open competition.

It is a forfeiture of the essence of nationhood that political intolerance remains the common thread that runs through our society. Hence, citizenry is commonly alienated from each other based on political affiliation.

As I see it, Pope John Paul II was consumed by the spirit of an ancient Roman diviner when he proclaimed: “When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.”

Your Excellency, the Zimbabwean governance confirms that freedom does not have a purpose. It has turned against humanity and society.

It does not listen to the voice of conscience, neither does it wish to know anything about the rule of law that is engraved in the hearts of men and women.

Granted, government standard operational procedure is true to the observation of the guru, Euripides, who presaged: “When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the State.”

Despite your honeyed words of being a listening President, woes continue to befall on citizenry. As observed by the Commonwealth assessment team that was here in November last year, the woe of fallen friendships and mistrust is dividing citizenry.

At the close of its week-long consultation, the team leader, assistant secretary-general Luis Franceschi implored that the greatest responsibility for citizenry was to move together, to find each other, and to close the gap, perhaps of mistrust, which he said was not essential.

“It is a gap of perhaps fallen friendships that can very easily come together. You have a beautiful country, and we will be so proud to see you back in the Commonwealth and we look forward to it,” prayed Franceschi.

It is incumbent upon you to initiate the processes for citizenry to close the gap of mistrust.

Your Excellency, the recent politically-motivated rank madness that panned out in Mabvuku, Harare, was hideously barbaric.

It is my conviction that the crying echoes of grief and woe of the neighbourhood, united in anguish and sorrow, reached the State House.

Methinks the abductions have no place in this era of the said new dispensation. It is, indeed, regressive that CCC MP Takudzwa Ngadziore cheated death by a whisker.

There is neither rhyme nor reason for the murder of CCC activist, Tapfumaneyi Masaya.

Given the prevalence of politically-motivated violence, methinks Seneca was ultraprecise. His declaration, “Freedom belongs to the individual who possesses courage,” is transcendent.

Your Excellency, should politically-motivated violence befall me, I pledge my troth that the exhortation, “freedom belongs to the individual who possesses courage”, be inscribed on my headstone.

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

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