By Psychology Maziwisa (April 2010 – Nehanda Radio)
Head of State and Government;
Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces;
President of the Republic Of Zimbabwe;
Dear Mr President,
I imagine that you are aware of the political, economic and social standing of our country and hope that sooner rather than later you will find it within yourself to do what is right for the millions of Zimbabweans who, in 1980, made a democratic choice and overwhelmingly mandated you to lead them ‘through a free and fair election, conducted in the full glare of the world’s spotlight’.
You delivered a moving speech on 17 April 1980 in which you correctly elevated unity over enmity, foresight over hindsight, love over hate and democracy over oppression.
You explained, Mr President, that ‘our majority rule could easily turn into inhuman rule if we oppressed, persecuted or harassed those who do not look or think like the majority of us’. I am not precisely sure you are still in the majority but it was a point well made.
‘Democracy’, you said, ‘is never mob rule. It is and should remain disciplined rule requiring compliance with the law and social rules’. You explained further: ‘Our independence must thus not be construed as an instrument vesting individuals or groups with the right to harass and intimidate others into acting against their will’. Indeed.
Thirty years on, however, Zimbabwe is stuck with the same head of state and government, and commander-in-chief of the defence forces. If you must know, Mr President, this tragic state of affairs has not come about of our own volition. The right to vote for a government of our choice has effectively been negated through ZANU PF’s manipulation of the political environment by means of sustained violence, intimidation, abduction and unlawful killings contrary, Mr President, to your fine words of April 17, 1980.
All these atrocities have been, and continue to be, committed largely by the government over which you preside. Given the protracted period of their occurrence and their sustained nature, it is almost impossible to suppose that this has all been happening outside of your knowledge. Indeed, there is compelling evidence both tacit and express that you have been and still are behind these inequities every step of the way.
I fail to comprehend how as a person and as a Zimbabwean you choose to remain indifferent to the hungry, desperate and shuttered voices, loud and clear, of the very people you purport to lead.
Zimbabwean culture enjoins me to relate to you with deference owing to the age disparity between ourselves but the truth of the matter, Mr President, is that I am literally disgusted by your sort of leadership especially in the light of your stunning indifference to a humanitarian crisis occasioned by your own greed and that of your stalwarts. The mere thought of your atrocitious regime makes me feel like I want to puke.
Let me, in the interest of brevity, set aside the Gukurahundi atrocity in which about 20 000 innocent Zimbabweans were killed at your behest. Let me, for now, set aside the fact that many people were persecuted, some of them unlawfully killed in the period leading up to and during the 2002 presidential election.
I will ignore, for now, Mr President, the bloodshed towards and during both the March 29 harmonised election and the June 27 presidential run- off. I am again going to suspend any discussion of Murambatsvina which had the direct effect of displacing hundreds of thousands of our people, effectively rendering them refugees in their own country and disrupted school for countless children.
Mr President, I choose again to leave the Chiadzwa fiasco untouched despite members of the military having killed between 200 and 300 of our innocent people there, dozens of them women and children.
Let me instead draw your attention to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in pursuance of which the inclusive government was born. It is a matter of public record that it is not your intention to honour this agreement let alone help in the restoration of democracy to Zimbabwe. You are alive, Mr President, to the reality that ZANU PF cannot and will not win in a free and fair election. At least not in the next 100 years.
It is your desire, therefore, to frustrate the work of the unity government by today creating the impression that you are committed to the letter of the GPA only to surprise every progressive soul with your seemingly intransigent rhetoric tomorrow.
What kind of a leader sets conditions for the salvation of his own people? Conditions to enjoy universally recognised basic liberties? Yet I am certain, Mr President, that if you could be trusted to make good your promise to allow democracy to prevail on those conditions being met; the sanctions would go within hours. Unfortunately, you cannot be trusted. It is as simple as that.
One would have hoped that instead of being lectured by the likes of Jacob Zuma who, by all accounts, was your junior back in the day, on how to concede this or that function and functionary, you devote your energies now towards preparing Zimbabwe for a peaceful transition to democracy; that, during the course of doing so, you negotiate your exit requesting written undertakings from all concerned that you will be immune from prosecution both domestically and internationally.
It is not helpful, Mr President, at age 86 to seek, by one means or another, to retain the presidency of a country you have already badly run for thirty years and left in a ruinous state. It is not helpful either to proudly declare that if ZANU PF calls on me to stand for another term I shall gladly do so.
Mr President, I implore you, in the circumstances, to find it within yourself to recognise the gravity of the crisis caused by yourself and those who had nothing to lose but everything to gain from your repressive rule. The starting point for this, Mr President, is that you swiftly prepare for your exit while helping prepare our country for the coming of democracy.
It is in the best interest of our country that you take this approach. Democracy is coming. You may succeed in delaying, but never in stopping, the coming of democracy to Zimbabwe. It is inescapable.
Psychology Maziwisa (April 2010)