Letter to Dr Patson Dzamara

• Dr Patson Dzamara is a pro-democracy activist, and a campaigner against enforced disappearances. His brother Itai, of similar inclinations was abducted by suspected state agents. Article appears on Khuluma Afrika.
• Dr Patson Dzamara is a pro-democracy activist, and a campaigner against enforced disappearances. His brother Itai, of similar inclinations was abducted by suspected state agents. Article appears on Khuluma Afrika.

Dear Dr. Patson Dzamara

Hi, Doc. hope this letter finds you well and as hard as it may seem, enjoying the Independence Day holiday. Feeling caught up in a maelstrom of emotions as the proud nation of Zimbabwe turns 37 today, I thought you should hear what I have to say.

First things first: how did I become acquainted with your movement? Well, 2014 was another quiet year of hardship till a voice broke the dignified silence like a stone through a window pane. That voice belonged to an activist named Itai Dzamara.

Occupy Unity Square, he urged. Mugabe must resign, he declared. We called him crass and stupid for standing up to Sir Bob without any backing.

In hindsight, that is the moment our mental spine truly caved in. By refusing to support the vision of one man seeing beyond the mess our country had become, we displayed indifference and cowardice.

We didn’t know better, but history will not be so kind to us. In short, we let Itai and ourselves down and for that I’m really sorry. The subsequent abduction of your brother will go down in history as one of the moments the government poured scorn on human rights. And a raped nation watched on in subdued silence as one of their own was denied his basic rights by a kleptocracy.

The pain that drives you daily must be truly unimaginable. When you started speaking, I was ready to listen. But I didn’t follow your activity out of sympathy. I’ll elaborate on that in a minute.

As an abused Zimbabwe trudges on as a pale shadow of her former self, I think of what could have been and the actual reality. 37 years of promise, potential, plundering, prostitution, pain and proposals. The bread basket of Southern Africa lies almost empty and accountability is beneath our entitled government.

I am twenty-one years of age, having lived through the rot and decline of Zimbabwe and can’t help but feel I’ve been dealt a cruel hand by fate by virtue of being born in Zimbabwe. Sir, you have to realize that a lot is expected from the voices standing up for the country because frankly speaking, we have been through a lot and the timeout buzz is all we’re looking forward to. When you started speaking of the endgame, I realized you had more than justice for Itai on your mind. I saw his crusade resurgent in your incisive posts on social media.

I dared to believe that there was light at the end of the tunnel. The writer in me was encouraged. The kid who saw his mom nearly died after having spent several winter nights in 2002 waiting outside the store for mealie meal was consoled and it was your hope, not grief, that got my attention. A hope for a BETTER ZIMBABWE FOR ALL, NOT JUST MEN IN UGLY SUITS MEETING IN A BUILDING WITH A COCKEREL LOGO. I really look forward to the day when peace, progress, prosperity and transparency prevail.

37 years of freedom and unity sound impressive on paper, but this narrative is the opposite. Sir, I can never profess to know as much as you do about leadership and change. I’m just a writer and poet and all I want is a future to fight for. But you should understand that self-interest is a factor that can never be removed from the human decision making.

The people who rally behind you are hoping for a new dawn to lift them from the cesspool they are mired in. Your vision is something I am yet to question but its reach is what I’m concerned about. So much is to be done to restore parity to the nation and at this crucial time, you are needed more than ever. You may have initially owed the nation nothing, but things have changed. The army of trailblazers lurks in the shadows, waiting for a leader.

The grand coalition lining up to beat Mugabe in the 2018 elections is a second matter. Vision, not ballot boxes, will change the fate of our nation. For the sake of many like myself, talented but restricted, vision is imperative before we step into a Zimbabwe after Zanu PF. For the poor, despairing, unemployed, homeless, dejected and hungry, Zimbabwe stands far from Canaan. You have dared to believe, but I’d love to dare as you have. See what you see that I may not place my faith in you, but stand on solid ground when called upon to make a stand. The day is coming. I urge you to continue the work and not give up for anything. The nation is listening. Engage those outside Harare more, they need to realize this movement is not just urban frustration but a magnanimous mission for change.

I wrote a letter to the President. You should read that whenever you get time. I can’t judge or criticize you for anything but just wish you would clarify more concerning your vision and objectives. It’s not like our government has been a shining example of transparency. But you can be different. I’m a writer, I live to ask questions and search for answers. However, I’m proudly Zimbabwean above all.

God bless you. Help me wish the good lady a happy 37th birthday, I wish her many more.

Love

Realise Mwase.