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Why are you fearful of your citizens?

31 Mar 2021 at 06:40hrs | Views
YOUR Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa.

One thing that always bewildered us as we grew up was watching on the main news bulletin the president moving around surrounded by hordes of bodyguards.

He would be camouflaged by heavily armed men such that it was difficult to spot him. Occasionally, we encountered him on the highway in a never-ending motorcade, swarmed by the same fierce bouncers.

No one ever gets used to such disturbing images.

Your Excellency, I remember, as primary school boys in the 1980s, my late best friend Brian Murau and I, would stand atop one of the tallest buildings in our home town, Redcliff, watching the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe arrive enveloped by a sea of bodyguards.

We could clearly see the whole entourage from above and I recall asking each other why a leader of a country would require such heavy protection from his own people.

We wondered how safe he was, considering that we, at the top of that tall building, had such an easy view of him.

What baffled us then was why a leader, who claims to have been freely, fairly elected by the people, ended up fearing the same people who elected him into office.

Your Excellency, you cannot even take a walk to the nearest shopping centre to buy a newspaper, or stroll in the park with your darling spouse, or even have a good night's sleep due to fear of being assassinated, or being plotted against.

We have seen presidents of other nations freely mingling with their citizens.

We have even seen some of them jogging every morning in their neighbourhoods, and even riding to work on a bicycle without much protection, save for one or two aides.

The joke I used to love telling was that, the last time a person like Mugabe ever saw the real Zimbabwe was on April 17 1980, a day before the country attained its independence from Britain, and he was sworn in as Prime Minister.

Since then he was always sheltered from the rest of the "real" country, such that even when travelling in his "ZIM 1" car, both sides would be shielded.

What joy is truly there when one is always gripped by unparalleled fear, and cannot even be free to enjoy the country he claims to lead?

The big question is: Whose fault is it anyway?

Our State-controlled media is always fond of referring to the President and his wife as, "the father and mother of the nation".

I do not subscribe to such a school of thought since that is an antiquated concept dating back to medieval monarchical ages.

Kings and queens were revered like deities whose family lineage had been anointed by God to rule over kingdoms.

Your Excellency, in a constitutional democracy such as ours, a leader is elected by the people, answers to them, and as such, can never be their father.

Since when have children chosen who their father (and mother) should be?

Why in the world would a parent fear his or her own children?

In the case of our own Zimbabwe, it needs no rocket scientist to figure it out.

As our leader, you are abusive, brutal, inconsiderate, unloving, and oppressive, hence your fear of the populace.

You take all the family resources that should benefit every member equitably and squander them on your own while your people wallow in abject poverty, hunger, and misery.

When a "father" behaves so irresponsibly and cruelly of course, he has every reason to fear the wrath of his "children", who he knows one day might say enough is
enough.

As much as the "father" may buy time by instilling fear in his "children" through brazen brutality, the one who is incapacitated by immeasurable fear will be the "father" himself, for he knows full well that, once the "children" have had enough of the bullying, their fear will vanish.

No wonder the "father" is always haunted by nightmares of being plotted against, and images of his "children" planning to illegally remove him.

These are the signs and symptoms of a man whose mind has become unsettled due to fear of reprisals for his actions against his own "children" and will, indeed, forever live in unbridled fear, surrounded by "prison walls."

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Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, author, and speaker. He writes here in his personal capacity.

Source - newsday
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