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Old habits die hard

20 Apr 2022 at 08:11hrs | Views
DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Your Excellency, as Bulawayo hosted the 42nd independence anniversary, one thing for certain is that there was apparent resentment all over. Ordinarily, there was supposed to be merriment. But, the  unsettled Gukurahundi massacres cast a dark cloud that stretched far and wide, well beyond the City of Kings and Queens.

As I see it, there is more to the incident in which an Airforce of Zimbabwe officer was injured during rehearsals than a mere technical mishap. Methinks, it was an indication of the festering disappointment and anxiety that abounds not only among citizenry, but the in spirits of the region as well.

Your Excellency, it is inobjectionable that government has long been moving at the pace of a donkey-drawn cart on the unresolved Gukurahundi atrocities. There is no sense of urgency on its part, neither is there empathy. It has been business as usual, with total disregard for the pepertual emotional torment of the victims.

Described flippantly as a moment of madness by the deposed late former President Robert Mugabe, the Gukurahundi massacres have always been a source of national glum. Although they were unleashed in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces, the country in its entirety felt the pain.

Your Excellency, Mugabe had an unrepentant attitude towards the massacres. He stubbornly refused to place in the public arena the official report he commissioned, which was chaired by a High Court  Judge. He was also dismissive of an Amnesty International report.

He cast aspersions on it, demeaning it as a heap of lies. Yet, true to the report, State-sanctioned torture was widespread and persistent. His unceremonious deposal, which took days, could not actuate him to dignify his departure by opening up on the atrocities.

It was in keeping with Mugabe's mean spirited nature that the massacres were recently referred to as one of the small issues that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission was working on. The remark was devoid of a human face.

As if the utterance was not sufficiently arrogant, you also chipped in with the audacity to accuse the opposition and civil society groups of using the  unresolved Gukurahundi atrocities to stir emotions.

Sadly, the ongoing travesty on the resolution of the atrocities is only but one of the shorter ends of the burning stick which government is extending to the Matabeleland region. It is inconsiderate that the post of second Vice-President has been vacant for over a year.

Your Excellency, It is a preserve for former Zimbabwe African Peoples Union cadres enshrined in the Unity Accord of 1987. Indeed, it is a blatant dereliction of consideration for the letter and spirit of the agreement that the post has been vacant for such a long time.

Methinks, it is due to the presidency's sentimental attachment to the past that Zimbabwe continues to be afflicted by socio-economic woes. As I see it, your adherence to the old and familiar raises a stench that scares away international investors.

Despite almost five years of benefit of the doubt extended to you, it emerged that you are steeped in a dogged devotion to the past. Ever since the fall of Mugabe, there is evidence galore that you are an embodiment of his traits.

Actually, no leader who assumed the Presidency by unorthodox means as you did received international greenlight. Granted, your ascendancy was aided by the military, yet, the international community nonetheless welcomed you on board.

Essentially, it was my fervent prayer that a departure from the old was the ideal route you were bound to pursue. If ever there was one thing I anticipated with bated breath, it was the remorseful denunciation of the untoward actions of the past.

lt was my profound plea to the Almighty that you would be your own man. Despite you having been a key player during the 38 oppressive years in which violence and brutality were unleashed on citizenry, I had benevolent expectations of you forsaking the ingrained norm of iron fist rule.

Your Excellency, when you pledged to be a soft as wool President, you won me to your corner. But, sooner rather than later, you turned out to be stern. It was in no time that you showed your true nature when you did not waste time to grab the keys to the armoury.

With the August 1 2018 shootings in Harare and subsequent ones in January 2019, you showed your inclination towards Mugabe's way of doing things. There was no hesitations whatsover when you let loose the military on citizenry.

Your Excellency, like Mugabe before you, you have failed to make headway not only in the resolution of the Gukurahundi issue, but on the removal of targeted sanctions, combating corruption, upholding tenets of democracy and attracting investment, to mention but the key areas.

Apparently, your Presidency has proven to be devoid of propitious strategies.

Your Excellency, save for the amplification of mantras, there is no roadmap for reclaiming the breadbasket of the region status. Basically, the long list of Presidential schemes, including the command agriculture, are conduits for corruption.

It cannot be over-emphasised that Zimbabwe is at crossroads. Truly, she is not open for business. She desperately needs transparency and transformation, not mantras. There has been statements in the past which sounded sweet, yet they lacked sincerity.

Your Excellency, if eloquence could translate to action, methinks the foreword to the hyped yet abandoned economic recovery programme, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation could have wrought phenomenal transformation.

It reads: "Crafted to achieve sustainable development and social equity anchored on indeginisation, empowerment and employment creation which will be largely propelled by the judicious exploitation of the country's abundant human and natural resources."

It sounds profound like the sermon on the Mount, yet it lacks willpower and manpower to transform the words into tangibles. As I see it, Mugabe bequeathed you with an unsavoury spirit of apportioning blame in others not to yourself.

Amid your adherence to the strongman's obsolete governance systems, the country has remained stuck in the socioeconomic mire.

Your Excellency, it is delusionary to expect the aggrieved Matabeleland provinces to be assuaged by hosting the 42nd Independence anniversary.

    Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist. He can be contacted on email

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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