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Zimbabwe is under siege

26 Jul 2023 at 06:40hrs | Views
GOOD day President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, my heart subscribes to the notion that Zimbabwe is completely under siege. As I see it, the country is overwhelmed with all manner of naked aggression instituted through the weaponisation of statutes.

Truly, if you were neatly and cleanly for the people, as that semi-retired boxer Floyd Mayweather wants us to believe, the Bill that was recently signed into law, the Criminal Law [Codification and Reform]Amendment Bill 2022, could not have found its way into our statutes.

Your Excellency, in its basic nature, this law is devoid of housekeeping ideals. It is not in harmony with the letter and spirit of a leader said to be undeniably for the people. Commonly known as the "Patriot Bill," this law is as unjust as it is unconstitutional.

It is an infringement of the time-honoured rights of association and expression. Its intention is to restrict free speech, in contravention of the inalienable right to free expression. Methinks it is an atomic weapon in the armoury of a tormentor masquerading as a liberator.

A law that endeavours to impose a harsh and disproportionate punishment is oppressive. Added to that, our Judiciary forfeited its pride of place as a pillar of democracy.

Given its partiality, the interpretation by the Judiciary of what constitutes wilful injury to the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe clearly show that the law is inherently irrational and manifestly contentious. Judges will have to stare at an imaginary crystal ball.

Your Excellency, it was preposterous for Mayweather to endorse you. His wading into the arena of Zimbabwean politics, so as his parroting that your victory would be a win for a great cause and for the people of Zimbabwe, was altogether disingenuous.

It is due to dictatorship that Zimbabwe is confounded by a whirlpool of all manner of oppressive tendencies. With an opposition parliamentarian in incarceration without conviction for over a year, democratic space has been shuttered beyond recognition.

Methinks the uneasiness wrought by the enactment of the Patriot Act is noticeable even to the passives who are scantily curious. Whichever way one may choose to observe Zimbabwe's unfolding political circus, evidence of oppression abound.

Granted, Zimbabwe is not new to elections fraught with violence and chicanery, but the disputations keep increasing by day. It has prompted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to postpone printing of  ballot papers.

Following the nomination court sessions, Zec is awash, in word and deed, with legal challenges instituted by disgruntled candidates. It is an all-time record of court challenges since the attainment of independence.

Even Zanu-PF has never been wilfully defied by cadres in the manner they have done now. A sizeable number threw hats in the ring, to stand as independent candidates. The prospects for a protest vote, codenamed Bhora musango, cannot be discounted.

Your Excellency, it was sad that one dissenting cadre from Masvingo province perished in a road accident. And, in the aftermath of his tragic death, another cadre from Mashonaland East, who had filed his nomination papers as an independent, withdrew his candidature.

His chickening out was probably induced by the fear of being the next in line to meet the same fate for defiance. He must have recalled your threats about fatal consequences you issued in Mhondoro, after your party's chaotic intra-party elections.

With Zimbabwe at the crucible as a result of electoral challenges, your leadership is inevitably under scrutiny. If ever there was time citizenry most needed to hear a credible stabilisation voice, it is now. Duly, the hour is now for you to conduct yourself stately.

As I see it, if Mayweather was well intentioned, he obviously could not have glorified you in the midst of the glaring dilapidation of public infrastructure. He must have observed as he was driven to Mabvuku that roads were impassable and public transportation was in shambles.

Given his affront amid the ruination of the country, and dictatorship which has been said to be worse than that of the deposed late former strongman, Robert Mugabe, Mayweather deserved the ridicule that citizenry showed him.

Methinks the signing of the Patriot Bill into law is confirmation that you preside over the new despotic. As you endeavour to muzzle free speech, novelist Chinua Achebe, to the contrary, advocated for exposure of corrupt and dictatorial elites.

In his discourse titled: Africa's Tarnished Name, Achebe said: "Disaster parades today with impunity through the length and breadth of much of Africa: War, genocide, military and civilian dictatorships, corruption, collapsed economies, poverty, disease and every ill attendant upon political and social chaos! It is necessary for these sad conditions to be reported because evil thrives best in quiet, untidy corners."

Your Excellency, methinks governments are established principally to safeguard such freedoms as those of speech and association, which are liberties inherent in humanity. As I see it, a government that is open for business has no business in gagging citizenry.

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

Source - newsday
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