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A letter to Hon. VP Mnangagwa

13 Sep 2015 at 18:05hrs | Views
Dear Hon. VP Mnangagwa,

I AM writing this open letter to you in your capacity as the Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe as well as the current Minister of Justice.

I have written an open letter to Mr. Dangote that has attracted a lot of interest. However, what is clear is that instead of playing the game, many observers find it easy to play the man and, in this matter, it is the case that my insights into the manner in which Mr. Dangote appears to have been given preferential access to Zimbabwe's Big Men, may very well have been misunderstood as an attempt on my part to discourage investment into Zimbabwe in a self-centred manner.

I stand accused rightly or wrongly of being a beneficiary of the same preferential treatment given to Dangote. I am mindful that in the minds of limited thinkers; there could be no better description than the one authored by Hon. Patrick Zhuwao to describe persons who use political influence to advance business interests i.e. speculative political entrepreneur (Speculative Political Entrepreneur) which description would place persons like Hon. Kaukonde, Dangote, and myself among others as SPEs.

In arriving at the conclusion that I ought to be placed in the box of SPEs, Mr. Zhuwao relied on his perception of the relationship between yourself and me especially in relation to the acquisition and management of SMM by Africa Resources Limited "ARL") in April 1996. It is alleged that in order to acquire SMM, ARL benefited from financial assistance provided in form of a guarantee by the government.

It is also alleged that the equality doctrine was undermined by your personal involvement in the provision of the alleged state guarantees. I have made the point that no such financial assistance was sought and provided. However, it would appear that very few people are prepared to allow real facts to lead them to conclusions made.

When I first met you, you were a Minister of Justice, but following the events of 2014, you now find yourself as the co-Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, making you and your colleague, Hon. Mphoko, the most senior assistants of the President and, as such, you have the honour and privilege to correctly advise him especially on issues relating to the administration of justice.

It was Mr. Theodore Parker in 1850 who predicted the inevitable success of the then abolitionist cause using the following words:

"I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."

I have no doubt that as the Minister of Justice; you can or should appreciate the context and context of the message to the then slave owners and slaves alike. It was clear to Mr. Parker that the arc of the moral universe, though a long one i.e. 35 years in the case of Zimbabwe, always bends towards justice. It is the bending that we ought to concern ourselves with.

Ordinarily, one would expect you to be the chief bender as the Minister of Justice yet the post-colonial experience that has placed you close to President Mugabe has produced absurd outcomes. The examples of injustices are far too many to enumerate in this letter. In the circumstances, it would be beneficial for me to testify, based on my own experiences not motivated by any bitterness but a genuine attempt to add my voice to the kind of Zimbabwe that I want to see.

You will recall that I first met you in 1994 in your capacity as the Acting Minister of Finance when I was working for the International Finance Corporation. You will no doubt remember that you invited me to Kwekwe for the Midlands Zanu PF election victory party at which discussions took place between state and non-state actors present on issues related to empowerment and values, principles and philosophies.

I willingly shared my experiences, insights and ideas on what was required to lift Zimbabwe up. That was in 1995 and, after 20 years; there can be no better opportunity to reflect on the conversations and experiences. It cannot be denied that in 1995, SMM was a significant employer and contributor to the nation. Today, SMM is closed and it is the facts and circumstances surrounding its acquisition and closure; especially your role that has been the subject of speculation and innuendo.

What has been alleged is that I was your agent with respect to the acquisition and, as such, you were the driving force behind the transaction. Notwithstanding the correct and factual position regarding the acquisition, I have come to accept that the human mind is susceptible to imagining things that may not exist.

In the same vein, the fact that you met Mr. Dangote before his meeting with the President may also create the impression that you have a personal interest in the proposed investment and thereby tainting what may very well be a bona fide investment into a corrupt one. After 35 years in government, you are in a better position to evaluate your role in delivering the promise of a just, equitable and prosperous Zimbabwe.

We can blame the world for Zimbabwe's current condition, but the circumstances on the ground compel all of us to evaluate our own actions or inactions in creating the mess. Your recent interview in the New African Magazine shed some light into your personal relationship with President Mugabe that has spanned many years. It is this relationship that has inspired this letter to you.

President Mugabe's life has exposed him to many experiences, some of which have indelibly shaped his personality and character. His worldview of the role of whites is well known as are his views on the benevolence of his administration. Regrettably, the arc of the moral universe has been bent towards injustice, inequality, poverty, and unemployment instead of what independence promised.

I took the unprecedented decision of writing an open letter to Mr. Dangote because it is obvious that the people entrusted to give life to the values entrenched in the constitution may very well be the mischief makers. It would be unrealistic to expect the President, a single individual, to know everything that has to be known about what is wrong with Zimbabwe hence my decision to write this letter to you in the hope that you will appreciate the urgency of acting now. Yesterday, it was Gilbert Muponda; for example, tomorrow it may very well be Dangote.

This call to action is not motivated by a desire to limit Dangote's quest to be Mr. Africa but to open a genuine conversation about the direction Zimbabwe is heading. It is natural to expect a state-actor to be neutral by allowing citizens to openly and freely express themselves on issues that matter. However, many Zimbabwean citizens find themselves in an invidious position in which they feel afraid to speak to the truth.

Indeed, Dangote and other foreign investors need to know the true facts about, not only SMM, but the values, principles and philosophies that would allow you to benefit from the demise of Mujuru without any due process of the law followed. The President is just a man of flesh and his worldview may be limited to what he was exposed to when he was a free man. It is the case that President Mugabe has not been a free man since 1980 and, as such, he benefits from his advisors. Having met him in 2009, I could understand the box that he has been condemned to by his advisors.

Given the high moral pedestal he takes, it becomes easier to appreciate that he may be living in a "make-believe" world. We owe it to President Mugabe to tell him the truth including about SMM. There is nothing to lose.  It would be tragic for us to be exposed to former VP Mujuru, who after 34 years in government had to be sacked for failing to sing the song, Amazing Grace, as if she was blind when the post-colonial state was exposed to injustices and laws were manufactured that still remain on the statute books that undermine all the values in the constitution.

We know of your loyalty to the person of the President but there comes a time when loyalty to the people of Zimbabwe becomes important. They have legitimized President Mugabe and his colleagues to act in their name yet the reality suggests otherwise. The people of Zvishavane, your home town, deserve to know why they have been exposed to untold suffering.

In my discussion with the President at which Hon. SK Moyo can bear witness, your name was fingered in the putsch to destroy SMM on the pretext that it was state-indebted and that such indebtedness was caused by a rogue shareholder. In my letter to Dangote, I used the RBZ dispute with Farmtec to highlight what has been in the public domain that Zimbabwe does not respect the rule of law. As the responsible Minister, you may wish to argue that this is not the case.

However, the existence of a law called Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act exposes the criminalisation of the state. In the case of the Farmtec example, it cannot be denied by any rational person that the tractors were stolen from Farmtec by the RBZ, a bigger animal, in the contemporary Zimbabwean legal eco-system in which you play a key part. In the case of SMM, it cannot be denied that a decree signed by President Mugabe on your advice allowed the government to steal the future of thousands of employees and their families with impunity.

How long can this continue?

There can be no doubt that you, among many, will deny that you had any knowledge about the injustices committed in the name of President Mugabe when his long tenure expires. Indeed, like the people who now call themselves, People First, the people only took centre stage when things went wrong.

Even after the wheels bolted off, there was an expectation that President Mugabe, who has earned the title of Grand Master or Mugabe First being the other name of Zanu PF, would do the right thing to bring the so-called Gamatox back into the bus and in doing so STOP the PEOPLE FIRST project.

Zimbabwe needs justice and not slogans. I will try my best to expose the fact that the respect for the rule of law can assist in restoring Zimbabwe to its former glory. Zimbabwe needs a Minister of Justice and not Injustice. How can justice be restored if the positions people occupy today are a direct consequence of injustice?

Finally, my association with you in respect of SMM and other initiatives has been sufficiently distorted. Be that as it may, I was watching a video of an Investment Conference that was sponsored by ARL in December 1996

You will recall that I invited you during your vacation to visit the USA for the first time to improve your literacy about how an accountable and responsible administration can be secured in Zimbabwe. The investment was necessary to allow public policy makers to familiarize themselves with what winning nations need to know and act on.

I trust that you will read this letter carefully and critically.


Mutumwa Mawere

Source - Mutumwa Mawere
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