We mere mortals want to know

By Rejoice Ngwenya

THE following is an open letter to President Robert Mugabe:


Dear Mr President,



G>NOW that the electoral circus is over, and you have managed to parade the 109 recycled pretenders to the throne, we mortals can all fold our grass mats and retire to the sordid squalor of the caves from whence we scrape a living — ponder on our future while chewing dried rodents and Mopani worms.


In the distance, we only hear the receding footsteps of our destiny, yelling in the vice-grip clutch of a gang of infamous pirates known as the Two-Thirds, whose core business is to loot and plunder what is left of the treasures in the hold of a sinking ship called Zimbabwe — now settled peacefully at the bottom of the political ocean.


We know that this is not the last we have heard of the Two-Thirds. No, their insatiable appetite for good living keeps them permanently on the hunt for more loot and from us they will not just demand 40% of our monthly produce, but with it should come prostrate homage, praise-singing and sacrifice to you, their wise leader, the ageing captain of Zimbabwe whose code name — Spirit of February — strikes fear in the hearts and minds of friend and foe alike.


Through your highly partisan print and electronic organs of persuasive coercion, Mr President, we are reminded daily, hour upon hour, that you deserve this homage. The Grios, with repeated precision of a faulty vinyl record, tell us that as a singular act of bravery, you, their wise leader, liberated us 25 years ago from a marauding gang of hostile tribes known as the Caucasians who had entrenched their rule over our valleys, mountains, rivers and caves in the name of civilisation.


By his own individual charisma, wisdom, valour and strength they sing, the Spirit of February drove the intruders out to the fringes of oblivion, then personally handed our ancestral inheritances back to us in the form of land.

Boy, are we not grateful that the gods gave us such a man without whom we would still be slave labour in the tea estates of Bwana Bennett and the rose gardens of Ndugu de Klerk?


Yet, Mr President, those who are outside this hotbed of political self-delusion, uninformed people like myself, the caveman, want to place you on the pedestal of rationale and commonsense with only five questions.


Question number one: if you and your party are so popular with the rural majority, why not establish a seat of government at Mutawatawa, in the lush and patriotic valleys of Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe? Does it not make sense that a kingdom should have its roots among those people who dispense the greatest allegiance to their rulers?


We mere mortals want to know why the great Spirit of February would want to expose himself to the insults and disrespectful open-palm gestures of the urban scoundrels who know nothing about the history of the revolution other than spending days on end blurting theories in the comfort of smoky beerhalls.


Question number two: if you are such a dominant political force, why do we have in place a myriad laws like the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and institutions like the Media and Information Commission, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Registar-General’s Office and the Delimitation Commission whose sole purpose is to shut out free and fair competition?


Don’t great players like Tiger Woods derive their satisfaction from winning by fair play? Are they involved in setting the rules, appointing referees and announcing the results?


Question number three: your own colleagues, comrades in the legitimate

struggle for self-determination, have gracefully and gratefully retired from the opera house of dirty tricks to run foundations, write memoirs and assist grandchildren with their homework. To mind comes names like Nelson Mandela, Kenneth Kaunda, Joacquim Chissano, Daniel arap Moi and Sam Nujoma.


You, the Spirit of February, remain alone, in a deserted and haunted house, with ghosts of the past playing havoc with your conscience and imaginary apparitions tugging at your political reputation. Young men and women who are novices in the game chase you around the campaign field, hurling disrespectful yet reasonably accurate allegations of unfairness.


Question number four: you yourself, just after casting your vote on the morning of March 31, stated confidently in front of a blaze of camera flashes that your party would absolutely, definitely achieve the Two-Thirds. This question may sound silly, but how does a captain of a big league team about to embark on a bruising derby predict that his team will definitely, absolutely collect maximum points unless the referee is on his side? Amazing.


Finally, question number five: since when can friends ever give one an objective assessment of one’s performance? Your friends in the African National Congress and Southern African Development Community had already judged the elections as a free and fair contest long before the ballot paper was marked.


Your bodyguards in the guise of military man, police and intelligence officers and overpaid and underworked Grios in the guise of ambassadors voted a week before. Thousands of citizens were either turned away or “assisted” to vote and thousands more voted from their graves. Of course, Mr President, you would secure a Two-Thirds majority. Anyone in that position would.


But something tells me, the Spirit of February, that the receding footsteps of our destiny will soon change into a loud stampede towards emancipation of the mind and soul. One day, not far away, civilisation and enlightenment will show its face, and the Two-Thirds will wither away into political obscurity, as the brave sons and daughters of the nation reclaim mother ship Zimbabwe from the bottom of the political ocean.


*Rejoice Ngwenya is a freelance writer.

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