You have failed to exorcise violence phantom

Your Excellency, it is reasonably certain that the August 23 harmonised elections are destined to follow the precedence set by previous ones.

GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, it is my sworn deduction that it is for the dire lack of a stately Presidency in particular, and a humane government in general, that Zimbabwe languishes agonisingly in perpetual socio-economic meltdown.

As I see it, there is no other citizenry in the region, not even the Swati, which has ever been so systematically down-trodden and cast to the crocodiles as Zimbabweans.

Your Excellency, amid the unprecedented electoral litigations, methinks you gave impetus to contention by gazetting the delimitation report that was disowned by seven of the nine Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) commissioners.

Methinks among a host of several other sticking points, the flickering prospects of a clean bill of health of the forthcoming elections dissipated with the brutality of the recent politically-motivated violence which claimed the life of an opposition member in Harare.

Zimbabweans are peaceful and industrious. They are remarkably resourceful, yet their singular drawback is that of an unrepentant government given to subjugation.

Despite that, they are nonetheless renowned for their well-honed work ethics and proficiency.

Your Excellency, Zimbabweans are divinely an extraordinary breed, so gay and dreamy, yet enterprising. Methinks mother nature never ceases to nurture them. Their resilience in the face of authoritarianism qualifies them for entry into the Guinness Book of Records.

Even in far flung places across the universe where they are scattered, Zimbabweans are exemplary. Their proficiency is the yardstick with which productivity is measured. Consequently, diaspora remittances are the lifeblood of our economy.

Ever since the immediate aftermath of independence, when the ecstasy of self-rule was cut short following the unleashing of the Gukurahundi atrocities, the  Zanu PF government has never ceased wielding the hatchet. It fundamentally thrives on subjugation.

Despite the change of guard in 2017, your incumbency proclaimed its power grab by two separate fatal shootings of citizenry. Given these brutalities, your claim of being soft as wool have been repudiated, painting you the very opposite. The aggression and brutality you brazenly unleashed were legendary.

It was my fervent expectation that you should have seized the occasion of the political violence that claimed the life of an opposition member to denounce intolerance and violence with vehemence. It duly fell within your jurisdiction to unreservedly condemn the murder.

Methinks your failure to denounce violence was in keeping with the disinclination towards pluralism. It was by the spirit of like-mindedness that the former Ethiopian strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam was readily embraced in this country.

It is in the same vein that as Russian leader Vladimir Putin pounds on Ukraine, you embrace him under cover of the smokescreen of your foggy mantra — friend to all and enemy to none. Amid your camaraderie with despots, civil rights and international law are of secondary significance.

Your Excellency, it is reasonably certain that the August 23 harmonised elections are destined to follow the precedence set by previous ones.

Their likelihood of being yet another democratic debacle characterised by unbridled political violence and electoral chicanery is firmly on the cards.

Apparently, the elections will be held on the backdrop of government having ignored the totality of 23 electoral reform recommendations tabled by the European Union observer mission after the 2018 elections. It is a given that they will not meet international standards.

Implementation of democratic reforms has long been the thorn in the flesh.

As far back as the era of the Government of National Unity of 2009 to 2013, government determinedly dug its heels deep in resistance, attempting not even a single token electoral reform.

Although no vote has been cast or counted yet, the build-up to the polls is not sufficiently conducive for clean, neat, free, fair and credible elections.

They cannot be certified as credible given that the State institutions’ violations of the rules of fair play have become the norm.

Your Excellency, your stern warning to mete out severe consequences on defiant Zanu PF cadres who dared to be guided by their conscience and stand as independents, contrary to the party straitjacket, was despotic. It was overbearing and unduly intolerant.

Methinks the warning was not only meant to dissuade the disgruntled Zanu PF cadres, but the opposition also. It was an outburst meant to cow those bent on internal revolt, as well as the willpower of the opposition.

Small wonder, it marked the proliferation of hate speech.

Democracy suffers whenever the opposition is hindered from holding rallies and to erect campaign billboards at strategic positions.

An uneven electoral playing field contributes to the deepening of mistrust between Zimbabwe and her international development partners.

Your Excellency, with all due respect, Equatorial Guinea’s long-time ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is an anathema to democracy.

His hogwash that you cannot be in power and lose an election is damnable.

As I see it, it will be a pauper’s victory, should you ensure you win the elections by whatever means.

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

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