Mr President, you missed the opportunity to be the veritable voice of conscience

Cyprian Ndawana

DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

Your Excellency, as I see it, your Defence Forces Day speech fell  short of presidential profundity. It was watered down by your skirting the prevalence of military operatives’ involvement in armed robberies.

Given the increasing engagement in armed robberies by members of the armed forces, it was imperative for you to scream a war cry against the vice. It was compelling for you to at least say a thing or two about the social menace than to be  passively quiet.

Primarily, utmost discipline is the prerequisite for professional security forces. It is the time honoured precept of rectitude which officers inculcate and adhere to from conscription to their last day of service. It gets ingrained, becoming their second nature, lasting to the grave.

Your Excellency, those who risk to stray from the strict, straight and narrow code of deportment are comprehensively dealt with. They get punished with severity, as a deterrent to would-be offenders. There is no scope for leniency and tolerance to delinquency.

All traits of indiscipline get nipped at their earliest manifestation. Inherent in the initiation drills is the inculcation of devotement to observance of military rites. Hence, it is an irksome abandonment of intrinsic values that some State security members turned decadent.

Your Excellency, citizenry look up to the Commander-in-Chief for authoritative assertions. There could not have been a more opportune occasion for you to stamp admonishments for the shifty practices than the Defence Forces Day commemorations. It was prodigal to be loath.

Essentially, armed robberies duly warrant your attention. As I see it, they truly deserve a state of the nation address. Me wonders, amidst all the occurrances, to what low levels must indiscipline drop to for you to speak out sternly against the scourge?

Primarily, it was tantamount to pampering the criminality that you skirted around the vice. Yet, the menace has the capacity to degenerate, becoming the launching platform for rogue uniformed members to devolve into hardcore outlaws who make plunder a way of life.

Your Excellency, it was unstately that you persued the course of least resistance as did Pontius Palate when aroused Jews clamoured for the blood of Jesus.  Curiously, you sacrificed forthrightness whilst national security was at stake, threatened by the institution whose mandate is to safeguard it.

It is my fervent conviction that you missed an opportunity to be the veritable voice of conscience. It was the alright occasion for you to think straight and be fortright. Methinks you are destined to rue the absurdity of trading off a candid speech for an appeasement one.

Granted, armed robberies by members of the defence forces are a frequent occurrence. They are happening now and then. Given this backdrop, your main speech objective ought have been to underscore concerns over the rise of this criminality by men in boots.

Your Excellency, it was incumbent upon you to take a determined frontal attack on armed robbery. It was an expectation to hear from the horse’s mouth that despite whatever hardships the men in boots were confronted by, criminality, more so armed robbery, must never be an option.

Yet, you chose to be understanding and conciliatory, extending the olive branch in the form  of enhancements which included remuneration, accommodation and transportation. It is my ardent supplication that the myriad of promises you proffered be expeditiously availed to stem the tide of armed robberies by military operatives.

Your Excellency, your promise for enhancements was reminiscent of impulsive political rally utterances. It sounded as an artificial sugarcoat as that for issuance of title deeds you made at the Epworth rally which was eventually rescinded.

“In an effort to improve the welfare of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) members, government has reinstated the Military Salary  Concept and is also working on improving the transportation and accommodation situation for the defence forces,” you claimed.

As I see it, this crime wave is an act of last resort. At the eminent risk of appearing to being sympathetic to the armed robbery menace by military and police officers,  methinks beneath the violent crime wave are victims of incapacitation driven to destitution.

Your Excellency, ever since government pondered over the prospects of setting up garrison shops in military institutions, the welfare of officers had altogether reached the abject level. It had been apparent by their uniforms that they were destituted.

Their shirt and blouse collars were torn. Their boots were so worn out that it was total embarrassment to wear them. Methinks it was a likewise state of dire poignancy evidenced by fadded uniforms that have altogether seen better days, which John Milton sorrowfullly bemoaned, “to the lowest pitch of abject fortune, thy art fallen”.

During the yesteryears, the Air Force of Zimbabwe personnel were renowned for their impeccable uniforms. Yet, they now evidence excessive wear and tear.

Your Excellency, uniformed personnel cast doleful figures in their overworn uniforms. Moreover, dilapidation of infrastructure, especially offices and institutional housing and equipment now  spells neglect. It shudders to imagine how officers can ever be motivated.

It was a national disgrace that an aged Presidential helicopter was forced to have an emergence landing in Norton, with you on board. Around the same time, yet another military helicopter crashed around Chishawasha, claiming the lives of three service personnel.

Amid your silence on rogue security elements, there could be a build-up to a repeat of the dissident upheaval. After all, it was due to growing concerns over living conditions in military institutions that wrought agitation among some integrated returnee freedom fighters.

Your Excellency, they deserted armed, angry and hungry. Given that you were the State Security minister then, methinks you recall that things fell apart as anarchy was loosed upon the country. I beseech you to take heed; history has a reputation for repeating itself.

Related Topics