The failure of democracy.

President Emerson Mnangagwa

GOOD day, President Emerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, the chaos that broke out in Parliament last Tuesday and its ripple effects all point to the failure of democracy. It was an ominous manifest destiny of the denial that the opposition is crucial for democracy to be functional.

Methinks the bottomline of the sham elections was that you were thrust forlornly on ground zero, stripped of legitimacy. Basically, what you scooped was a pauper's victory which rendered you to being the commander-in-chief of violations of time-honoured electoral conventions.

True to the insightful Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, the problem of Africa is leadership.

As I see it, you are at the crossroads with destiny, confronted by a moment of reckoning in which time is of the essence. William Shakespeare portrayed the imagery of embracing wisdom amid the tides in the affairs of men.

 "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the floods, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a sea we now are afloat. And, we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures," Shakespeare said.

Your Excellency, the majority of the election observer missions could not have been in wilful connivance against Zimbabwe for them to conclude that the elections were not credible and conclusive. It would be below the dignity of the President for you to begrudge them.

Ever since your ascendancy to the Presidency in 2017 through a military-orchestrated succession of the late former President Robert Mugabe, there has been evidence of the deficit of democratic credentials in your leadership.

Clarity was bound to dawn that you do not subscribe to democracy. Inclinations of the strongman mentality have been evident in the way you subdue alternative thinkers. Twice during your early Presidency, live ammunition was fired on citizenry.

Amid the loss of lives, there was no evidence of a contrite heart, one that treasures the sanctity of human life, dignity, liberty and democracy.  Furthermore, the 2018 harmonised elections were held in a hostile environment in which the fruit of democracy could not ripen.

Your threat of fatal consequences on Zanu PF cadres who had lost in the party primary elections chose to contest as independents was in harmony with your red in tooth and claw nature. It was not a conciliatory utterance from one who is ordinarily mandated to lead by building consensus.

As I see it, Mugabe could not have been the despot that he was without your being his hatchet-man. A case in point was the chilling decisiveness with which you barked at the leadership of the secessionist party that they were applying for their lives to be cut short.

Apparently, Zanu PF was engaged in vote buying and abuse of State institutions. It even bragged that the judiciary, police and the military were friends with Zanu PF. Given all manner of electoral malpractices, the harmonised elections could not have been credible.

Methinks your party largely unfairly benefited from State institutions’ partisanship. It received undue publicity from the public media houses.  Yet, the opposition was closed out, save for when denigrating remarks were being thrown at it.

Your Excellency, the harmonised elections were held on the backdrop of unprecedented manipulation of electoral laws. It is my sworn vow that it was not for want of credible evidence that the opposition, Citizens Coalition for Change opted to forego challenging the results of the harmonised elections in court.

It could have substantiated its case with ease given the weight of evidence to prove its arguments. With the secretive Forever Associates Zimbabwe having been prowling throughout the campaign period and the vote casting dates, evidence was plentiful.

Yet, the opposition consciously decided against litigation. As I see it, it could had been naive for it to expect justice from the judiciary whose palms you recently handsomely greased.

Also, considering that the Chief Justice is a beneficiary of the extension of his tenure by five years beyond the then 70 years retirement threshold at your behest, it could have been akin to tabling before the apes an application advocating deforestation.

Essentially, the observation by the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) elections observer mission was judicious. Its conclusion that the harmonised elections fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act and the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2021), was incredibly meritable.

Zimbabwe is in a crisis. In the words of Shakespeare, her ventures are bound in shallows and misery. Consequently, it is incumbent on you to act Stately, notwithstanding the futility of your rush to forming a government and the official opening of Parliament.

Your Excellency, I come in peace, rest assured that probity warrants you to look beyond the pauper's victory from the sham elections. As I see it, posterity will credit you if you were to hit the ground running to deliberate with the opposition on the three options Sadc proffered.

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

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