‘We belong to each other’

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

GOOD day, President Emerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, it is an open secret that disputed harmonised elections do not augur well for Zimbabwe. Given the reputation for inconclusive elections, oftentimes held in the backdrop of an atmosphere of nervous apprehensions. As I see it, your mandate was to turn a new leaf.

Yet, that was not to be. Evidence of your failure to create history anew is incriminatory. Consequently, the inexorable consequences of the disputed sham harmonised elections are destined to dog your Presidency.

There were calls in 2022 by the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa for the United Nations (UN) to monitor the elections. His concerns were that his supporters faced recurrent harassment by State security agents and ruling party supporters.

Your Excellency, the call grew louder as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitoring Platform called on the UN to intervene and oversee the August harmonised elections. It claimed last year in September that all local institutions had proven incapable of delivering a free and fair election.

In its report titled: National Election Watch Report, it stated, "With the rising cases of impunity and corrosion of independent commissions violence will be expected. Our major worry is that this will cost Zimbabweans democracy and their much needed freedom. The African Union  and Southern Africa Development Community have been silent on Zimbabwe's case. Therefore,  it is only UN we can look to."

It highlighted the fear that the harmonised elections would be inconclusive as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) was captured by Zanu PF. It called for Zec to be disbanded and replaced by an  independent commission agreed on by all political actors.

My observation is that citizenry cast an incredulous stare on Zec. Ever since the then Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau slumped on her knees before your predecessor, the deposed late former President Robert Mugabe. It is apparent that Zec failed to comply with the constitutional provision to operate independently and transparently.

 Your Excellency, observers and political players were chagrined in February over the somewhat secretive exchange of the final delimitation report between you and Zec. Ordinarily, lawyers pick their words with profound diligence. Yet, for constitutional law guru Lovemore Madhuku, push came to shove. He blurted that you were not being honest.

"I am still going through the report, but one obvious thing I just found out is that Mnangagwa is not being honest. The secret interaction between Zec and the President in the exchange of the delimitation report raises questions of the integrity of the commission to run the elections despite the fact that it is a serious violation of the Constitution," remarked Madhuku.

It was small wonder that Zec was in stormy waters in June 2020 after it issued an incoherent response to the allegations of poll theft against Chamisa, raised by the former Zanu PF politburo member, Jonathan Moyo in his book titled,  Excelgate: How Zimbabwe's 2018 election was Stolen.

It was inevitable that the harmonised elections were destined to be contestable. There was an absence of independence and transparency in the management of the electoral processes. It was notable that Zec was not operating independently and transparently as it ought to.

It is impossible for electoral malpractices to be sanitised, let alone regularised. Consequently, from where I stand, your Presidency has a yawning legitimacy deficit.

As I see it, Sadc chairperson President Joao Lourenco of Angola sold his soul by congratulating you on the said electoral victory. He deprived himself of the prospects of loftier stations of human endeavours post his current one.

He forfeited the credibility and dignity that are prerequisites for statesmen. Similarly, the seven diplomats from Sadc countries who converged at the State House to congratulate you transgressed against the path of rectitude as did Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Fredrick Shava when he blocked the Sadc secretariat from tabling the Zimbabwe disputed elections on the Sadc summit agenda.

Your Excellency, it is imperative to note that the quest for freedom, which embodies democracy, has come a long way. It probably stretches back to the very initial stages of human civilisation.

Long before 1776 when the American founding fathers proclaimed their Declaration of Independence, with the resonating preamble, "We the people ... ," democracy had already undergone a series of fine-tuning. It was already an ideal worthy striving for, even dying for.

Methinks the Declaration of Independence insightfully detailed thoughts on harmonious citizenry coexistence and the nature and power of government, which Abraham Lincoln described as, “of the people, by the people and for the people”, would be like.

Considering that the settlers where coming from various countries and cultures,  a visiting French statesman was pleasantly impressed by the meeting of the minds of the Americans.

 He remarked, during his 1778 visit, "Americans should be an example of political, religious, commercial and industrial liberty. The asylum they offer to the oppressed of every nation, the avenue of escape they open will compel governments to be just and enlightened."

Methinks the prospects of prosperity observed by the French Statesman  Robert Jacques Turgot, compare favourably with the one observed by President Julius Nyerere during his first visit to the country when he described Zimbabwe as the jewel of Africa.

Unlike America, Zimbabwe is hamstrung by a governing party that claims to be a constitutional government. Yet, it is hell-bent on delivering inconclusive elections.

Truly, America owes her majesty to the conscious inculcation by successive Presidents of the spirit of oneness across ethnic and political divides as the American people. Her citizenry are cohesive, mindful that they belong to each other in spite of varying political persuasions.

Your Excellency, a Presidency that polarises citizenry dispels peace and prosperity. Mother Theresa’s sentiment summarises it all: "If we do not have peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other," is pertinent.


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