Good day Mr President: United we stand, divided we fall

President Emerson Mnangagwa.

GOOD day, President Emerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, your conclusion to the commemoration message for the late Vice-President John Landa Nkomo with the phrase, long live our unity, peace and freedom, piqued my curiosity.

Methinks you could not have been oblivious to the perpetual political disunity. There is political intolerance and disharmony with neither peace nor freedom to evidence. Apparently, citizenry is in disarray owing to political disharmony. Yet, ancient wisdom implores us that united we stand, divided we fall. 

There is a dire need for a leadership that subscribes to Ubuntu. Even Zanu PF is fraught with intra-party rivalry. Consequently, fears of a protest vote, code-named, Bhora musango, constantly haunt you. 

Truly, the need for you to meditate is urgent. I reckon you could have amounted to an apostle of unity, peace and reconciliation had you called for a minute of silence in remembrance of the Gukurahundi massacre victims at the start and close of the Zanu PF conference that was held in Gweru in October last year.

It is time the necessity for leadership creativity, probity and sobriety ought to manifest, given that citizenry is in gross all-round impoverishment. It is being deprived of unity, peace and freedom. Essentially, the pride of the once upon a time vibrant breadbasket of the region was sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

Your Excellency, citizenry is in dire straits, hopelessly torn asunder. Yet, our forebearers passed down to us the verity that whenever one purposefully listens to the wind attentively, the universe imparts wisdom to  him with clarity. 

It is imperative for you at this point in time to step back, draw a  deep breath and meditate as great leaders, who are distinguished by the value they added to society are known for doing habitually. It is my conviction that it will be an abuse of the privilege inherent in me as a public debater if I were to shy away from prodding you to meditate on the essence of your leadership at a troubling time like this. 

It is, therefore, a sacred responsibility for me to pray for you to humble yourself and meditate. Methinks your mandate behoves you to step into the shoes of the citizenry whose votes counted for nothing. Truly, it will inevitably dawn on you that united we stand, divided we fall.

Your Excellency, the Seven Paths to Peace which are the driving force of the Rotarians worldwide are a must read for anyone who aspires to serve and have positive impact on fellow humans. 

I implore you to dare not downplay the divisiveness among citizenry over the harmonised elections that were condemned as a sham by election observers. It stands to reason that the overwhelming majority whose vote was corrupted is bound to be aggrieved. 

Ideals of statemanship warrant scrupulous leadership, one that strives for consensus and equitability in the management of national affairs, including electoral processes.  Yet, with such friends as Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the Equatorial Guinea’s longtime ruler, who is the second longest serving non-royal leader in the world, democratic tenets are consigned to the category of optional considerations. 

His exhortation that you cannot be in power and lose an election is validation of despotic and authoritarian leadership. It is no wonder that you gloss over the inevitable perils of the divisive consequences of the  inconclusive elections on citizenry.

Your Excellency, the report that close to half a million Zimbabwean children of school-going age are staying at home does not speak of a citizenry that knows unity, peace and freedom. Rather, the report is a loud and clear testimony of national anxiety and uneasiness. 

Coming as it did on the backdrop of the inconclusive harmonised elections, on one hand, and the ongoing cholera outbreak on the other, indications are clear that citizenry is indeed anxious and concerned about its welfare.

Yet, your leadership is altogether fixated on consolidating power through the dubious recall of parliamentarians and councillors and subsequent by-elections. However, as I see it, a weakened opposition does not culminate in unity, peace and freedom. It conversely points to tyrannical rule that is bereft of unity, peace and freedom. 

With the withdrawal of America from the Zimbabwe debt recovery talks, which are fronted by the African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina and former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, following yet another inconclusive harmonised election, the taunted engagement and re-engagement policy is all but futile. 

True to its Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act America quit the debt recovery talks following the sham August 23 and 24 harmonised elections.Actually, it was stated from the onset that the success of the debt recovery endeavour was dependent on your government embarking on processes of reforms and the running of credible, free and fair elections. 

Critical prerequisites for the debt recovery dialogue were reforms in six areas, namely the judicial sector, public sector transparency and accountability, combating corruption, promotion of human rights, electoral and national peace and reconciliation. 

Methinks the poem, Divided We Fall, by James Osborne, is a wake up call for Zimbabwe. It reads, "Year by year, it stays this way. Driving us apart. Day by day it eats away at our country and our hearts. Divided by our differences, we fail to see the other side and are quick to get defensive as our hearts are filled with pride. 

It seems we have blown off course, my friends, from the goodness of our hearts, for we focus on our differences, and the wars we will never start. If only we could compromise, just to find some common ground, perhaps we would find a way to turn this ship around."

Your Excellency, time is of the essence. I rest my case with the William Shakespeare presage, no legitimacy is so rich as honesty. As I see it, united we stand, divided we fall. 

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

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