Dear Mr President
Brace yourself Your Excellency, Sir. There aren’t going to be any social niceties in this letter. This isn’t going to be the sort of epistle that you would ordinarily expect from he who is suffocating under the weight of your brutal rule. You are presiding over a thugocracy, Sir, and you have done, all in one week, what other dictators will spend years planning. This isn’t the right way to govern, Mr President.
Although I had strong reservations about your succeeding the late former President Robert Mugabe, I am aware that you fooled many from our endogenous and exogenous worlds into believing that you could actually be better than your predecessor.
You came, fortified and backed by the ruthless and destructive power of the gun, with promises of a new dispensation, a second republic that would be open to business. The only business that Zimbabwe has been open to ever since your coup and electoral rigging is increased corruption by the ruling oligarchy and asphyxiation of our democratic space.
Reports abound in the media about your plundering and looting of State coffers through improper tender procedures that benefited fake shelf companies that are linked to your cronies. COVID-19 has come at an appropriate time for you as you are presented with more and more opportunities to plunder and loot national resources at our expense.
You are the most corrupt leader that Zimbabwe has ever had, Mr President. It is my sincere hope that you will have a moment to “think too of all who suffer as if you shared their pain” (Hebrews 13:3, JB Phillips).
For many Zimbabweans, life no longer makes sense. Not that it did before, but the sad reality is that we are by far worse now than we were during the late former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and Mugabe years. We can hardly breathe as you are depriving us of oxygen and we have serious concerns that we might as well end up unconscious or dead.
Your Excellency, we have too little air left in our political lungs and the possibility has really grown that we might die of political asphyxiation under your rule. We deserve fair and not cruel treatment from your government. Allow us the freedom to do and say what we want while respecting others and staying within the law that is justifiable in a democratic society.
Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, who resembles you in many respects, repeated the many lies that we have heard from Patrick Chinamasa, Sibusiso Moyo and Ziyambi Ziyambi that the MDC Alliance trio faked their abductions and that their reports of abuse were choreographed.
Despite your insensitive denial of the abductions and torture of three female opposition politicians by your security forces, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission never minced its words when it found that Cecilia Chimbiri, Joanah Mamombe and Netsai Marova were all “abducted, tortured and had their dignity impaired, thereby violating their constitutional rights”. You might be able to fool those in your party, but we see you for who you are.
You are the troubler of Zimbabwe, Your Excellency. We saw you hobnobbing in public with Thokozani Khupe after she hurriedly accepted and endorsed your hollow victory over MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa. We wondered why someone who considered herself your opponent would be so comfortably close to you.
Honestly, it never crossed our minds that you were behind this little project to create conditions of democratic formalism by having opposition that isn’t opposition.
Without any doubt, it is pellucid that you were behind the Supreme Court judgment that invalidated Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC-T. For the avoidance of doubt, there are two different MDC formations, the MDC-T led by Khupe and the MDC Alliance that defeated you in July 2018.
You have now succeeded by deploying security forces in violently taking over the MDC Alliance party headquarters, Harvest House and arresting its leaders. You may continue to abuse legal processes to create your utopian dream of a one-party State. Rest assured, we will keep fighting for multi-party democracy in Zimbabwe. Besides, leadership isn’t something that is conferred on you by the courts.
The people themselves reserve the right to choose their own leaders. You might have fooled Khupe and Douglas Mwonzora, but you are still a reject in the eyes of the people of Zimbabwe. The world is also watching as the United States embassy posted on its Twitter account that it was “dismayed by the politicised use of security forces to take over the headquarters of an opposition party and arrest its members. A healthy democracy requires healthy opposition parties”.
So, stop politicising George Floyd’s death. He died in the most tragic of circumstances and please don’t use his death to make false comparisons between police brutality against African-Americans and the ugly and quotidian brutalities that we continue to suffer under your dictatorship.
But why targeting Thabani Mpofu and Choice Damiso? I know you consider yourself a lawyer, but we also know you practised for a questionable two years. When and where did you practise your legal profession? Your Excellency, you are embarrassing us as a nation and it’s not funny anymore!
Till next time, reflect on these matters Mr President!
— Mutsa Murenje holds a PhD in social work from The University of Newcastle in Australia. He writes in his personal capacity.