Zanu PF brand at risk

President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, my observations confirm that Zanu PF has no culture of debate. Cadres are muffled, fearful of ruthless consequences as per threats you uttered during your recent address to party members at Mubaira, Mhondoro.

As I see it, amid their stillness, some progressives regard it as retrogressive for you, an octogenarian, to run for presidency. They reckon it to be retrogressive politics motivated by insatiable desire to retain power for one in his second childhood to defy succession.

Apparently, as the rank and file speak in hushed voices. It is the norm to conduct perimeter checks before exchanging perspectives. Despite your claim of being a listening and soft as wool leader, indications are that you do not heed pleas for peace and reconciliation.

Your Excellency, citizenry is completely incapacitated. As we count down to the end of your presidential term, the entire public service delivery is in dire straits. With the public health system collapsed, it is likewise roundly doom and gloom in all other sectors.

“Major hospitals, including the four central hospitals are facing shortages of basic medicines such as paracetamol. At the moment there is no single working radiotherapy machine in the country. Our biggest hospital only has one maternal operating theatre which was built before 1980. People are dying from these things that are preventable,” Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights secretary-general Norman Matara lamented.

According to Matara, inadequate funding of the public health sector is the root cause of the crisis.

He pointed out that despite being a signatory to the Abuja Declaration, where it has committed to allocate 15% of the national budget towards public healthcare, Zimbabwe has not stuck to the commitment.

Your Excellency, in addition to budget limitations, there is rampant corruption and mismanagement of government resources in all ministries and parastatals as revealed by the annual reports produced by the Auditor-General.

There is no adherence to disciplined and principled management of State resources. True to the adage, fish rots from the head, the presidency is oblivious of the moral obligation of accountability and transparency in the management of the public purse.

With all due respect, the hefty amounts you gave to High Court judges, as we draw close to the harmonised elections, do not augur well for the realisation of credible, free and fair elections. Methinks, the so-called housing loans raise a stench of ethical deficiencies.

Your Excellency, given the military-orchestrated intervention that culminated in your ascendancy to the presidency in 2017, as I see it, it was an exception that your power grab, in spite of its woeful aura, was not classified as a coup d’état.

Strangely, you were welcomed aboard the world stage. Yet, those who assumed power in similar circumstances elsewhere were subjected to international condemnation and isolation.

It was extremely fortunate that you survived censure. It does not occur now and then that the progressive community turns a blind eye to succession processes in which men in boots determine the outcome. It was clear that the army rollout was devoid of democratic norms.

Methinks you heaved a sigh of relief when you escaped ostracism. Truly, the faculties of the senile late former President Robert Mugabe had rendered him the party’s elephant in the room.

Yet, the frailty did not justify his deposal.

Your Excellency, you ought to have done a Damascus conversion after surviving censure by a whisker. Given the narrow margin with which you were spared the backlash that is ordinarily meted out for power-grabbing, you should have forsaken all dictatorial tendencies.

Like Paul after conversion, you should have cast away your former ideals. Sadly, it was not to be as you hastened to showcase your strongman traits. Despite calling for a new beginning, you twice unleashed the army on citizenry, thereby asserting your inherent authoritarianism.

Primarily, one thing your presidency did when it hit the ground running was to underscore and assert the dawn of tumultuous times in a fractured country. It was this polarisation that prompted the head of the Commonwealth assessment team to implore citizenry to find each other.

Factionalism within the party is patently visible, so is intolerance towards holders of alternative political schools of thought.

Methinks that the Zanu PF brand is at risk. Duly, the unfulfilled promise of reforms before elections and the disbursement of hefty housing loans to the elite are twin evils which your party cannot afford to carry to the August 23 harmonised elections.

Your Excellency, probity warrants you to avoid the ordeal that Mugabe went through. As I see it, if Zanu PF is indeed a revolutionary party, open for debate, succession ought to have taken centre stage.

“Better a poor, but wise youth than an old, but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed warnings,” Ecclesiastes 4:13.

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


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