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Cry my beloved Zimbabwe

24 Jun 2020 at 07:25hrs | Views

Your Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. During my formative years, I read the novel, Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton. It never dawned on me then that time would come when it would be inevitable for me to cry for my beloved country, Zimbabwe. Sadly, that time has come. It is here and now.
Initially, the novel severally tossed me back and turned me upside down. It crisscrossed me like a spider's web. Ultimately, it thrust me in a grey state of mind, somewhere halfway between wisdom and ignorance. My understanding of the book was absolutely superficial.

Frankly, the essence of the book did not sufficiently sink in my then juvenile faculties. As Apostle Paul forthrightly put it, I was still a babe, not yet ready for solid foods. Honestly, comprehension of the profundity of the message was not well within reach of my full grasp.

It suffices to admit that my reading of it was a whimsical dry run. However, my inclination towards public affairs was nonetheless stimulated. Somehow, notwithstanding my then tender age, something in me concluded that Cry the Beloved Country was indeed a remarkable thought-provoking work of literature.

Hence, my subsequent study of it later in life brought to the fore the timeliness awakening contained in its pages. As I see it, anyone who meditates over Zimbabwe cannot do so with dry eyes. Even hardened stoics will have a moment or two in which they fight back tears.

Few countries in modern history have tearful narratives as those of Zimbabwe. Hers is a heartrending tale worse off than a gory horror movie script. Oftentimes when appetite for blood overwhelms her, she simply accuses some of her nationals of smelling like "enemies".

She inherited the country with a strong economy, only to commemorate her 40th independence anniversary without a currency of her own. It is ironic that she fought for freedom, yet her people are now scattered in the diaspora.

Also, she grabbed commercial farms, yet she is importing food. Methinks at the root of the predicament stands a leadership that has no human touch. Political leadership debauchery is a peculiar thread that runs through the history of Zimbabwe, from independence up to now.

During swearing in ceremonies, when the leadership takes oath of office, it is their tongues that make the promise, not their conscious hearts. There is nothing solemn about them, save for mere recitation of formalities. It is indeed a straightforward case of run of the mill.

Yet, it is a universal norm that whenever an inordinate love of power gets the uppermost hand in public affairs, it causes wanton destruction and injury in its unbridled pursuit to serve itself. Plainly, Zimbabwe has evidence aplenty of wanton destruction and injury.

Despite her being referred to as the new dispensation, she remains a classic evidence of inordinate love of power. She is abundantly endowed with resources, but serve for a political leadership of sound mind and warm heart. Hence, her citizenry wallow in poverty.

Your Excellency, my expectations of your Presidency were that of a decided departure from the past. Given the benefit of hindsight of your 37 years under the late deposed former President Robert Mugabe, probity could be imploring you to propitious perspectives.

I keenly looked forward to your being a perfectly ordered Statesman, one who practises insightful leadership and polished diplomatic prowess on the international arena. As I see it, your clinging to the past is a drawback. It gives credence to the adage, old habits die hard.

Methinks the reason why Jesus did not appoint Pharisees and teachers of the law had to do with old habits dying hard. He knew that it was difficult to "un teach" them legalism that was entrenched in them. He, therefore, opted for fishermen and tax collectors to be His disciples.

If it were not for old habits dying hard, you could not have resolved to march against sanctions. It was startling that you even went as far as declaring a national day for the march. Sadly, in your zeal, you were convinced of regional support in your diplomatic guff.

It was my anticipation that by now, the economic tailspin could have been managed. But, your approach to targeted sanctions dampened my hopes. It was dumbfounding that in your wisdom, you deemed it appropriate to forgo other options, to march against sanctions.

Your Excellency, marching was roundly inapt. It is an option that raises the odour of suspicion among one's opposite members. It is devoid of the potential influence inherent in conferencing. Actually, it was your gracious opportunity to exhibit leadership gumption.

Yet, you opted for the old and familiar application. However, with Zimbabwe in a pickle, being an apt picture of misery, it was incumbent upon your leadership to initiate constructive dialogue. Frankly, it was opportune for your Presidency to make a virtue of necessity.

Further, marching deprived you of the off chance probability of encountering a sympathetic ear which dialogue oftentimes provides. After all, discussion is a time honoured social practice; God actually invited the forward Israelites, "Come, let us reason together."

Being a Zimbabwean is no picnic. Part of lyrics to Irish protest song, Flight of Earls by Paddy Reilly rings true to the plight of citizenry. He sings, "We have got nothing left to stay for, we had no more left to say, and there isn't any work for us to do, so fare ye well, boys' and girls".

Methinks the resolve to march instead of dialogue was a Mugabe throwback officious antics. He quit the Commonwealth rather than cull his ego. Your Excellency, by following in his footsteps, you conversely zoomed off tangent with international relations practice.

As I see it, marching is an option that has a prized opportunity cost. Your temerity to embark on it thrust your Presidency in no man's land, halfway between wisdom and ignorance similar to where the novel, Cry the Beloved Country, placed me during my formative years.

It is a bewilderment to be in a situation where the wise and the ignorant have equal claims on you as one of their own. Your Excellency, the onus is on you to choose being pennywise or pound foolish, mindful that the mega deals you talked about depend on the choices you make.

Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist. He writes in his personal capacity.

Source - newsday
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