What happened to the peoples’ President?

Open letter to President Robert Mugabe

Dear President

Wisdom and common sense tell me that anyone voted into the position of President should be a President for all Zimbabweans irrespective of race, colour, creed or political affiliation. Have you been that? Are you willing to be that now?

Many years ago I used to see you sometimes on my way to work, driving out on the Borrowdale Road early in the morning, on your own! One day in Avondale Shopping Centre I found you coming out of Shamrock Pharmacy with one or maybe two very unobtrusive body guards. I passed very close to you through the same entrance and felt at that time that you were approachable – ‘our President.’

What happened? You have moved so far from us and you have surrounded yourself with a small coterie of some very questionable people. I feel as if Zimbabwe has not had a President for a very long time. Certainly not someone who is a ‘peoples’ President.

Perpetual threat

I do not feel welcome in my own country of birth. All that I am and have exists under a perpetual feeling of threat and insecurity – from those who call themselves Zimbabwe’s liberators. I have only ever tried to give to my country and its people. For the last 12 years or so all you have done is tried to strip me of everything: freedom to vote without fear, freedom to meet, freedom to choose and speak without threat, freedom to call myself a citizen of the nation God placed me in, the freedom to build up a law-abiding business that adds to the nation in taxes and fees and gives fellow Zimbabweans work and dignity and a caring employer.

I have watched you tear down thousands of homes and buildings, rendering countless Zimbabweans homeless and jobless. I have watched you destroy our food base and our ability to feed ourselves. I watched as hundreds of thousands of farm workers had their whole lives destroyed in sometimes less than an hour.

Spiteful imprisonment

I have watched as our shops emptied and our country fell into ruins. I have seen the horrible marks of torture and beatings and heard of the torment of wrongful and spiteful imprisonments and arrests – over and over again.

I have witnessed the men in blue (ZRP) shamelessly and savagely beating up their own people and soliciting bribes. I have witnessed stolen and rigged elections and heard hate speech pour from many leaders’ mouths – including your own. And to my shame I was one of those who lived a sheltered life in Mashonaland in the eighties, hardly aware as rivers of blood flowed through Matebeleland – the province I was born in.

Do I see even one of the leaders of this party that have stolen, killed and lied exposed and brought to justice? No! Instead they continue to occupy lofty positions. Do I hear speeches and read articles on nation building and forgiveness and truth and reconciliation? No. All I hear are threats and retribution and bitterness and hate. All I hear is the past. – NM, Harare

Post published in: Letters to the Editor

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