By Moses Matenga
DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Your Excellency, I write to you at a very critical moment when the country has reached a perilous phase which is the electoral season that is likely to last until the 2023 plebiscite.
Cognisant of the fact that you are taking what you view as a well-deserved rest after an action-packed 2021, I write to you, to check on how you intend to deal with a lot of fears associated with this crucial moment in Zimbabwe’s political calendar starting now in preparation for the March 26 by-elections.
Zimbabwe is known for sliding into chaos during such phases and the tension cannot be ignored.
Talk of violence, arbitrary arrests, killings and so on, that is the typical scenario in this troubled nation each time we go for elections.
Your Excellency, the elephant in the room is the implication of you and your administration in the scandals associated with the control of institutions that play key roles in the electoral process including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), police, the military and Judiciary.
The Nelson Chamisa grouping (now called the Citizens Coalition for Change) has raised a red flag over an unfair electoral playing field including a suspected well-co-ordinated plot to decimate it using anything at your disposal.
Your Excellency, there have been claims that you were heavily involved in the plot to annihilate the opposition using MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora, and in the scheme of things, you roped in Zec, the military, police, Parliament and other institutions, effectively stripping Chamisa of everything political.
Indeed, like a wounded buffalo, Mwonzora charged at Chamisa without restraint dealing political destruction of unimaginable proportions on the MDC Alliance which observers say he could not have achieved without your enabling hand.
There have been claims that you had a hand in all this in a bid to divide the opposition and capitalise on its weakness to ensure political survival.
Chamisa was stripped naked and left without a party name, headquarters, properties, slogan, almost everything and you can’t blame his loyalists for suspecting your hidden hand in all this.
Now, the opposition has also teamed up with civil society accusing you of wanting to silence critics ahead of elections given that you, through your party, are pushing for legislation that curtail democratic freedoms.
Your Excellency, though you are not obliged to respond to mere claims, as a leader, if, indeed, you or your protégés are not involved, this is the time to publicly condemn what is clearly a plot to give you what the opposition will claim to be an unfair advantage over your nemesis.
You ought to talk tough and condemn all shenanigans by State institutions as ultimately, it is you as the country’s number one citizen who will shoulder the blame.
Your victory, if it is to come in 2023, will be questionable based on what is obtaining on the ground now that obviously the local and international communities are seized with.
On Monday, Chamisa sensationally claimed that Zec demanded that his new party avails its constitution for its papers to be processed.
This, he claimed was unreasonable and unconstitutional as no other party was asked to fulfil such a preposterous prerequisite.
Such suspicions are premised on your new-found love with Mwonzora who you regularly have tea with.
Chamisa thinks those tea sessions are motivated by your neferious desire to finish him off real or perceived rivals that will effectively taint the outcome of all coming elections.
Tell-tale signs of chaos reminiscent of the August 2018 protests that led to the shooting of innocent civilians are already there given what Chamisa said on Monday.
Chamisa said he “will be checking on Zec and this time we will not allow the electoral body to play and join the other team”, meaning your team.
“If they do so, they will be setting this country in a motion that is irretrievable,” he warned.
“I am not threatening, I am giving a promise. We will not repeat what we did. That is why, after winning (in 2018), you abused us.”
He insists that you have not won an election and you relied on the Judiciary to be at the helm.
Chamisa is suspicious of your alliance with Mwonzora and says whatever has happened to him and his party was “sponsored and co-ordinated” by the two of you. What’s your take?
Your Excellency, you have a chance to facilitate a smooth election but if you allow the institutions that push dubious agendas under your name to continue unabated, 2023 will be another damp squib and the illegitimacy tag will continue to haunt you.
- Moses Matenga is a Zimbabwean journalist. He writes here in his personal capacity.