A letter to Barack Obama

via A letter to Barack Obama | The Zimbabwean 02 July 2014 by Vince Museve

From those to whom much is given, much is expected. In January 2009 I watched as you were inaugurated as the 56th and first black President of the United States of America. The elation I felt was indescribable. I even shed a tear, as Rev Jesse Jackson did, and imagined that at last we had man in power with a better understanding of Africa and the challenges it faces. I saw in you a leader of the free world who appreciates that we in Africa have the same thirst for freedom as those in your United.

Today as sit here in my country Zimbabwe, six years after your inauguration. All I see is hopelessness, poverty and the entrenchment of a dictatorship that has caused enormous pain and suffering for our people. The audacity of the hope I had for a free and prosperous country have all but vanished.

I have listened many a time to our leaders here talking about our sovereignty and how we have the right to self-determination. These are empty words, a facade intended to pacify the international community while robbing us of the future we once imagined.

Mr President, Africa is not free. Zimbabwe is not free. The myth that freedom is the act of holding regular elections must be rejected because, despite this, the substance of life itself continues to deteriorate. The social conditions in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular will never satisfy our full potential as long as we have men in power who believe that they alone are entitled to hold onto political power – regardless of their ability to create a better future for us.

Despite all the international excitement about Africa’s rise, we must ask ourselves: How can Africans rise when their liberators have become their oppressors? How can we ever experience freedom when our leaders deliberately suppress the new generation who seek to create a liberated Africa based on the universal principles of democracy and the right to self-determination?

My country is on the verge of economic collapse – not because we do not have the will or the resources and the skills to rebuild it. But because we have men and women who do not believe that our freedom is important; they do not believe that their time has come and gone. They do not believe that they must now leave us to rebuild a non-racial modern society. They are frightened of what we may become and will use all in their power to limit us.

The saddest development in my country is that even those in the European Union have abandoned the struggle for freedom. They have decided that it is better and more convenient to accept the conditions set by a dictatorship than to support the principles of freedom upon which their own union is based. They think that our standard of freedom and the quality of life we desire should be less than what they demand for their own families at home.

A new Zimbabwe can only emerge through a new generation of young African leaders whose self-esteem is not based on the injury or harm they cause to others, but on making a difference for the poorest and allowing all to live up to their full potential. Then Africa will arise.

But young African leaders can only emerge if they receive the necessary international support. We have seen it many times in Zimbabwe over the last 34 years, where those who seek a different Zimbabwe will never truly rise because the system is designed to stifle change and maintain the status quo.

Your United States represents to us the highest ideal of liberty that we young Africans must continue to fight for. But we can only do so with you on our side.

Mr President, I continue to hope that before your time is over you will do what you can to keep our dreams of a better Zimbabwe alive. I hope you will apply your mind to how we can together keep the dreams of millions of young Africans alive – because they deserve not only better leaders but a better future.

Mr President, we in Africa need a chance and who but the 56th and first black President of the United States can make a difference and help us? – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com



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    Roving Ambassador 8 years ago

    This is where we are lacking in leadership. We must broadcast our plight to all the powers in the world. Thinks Vince for bringing this up. Tsvangirai is now tired, he has more personal issues to attend to. We are keeping our eyes off the ball. And Zanu carries on as normal in this abnormal situation.
    We need our freedom back.

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    Reverend 8 years ago

    Vince, I am so glad you shed a tear at Obama’s inauguration along with that irreverend Jessie Jackson and I was only because you saw a man who had half your colour make the office of US president, nothing else. The fact that he chose to represent the black community and shed the white side due to the fact that he needed the black vote. You never considered his honesty and integrity, or lack of it, or his moral stand, or lack of it. The fact that this man has never had a job in his entire life, and he is now commander in chief of the biggest army in the world and has not done a day in any uniform. That in fact he is not even a US citizen by birth and holds the social security No of a man who died just before he was born while his mother worked in the social security registration office in Hawaii. He has supported gay marriages, abortion (over 55million in the US now), and a Muslim claiming Christianity. He now holds the lowest popularity poll ever in the presidency in the USA. Around 38% … even lower than Jimmy Carter for goodness sake. He has lied and deceived the people in the USA and has dictatorially stated like Mugabe that he can personally sign anything into law that he wants and now is decreasing the US military to levels lower than the had before the first world war…etc etc. And you hoped this dude would stick his neck out for us…we don’t have the vote and we dont have oil, and his color claim is only for his second term election and he will go down in the history of the US as a tragic failure and a joke.

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      Ruramai 8 years ago

      Reverend, what a load of bull s..t! It’s ok to dislike Obama but you don’t have to lie so shamelessly about him. He is 100% American, wether you like it or not, having born in Hawaii. Americans would not have allowed an outsider to be their president.

      Of course he had several jobs. It was at one of his places of work that he met Michelle.

      If you feel compelled to lie you must at least try believable stuff.

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      Tinomunamataishe 8 years ago

      @Reverend, all you need is this page to start with:


      Don’t depend on hearsay or rumours, let Google or Bing etc be your friend because I think the audience here is a little bit better informed.

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    Boy or boy. Vince, Vince, Vince,how you get it all wrong like this is now beyond me. To begin with Obama is not the 56th president of the USA, but the 44th. But that is not important. Outside invading Zimbabwe and imposing his own leader on Zimbabwe, I don’t get what you want him to do. Invasion is out of question, because:
    i) even if he wanted to he can’t because he will not get that authority from the Republican controlled Congress
    ii) even if he could Zimbabweans would not take or allow it because foreign imposition of leaders will not work and has never worked
    iii) Obama has enough of his own national and other pressing international crises that directly affects America’s interests and needs his urgent attention, for him to worry about Zimbabwe
    iv) Zimbabwe’s problems can and must be tackled by Zimbabweans and they must be at the forefront
    for any solution to work, and the solution cannot be found by wasting time pleading to Obama

    I suggest to you Mr. Musewe, that you spend more of your time encouraging people to realise how powerful they are only if they work in concert for one cause. If you do,we will have no need to appeal to foreign nations, who have their own domestic issues to contend with, for them to solve our problems. We the people of Zimbabwe are responsible for our future whatever it is and whether we want to acknowledge our responsibility or not. No one is going to come riding a white stallion and save us from our troubles no matter how much you can plead with the outside world. Sorry to disappoint you.

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    Reverend, I don’t intend to be rude or negative about your comment, but please have a fact check before you post some of your comments. I think you listen too much to hate filled talking points by those who oppose Obama and take those as facts. Be careful Rev.because that tends to distort some valid points that you may have. Obama is a US citizen. He was born in Hawaii. That is a fact no matter what you want to believe because of what you hear from the holier than though religious extremists in America. That he is half white or black makes him black in American parlance. I don’t know what you have against Muslims or gays, but if I am to hazard a guess it is because of your biblical understanding of ‘sin’ which is obviously exacerbated by the same holier than though televangelist. What about the other ‘sins’ Rev? Please don’t tell me it is a choice, because it is not. If it is a choice you, Rev are potentially gay, only you chose not to be. But I guess that’s not what you are. Don’t pile up all the rubbish you hear from television and regurgitate it as fact. It damages you, personally and you as a reverend.

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      Reverend 8 years ago

      So sorry Pati, I did not mean to offend you…Nothing from “holier than thou religious extremists” OK then half white plus half black = black. I accept that. I do not hate Muslims, but kinda irritated when a pressy tries to conveniently run a role of a Christian when he is not. Nothing against gays, but “marriage” was designed by God for man and woman and it is sad that it sanctity has been allowed to be degraded to non biblical principals. I know gays who have repented by choice and gone straight, but no need to get into that. Sin is sin regardless and a nation will fall when it legalises sin.I see you never rapped me for the horriffic abortion rate in the USA, you ok with that? I dont know why you are trying to slap me around with your televangelist weapon but that does not fit the occasion, and obviously a pet hate of yours.
      I thought your post was pretty fair and along different lines to me, but you must also remember that the USA, Britain and the EU were responsible for this unfortunate mess of a dictatorship we are in and they have conveniently dropped the ball of Zimbabwe and are taking no notice as we roll into the gutter.You can shout and scream about the fact that Zimbabweans must stand up and be brave, but you actually do not uderstand the incredible fear this dictator has thrust into the hearts of the people. Zimbabweans live in terrible fear and are we not being naive to think that they can just shake it off because we want them to. Believe it or not I have been there. Thats enough from me. Lord bless Pati.

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    Petal 8 years ago

    Obama is considered black in America but if he was on the african continent he would have been considered mixed race africa should take a leaf from America

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    Yes, Petal, good leadership or bad for that matter, does not know race or skin colour.

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    I would suggest Vince do what I have asked others to do when they doubt. Walk in Obamas shoes for two 4 year terms and then comment. I did not think much of him at first. Now he has my greatest respect.

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    I hear a distant message from down under and elsewhere. Our hope is far far away. Someone somewhere says we are our own liberators. When the time is right and we have lost all hope and no one including the West and the East is listening or seems to hear us we will rise up again and claim what is ours. Something called ZUNDE is calling the young and the old. Let us listen before we dismiss them.
    Vince is only showing us how ordinary right thinking people have become desperate. Kutswaka uta nemugate. The answer is within us. Time will tell us all.

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    Ruramai 8 years ago

    Reverend, that’s hogwash! Obama was born in Hawaii and that makes him hundred percent American. It’s okay to dislike someone but you don’t have to invent stories just to discredit him.

    Obama actually held a number of jobs. You only have to google his name and his life story is there for anyone to read.

    You are a pathetic liar.

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    Oh, but I do understand the fear and the impact of that fear that has paralysed us, my dear Reverend. And, no need for apologies. But, I also understand the potential and the inert power that is inherently ensconced in the human in us. It never goes anywhere. It can be suppressed, alright, like what has currently happened to Zimbabweans right now, but it also can be awakened. It takes people, like you,Rev.,to use your pulpit and remind people that they have the power to deal with their problems, but your message is only effective if you get your facts right.

    Before he became president, Obama was a senator from Chicago for two years and before that he was a lawyer working in the trenches with the poor and the underprivileged and oh, he was a constitutional law professor too. So he held jobs that really mattered to many.

    I don’t know what you mean by “pressy”, but if it is in reference to Obama, you get it all wrong again and this is where among other assertions, your pronouncements dovetail with the holier than though extremists. Remember he was accused of being a disciple of Jeremiah Wright, a Christian black fundamentalist?

    Obama’s father died in 1982, well after Obama’s birth in 1961, so he does not and never used his father’s social security number.

    In 1979 Thatcher considered Mugabe a terrorist and the European Union, EU, was founded in 1993. So how are they responsible for the dictatorship in Zimbabwe?

    I could go on and on about how factually wrong you are, but you get the point. I hope.

    Unless you are clamoring for a theocracy, taking the bible as our constitution will not work. Democractic principles accept differences and work through those differences. And whilst we are still at it God is very capable of taking care of the sinful. He does not need man’s help and to usurp His authority. I have no confidence in man who purport to know it all, and cherry pick what they choose to criticize as sinful. I will always respect one who loves God with all his might and strength and love his neighbor as himself and not judge.
    No indictment.

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    Ruramai 8 years ago

    Vince, Obama actually has an awful lot on his plate. It is not his responsibility to get us out of this mess. The fact that he is African American is of no relevance as his job is first and foremost to take care of America’s interests.

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    If Obama lived in Zimbabwe he would, i am sure, refer to himself as a Proud Coloured or Goffal person – to describe him as black is not right surely ?

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    Tinomunamataishe 8 years ago

    “Mr President, Africa is not free. Zimbabwe is not free. The myth that freedom is the act of holding regular elections must be rejected…”

    Vince, do not confuse Zimbabwe with Africa. Having travelled across Africa there are some countries with working democracies and countries where there is real freedom. For example, have a look at Botswana, Namibia, Ghana and South Africa or visit these countries and see for yourself. Why would you say these countries are not free? Elections held in these countries and others are just as comparable to elections held in Europe or elsewhere.

    Obviously Zimbabwe has its own problems which will not be solved by lying that the rest of Africa also has similar problems.

    Turning to the article itself, Zimbabweans should be able to rise up and free themselves and along that way they can seek some help but Zimbabweans have to be at the forefront. No need to call upon Obama or any other foreign leader at this stage, make the first move first.

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    Mseyamwa 8 years ago

    Obama was elected by Americans to lead America. It was also a crowning moment for black americans who have risen from slavery to have onr of their own in the white house. They have fought against white segregation for centuries, on their own and it is slowly bearing fruit.
    Why does Vince think Obama owes Zimbabweans anything? They did not vote him to office. Why also do Zimbabweans not direct their anger at the people causing them the undesirable situation?
    If there are number of people who believe their emancipation lies, not in them acting upon their tomentors, but in the coming of a saviour from far off lands, then we are in for a long spell of abuse by selfish leaders.

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    moyokumusha 8 years ago

    In desperation we appeal to the ‘ Black American ‘ president !!!!!!!!

    Come on guys, this forum has been awash with race issue and we all seem to agree that irrespective of colour we are all Zimbabweans and all Americans should be just that too.

    I also feel that an appeal is futile as nothing has been done since the murder and rigging started in 1980. Bob has the western backing by virtue of their lack of action. I also feel strongly that we have been horse traded off by the west. They want the middle east oil and the Russians and Chinese want the African minerals and agricultural land, so I feel we are doomed. the only change we will see is from within and that is not going to happen either as we are too oppressed.

    I am afraid I will be seeing my days out in a dictatorship and I can only hope my grand children will see the old Zimbabwe many years from now.

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    I read with interest some of the comments here. If for example Obama and the USA decided ok the elections were rigged send in the marines. The Marines land. Malawi election comes by and the opposition says they were rigged .Looks like there is evidence. The Marines land. Rwanda, the Nigeria and so on and so on. My point is that No country must act as a world police and do as it pleases because that would be a recipe for disaster. The Western countries set about conditions for us to free ourselves 14 years ago. The opposition parties were not organized enough for them to do any meaningful action. They never should have agreed to join the Zanu Government in 2008. What Vince now wants Obama to do I don’t know. biggus dickus that is a very Mischievous statement. Obama is not in a country where they classified people. He is black and is proud of it. That is the way in the USA and even people like Mariah Carey consider themselves black. I cannot understand why this colour thing is so important to some people other than making mischief.@Mseyamwa@pati spot on.

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    Percy Malunga 8 years ago

    You are all not qualified to comment on Obama but your Mugabe who has turned you into first class beggars.There are laws which should be respected. You should initiate your discontent and the world will rally behind you. How can you expect Obama to help you when you àre quiet in your homes?

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    Percy Malunga sorry I am qualified to comment about Obama. So are any of those that have. Unless the Zanu mentality is now with Obama? I don’t think so.