Ethical leadership is expected of you

President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Good day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, without wasting your time I would like to advise you that citizenry expect integrity and equitability from the Presidency. They yearn for sagacious administration of State affairs. If ever there was a time Zimbabweans most needed ethical leadership, it is now.

As we count down to the harmonised elections, my profound understanding is that prospects of yet another disputable election are apparent. Yet, as I see it, it must have dawned on you to master the moral rectitude to break away from the tradition of disputable elections.

Despite having assumed office when Zanu PF was severely fractured and the economy was sluggish, you cannot be exonerated from the progressive meltdown that culminated in the ongoing socio-economic implosion which reminds us that you are an accomplice to the decadence.

It is the norm for Presidents to be evaluated based on the socio-economic conditions that prevailed at their assumption of office and their leadership going forward. As your first term winds down, it is timely to review how you conducted yourself for the duration of your tenure.

Your Excellency, history is replete with Presidents who were pressurised to relinquish power on the basis of their inability to lead the country with honour. Among those who involuntarily resigned is your predecessor, the late former President Robert Mugabe.

He was militarily deposed. Also, two former South African presidents, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma resigned involuntarily. They were recalled by the ANC for reasons that included corruption and gross inability to stabilise the country.

One question that has lingered in my mind after you succeeded Mugabe was whether your Presidency was destined to be propitious and redemptive for the country. My conviction was that you are basically his replica.

With all due respect, the finesse that is the hallmark of statesmen has been conspicuous by its absence in your execution of the Presidential roles.  Your leadership in the management of State affairs has been devoid of credibility, dignity and above all, intelligibility. 

Your Excellency, from where I stand, the failure to hold credible, free and fair elections is destined to haunt us soon after polling. Whatever faint hopes there were for exorcising the ghost of disputed elections were thoroughly extinguished when you proclaimed the election date before electoral reforms were implemented.

Government has been dragging its feet on the implementation of electoral reforms since 2019 following the resumption of formal dialogue with the European Union (EU). It has been a barrier to being fully embraced by the international community that your Presidency is reluctant, if not outright averse to reforms.

In August last year, the immediate past EU head of delegation, Timo Olkkonen, speaking after bidding you farewell, said the bloc was concerned about the slow pace at which the reforms were being implemented as Zimbabwe approached the August 23 harmonised elections.

Your Excellency, despite your hyped engagement and re-engagement strategy, Olkkonen noted that EU relations with Harare were not always cosy. Methinks his remark sheds light on why your application to rejoin the Commonwealth, submitted in May 2018, is still pending.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 over human rights abuses and shrinking democratic space. Mugabe was then stripped of the Honorary Knighthood he was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994.

He retaliated by withdrawing from the Commonwealth in 2003. Thereafter, relations with Britain have been anything but cordial. Even your invitation to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II was contentious.

Citizenry have misgivings over the credibility of the upcoming harmonised election. Former National Assembly Speaker, Lovemore Moyo, projected that the country was headed for yet another disputed poll given that there has been no electoral reforms since the last election in 2018.

Given your mantra of leaving no one and no place behind, methinks you ought to have heeded the plea of diasporans to be allowed to exercise their right to vote. Currently, a section of the Electoral Act forbids any Zimbabwean who has been living outside the country for over 12 months to participate in the country's electoral processes.

Three diasporans had their request for voting rights turned down by the Constitutional Court in May 2018. Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza delivered the ruling. She stated that our Constitution did not anticipate that there would be diasporans as it is today, therefore, what is contained in the Electoral Act is constitutional."

Methinks probity bids you to summon the moral courage to look upwards at God and outwards at fellow citizenry. Your Excellency, considering that credible elections are beyond attainment by veterans of your era, as I see it, it is honourable for you to retire.

It is worthy to emulate youthful New Zealand former Prime Minister, Jacida Kate Arden. She asserted that she was resigning, not because the job was difficult, but rather, because she believed that someone could do it better.


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