Open letter to all Zimbabweans, at home and abroad
Dear fellow Zimbabweans,
I hope this epistle finds you well wherever you are. Fellow Zimbos, have you heard the news from Harare? It’s so sad, and indeed, saddening. Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987 and President since then to 2013 wants an eighth term in office!
In 1980, he was at his prime, a mature 56 years and now in the sunset of his life at 89, he wants to continue reigning! Not that l am begrudging the near nonagenarian his rule but take it this way brethren, this man has been at the helm of the nation for too long! It is very clear that this June we are going to hold our long-awaited and long-overdue Plebiscite and l, together with others, will be voting. Robert Mugabe, along with others, will be asking for your vote and mine. But we need not judge him harshly but interrogate the question whether he really deserves another term or not.
To do this effectively, we need to go back to 1980 when out of the 80 seats reserved for blacks Mr Robert Mugabe won 57, Joshua Nkomo 20 and Abel Muzorewa 3 and the former was asked to form a government. Indeed, Bob formed one of the best governments around in terms of educated ministers.
Rhodesia left enough reserves for 25 years
During hand-over-take-over the out-going Ian Smith regime stated it had left enough reserves of money which, if prudently used, would ensure the new government would spend the next 25 years without borrowing but alas, mice had been released into the granary with sweet ground nuts!
Senior Lecturers and professors at the University of Zimbabwe were getting $35 000 per year as salaries and government ministers $32 000, a scenario unacceptable to the latter and hence their salaries were adjusted pronto to about $35 500 to $37 000 just to beat the intellectuals! Government coffers began to bleed and around 1981, Bernard Chidzero the Minister of Economic Planning and Development was already extending a begging bowl out especially to donor nations.
Agreed, it was also a time of rebuilding the infrastructure; roads, bridges and dip-tanks that had been destroyed through acts of war in a typical case of Pyrrhic victory. Tthe economy had haemorrhaged to a great extent.
Mugabe’s herd of cattle
Those were the days when socialism was preached during the day and capitalism practised at night by ZANU chefs and Mugabe himself, having acquired a farm in Beatrice, was beginning to build his empire by slowly building his herd of cattle.
The Zanu Leadership Code was only talked about and never implemented for it was the leadership which had broken it for in Shona we have a proverb: Mambo haatongwe(You don’t judge a king).
In 1989, Mugabe’s lieutenants had, using their influence, fleeced Willowvale Motor Industries in what is known as Willowgate Scandal. The War Victims’ Compensation Fund was looted and emptied by ZANU leaders within record time. People who never went to the front during the war but were seated comfortably in the capitals of the world claimed the money at the expense of actual victims and bona fide ex-combatants-all in the eyes of Robert Mugabe who never rebuked or arrested anyone.
And oh by the way, he wants another term!
Chenjerai Hunzvi’s inflation
In 1997, some so-called ex-combatants, under the leadership of Dr Chenjerai Hunzvi (a great hater of whites, who ironically had married a white Polish woman), demanded $50 000 each from government. Within two days, inflation was at 16% rendering life unbearable for Zimbabweans!
In 2000, it became apparent Mugabe could not win the election and embarked on a chaotic, infamous so-called land reform programme which was a gimmick to try to woo back voters but later became land-for-Zanu-cadres in the guise of a national programme. The disaster and sheer imprudence, which started in 2000, has led Zimbabwe to import food from neighbouring countries where the majority of our destabilised farmers went. About 300 000 farm workers lost their jobs and Mugabe’s new farmers, either out of ignorance or inability, have not been able to employ these workers all-year round and sometimes engage them seasonally.
And l have yet to see one of them with a pension scheme! Knowing that the programme is morally and legally wrong, Mugabe has advised the newly resettled farmers not to build permanent structures. The high and low of it is that they can be removed any time, a veiled message from Mugabe that is lost to most of them. Indications are that a future government with sober-minded leaders will have to take a look at the land redistribution again!
Brethren, Mugabe sent an estimated 4 million souls into exile through either repression or economic marginalisation, thus performing a feat that even the Chimurenga War could not perform. As l write now, billions of dollars from diamonds have not made their way into our government coffers which are empty. Mugabe and crew know where that money is! Overnight, Obert Mpofu Minister of Mines has become the richest minister as if he emerged from a wealthy dynasty! Yes, l’ll be voting during the next election but definitely not for Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF!