Clive Malunga

For the President’s Eyes

Dear Comrade President

It is not proper for a leader to use street language. When you, Mr President, say , “Musoro wambuya vako” (your grandmother’s head), that is being very abusive. In the Shona context , we all know that you won’t be referring to the head but something more profound and unprintable. It is the worst kind of verbal abuse which is not expected from someone as high as the president of a country. Mr President , although your predecessor was never a fan of mine because of his policies, I must admit that he was very selective on what to say. He was driven by sober senses and would avoid making controversial statements . Citizens expect a unifying and caring voice from their leader.

Another saying that you, Mr President, are fond of using is , “Munongovukura isu tichingotonga “( You just bark while we rule). To me that is over the top. It essentially means that you view those who oppose you as barking dogs. If you lead by the will of God and because of support from the citizens, how dare you call any of the citizens “a dog”? Now, because you, Sir, do not care what words you use during your political rallies or national addresses , you have opened doors for brutal opportunists like Christopher Mutsvangwa, Passion Java, Uebert Angel and many others who are masters of vulgarity to abuse the people.

Mr President, under your dispensation, people’s freedoms are being trampled upon contrary to your promises. People can no longer express themselves freely through demonstrations. There are too many draconian laws which choke the people out of their breaths. The level of repression your government has reached has become a threat to national security. There is nothing more dangerous than governing people whose thoughts you are not aware of. When you stifle expression, people’s emotions are bottled up until an explosion that is ruinous to peace and order that Zimbabweans cherish occurs.

Sir, the level of moral degeneration in our country has reached alarming proportions. Corrupt leaders are milking the people and are not ashamed to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth. Hard working citizens who wallow in poverty just look on dejectedly as the lazy but well connected enjoy the fruits of our hard won independence. Political parties, especially yours, have become sanctuaries for criminals. Criminals who are politically connected are shielded from prosecution. Knowing that they have full protection from the political elite, the criminals are wrecking our economy day in day out and go on to show off their loot through expensive clothing , flashy cars and palatial houses. Meanwhile , the poor are imprisoned for minor offences or even the offence of refusing to pay bribes.

Mr President, the needle of your compass is no longer true to the North. The country is hurtling in the wrong direction and towards a precipice. For the past two decades we have been living on the edge. Our economic conditions have been deteriorating by the day and there is no sign of a turnaround. Those that dare tell you, the pilot and your co-pilots, that you have lost direction are labelled barking dogs. At worst they are incarcerated on trumped-up charges , kidnapped and tortured or murdered. The old and youth have both lost hope, hence their indulgence in crime and drugs. The same political heavyweights and their cronies are the ones who flood the country with prohibited drugs. They only care for their wallets while they are annihilating our future.

Comrade President, many organisations wanted to take to the streets in solidarity with the suffering masses of Gaza, like happened in South Africa and other progressive countries of the world. They couldn’t get the space to express themselves because of the muzzling of free expression. The people are now afraid to approach authorities for permission to gather because they know it would not be granted. Instead, they will be accused of being subversive. Mr President , how is that for the freedom of your people?

Russia has donated a lot of grain and fertilisers . Mr President, it goes without saying that most of the stuff will end up being sold in the shops of the elite. They are not ashamed to steal donations from friendly people, while our people in the rural areas are starving.

When you, President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, ascended to the high office, you pledged to be a listening president. Who are you listening to Comrade President, the thieves around you or the people? The people want everything to be fixed: the economy, education, law and order, corruption , agriculture , transport and so on. Nothing is being done. The figures your government gives do not match the reality on the ground. The Mbare flats you visited and promised to renovate have become more uninhabitable. Roads in our high density areas are now just ditches. Prices of goods continue to spiral and the poor are excluded from consuming too many basics by each passing day. The thieves around you might be telling you that things are getting better. Yes, things have never been better for the looting brigade but life has never been worse for the general public. The majority of Zimbabweans are suffering unprecedented hardships, and many are beginning to think ,it may be spiritually connected to your middle name, “Dambudzo”. When are you going to start listening to the “real people” Mr President?

Whereever I go I see signs of hopelessness. Many families are migrating to Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Britain, the USA and many other countries. Yes, Mr President some even run to war torn countries such as Ukraine and the DRC. Life in this country has become worse than life in a war zone. It’s true Sir. In December 2022, I sold my only car. I wanted to thoroughly research about the common man’s life in Zimbabwe. Since then I have been moving around the country using public transport. I have been interacting and observing how people are living especially in the high density suburbs of Zimbabwe. I can authoritatively tell you that poverty is rampant among the people Sir. Most people survive on one meal per day Sir. In the streets , children sometimes stop me begging for bread. They look so pathetic and I get so moved that I often let go the loaf I would be intending for my breakfast. How can a mother who raises less than US$2 in a full day she spends selling crystal sweets and other small stock be expected to provide for her family? Even then, she sometimes loses her money and stock to ZRP officers and city council officials who daily terrorise her . Tell me Comrade President , how do you expect the poor to survive? They have no jobs because we buried industry a long time ago. When they try to do something to support their families, you send thugs to harrass them. Must they just sit down and die with their families? This country is the only place in the world where livelihoods are criminalized!

I see young boys taking drugs in the open where many people are gathered to look for public transport. In most cases ZRP officers will be watching but they have no time to waste. They will be busy extorting bribes from street vendors and mushikashika operators. Rather than maintain order the police and public officials have become the public’s tormentors. When the young men are high on drugs , you hear them saying the most obscene things to elders around. Our moral values are fast decaying under your watch Comrade President! Isn’t it the responsibility of the leaders’ to preserve the best of our culture ? Can you really say you have improved our country in that regard Mr President?

A number of times I have seen old and young people relieving themselves in the open. I can see you contorting your face on reading this Sir because it is a most despicable thing. I also don’t condone such behaviour. But I have since realised that public toilets in Harare are a public health hazard. The toilet at Corner Albion and Leopold Takawira Street has been malfunctioning and stinking since 2016. This is true of most public toilets in the city. You can also find that the few toilets that operate close for long periods during the day. The people who desecrate our streets do so for lack of options. I will not ask you to build more toilets in the city but why is it so difficult to just fix the few that we have?

Harare, the once beautiful Sunshine City is in a mess. Yet, it is the gateway to our country. A country is measured by the looks of its capital city; roads, hospitals , transport system, cleanliness, crime and affordability of goods . Harare comes out the worst in any of these indices and is even trending downwards. Sir , I invite you to sometimes take a stroll down the streets and see things for yourself. Just look down where you put your foot Sir because you may step on human faeces. If you go to the Central Business District ( CBD ) , you will see that most retail shops, supermarkets, department stores and offices have been turned into tuckshops for foreign made goods. The criminals around you cannot tell you about these things. You need to see things for yourself . We are on the verge of a total collapse.

The ongoing housing demolition in the country is a disgrace to ZANU (PF). What a way to destroy the morale of the people! They are all saying it’s because of your middle name, “Dambudzo”. How else does one explain your government’s penchant for inflicting pain on the poor. The poor cannot get land in the cities. It’s overpriced and is grabbed by the rich with connections to power. When they come up with innovative ways of getting houses for their families your government destroys their houses. Comrade President, I wept when I saw people’s houses being pulverised. So the poor cannot even claim 300 square metres of our vast country yet our heroes died for the same land. The thieves around you rightly claim that the stands were sold by land barons. But Comrade President, we all know that the poor who bought the land and sacrificed resources to develop it are not land barons. The land barons are your cronies. The poor were thus robbed twice. They paid for their birthright to the land barons and now your government destroys their houses. Those who describe you and your government as heartless do so for lack of more suitable words Sir.

Mahure for ED, Matsotsi for ED, Gold for ED, Diamonds for ED, Platinum for ED, Chrome for ED, Mahwindi for ED, Musicians for ED, Churches for ED , Minda for ED and Nyika for ED. Are you turning yourself into a “bambazonke” Comrade President? What are you going to leave for the masses of Zimbabwe? You were our leaders during the war. You didn’t tell us to fight so that you would get everything just for yourself, your family and your friends. This country belongs to us all and must give opportunities for all its citizens. Don’t you feel ashamed Comrade President that just you, your family and your friends are enjoying while the rest of the country is suffering?

Mr President , if the country continues on this path , if your government continues to destroy what the people are painstakingly building for themselves , if the people continue to live in perpetual fear of victimisation for their livelihood projects , if you continue to make it impossible for people to live, the people of this great country will arise and God will be on their side. Never say you were not advised , Comrade President.

Comrade Clive Malunga

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