A NEW ZIMBABWE (THE GENIE IS OUT THE BOTTLE) - DAY 6
Thursday, 23 November
ATT: The Second (okay - Third) President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
My six-year old daughter was writing to Santa this afternoon jotting down her Xmas present list (unicorns, Barbies, strawberry fields forever... you know, you've got kids of your own), and it made me think that perhaps I could also write to share some of my wishes with you...
So tomorrow is a big day for you, Mr President-in-Waiting. But in the spirit of humility & service with which you addressed your supporters in Harare last night, I would respectfully like to ask a few things of you and your new government, if I may...?
A lot of people are bemoaning the fact that with the fantastic events of this past week in Zimbabwe, we have merely removed the person and not the system that the person stood for. A lot of these people are speaking from outside of the borders of Zimbabwe, which says a lot of course. A lot of them were not there on Saturday, marching with the millions of expectant Zimbabweans. A lot of them were not there on Tuesday evening, dancing with the millions of relieved Zimbabweans. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of your control, you were not able to be there either. It's a pity really, because I would have so enjoyed to share a shuffle to Jah Prayzah with you...
It's also a pity, as I feel it would have given you first-hand insight into how friggin awesome a moment it was when the genie was finally released from the freedom bottle that RGM had allowed to rust well shut for almost 40 years now.
But no doubt you enjoyed the coverage both on the various news channels (how did they get foreign press passes so quickly?... sorry I digress), and on the awesome leap of technology that is social media. I really and truly hope you sat back and smiled a big smile on both Saturday & Tuesday, not just for the fact that the internal ruling party wrangle had been resolved and Zimbabwe was no longer heading to Graceland, Graceland... (and that she and some of her chums had finally joined Elvis in leaving the building), but - perhaps a little more importantly - because you appreciated the power of the Common People when it was perhaps least expected. (I also truly hope you were not celebrating these wonderful events with a milkshake from that dairy up the road here...)
So here then is my Zimbabwe wish-list for the next 100 days (but if it takes a little longer, we're prepared to wait... we're good like that):
1. You mentioned so succinctly last night that you were here to serve the people of Zimbabwe. Servant Leadership is such a dying art. Please revive it and show the world that leaders are (to quote from the Citizen's Manifesto) "responsible for & responsive to the people's needs..."
2. You mentioned yesterday that you would like to see a new democratic Zimbabwe unfold, and that all patriotic Zimbabweans should come together to ensure prosperity... Dude, we're here. Reload Saturday's web history... We. Are. So. Here. Please can you ensure the leadership are here for these same reasons too...
3. You mentioned the economy.... and jobs. Eish... You realize you didn't have to go there first up right? Could have led with the whole 'viva Zimbabwe, viva' thing, and left the cursed E-word for next week. Talk about diving in the deep end. But since you mentioned it... I got to say, if you are able to pull off the perfect, non-violent, totally Zimbabwean-led #notacoup, then I have to say, you are probably more of a miracle worker than many are giving you credit for. And you need no reminding that Zim's economy needs a seriuuuus miracle right now. But I'm an eternal optimist, and a bit of a betting man. So here goes... I have emptied my wallet and found $5 in scraggly bond notes & coins - all the cash I/we have at this stage I'm afraid. I should invest it in Lacoste clothing shares. Or Bitcoin - surely. But no, today I am putting it down as a wager that the next six months will see you do the right thing; that we'll see the government adopt crucial legislative changes that will accelerate the economy through inclusive, non-selective economic reform and radical support of a win-win turnaround strategy in the mining, agricultural, tourism & manufacturing sectors. I believe your new inclusive government will all realize just how important this step will be in ensuring there is in fact any Zimbabwe to lead going forward...
4. I have it on very good authority, from people on all sides of the political fence, that you are a brilliant strategist, a highly educated man of the law, an incredibly good organizer & planner par excellence. You have proved this the past week. You may not believe it, but some very intelligent folk in the opposition have openly agreed that you are probably the best man for the job at hand here, the only one in fact. I also believe that this will be why you will use the six months or so that remain of the former president's term to establish a legacy that will have profound and far-reaching consequences to Zim, to the region, to Africa, and to the world as a whole. In short, anyone who can pull off what you did this week (with the help of the ZDF, the War Veterans, and of course, the 12+ million Zimbabweans out there in the trenches), sans violence & disorder needs a major prize. Remember that FW De Klerk won a Nobel Peace Price only 4 years after he was head of state of a country riddled with the terminal cancer that was apartheid? You are sitting this evening on the precipice of greatness, Sir, and I really mean this.
We all here in Zim know there are 2 very clear paths awaiting us tomorrow.... One is the pathway that ultimately would link up with that bumpy track to Graceland we dodged last week and lead this poor wrecked nation back into hopelessness & fear again... let's call this path the Path of Darkness. The second path, is a bright, shiny new item. It looks like it is paved with gold, or Marange diamonds perhaps. Either way it glitters & it shines. It leads upwards. And it has all sorts of bright sparkly lights along its path. Let's call this the Path of Light. Get where I'm going with this...?
Through a few very strategic & wise first few Presidential acts in the next few days, you Sir can put one small step for Zimbabwe, one giant leap for mankind on the first stone of the Path of Light. As only Zimbabwe's third President you can leave a legacy in a few short months (or indeed a few more years thereafter all things going well), that will far outshine any legacy the other guy left in 37-odd years of trying. A legacy that should see you being mentioned in high school history lessons in ten years time as my daughters & your grandchildren sit in the best schools in Africa again, and learn about the time when Zim & her people (all her people from her President to her street sweepers) made a choice to do things Right. To do things Good. To be THAT COUNTRY. The one that historians struggle so hard these days to find to write about... The one that chose the Path of Light.
And you know better than me where that will leave your name, your legacy. A Nobel Prize will be the least of your accolades if you help nudge Zim along the path we are all waiting to skip down...
5. On Saturday and for the days that followed, Zimbabweans one & all, old & young, black, brown, yellow & white finally understood what it meant to be Free. Now we seem to think that Freedom should only be celebrated once every 4 or 5 years here on Earth when the powers that be allow the people to vote. But a true democracy is not just run from election to election. It's about the seconds, minutes & hours of every single day. Any second that a Zimbabwean does not feel free, does not feel that their voice makes any tangible difference to the state of affairs is a second wasted. And so I ask that whilst you go about establishing fully independent electoral processes in Zim for all future elections, that you also grant Zimbabweans their hard-fought (& won) right to freedom each and every day. That you respect the people's vote every day. That you understand that Zimbabwe is bigger than any individual, any party, any race, any religious leaning, any tribe. Zimbabwe is now a nation of free humans. And this week, her people finally know what this means. Please don't underestimate the power of this...
6. I've mentioned children a fair bit in this letter. I love children. I've heard you do too. This is a good thing. Cos they are actually our legacy, really. When all is said and done, the planet, the country, the home we leave behind for our kids and their kids is actually all that counts. Now I know kids who have come and gone during the previous regime. Kids that never knew the meaning of Freedom. The meaning of basic human rights. Zimbabwe still needs to purge the tears of sorrow, of anger, of frustration, of missed opportunities - and this will no doubt come in the weeks & months to come. Big Fat Tragic Tears of Regret.
I ask you please to help Zimbabwe gently & empathetically through this process, and when the time is right, allow her people to shed - together - Big Fat Happysad Tears of Healing, Love & Forgiveness. Tears that will wash clean the place our kids, and their kids after them, will call Home...
7. Six months (give or take) is not a very long time to right a ship before the next general elections are due. The pressure must be immense. And with all the expectation laying heavy on your shoulders tonight, I would like to ask you to give Yourself a small gift tonight. I feel a little greedy as all the above wishes are all about me, me, me.
So for you then, I wish you first a long deep sleep tonight. God knows you're going to need it.
Next I wish you clarity of thoughts & humility of action over the coming days & weeks & months.
Finally I wish for you to think back to a time 2 weeks ago when everything seemed lost, everything seemed on a path to No Good here in Zim...
Tomorrow morning you will be inaugurated as Zimbabwe's third ever president. Two weeks of common focus & purpose is all it took.
So finally, I wish you all the Luck and Love in the world to make this one count...
In the eternal words of our former president then: Asante Sana & good night... (kkkk)
p.s. Please, oh please Sir don't let us down. I really need the $5 for those Xmas presents my daughter's asking for...#NEWZIMBABWE
#lovelivingandhopinginzimbabwe #whydidhespeakSwahili #whorememberspresidentbanana