What's going on?

HARARE - You'll forgive me if, once again, I imagine the president of this republic is my friend, Edgar “Two Boy” Tekere.

There I am, dressed to the nines and walking serenely to the podium to receive, from His Excellency, my beautiful gold award for Best Novel of the Decade.

There may be “smart Alec” remarks from some people in the audience — people suspicious of our friendship and the genuineness of the prize. But he is genuinely the president.

And who is going to raise brouhaha and have enough guts to say, publicly: “This is a fix, a fraud!”

So, I’d get away with it. In real life, it might turn out to be a fiasco and a lot of people would lose their dignity or even money, in case someone did try to do a “fix”.

My speculation is aroused by the current fuss over President Robert Mugabe’s apparently “unexplained” absence from his sworn duties as president of the republic.

What should be taken care of, from the beginning, is to demonstrate decisively to the president that the people will not tolerate that. He has to take them seriously — or quit the job.

That might sound high-handed, but what is the purpose of government, of elections, of bureaucracy, of civil order?

Has anyone had the gumption to approach the president, wherever he may be, to pose the question: “What is going on, Your Excellency? Why are you hiding from your people?”

The truth, it turns out, is that Zimbabwe is in a huge mess. The president is not speaking to the people, publicly, that is. But someone close to him must know what the hell is going on.

Does this, in any way, signify respect for the people who voted for him? We know there are people who claim he has never given a damn for the people. What do I care what they think? I am the president and what the hell can they do to me?

But even the late Tekere, himself not known for being silkily polite, might find such behaviour highly irregular. He too might raise the question, which many people are surely now posing to themselves, or even to their ancestral spirits: What is this country coming to?

What might make many people wonder at what is happening to our country is this: “Does the government care for the people? Why are we watching, apparently helpless, as if in a trance, the country going to the dogs? Is there anybody in charge of things?”

Frankly, I suspect the rest of the world is wondering too: what kind of country is this turning out to be?  Wasn’t there a time when intelligent people viewed the future of Zimbabwe with hope?

It is not an empty boast that we have some of the most educated people in Africa among us.

It’s fair to say most of the fault must lie with the leadership of the country, which we can safely place on the doorstep of Zanu PF.

This party has run this country for the last 34 years. Some cynic might change that to “run down the country” for the past 34 years.

Tekere is one of a number of people who protested at Mugabe’s reign of the country. Others must include Joshua Nkomo himself who is said to have stepped off the precipice to launch what people would describe as a “Jonas Savimbi” adventure against Mugabe. 

But, in spite of all that, there are still 20 000 lost lives to consider and ponder. On whose neck do you hang the banner of GUILT?

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