(A letter to Robert Mugabe)
Tanonoka Joseph Whande
I am not sure how I should address you, because calling someone like you by a first name is disgusting.
But since you claim to be the President of Zimbabwe, a lovely country that you destroyed, and in respect of our peace-loving people who are forced to accept this false decree, and who are burdened with an imposed acceptance of you being president, I will oblige.
Be warned, though, that you can only borrow the title of President for the duration of this broadcast. Agreed?
Atta boy, Bob!
Now, it would be silly of me, or of any Zimbabwean, to hope that this letter finds you well because we all know that you are not well, although you refuse to admit as much.
Because of your age, your health is no longer in the hands of humans but is now between you and your maker.
Sooner or later, you will have to accept the subtle conclusions that we all receive from nature.
I do not know if you receive any “Get Well Soon” messages.
You make it difficult for us, Mr President.
We can’t send you any “Get Well Soon” messages because you deny you are ill, very ill.
Yet we cannot ignore it because we know you are ill. Very ill.
This produces what they call a quagmire.
You will take care of yourself with the money that you stole from us.
It works out well for you.
You, Mr President, should, however, remember your own mortality.
Your continued presence is now an embarrassment. You are hanging around State House because you know that the minute you leave the gates of State House, you are easy meat.
Mr Mugabe, you got crimes piled up to high heavens. You must, however, remember that no debt will go unpaid.
It will take years; it will take time but it will be paid back in painful ways.
Honestly, you ought to be ashamed of being president for 34 years!
You are hiding behind the Presidency because you know that you are no better than the criminals you have sentenced to death, yet those who have been hanged by your executive consent are better than you, Sir.
None of them has killed more than you, Mr President.
Sir, your reign is only surpassed by that of Shimon Perez of Israel, a state you hated so much. I remember what you made me do while at the ZBC, always Ali Halimeh this, Ali Halimeh that, in support of the PLO.
Now you and Nikuv, the shadowy Israeli security company, are brethren.
You are turning 90 in a few weeks, please grow up, if it’s not too late.
Why are you persecuting us?
You fought as many mosquitoes as you did Ian Smith’s bullets. You sneered in the face of death and laughed when wild animals and hunger attacked you.
You were gallant.
When you swatted those thousands of mosquitoes; when you went hungry for days; when you crawled rather than walked, you had one purpose.
You were not doing it for yourself, Mr Mugabe. You said you were doing it for us.
We accepted that.
You suffered and had to deal with pesky mosquitoes worse than Jonathan Moyo; you laughed as hungry lions came forward.
The history books you wrote for our children say that you were and are a fearless liberator. The decomposed bodies of your fallen comrades spurred you on and you swore to do better. And with Gukurahundi, you did much better than Ian Smith.
You soldiered on because you were doing it not for yourself but for the people; for people like me to have freedom and independence, to have the right to speak and vote for my choice. You trudged on because you wanted me to have land to raise my family on.
You say you fought to liberate us.
You say you fought to bring us one man one vote.
You say you fought to bring justice.
You say you fought to regain our land.
You say you fought for equality.
Hooray, Mr President.
We have no freedom.
Our votes, if we are lucky enough to vote, are not our votes.
The courts are your courts and have little to do with justice.
The land you took from fellow citizens was taken by Phillip Chiyangwa, Gina Chombo, Obert Mpofu and all the crooks that you molded.
So what happened, Sir?
Now you do not want us to speak.
You have taken away our freedoms.
You take our votes and give them to your Nikuv friends.
You starve old men, women and children because you suspect they support someone else other than you.
We still do not have the land yet you and that little girl ungracefully own more than 15 farms.
I have just read a news item in which someone lambasts you, saying that being old is itself an illness.
Tendai Biti can be so cruel!
If age itself becomes an illness at a certain point, then we have a problem because it cannot be cured, regardless of how much you have stolen, those amounts will not aid in physical renewal.
We just have to accept the reality of the situation.
I hoped that with your 34 years of experience, you would teach those many leaders in Africa who make mistakes equal to yours, especially since they are less than half your age.
The heart of the matter is that, unlike so many people you have murdered and whose deaths you caused, you yourself, Sir, have been blessed with a longevity that defies common sense.
Your resilience and long life are virtues that prove beyond doubt why it is said that the good die young, meaning that the evil and bad ones, like you, live longer.
You are cruel, Mr President, and you will leave a terrible legacy to those you call your children; to those who, to this day, believe in you.
You are a bad man, Sir. You are a disgrace to our country.
You were given plenty of time to make history yet you tainted our history.
You claim you liberated Zimbabwe but your type of liberation is not what people had in mind.
You do not even wince when a murder is committed in your name.
As you can see, Zimbabweans are unfazed and resilient; move off the stage, dead or alive, and let the people of Zimbabwe be.
Having been granted a long, graceful time you reined terror but still failed to defeat the spirit, resilience and strong will of the Zimbabwean people.
“Man surprised me most about humanity,” said the Dalai Lama. “Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
At the beginning of this epistle, I said I am one of a few to wish you, Bob, well. That is true. I would like you alive to experience the pain you have caused so many.
The suffering people of Zimbabwe need not knock on heaven’s door but they will follow you and harass you in hell or in heaven.
I am sorry to say that many of my compatriots will not let you take refuge in illness or death, even if you outlive all of us. There is enough evil as to make the devil shudder.
The fight will continue even beyond the graves.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my compatriots, is the way it is today, Monday, January 27th, 2014.