By Robert Tapfumaneyi
CELEBRATED United States- based Zimbabwean Chimurenga musician and human rights activist, Thomas Mapfumo, has appealed to the international community to immediately intervene and stop what he calls an “ever-rising crisis” in Zimbabwe.
In a long emotional letter, Mapfumo, a fierce critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime, said citizens were “sold a dummy” in November 2017 when the poured out into the streets calling for the removal of the then despotic President Robert Mugabe from office.
However, the musician said the military-backed coup was only for Mnangagwa’s “selfish personal interest to acquire power and wealth.”
The letter is addressed to the US Congressional Black Caucus, African Union, Amnesty International, US States Department, European Union, United Nations, SADC, Black Lives Matter, and the ANC of South Africa.
Mapfumo confirmed to NewZimbabwe.com Friday evening the letter was authentic.
“The people of Zimbabwe continue to suffer under selfish leadership without any promise for the restoration of lives with dignity,” Mapfumo wrote.
“People who were weary of national oppression supported the takeover as a possible option to end Robert Mugabe’s life presidency. President Mnangagwa promised to end corruption within 100 days, start rebuilding the country and seek accountability on public assets.
“He promised to be an honest and accessible man who would rule to develop Zimbabwe into a stable economy and democratic nation. We the people embraced that and welcomed him as a potentially great leader who would act differently from President Mugabe who had mainly focused on personal wealth building and free speech suppression.”
Mapfumo said Zimbabweans including opposition political parties, celebrated when Mnangagwa went on to restructure the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and they provided leads for investigations on widespread corruption in government ministries, departments and the state-run parastatals.
“Even the Auditor General provided the government with evidence and leads. Lists of witnesses were provided. It was a matter of plug and play as many waited for action.”
However, Mapfumo said nothing was done on the evidence provided and it became clear to the ordinary person that Mnangagwa was paying lip service to claims he was fighting high-level graft in government.
‘It’s even more aggravating because his family members and close friends including Cabinet members are at the front of most of the corruption scandals that are milking the national coffers.
“The President is breeding more corruption due to government lack of inertia to implement measures to criminalise corruption and have culprits processed through the criminal justice system. The President has openly failed to condemn corruption because his hand is in most of the scandals so he finds it hard to condemn because his hands are tied.
“The economy is dying due to lack of incentives to promote commerce or trade.
People continue to languish in poverty because they cannot afford basics, there are no jobs for people to generate income for survival since industries are dead.
“National assets like minerals are now being parcelled among the President, his close friends and family as they divide the wealth with China. The President has allowed China to come in to mine minerals of interest and the profits made therefrom are not accountable before Parliament.
“As China continues to milk the national assets of Zimbabwe including wildlife, the President has become part of the exploiting team because he is mortgaging national assets for personal gain.”
He said while the US, EU, and the UK supported Zimbabweans with aid funds for interventions in HIV, malaria and other humanitarian causes, China, Mnangagwa’s trusted friend, was doing very little.
Mapfumo also castigated Mnangagwa for blaming sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe by the West for the economic challenges in the country.
“The President is fully aware sanctions were triggered by the abuse of human rights and the breakdown of rule of law. The President is fully aware of that but his propaganda to the illiterate folks nationwide is that some unpatriotic people are persuading nations like the USA and the UK to punish Zimbabwe for taking over land from white farmers.
“The West has nothing to lose or gain from the land issue in Zimbabwe. In any case, the prime poison to economic growth in Zimbabwe has been the rampant corruption that’s enabled by the government leadership.”
A frustrated Mapfumo added; “Instead we have seen our situation as Zimbabwe so compromised and exploited to the frustration of the entire nation at large. The judiciary has been captured and the courts now issue partisan judgments in favour of Zanu PF.
“Many people are languishing in jail without proper trial and some have been sentenced to life without option of parole. Some are just kept in detention for too long with no trial and this is the same country begging for removal of sanctions.
“Land seizures continue to happen as people lose property rights without recourse to the courts of law. Police have become corrupt and many criminals aligned with the President are immune from prosecution. The superior courts of law now fall under a partisan Chief Justice (Luke Malaba).
“It has also become clear that President Mnangagwa plans to have a one party state in Zimbabwe. He has invested into a number of mechanisms to harass members of the opposition, to infiltrate them using state resources and to disempower and intimidate them.
“Free speech is now out of reach as many live in fear of being followed or abducted in the open. It is a very dangerous environment now if one tries to belong or to identify with the opposition.”
The outspoken musician said the solution to end Zimbabwe’s multi-layered crises was for Mnangagwa’s government to reform “or it will perish in big headed arrogance.”
He also appealed for international intervention and diplomatic pressure on the government.
“We write to kindly seek immediate international intervention and diplomatic pressure on Zimbabwe government to stop a rising crisis in the country. The people of Zimbabwe continue to suffer under selfish leadership without any promise for the restoration of lives with dignity.
“Holding free and fair elections monitored by independent international community nations and pressuring the government of Zimbabwe to stop violence against opposition forces.
“The upholding of the rule of law through an independent judiciary and assurance to the public that police and broadcasting services stop partisanship trends. The assurance for opposition political parties to be able to freely campaign and be on the ballot without fear for consequences and a serious commitment for government to stop corruption and promote accountability through following the criminal justice system.”
Mapfumo added; “We pray that this crisis in Zimbabwe catches attention and gets a resolution because the people have suffered for 41 years under selfish leadership dragging the country down. We mainly appeal to big organisations and big nations to intervene on our behalf and ensure that justice and sanity prevails in government.
“When we saw Mnangagwa use the coup to topple Robert Mugabe, we thought he was the solution. He got into office to loot national assets and make himself powerful and fearful. He has no clue on what to do to improve the conditions in Zimbabwe. He has no plan to control his appetite for wealth greed or corruption.
“Our people are suffering. They need clean water, hospitals, roads and refuse collection. People need food and jobs. Mnangagwa does not care about all that. Daily, the headlines are about catch and release. This is a scheme to release all fraudsters using government power.”