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Speeches

A.T. Muzorewa: Congratulatory Message on the Establishment of a Government of National Unity

Published in the journal Dialogue & Alliance, Spring/Summer 2010 issue

 First and foremost, in my capacity as one of the senior citizens and founding fathers of our nation, I would like to express my hearty congratulations to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe His Excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe Mr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, his deputies Professor Arethur Oliver Guseni Mutambara and Ms Thokozani Khupe, and all my compatriots involved in the long walk to the inauguration of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe.

Indeed, our political leaders displayed a highly commendable spirit of patriotism by burying past, personal hatchets in pursuit of the national interest. Otherwise the alternative would have been too ghastly to contemplate especially in view of the daunting tasks facing the GNU.

Notwithstanding the economic gains of the land reform, the end of racial discrimination and other tangible milestones of our independence, the GNU has the inevitable imperative to consolidate all the gains of independence through delivery of goods and services to each and every Zimbabwean. We are deeply grateful to Almighty God for what has been achieved so far, especially the establishment of the GNU.

Now, where and how do we proceed from here? Let me propose that in the name of God who is the author of our destiny and on behalf of all fellow peace - loving Zimbabweans, great expectations await the sworn -in GNU. Any decent, altruistically purpose - centered patriot, black, white, coloured, citizen, non citizens and leader must know, by now, what they expect from the GNU. The following are some of the major expectations:

On the outset, perhaps one of the cardinal expectations is political integrity of both the GNU leaders and those of us they lead. Zimbabweans, me included, expect and continuously pray that the GNU will grow and mature into a healthy partnership endowed with mutual respect, harmony, capable of introspection and protected from the cancerous corruption which has gripped the nation for the past decade.

As political leaders nurtured and groomed under our unique cultural chemistry, we must learn how to genuinely love one another despite our heterogeneous roots. We must truly practice the virtue of collective responsibility in the execution of our duties in both the government and the social institutions to which we belong.  Above all, we, as Zimbabweans must continue to practice our faith as a God-fearing nation. Needless to remind ourselves that the giants of democracy such as the USA are what they are today because they were founded and developed on a God-fearing political ethic.

We must be, and are, capable of delivering the same, if not higher, levels of democracy in Zimbabwe given our educational, cultural and spiritual heritage. We pray that the GNU leadership will not compete against each other, seek to outwit the other, but rather that it will continue to espouse the values of family unity. Ours should be a born - again GNU motivated and propelled by the golden rule of doing to Zimbabweans what it (the GNU) would like the people do for it and the country.

Furthermore, Zimbabweans are looking to the GNU as a government of national empathy. We must all feel for each other in order to truly serve each other and, in that spirit, reciprocally deliver to each other. While as politicians, the GNU expects people of God (including God's church) to be the custodians of national morality, the GNU leaders must stand blameless before Almighty God, with unconditional resolve, to deliver the goods and services necessary for Zimbabwe's revival and continued survival. The GNU and all Zimbabweans must be sworn the principle of fair play regardless of party-political affiliation or tribal-regional allegiances. It is my fervent hope and prayer that no GNU party or member of cabinet will deliberately choose to be so partisan as to sacrifice the delivery of desperately needed goods and services at the altar of patronage and personal gain. Zimbabweans are itching for change, which exudes a new genuine ethos of political integrity born out of the letter and spirit of the GNU.

On the economic front, it is our greater expectation that the GNU work hardest and most expeditiously to restore infrastructure ravaged by the economic decadence of the past decade. The painful, nostalgic outcries for food and amenities ring louder during these days of hunger and poverty. It has been my long considered view that the hyperinflationary environment has badly ruined our economy and caused Zimbabwe to be ridiculed internationally. Yet, the hyperinflation can be eradicated in the shortest possible period by simply declaring one strong foreign currency as the legal in Zimbabwe. It is also my expectation, and certainly that of most compatriots that the GNU can quickly redress the agricultural and industrial shortcomings in order to provide Zimbabwe with a solid base for rapid economic recovery.

We need genuine freedom, liberty and democracy in Zimbabwe. On these major attributes, let me share a personal experience when I happened to be in the United States on 4 November 2008 attending a Biannual Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. When Mr. Barack Obama was proclaimed the winner of the US presidential election, his rival Senator John McCain appeared on stage to concede defeat. Despite a bruising campaign, McCain unreservedly accepted defeat in a most politically mature and dignified manner, calling his supporters to rally behind President -elect Obama for the good of America. In the same spirit, President -elect Obama took the platform expressed his intention to work with Senator McCain in the new democratic government. As we now know Obama even went further than that by subsequently appointing Senator Hillary Clinton, arch- revival democrat Senator Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State (Foreign Minister) for the United States.

During that election, and despite America's vast population of more than 300 million, not a single voter or citizen was beaten up or had his or her limbs severed or any home or vehicle burnt down. There were neither recriminations nor inexplicable disappearances of political opponents of any kind whatsoever! Furthermore, relatives, siblings, friends and even church members did not maim, kill each other or become permanent enemies because of voting for a candidate of their choice.

My fellow Zimbabweans, allow me to tell you that such is a perfect example of electoral freedom and democracy! Needless to reiterate that the giants of democracy such as USA are what they are today because they were founded and developed on a God - fearing political ethic. We see further evidence of that on their popular dollar, "In God We Trust." Yes, they believe in and are guided by God hence; peace, unity, freedom, liberty, democracy and prosperity constitute the legendary American dream. They are happier and enjoy their independence much more because they fear God and seek to project every aspect of their intrinsic values in their lives.

In the name of genuine freedom and democracy, victorious Obama and vanquished McCain shook hands, and later dined together in commemoration of distinguished freedom fighters, which included Obama's foe, McCain.

As my African Episcopal colleagues and I witnessed the historic US election. I could not help shed tears when I thought of the haunted political playing field back home in Africa and indeed in my own country of Zimbabwe! The occasion afforded me with rare moments of deep reflection.

I  was deeply saddened by the fact that Zimbabwe is haunted by a demonic culture of violence before, during and after elections. Most Zimbabweans believe that the time for election is an opportunity for maiming and killing each other, a time for relatives, friends or even church leaders and members to settle scores. Shame on us as a nation!

Zimbabweans tremble when they hear of coming elections 18 or 24 months before because they ritualistically smell torture and death. Yet, in truly democratic environments, elections are a time for reflective patriotism and a time to exercise the freedom to vote for a candidate of one's choice without any nefarious intensions.

I, therefore, in the name of God the creator and sustainer of human life and of freedom, expect the GNU and all peace-loving compatriots to stop forthwith the pervasive demonic culture of impunity, if Zimbabwe is to be a united, peaceful, enjoyable and prosperous nation. I am hundred per cent certain that if the top leaders of the nascent GNU are truly committed to genuine peace and democracy they can exorcise the demons of fear, ignorance and especially of violence that characterize our elections. The effort for prosperity will then be much swifter, shorter and more productive. As long as demons continue to direct our elections in Zimbabwe, we shall never appreciate genuine freedom and democracy even for posterity.

In the name God almighty, let us all rally to change the culture of hatred, violence and murder through loving one another. Otherwise we will remain prisoners of fear in the land of our birth. Fallen freedom fighters will continue to writhe in their graves because of our failure to deliver the freedom and democracy for which they perished.

Therefore, as a matter of extreme urgency, the GNU is expected to embark on a transparent process of national reconciliation and healing, otherwise the GNU can fast become irrelevant. The Zimbabwe youth in particular, need to be continuously re-educated to graduate from a culture of political vengeance, violence and slaughter to that of permanent forgiveness and reconciliation for the good of themselves (free from ngozi) and our fragile democracy.

The other major expectation is for Zimbabwe to get immediate international aid. The GNU should conscientiously revive the exploitation of our human and natural resources in order to earn much needed hard currency. If we should get aid at all, the GNU should not politicize distribution of basics like food and other donations on grounds of patronage, political affiliation, tribe, race, religion and social status. It should be our eternal reminder that the war of liberation involved all the people from all corners of Zimbabwe, both genders from both wealthy and poor families, party members and non party members, church members and non-Christians, educated and uneducated. The majority of Zimbabweans contributed with their blood, others by their services like cooking and offering their properties for the success of the war of liberation. We must never ever forget that, our country was out of the blood and sweat of our own mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and wealthy and poor citizens of Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, the GNU and all of us are expected to identify the real enemies of Zimbabwe and to decisively deal with them. Since the war against colonialism, we have been denouncing the evils of colonialism and rightly so. The colonial enemies were defeated though not decisively! Neocolonialism will always rear its ugly head through sponsored acts of violence. Those who use the young and old to murder and plunder other people's property must therefore be brought to book in the interest of justice and national unity. The rule of law must be observed at all times since our nation can ill afford any form of lawlessness at the expense of unity. The real enemies of unity are those who prevent others from freely expressing themselves through the vote, those who politicize state funds and functions for political and personal glory and those who live by violence. Zimbabweans who perpetrate hatred and tarnish our image in the eyes of the international community are among the nation's worst enemies!

The other major expectation from the GNU by the people of Zimbabwe is for the inclusive government to painstakingly adhere to the principles of collective responsibility and indispensability. Those who are privileged to lead us must collectively assume the major responsibility of rehabilitating Zimbabwe by their undivided commitment to duty especially within the GNU and as law-abiding citizens of this country. None of us is indispensable and none of us can claim to be above the law simply by virtue of the powers of privilege and opportunity at our disposal. Those who serve Zimbabwe in and outside the GNU should not abuse that power, privilege, and status, for personal aggrandizement.

Our Motherland, Zimbabwe, has suffered for too long to afford the luxuries of opportunism at a time we all demand total commitment for the country's prosperity. Those who continue to siphon the nation's wealth for personal luxury must face the full wrath of the law. I believe it is high time Zimbabweans must be proud to be Zimbabweans and enjoy genuine freedom and independence in their own land.

In the name of change, there is need for the transformation of some of the organs of the GNU in order to accommodate the re-constructive spirit of a new dispensation. The media, among all other institutions must enable the nation to release the energy for reconciliation. The people's expectations must be, ironically, "inclusive." All social institutions must rally behind the GNU in the quest for Zimbabwe's prosperity. We should be inclusive enough in our thoughts and actions, buttressed by the national media, if Zimbabwe is to survive.

Finally, in the words of US President Obama during his inaugural speech: "let us pick ourselves up" we too, as Zimbabweans, should pick ourselves up in order to make the GNU work. The blood of our martyrs watered the seeds of the freedom and democracy we enjoy. Statistics indicate that ninety percent of Zimbabwe's population is comprised of baptized Christians. Therefore, let us be Christian enough and always pray for Zimbabwe and the GNU leadership. "Let us pick ourselves up" in the name of patriotism, self-reliance and authentic freedom and development. The time for change lies with and within all of us. We are our own managers of change.

We must pick ourselves up by repairing broken relationships and social bridges in our homes, schools, and churches, work places, in the GNU and society at large. We must seriously remind ourselves that in God we shall stand to survive, but in the insane acts of violence we shall perish. Let us pick ourselves up in the spirit of purpose-centeredness, deep commitment and build a nation second to none.

May God help the GNU and bless us all as Zimbabweans, to reach greater heights and all aim to work for genuine freedom, democracy and prosperity.

---AMEN---