Mr President,

I hope this finds you well.  May I begin by congratulating you on your new appointment as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe? As you come into office please know that there is a lot at stake for the people of Zimbabwe.  For 37 years we have suffered under the hands of a tyrant whom you stood by for all those years.  Today as you take office, I pray we shall not suffer again as we would like to give you a benefit of the doubt.

Since your appointment, we have enjoyed freedom of speech, broadcasting free of propaganda, freedom of demonstrating, peaceful travel without police corruption and lastly a united Zimbabwe.  It is in these past weeks that I have felt hope, had a renowned spirit, and believed in the new Zimbabwe.  All of this was possible because the military was not against the people.

Today as I write this letter I am in tears; I do not know what lies ahead, but I pray for a new Zimbabwe.  I pray you shall not take us back to propaganda that kept former President R G Mugabe in power for 37 years.  I hope you shall not take away our freedom of speech and that of demonstration; that you shall not jail us for standing up for what we believe in and holding office bearers accountable.  Above all, I would like to believe you shall not divide our country by race, tribe, nor political party – but that you shall bring us together as Zimbabweans.

I am confident that you are aware that former President R G Mugabe was not the only problem.  The system in which he operated – that enabled him – was, too.  As President, I ask that you clean out the corrupt systems and the people in our government.  I humbly request we work within the constitution to protect, promote, and fulfil human rights.  Above all, I hope and believe that you shall ensure smooth transition with ground for free, fair, and credible elections so that our country’s leadership shall be of the people’s choice.  May we desist from intimidating and unlawfully imprisoning human rights activists and those holding the government accountable.

Today we start a new chapter as Zimbabwe, one that was accomplished by the united people of Zimbabwe.  May we appoint positions on merit and not favor and relationships.  May we move away from nepotism and corruption.  I am confident that Zimbabwe can go back to being the bread basket of Africa with a strong economy, provided we work in unison – citizens and government, keeping one another in balance.  I would like all Zimbabweans to be home, contributing to the development of our country.  Zimbabweans have been silenced for so long, with many resorting to speaking their beliefs in hiding.  They feared being persecuted for speaking out.  The fear that you, Mr President, felt for your life a mere two weeks before your inauguration is the exact fear we have felt for 37 years.  I pray that instead of instilling the exact fear during your leadership, you shall protect each citizen and be open to constructive criticism.  I pray that you will deliver on the promise of a functioning Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe does not belong to the war veterans, Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU PF), or the opposition parties.  Zimbabwe belongs to the people of Zimbabwe.  As custodian, please ensure we build our economy, heal wounds, be united, and have the freedom to democratically elect leaders we want.  If you wish to lead, then be a leader: one who does not fear being challenged, who lives an opulent life at the expense of his peoples’ wellbeing.  Because the people are not fools: we have lived long enough under corruption to recognize it if it returns.  We shall not fear to stand up to you and hold you accountable.  We shall not let the hard work of Zimbabweans and tax payers’ money fund the luxurious lifestyles of your cabinet members, nor your family.  This prioritization of the elite above the many cut deep wounds into this country; it is what killed Zimbabwe’s economy.

Zimbabwe is not a dynasty and its people – all of its people – will protect this beautiful country.  We expect accountability and transparency in your government, with a full declaration of assets.  May your government be cautious about wasting resources and ensure we save as much as possible to rebuild Zimbabwe, for there is much to be rebuilt.

The same united Zimbabweans that marched to take down Mugabe will find the same voice to stand up to you or any other future President who dares abuse their power.  The people of Zimbabwe can sometimes have a soft spot for leaders who liberate them from oppression, perceiving them to be saviors.  If such idealism is assigned to you, especially after 37 years of collective suffering, I am confident that you will not be intoxicated by it.  As you called yourself the servant of the people, it is imperative that you refuse to be a demi-god.  We are watching to see if you shall retain thieves in your cabinet whether you will root out all the corrupt people in power to ensure a better Zimbabwe is beginning.

With that said, I wish you all the best in this journey as it will be difficult and trying, but if there is one thing I may insist upon, it is this: Stay true to the people of Zimbabwe. Together we can; in Unity, Freedom, And Work.

Yours faithfully

Mpho E. Mpofu

Patriotic Citizen of Zimbabwe