Open letter to the Zimbabwean first lady

January 15, 2018
| Report Focus News

Dear first lady,

It is with tremendous obligation that I have been moved to publish this open letter to you since your husband duly assumed office when he took the oath of office as President at midday on a sunny Friday on November 24 in Harare.

As a well known aphorism goes, “behind every successful man there is a woman,” you are therefore obliged to throw your full weight behind your husband in his aspirations and pursuits to extricate long-suffering Zimbabweans from the jaws of economic destitution they have been plunged into by his predecessor, the despot Robert Mugabe.

Citizens overwhelmingly supported the military-engineered ouster of Mugabe, concomitantly with Grace Mugabe, his avaricious second wife and multi-millionaire oligarch, whose upward political trajectory targeted at nothing but succeeding her husband.

There will be comparisons between you and your eccentric predecessor. Don’t try to fill her shoes.

And more importantly, don’t be a shrewd and power-hungry opportunist like her.

Just look at how her evil machinations unintentionally led to the downfall of her doddering 93-year-old hubby and embarrassment for one of Africa’s post independence-era strongmen.

With your advantage proximity to our president, you have a unique opportunity and obligation to give him sound advice and direction on the governance of this suffering country to the satisfaction and expectations of the public.

Your husband faces a serious crisis of expectations from Zimbabweans.

You have to be knowledgeable about the issues at stake.

You should have advised your husband to focus on stabilising the vandalised economy based on launching a trajectory optimised on an inclusive government to woo back the international community and allow for internal cohesion to rebuild national unity and healing from Mugabe-induced wounds.

You have a difficult job ahead. You have become the most powerful woman in this country.

But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. You need good reason and intelligence.

You can no longer do what you like. You need to realise you are under deadly surveillance. You are from the intelligence community, you know what this means.

You have taken a role that’s packed with pitfalls.

Your husband is a good man, doing his best as president in a troubled nation.

He has, however, become obsessed with reviving the economy, forgetting fundamental issues of human rights and levelling the political playing field ahead of elections.

The president needs moral support and direction from the wife as never before.

Not all those who have been appointed to head various ministries share the same views as the president.

Some are competent but others may not be. The wife will be in a much better position to notice all these if you remained as wise as the serpent and as vigilant as the hawk.

You have to advocate great causes. You have spent many hours visiting rural folk, indigent children, the elderly, and the emotionally and physically handicapped. These people continue to interest you as first lady, that’s commendable.

But it seems you are being thrust upon us for a national narrative that seems to be a reversal of the post-2014 Grace image.

There is growing weariness with the amount of coverage you are receiving in State media, pointedly ZBC radio and TV. The media is creating you — but it will destroy you if you are not careful.

The absurd, complete over-coverage of you — even when buying tomatoes and mangoes from vendors — has pushed many from irritated to furious.

There is need for restraint and calibration.

I advise that you to provide a medium where the public can contact you with advice, suggestions and directions.

You also need to have a knack of honesty and you will never go wrong. Be warm and friendly, never arrogant like your predecessor.

A word to the wise is sufficient. Have a great time.

All my best wishes,

Gift Phiri