Open letter to Thabo Mbeki

My name is Vincent Musewe, I am an African.


At one stage I thoroughly esteemed you as a leader of Africa. Your eloquence and apparent grasp of matters affecting our continent as a whole made me aspire to be a leader like you. I thanked God and prayed for you, assuming that your intentions were upright and that, at last, we had a man of truth and reputation to help us dislodge Africa’s dictators and free us from tyranny. I was wrong.

I am now highly disillusioned at the revelations of your role in hiding the truth in Zimbabwe’s quest for a free society in 2002. It seems to me that your political interests were more important than the freedom of 13 million Zimbabweans, many of whom today toil in your country as second-class citizens, not because they want to, but because of Robert Mugabe’s tyranny at home.

If it is indeed true that you personally had a role in hiding the truth about our 2002 elections, whose free and fair implementation could have seen my country go onto a new path of democracy and economic growth, then my approbation for you must cease on this day.

Funny enough, whatever you sought to avoid then with regard to your political strategy and fears of your labour movements gaining political power, is happening anyway in your country. Your clandestine backing of Mugabe during your term of office is well known to most of us and your role in prolonging his stay in power must go down in history as the great betrayal of Africans by a fellow African.

The ghastly implications of your actions in hiding this truth are so grim they cannot be brushed off as a mere historical blunder – as some would have us believe. Mugabe should never have been recognised by your regime as the legitimate President of Zimbabwe after the 2002 elections.

Despite your purported verbal commitment to democratic rights, your administration knowingly and willingly supported an illegitimate leader for political expediency at an unimaginable expense to millions of Zimbabweans.

I must say that your ideas on the African Renaissance were once attractive and exciting and yet, I suspect that they were not authentic after all. How can we as Africans shape the future we desire when those to whom we give the responsibility to lead us deliberately abrogate our democratic rights? How can we become the masters of our destiny when other men, Africans, seek to incapacitate the peoples’ will as has happened in my country since 2002?

Today Zimbabwe is at the tipping point because the man you chose to stand by has ruined our economy. Since 2002, our economic and social conditions have deteriorated drastically that most ordinary Zimbabweans wish for the old times. Our “liberators” have, by devious intent, become our oppressors.

To this day, Zimbabweans continue to bear the awful consequences of your selfish political choices. Many have died in the process, mostly innocent women and children, while others have been forced to give up on their hopes and dreams. Millions have had to leave their motherland, while most have lost their wealth and livelihoods.

I am not putting all the blame on you. It is easy to blame others and not take responsibility for changing our circumstances. I am not cut from the same cloth as Mugabe, who has refused to take responsibility for the circumstances he has created. He continues to blame the West for our woes and yet he has and continues to play a decisive role in creating the very circumstances which he now blames everyone else for. That is despicable.

Mr Mbeki, you inadvertently supported Mugabe’s rule by deliberately postponing the publication of the report of your judges and this means that, in my books, you are complicit in prolonging this tyranny.

We now have a failed state in Zimbabwe and you cannot deny playing a part in its creation by your acts of omission and commission. I hear that others are demanding an apology from your country, but I do not think an apology will suffice. The poverty, hopelessness, corruption and greed that I see all around me today can never be healed or soothed by words alone – but only by the removal of the dictator you so admire.

The economic and social regression that has been created by Mugabe’s policies, including his arrogance and selfishness, will be hard for us to reverse. But we must fight on. We shall continue to fight on the principle and expectation that good can never be enduringly eclipsed by evil.

The wounds that your political schemes have caused us run deep. Yet I truly believe that Zimbabwe shall rise again and one day we shall stand proud in our own country and look South as South Africa implodes. How ironic.

I pray that God through his boundless grace forgives you and those who have deferred our freedom from oppression of man by man.

– Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at

Check Also

Zimbabwe: Adhere to Covid-19 Protocols or Else – Minister

By Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter Government will not hesitate to re-introduce tough Covid-19 control measures …


  1. I think you must read Mr Mbeki respond to your matter of concern…. his decision was justified considering the prevailing situation at that very moment esp the right to withhold information..

  2. You were quick to write. You should always study the both sides of the story. It is foolish to waste so much energy without gathering the facts.

  3. Till you wrote this, I did not actually think that anybody had faith in Mbeki. Throughout Mbeki’s term in office I insisted that he was the wrong man for the job. I was present when mbeki made a speech in UK when he was vice president. I knew then that if he ever became president Africa would be doomed. I was right only I did not think he was as bad as he turned out to be.

    He was not even right for RSA itself. The housing improvement he started was his mother’s idea. She is recorded as having challenged him to visit the townships and have a look at conditions under which people live.

    His mining interests in Zim meant he could not see Zim change. His own brother is on record condemning his ability to lead. The chap is a cretin of the first kind. He upheld personal interest way over national interest, while at all times he wanted the world to think he was a statesman.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This function has been disabled for Zimbabwe Today.