Ms. Miriam Mutizwa’s Open Letter to Ms. Tsitsi Masiyiwa – Part 1

Below is an open letter to Mr. Tsitsi Masiyiwa, a philanthropist in her own right and the wife of Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, the founder and Econet Wireless Private Limited, (Econet), written by Ms. Miriam Mutizwa, in response to the storm that has ensued following Ms. Masiyiwa’s tweet that she has since deleted on her worldview that some of the people calling for justice are not genuine as in her considered opinion that such campaigns are in truth and fact sponsored by nameless and faceless principals.

“Having read Ms. Masiyiwa’s threat and the outcries that followed, we believe that it is in the public interest that we carry Ms. Mutizwe’s take on the contents as she is increasingly emerging as one of the lonely voices on the importance of the rule of law and constitutionality in lifting Zimbabwe from its current economic morass,” said Mr. Stanley Dube, the Station of the 1873 FM radio, a sponsor of the Banking on Africa’s Future (BOAF) initiative.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Mrs. T. Masiyiwa

I am writing this open to you in my capacity as an active citizen of Zimbabwe who like you and many others have been battling to correctly understand and comprehend the true nature of the Zimbabwean question.

I currently reside in the United Kingdom. Until recently, I was one of the people who never truly understood that illiteracy about the causal connection between the rule of law and the full and unfettered unlocking of the human potential can be decisive in limiting outcomes as seems to be the case in Zimbabwe’s narrative.

I must congratulate you for having the courage to add your voice into the link between the quest for justice that you believe is principally driven by self-interest and the kind of society that we should build for ourselves.

The Hwange Colliery Company Limited (Hwange) saga has given me a new perspective to life and also helped in exposing the fact that in our discourses about the future we want, the voice of the moral centre is missing on many issues that matter.

I am sure you will agree that when the Econet matter was litigated in the Courts, many of us were on the side of justice, equity and fairness.

I found myself associating with the judiciary who played a key part in delivering a license to Econet based on the contestation that the monopoly that the government people thought was reserved for the state-owned Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (PTC) was unconstitutional and, therefore, of no force and effect.

I was one of many who believed that the triumph of Econet was a landmark in challenging an ideology that was and remains anti-market and socialist. This ideology resulted in the introduction of a law whose existence and operation was brought to the fore because of the Hwange affair.

This law permits the Minister of Justice to issue an extrajudicial order whose operation divests and deprives shareholders like your husband of their control and management of a company.

Until the events of Hwange unfolded, I was totally and naively illiterate about this law. The more I read about this law, I began to ask myself difficult questions about the absence of a coherent voice from business persons about the adverse impact of this law.

I engaged the likes of Mr. Busise Moyo, the former President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI), hoping that he would agree with me that injustice against anyone is injustice against everyone.

When it appeared that your husband was being unfairly treated, I could see myself in him and appreciate the justice in the cause.

Having navigated through the corridors of injustice, I was taken aback by your tweet as follows:

The full text you shared was as follows: “Some outcries and actions in pursuit of justice seem and look so right until you discover the source of the outcry and sponsor of the cause. Take a step back and reflect on some of the things we consider good and just causes.”

I thought I was the only one who was troubled by the content and context of your message and the intended effect of it.

I have been encouraged to say the least that many of my compatriots have been provoked and ignited to respond.

Rarely do we get such robustness arising out of sharing one’s thoughts on an issue of national importance.

I am reminded by Martin Luther King Junior’s contention that:

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.

Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds,” to give me a proper context to address your considered view that justice is not part of the constitution’s promise but a consequence of some kind of ulterior motive to drive it.”

It is my view that in 1980, my sister, the founding fathers of the First Republic signed to which every Zimbabwean was to fall heir without any limitation and I should have thought that your own life experiences would have taught you better that justice is neither a gift or privilege.

The question that I would have expected a person of your stature in our nation and at this defining juncture in our development is whether the check that MLK spoke eloquently about has been honoured rather than focus on the acceptability and appropriateness of the messengers.

In reading your text, I immediately felt guilty of reminding my compatriots to reaffirm and acknowledge that justice flows from the laws of nature and administrative systems that only human beings can put in place to protect the rights of nature that include life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

In light of the esteem that you are rightly or wrongly held in, it would not be just if I accept that your deleting of the message that you must have authored should mean that the debate must be alienated from your thoughts on this important subject matter.

This is the message I now got when I searched for the message above.

It is unfortunate that your voice seems to have been intimidated by the reaction of the public to what I think should be a basis for us to inquire as to the real causes of the disappearance of the voices that led to the judicial intervention on the issue of the kind of regime that Zimbabwe should have on mobile cellular technology.

I should like to believe that if the struggle for justice was for self-promotion and preservation then the decision by the Courts to grant Econet a license should be subject to review as what was meant to liberalize the ecosystem has led to the enrichment of a few.

Would it then be fair and just to use the same paradigm that you now wish to use that the pursuit of a market-led and competitive cellular industry was driven by ulterior motives?

Recognizing that the content of your message raises far reaching moral, legal and constitutional questions, I will as part of my civic duty attempt to unpack word by word what I think really motivated your timely intervention.

I will, therefore, proceed with Part 2 through 10 being my conversation with you through your tweet message as I have no doubt that you are no longer reachable to people like me who would like to believe that no system can claim to be just if it leaves anyone behind including the weakest member in the chain.

I also recognize that there is a missing centre of gravity in resolving the deeper questions you raise regarding motive, outcome and integrity.

I believe my message above will help in giving a better context to use in developing the ideological positions that may seem to divide us.

I also hope that my contribution to the debate will assist in provoking people to be engaged on issues that matter.

I trust that you will find the above in order.

Sincerely Yours,

Miriam Mutizwa

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