President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s move to visit MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is facing health challenges must be hailed by all right thinking citizens.
There are all sorts of readings that have been proffered by people from various schools of thought over the visit, but whatever whoever may want to see in the president’s action, the fact remains that the Mnangagwa has shown good national leadership.
Mnangagwa and Tsvangirai have interacted at various levels and worked together over long periods of time and it is also said they are related in some way. What kind of a conscience would make one live peacefully knowing fully well that a colleague and relative is struggling with their health and they do not care? True, the move may have political inferences, positive or negative for the two politicians but that aside, the human heart comes first.
And again, besides this call of human kindness, the visit which culminated in about an hour of private talks may have yielded much bigger political and economic positives for Zimbabwe that no other attempt at dialogue may have produced in decades.
Official political negotiations are often marred by egocentric targets and the need to outfox the other more than the need to produce the publicly declared intentions to bring peace between competing parties. But the Friday meeting and subsequent business discussion between Mnangagwa and Tsvangirai were, according to officials from both parties, cordial, sincere and fruitful.
The two men are said to have embraced and discussed and empathised “like brothers”. Vice-president of MDC-T Nelson Chamisa was later quoted as saying: “This is the new politics we want to see, the politics of peace, the politics of working together, the politics of feeling for one another. This is the direction and we hope it is the kind of talk that will be walked and talk that will be sustained. Going forward, we want this to be cascaded to the communities so that as we go into elections, people don’t fight each other, especially when their leaders are able to sit down and converse like this.”
Such benevolent action coming from Zanu PF’s top leader and such statements coming from Tsvangirai’s deputy should give Zimbabwe the much-needed lift to the spirit. We may, after ages of bloody politics and economic ruin, be moving towards a totally different era and it calls on all Zimbabweans to encourage this spirit of oneness.
It is not impossible to have political opponents who respect each other — love each other even. Political diversity should not be allowed to translate into hostility and divergent political views should not be made to mean animosity.
Zimbabwe should encourage the spirit exuded on Friday by our politicians and violent tendencies should be discouraged by punishing perpetrators whoever they may be. Tolerance brings peace and that should be the gospel that political leaders should be preaching.