President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to join other dignitaries that will witness new Zambian leader Hakainde Hichilema taking an oath of office on Tuesday and we implore him to learn from yet another political success in the region.
Zambians will be witnessing a smooth transfer of power after a hotly contested election where the incumbent President Edgar Lungu was defeated by Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development.
Mnangagwa claims that he is the one who persuaded Lungu to concede defeat after the Zambian president appeared to be spoiling for a fight by rejecting the outcome of the polls.
The outgoing Zambian president was claiming that the elections were not free and fair because there was violence in three provinces where his supporters were allegedly targeted.
Zambia seemed to be headed for a messy political crisis until Lungu surprised everyone by conceding defeat and congratulating Hichilema.
He pledged a peaceful transition. Once again Zambia showed the region that democracy works.
As he boasted about helping Zambia achieve a smooth transition, Mnangagwa who came into power through a military coup in 2017, said something that true democrats would consider to be anathema.
He told his excited supporters that those who thought what was transpiring in Zambia would happen in Zimbabwe were dreaming.
Those that have followed Zanu PF’s modus operandi since it came into power in 1980 will know what Mnangagwa meant exactly.
The Zanu PF leader is a disciple of Robert Mugabe’s politics whose thrust is that only those who went to war must rule Zimbabwe.
In the run-up to the coup, Mugabe’s erstwhile protégés called themselves Zimbabwe’s “stockholders.”
It is this group that is holding Zimbabwe back by refusing to let democracy flourish.
Following the Zambian success story and Malawi’s own successful transition early this year, Zimbabwe and Swaziland now stick out like a sore thumb for their democratic deficits.
It is in that context that many hope that as he witnesses his colleague Lungu making way for a former opposition leader in Hichilema, it will dawn on Mnangagwa that no individual or party is ordained to lead a country forever unless it is a monarch.
As Zimbabwe readies for the 2023 harmonised elections, it must become everyone’s preoccupation to ensure that this country is not left out in the democratic advancements happening in its neighbourhood.
For that to happen, those who played a significant role in the liberation of this country must shake off the sense of entitlement and give democracy a chance.
After all that is what they fought for — the one-man one-vote principle.