The decision by President Robert Mugabe to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the leader of the Anglican Church, on Monday after apparent attempts from various quarters to keep him at bay was a wise one.
There are certain people that deem themselves very close to the President and that do not see eye to eye with the Archbishop who almost believed Williams would return to England without getting the opportunity to meet with President Mugabe. For them, it was going to be a major victory.
But the President is cleverer than that. He knows, and rightly so, that he benefits much more in meeting even those perceived adversaries than he would snubbing them.
Besides, what those that hoped Monday’s meeting would not happen seem not to appreciate is the apparent change of tact the President has taken of late.
President Mugabe has, without compromising his principles, acted like the wise and mature statesman preaching and acting peace to the world, much to the chagrin of those that, for personal than any other reason, would have him play the militant and arrogant old Mugabe.
Williams was accorded a whole two hours with the Head of State and was given the opportunity to say out the position of the Anglican Church with regards the excommunicated renegade bishop Nolbert Kunonga.
He was also given the opportunity to present the dossier containing the heartrending evidence of brutality left in the wake of Kunonga’s property seizure crusade.
He even had the chance to speak about homosexuality, a subject the President abhors, and was able to tell his host that while the church in general did not condone same sex unions, it (the church) did not believe those that chose to do so were “worse than dogs and pigs” because the church respected the rights of individuals who are homosexual.
The President told Williams human rights or not, homosexuality was unacceptable in Zimbabwe, and so was violence.
After looking at the Kunonga dossier of violence, the President is said to have “appeared shocked” and promised to have a word or two with the Zanu PF clergyman.
There is no reason to doubt President Mugabe would have been shocked by what everyone has seen, heard or read about Kunonga’s crusade of violence.
The President has, at every opportunity, urged peace and an end to violence.
In meetings with international visitors, foreign envoys, in Parliament, at Cabinet, and even at the Zanu PF central committee and politburo meetings, President Mugabe has preached peace and called on action towards achieving peace.
Those that thought the President would not host Williams, the worldwide leader of a church accused of condoning homosexuality, must have been taken aback to see the him splashed on the front pages of all newspapers yesterday walking hand-in-hand, faces all smiles with none other than Archbishop Rowan Williams who was accompanied by Bishop Chad Gandiya and the entourage of leaders of the church that disrobed Kunonga.