President Robert Mugabe on Monday failed to urge the nation to embrace peace, unity and love following the disputed July 31 poll and put behind their political differences when he insulted those questioning the conduct of the harmonised election.
Mugabe regurgitated rehearsed mantras and slogans pouring scorn on outgoing Prime Minister MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai saying he “can go hang” if he was not prepared to accept the July 31 poll verdict which saw Zanu PF win by a landslide.
He also took a jibe at Western powers that have refused to accept his victory, describing them as affronts of the same democracy they purport to subscribe to.
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters attending the Heroes’ Day commemorations, Mugabe vowed that the MDC-T would never be allowed to rise from its crushing defeat.
Zimbabwe’s politics has for long been characterised by personal attacks, propaganda and hate speech, a development that does not augur well for our growing democracy. This is especially so in the period before and after any electioneering period in the last decade.
Mugabe should be reminded of the words of TH White, who said: “The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees.”
He must heed what the sages say, that if there is no enemy within, the enemy without, if any, cannot succeed in hurting us. This is one trait that has been sorely missing from Mugabe’s leadership.
His Zanu PF party leadership always tend to throw reason out of the window and take entrenched positions on issues simply to suit their egos.
For us to mature democratically, our politics must incorporate tolerance, understanding, positive criticism and, above all, mutual respect.
What lack of tolerance for each other’s views and choices can do was sadly witnessed in the 1980s Gukurahundi and 2008 when any divergent opinion was seen as a threat to the establishment and was countered ruthlessly! Hence, Mugabe must avoid devoting most of his energies playing zero sum politics at a time the country needs to embrace peace.
If we were tolerant of each other, the 2008 election violence could have been avoided for in our diversity is an unchained beauty and strength that can be harnessed to benefit the whole country.
But, when the State-sponsored violence erupted, it was allowed to run its destructive course, just because Zanu PF has for long invested in negative civilisation for the sole purpose of protecting its interests without regard to the greater national good.
We expect more tolerance and respect for each other regardless of one’s political stand. It is wrong that 33 years after Independence, Zanu PF is still mired in the hardline political pits that defined Zimbabwe.
Mugabe must realise that he is not a mere politician, but role model who millions of Zimbabweans look upon to offer hope and inspiration so that they can achieve their dreams.
We need leadership that is progressive. One that is able to not just think outside the proverbial box, but embrace everybody regardless of political orientation.
Servant leadership is what the country needs now — not leaders bent on pursuit of personal gratification.