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Integrative diplomacy for our common future


“Diplomacy is the velvet glove that cloaks the fist of power,” once said American writer Margaret Astrid Lindholm using the pseudonym Robin Hobb.

Guest column: Terrence Muvoti

The much-awaited July 30 harmonised elections have come and gone, and like any other sovereign country, Zimbabwe had its fair share of pre- and post-election challenges.

What remains clear in the aftermath of this toxic election season is that our political differences are superficial; we are neither Zanu PF first nor MDC Alliance first.

We are Zimbabweans first and that is fundamental.

After all is said and done, we need to move beyond elections to build our nation and put it on an economic trajectory to realise our dreams of “the Zimbabwe we want”.

The great questions of the day shall not be answered by slogans, regurgitating prolixity and platitudes and the use of rhetoric and infantile mantras, but by sound and concrete policy proposals to steer this ship called Zimbabwe to safe waters and turn on the turbo of economic development and recovery.

The most disturbing dilemma at the moment however, is that a manifestly national crisis is not producing a national response.

Everyone is fighting to get their hands on the wheel, and if as a country we fail to come up with a remedy to this logjam, all who sail on this ship, including the passengers in steerage, are heading into deeply troubled waters.

We will be preparing for another long season of shock, paralysis and despondency.

Diplomacy should, therefore, exist to balance the fragmentation and convergence around multiple agendas reflecting conflicting interests.

Integrative diplomacy moves beyond party politics perspectives and embraces an image of togetherness as one people with similar aspirations.

Zimbabwe has never required this asset more than it does now to manage an increasingly complex political environment.

There is need to integrate change and continuity, different agendas and arenas, different processes and structures to steer the country ahead, thus integrative diplomacy involves an understanding of politics and economics to utilise everyone regardless of creed, gender or political affiliation for national development.

Just like Steve Biko said, there should be no minority, there should be no majority, there should just be people working for the common cause.

This is not a time for the winners to gloat, but it is the beginning of a long labyrinthine road ahead in making our country great again.

The magnitude of Zimbabwe’s economic crises characterised by a contracting gross domestic product, unemployment, paltry foreign direct investment, budget deficits, corruption, cash shortages, etc, cannot be solved by one man, least it would be the best miracle after the biblical Lazarus story.

The recent electoral patterns have mirrored that Zimbabwe is a deeply polarised and bruised nation; collective action is needed from all progressive citizens across the political divide for our common future.

History has taught us that it is injudicious and disingenuous to uncouple oneself from others because politics and nation building are not solitary enterprise perused by hermits in the wilderness — there is always potency in unity.
Unless and until we appreciate elections as a systematic contestation of ideas that are to, and not to believe, our politics remains neanderthal and unpleasant.

Let’s appreciate politics as a game of selling ideas and attracting admirers, the endgame being to make life enjoyable for all.

Diversity is the order of life, but inclusivity and convergence is key.

The future of this country is in our integration; we need to replace those vicious circles of exclusion with the virtuous circles of inclusion, love, togetherness and peace.

 Terrence Muvoti writes in his personal capacity

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