PATRIOTISM implores me to appeal to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his counterpart, Nelson Chamisa, to join hearts and minds. As I see it, it would be a gross dereliction of my privilege of public discourse if I were to shy away from praying them to bridge the divide.
Opinion: Cyprian M Ndawana
If ever there was a time citizenry expected leadership to embrace ideals of statesmanship, it is now. Given the biting perpetual socioeconomic challenges, there is no grave matter of national significance than that of the leadership to dialogue across the political chasm.
With the cost of living now beyond the reach of most households, it is propitious for leaders to jointly focus on the heart of the matter. It is my conviction that whatever issues that divide humanity, regardless of how contentious they may be, are a converse panacea for unity if deliberated on with open minds.
Despite their deep-rooted stand-off, which is characterised by resolute claims by Chamisa that he is the duly-elected President, civility demands that they rise above name-calling and finger-pointing. It is, indeed, about time they accorded dialogue the weight it rightly warrants.
What is presently at stake far outweighs their egocentric points-scoring and self-importance antics. Actually, it is long overdue that they ceased to howl spitefully at each other from the comfort of their respective party offices, while citizenry wallow in grinding poverty.
Essentially, all it takes is for them to consciously esteem the country above self. Once they embrace the servant leadership mindset, prospects are aplenty for reaching a meeting of the minds. Thereafter, it becomes possible for them to deliberate with cohesion and purpose.
With all promises by the new dispensation amounting to nothing, it is self-evident that Zanu PF does not have what it takes to stem the tide of the free falling economy. Nonetheless, it augurs well for citizenry that Mnangagwa indicated, willingness to introduce the office of the leader of the opposition.
Although Zanu PF would not ordinarily admit, it knows in its heart of hearts that it has been progressively wilting. It no longer has the vibrancy of its yesteryear revolutionary party mantle. It has degenerated over time, eventually becoming too frail to significantly rule.
There is a host of ongoing disputations which gradually smothered the party, rendering it direly ineffectual. It is in plain sight that bickering has for sometime been fermenting within Zanu PF over the state of affairs within the party and government.
Few months back, the party was in disarray over the honour government paid to toppled former President Robert Mugabe. There was impetus to the crescendo of dissention, with some, including politburo members, resolute that the veteran former leader had forfeited his place at the National Heroes’ Acre.
It did not go down well with cadres that he accused Zanu PF of tormenting him and his family. His declaration that he would not vote for the party that toppled him infuriated many party members, who responded by advocating for the withdrawal of his name from the airport.
Recently, war veterans were embittered by the redeployment of bigwigs who lost Cabinet posts to Jongwe House, arguing that some of them are G40 and Gamatox members who fan factionalism. Obviously, these allegations impact negatively on the readmission of cadres who were expelled from the party.
There is festering disgruntlement within the women’s league over the record low number of women in Cabinet. And, with the military now the undisputed engine room of the party, power has shifted such that the first secretary and politburo are no longer the party prime stones.
As I see it, the elaborate extent to which Mnangagwa beefed up his security is clear indication that his heart is indeed in his mouth. It was not merely telltale that he spoke of a plot to impeach him. He is mindful of the prevailing state of power dynamics.
His lack of concerted follow through on his promises are indicative of his frail grip on power. Although he vowed, among other pledges, to weed out criminals who surrounded Mugabe, none this far has yet be sent inside the dreaded thick and high stonewalled institution.
Ever since the overthrow of Mugabe in November last year, events unfolding cumulatively expose the reality of a dearth of fortitude leadership of Zanu PF and government. Most probably, the after effects of prolonged avoidance of leadership succession are haunting it.
Hence, it is daunting for Mnangagwa, by all considerations, to comprehend the illimitable complexities of issues which are confronting him. Regardless of how much he might overstretch his endurance and public spiritedness, he still lacks the requisite dexterity.
He is conspicuous by the forlorn figure he casts. He has an uneasy portrayal like that of a child who on one hand wants the sweets, yet on the other is afraid to get close to Father Christmas. With all due respect, Mnangagwa appears timid, if not absolutely captured.
As if the uproarious nature of his party is not sufficiently sapping his energy, he has had to contend within a short time frame with the frenzy of the army gunning civilians, malaria outbreak and the ripple effects of the crush of the economy.
It is apparent, even to Zanu PF loyalists, that government is yielding massive diminishing returns from its umpteen globetrotting. In spite of traversing far and wide scouting for investors, it is all but foolhardily smashing from pillar to post.
It was an inadvertent admission of bankruptcy that government pleaded for crowd funding to combat the cholera outbreak. Hence, it takes one utterly gullible to hope in it; not even of the calibre of dimwits in Plato’s cave who were impressed not by reality but by shadows on the wall expect a glimmer of hope.
One of the Mnangagwa pledges reads: “Unite people regardless of colour, religion or political affiliation for a conducive environment for fulfilling the people’s aspirations.” Yet, what he has succeeded in is actually to the contrary; he has united all and sundry in dire poverty.
He created a hostile environment whereby citizenry die for lack of foreign currency to buy medication. Yet, the ruling elite gets airlifted to South African hospitals or further afield. What he has been taunting as the new dispensation is in actual fact, the new desperation. It is cutting humour that the punchline, “ED pfee”, is now coined to “Economic Disaster pfee”.
Admittedly, life has become unbearable. It is now a chore to put food on the table. As the standard of living falls apart, evidenced by rocketing prices and cars snaking at fuel stations, obviously, Chamisa is watching with glee the enmeshment of his nemesis.
Although he too has challenges of his own, which include accusations of usurpation of power and arbitrary decision making, he is heartened by the poetic justice for electoral malpractices. But, despite being utterly aggrieved, Chamisa has an obligation to avoid plying hardball.
However, be that as it may, it is my responsibility as a citizen to sound the clarion call to Mnangagwa and Chamisa to answer to the higher law of leadership. Failure to that, posterity will judge them harshly for tending the tree while the forest weathers.
Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist. Email email@example.com Cellphone +263776413010