Guest Column: Learnmore Zuze
There can be no denying the compelling power of politics the world over.
Whether one decides to dump local news for world news, they would surely meet with the contentious subject of politics in international news.
History records that this bushed old world has encountered a myriad deaths from two key subjects, namely politics and religion. Perhaps the former has actually brought more deaths than the latter.
Politics is as emotive as religion and there are as many political martyrs as there are religious martyrs in this world.
Zimbabwe, like many other countries, has plentiful examples of people who have been persecuted, tortured and killed in passionate defence of their political beliefs.
Many families have lost breadwinners as they fought in defence of their political ideas.
The point is that there comes a time, in life, when people become so seized with political matters that involuntarily, they are unable to see the world minus their political lenses.
To some, every event has to have undertones of politics. Could it be the imposing power of emotions that clutter people’s judgment such that they lose their humanity and seek to stir conflict and sow discord in times of mourning?
The devastating effects of Cyclone Idai, whose trail has left hundreds dead, is by far the saddest thing to occur in this first quarter of the year.
Loss of life is never easy, especially where children and the elderly are involved.
The catastrophe witnessed in Chipinge and Chimanimani definitely calls for every sane Zimbabwean to, for a moment, shelve their political cloaks and understand that no ounce of politics is worth a soul of a Zimbabwean. The time is evidently misplaced for people to try and apportion blame.
The time is hopelessly insensitive for people to bring their petty political differences where the nation is engulfed under a dark cloud of mourning.
Social media has been awash with statements bashing President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration concerning the luxurious sofas that were presumably captured on camera being delivered from a helicopter in Chimanimani ahead of his visit.
The veracity of the issue also remains unclear as presidential spokesman George Charamba vehemently denied the allegations.
In his agitated response, Charamba is quoted as having said to the journalist: “You are a senior journalist and I expect better from you. Did you verify that, indeed, the picture you are referring to is authentic and the said act happened?”
Charamba denied knowledge of any private jets delivering sofas in the cyclone-hit area.
While people may seek to arouse emotions on the premise that leaders pursue luxury even in a crisis, I believe our political lenses are stretching too far.
Should it be true that the sofas were delivered ahead of the presidential visit, honestly how can an entire nation be made to focus on such trivialities when the work to mobilise resources for the victims of the natural disaster is overwhelmingly urgent?
How does such political posturing help the Zimbabwean cause? I conceive that people must not be blighted by hatred to the level where even death becomes secondary to the hatred of opponents.
It is normal and accepted that some people will loath a particular administration for its perceived misgivings.
In my view, it is only proper to pinpoint others’ shortcomings under a proper political climate and not in times of crisis like these.
Similarly, there was heated debate over opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s visit to Chimanimani.
Chamisa also took a strong bashing after he had visited Chimanimani from perpetually politically-inclined people. They are to be found on both sides of the political divide.
It is as if to say such people are endlessly in an election mode where they can’t pick a distinction between issues involving politicking and national interest.
Chamisa was allegedly accused of “using dead bodies for political expediency”.
What was wrong with Chamisa mobilising aid through other lawyers and party structures as a Zimbabwean? Is he not a Zimbabwean who deserves to assist where duty calls?
Whether one decides to view Chamisa’s visit in the context of political posturing or provision of leadership, it should be grasped that politics plays second fiddle to national matters.
Matters such as the debate over sofas delivery and Chamisa exploiting the calamity to gain mileage should surely be thrown into the dustbin in situations like these.
We are Zimbabweans first before politics and in times of such a crisis, we all hold hands in fighting to ameliorate the anguish left behind by the trail of destruction Cyclone Idai has caused.
We cannot continue to see hatred and exploit opportunities to weaken our enemies through a crisis.
In times like these, it helps to understand that there have been times like these in the past, but more importantly, to know that the spirit of ubuntu/hunhu takes precedence over our egoistic political notions.
Learnmore Zuze is a legal officer and writes in his personal capacity