IF the late Vice-President John Landa Nkomo really meant his plea that “peace begins with me, peace begins with you, peace begins with all of us”, then he must be twisting and turning in his grave. If Nkomo, who died in January 2013, sincerely hoped that one day his homeland would be united as one nation, he would surely be a sad man if he were to return today to find out that seven years after he left, Zimbabweans – especially their leaders, know no peace and are the very agents of conflict.
And the root cause of all the political conflict in the country is super toxic political environment that the nation, led by government, has relegated to the sidelines of all development-related matters, effectively throwing into disarray government’s own hopes of turning Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by 2030. A typical example of the extreme toxicity of the country’s political environment is the current manoeuvre by the State to repossess land occupied by exiled former leaders who were ejected from power together with late former President Robert Mugabe during a 2017 coup.
We absolutely hold no brief for the former leaders’ political ambitions, but it boggles the mind to try and understand what exactly President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government hopes to achieve by grabbing land from all the people who were opposed to Mnangagwa taking over the reins from Mugabe? Will this development not simply solidify the perception that the present regime is a pariah State? What kind of investment and goodwill does Mnangagwa’s government hope to attract when the country’s very own citizens are not guaranteed peace and the chance to prosper in their country as long as they oppose the status quo?
Mnangagwa’s government’s level of hate for those opposing it is driving wedges between citizens and spawning toxicity in the political environment. One shudders to imagine what would happen if, by some obscure and remote chance, Mnangagwa was unceremoniously driven off the throne? We beseech the God of Abraham, the Allah of Abraham and all the gods out there to help our President be an agent of peace; be a leader who seeks to unite us, Zimbabweans, despite all our differences.
Honestly, we cannot forever continue fighting each other like this. If we cannot make peace among ourselves, how can we ever dream of making peace with the outside world? If our forebears died fighting to regain control of the land of Zimbabwe from colonial bondage, we cannot surely be seen fighting again among ourselves over the very same land. Why is it so difficult for Mnangagwa and his colleagues to bury the hatchet and make peace with their rivals for the sake of peace and development to visit us? Why is Mnangagwa perpetually thumbing his nose at every chance to cleanse our troubled land of all the hate possessing it? Does he even realise that all his efforts are coming to naught simply because he is either dismally failing or blatantly refusing to make peace with the very people he is leading? The world out there will only embrace us once we live at peace with each other as a nation, Mr President.