REVELATIONS that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa have never talked to each other for the past five years is more than worrying and tells of the selfish politics that is playing out in Zimbabwe.
Chamisa tells us that the last time he met Mnangagwa was well before the 2018 elections just before the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai died in February 2018 and rightly points out that this “tells you that we are a sick society” and the “toxic environment is not good for the society”.
Surely how could our politics have degenerated to such low levels that the leaders of the most significant political parties in the country have become such sworn enemies that they cannot even talk to each other, not about politics, but other general issues? How can people of the same nation be so unflinchingly uncompromising to the point of not being amiable enough to put their heads together to discuss the future of the country?
The fact that Mnangagwa narrowly won against Chamisa in the 2018 elections and his win had to be certified by the courts should have informed Mnangagwa that Chamisa has a large constituency, almost at par with his. This should have informed Mnangagwa that he needed Chamisa as he could ill-afford to ignore this constituency.
All Mnangagwa, having been declared the country’s President, needed to do was to invite Chamisa for a cup of tea or coffee — even if it meant the two bringing their own cups, teabags, water, sugar and urns.
This would have pacified any tensions between the two and united a nation torn apart by a bitterly fought election. If Chamisa had refused to meet Mnangagwa, then we would be condemning him for being politically immature.
The fact that Mnangagwa has not shaken hands with a person who nearly beat him in the 2018 polls, opting to shake hands and dine with nonenties who form the so-called Political Leaders Dialogue has dented Mnangagwa’s political resume.
Under such circumstances, we shudder to imagine what the August elections have in store for us as the two protagonists prepare to lock horns again.
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Because Mnangagwa never bothered to help thaw the icy relations is probably the main reason the economy has been headed south since 2018. Even the many efforts to breathe life into the country’s currency have been so futile that Mnangagwa now believes he is being sabotaged.
However, Mnangagwa sabotaged himself by ignoring his main contender in the 2018 elections. By refusing to shake hands with Chamisa and let bygones be bygones he effectively drove a wedge between him and nearly half of all the people who voted in 2018, which is a terrible move which places him in a very precarious position.
It is sad that Mnangagwa blew a golden opportunity to win the hearts of those in the opposition and bring a divided nation together.