Candid talk can take Zim forward

It’s amazing how events unfold in the midst of drama, plots, counterplots and heightened expectations.

Harare’s tone appears to have changed barely a month after Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa reacted angrily to African National Congress secretary general Ace Magashule’s television interview in which South African’s governing concern expressed concern over reports of alleged widespread human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

Chinamasa said Magashule’s utterances were “out of order” adding that this was not the first time that a senior member of the ANC had become the proverbial brother’s keeper on Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

He blamed Zimbabweans exiled in neighbouring South Africa for promoting a narrative that Zimbabwe is in a crisis. Not many agree with him though.

More than half of the population is in need of food aid, corruption has become endemic in the public sector and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution are under threat.

Surely this cannot be seen as a new normal given yesteryear promises.

In 2013, Lindiwe Zulu, ANC’s chairperson on the National Executive Committee on International Relations and Social Development minister also spoke out on the then obtaining situation in Zimbabwe, much to the dismay of Zanu PF.

Being slow to speak and quick to listen is something Chinamasa should comprehend.

The same people that he called to order have been deployed by the ANC to engage in bilateral talks with Zimbabwe’s governing party.

While the anti-climax for the expected talks has been the emphasis of the term “bilateral”, critics expected the ANC to also engage local opposition parties as the Zimbabwe issue attracts both regional and international attention.

That relations between the ANC, Zanu PF and other liberation movements in the region are quite strong and should not be the basis for officials from Zimbabwe’s governing party to sugar-coat facts.

Civil liberties that many hoped for when President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from long-time leader Robert Mugabe have been under threat.

The state blames a third force for meddling in Zimbabwe’s affairs and carrying out acts of impunity on those with divergent views.

Sadly, no one has been brought to book for such acts.

Party and state conflation is another issue which critics say has made it difficult to forge national coherence in Zimbabwe.

There appears to be a blurry line between Zanu PF and the government of the day and this is not good for a democratic state.

The formulation of policies should be guided by democratic principles which advance Zimbabwe’s constitutional democracy.

Only that can many have that feeling of self-belonging in a country where tolerance appears to be a rare currency.

One can only hope that outstanding issues which the country’s political protagonists agreed to when they inked the Global Political Agreement which gave birth to the inclusive government, more than a decade ago, may finally be resolved.

It’s time for Zimbabwe to move forward.

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