The Sunday News
With many engaged in activities of this year’s Men’s Conference —myself included, others engrossed in Valentine’s Day celebrations, February has been a hectic month for almost every Zimbabwean.
To the global pan-Africanist/anti-colonial movement, this is the Black History Month. To revolutionary Zimbabweans opposed to nostalgias of colonial relics, this is the month we celebrate the life and times of Zimbabwe’s illustrious doyen of Zimbabwe’s decolonisation path, the late former Head of State Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe (May History Forget Us when We Forget Him).
In one or many ways, this month is both emotive and revolutionary. It is in this month that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has been taking up milestone strides in revisiting pertinent areas of our historically distressed national question.
This past Thursday — a day before the much-celebrated 21st of February, Youth Day, Cde Mnangagwa was in dialogue with his Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) counterparts.
This esteemed multi-political stakeholder national policy conversation steering organ held its economic summit in Harare a week after President Mnangagwa met a cohort of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the Matabeleland Collective banner. The two platforms share one common objective — finding indigenous solutions for indigenous problems.
This comes against a backdrop of high political polarisation which repressed state-driven possibilities for a plural political-culture in Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa’s domestic political re-engagement trajectory illustrates a defined transitional re-orientation of the establishment mainly marked by borrowing the intrinsic nation-building values of yesterday and abandoning the political depravities which sustained a mythical and narcissist “one-centre of power”.
Under Cde Robert Mugabe, national belonging was rigorously contained in terms of radicalised partisan essentialism.
This was justified considering that the paternal attribute of Zanu-PF was under threat from many fronts after the land reform programme. Imperialist ideological arsenal was not retreating in its demonisation ploy.
Cde Mugabe the one time darling of the West became an overnight tyrant when he reclaimed our right to land ownership. This inevitably facilitated polemic attacks on Cde Mugabe by countless neo-colonial proponents. The country’s economic meltdown was weaponised to dislodge Zanu-PF.
True to this cause, several biographies were written to mutilate the anti-colonial spirit personified by Cde Mugabe’s arrest of White monopoly capital.
The writings dedicated to his legacy deconstruction include Martin Meredith’s Robert Mugabe: Power, Plunder and Tyranny in Zimbabwe (2002) and Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe (2002); David Blair’s Degrees in Violence: Robert Mugabe and the Struggle for Power in Zimbabwe (2002); Stephen Chan’s Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence (2003); Andrew Norman’s Robert Mugabe and the Betrayal of Zimbabwe (2004); Geoff Hill’s What Happens After Mugabe (2005); Heidi Holland’s Dinner with Mugabe: The Untold Story of a Freedom Fighter Who Became a Tyrant (2008); Daniel Compagnon’s A Predictable Tragedy: Robert Mugabe and the Collapse of Zimbabwe (2011); David Coltart’s The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe (2016).
To me, Cde Mugabe stands out as a decorated cadre of the decolonisation agenda. He is a timeless revolutionary who should be exceedingly celebrated for his great exploits in this regard.
However, his mistakes must be distinctly acknowledged as a philosophical mirror to where we collectively blundered as a nation.
To some extent, President Mnangagwa has emerged as a relevant transitional panacea to right the wrongs which punctuated Cde Robert Mugabe’s high-grade Machiavellian style of statesmanship.
The magnification of noble cause of national dialogue under President Mnangagwa speaks broadly to a paradigm shift in our tradition of realism. Prospects of political reform are quite visible under the Second-Republic.
The restoration of confidence in pro-people state-craft is a defining emblem of the “Mnangagwa moment” since November 2017. With the decentralisation of our national commemorative holidays, the dawn of devolving public governance is certainly beckoning.
All this is unfolding against the deep-rooted emotional intelligent criticisms of the state for its erstwhile regiment model of public policy architecture.
Obscure to the wisdom and cognitive grasp of many reactionary polemics, this unveils the rebranding of Zimbabwean politics towards an accelerated height of democracy.
To this end, President Mnangagwa is rewriting the script of Zimbabwe’s not only redundant but the nauseating political orthodoxy which was perpetuated by narrow partisan lines of imagining nationhood.
Polad comes in as an instrumental broker of hammering the toxicity of divisive politicking — and the long-expired polemic caricatures of reactionary regime-change opportunism. Through Polad, the Second-Republic is inviting all progressive political minds in the land to a refreshing and a new sphere of thought cross-pollination.
The platform is not a cite of mutual admiration, but rather it is a synergising locus of parallel monologues informed by ardent affection for democracy —loyalty to the mother country — not party slogans and regalia.
Through Polad there is a strategic mobilisation of bearers of a transformative pedagogy and a patriotic reason which says “we have competing partisan interests, but we are united by our love Zimbabwe and this love for Zimbabwe is magnanimous to what fundamentally divides us”.
The man — His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be remembered for depositing this fraternal consciousness of national belonging.
What he has done since his first day of serving as the President of Zimbabwe was to modernise the legacy of the Unity-Accord of 1987, and galvanise the patriotic conviction which submitted the late Cde Mugabe and Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to initiate the Global Political Agreement which gave birth to the Government of National Unity.
The efforts stirred by President Mnangagwa in the direction of accelerating national unity and breaking the barriers of polarisation and advance an ideological regeneration of our contemporary political differences.
The reverberating personality of the paradigm shift he has ushered commands an involuntary negation of partisan petty-mindedness. Indeed, he is projecting an image of a repentant Zanu-PF.
To the astute political astrologist, it is clear that at this pace Zanu-PF could be around to stay. At this rate and contrary to the “ballot unpopular belief” the centre (Zanu-PF) seems to be holding.
President Mnangagwa’s effort to reorganise Zimbabwe in terms of radicalised political dialogue, national peace and reconciliation is a relevant model or rethinking the past. His approach consolidates the virtues of an old political era with the new positives norms of nation-building.
– Richard Runyararo Mahomva is a Political-Scientist with an avid interest in political theory, liberation memory and architecture of governance in Africa. He is also a creative literature aficionado. Contact: [email protected]