By John Sigauke

President Emmerson Mnangagwa made an impromptu visit to MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai last week to check on his health. Mr Tsvangirai has been hitherto battling cancer of the colon which has taken a toll on his health. The visit was hailed by opposition members including Mr Tsvangirai himself who said the call presaged the advent of politics of engagement.

The spirit of oneness exhibited by President Mnangagwa despite differences in political orientation must be emulated by every political creature. We are Zimbabweans first and all other political, religious and social classifications come secondary. Mr Tsvangirai said that the visit heralded a new page “in our politics in which the opposition is considered a partner and not an enemy of State.” We agree with the opposition leader, 100%. Contrariwise, the opposition must not treat the ruling party as an enemy.

The opposition must give utmost respect to the ruling party by virtue that it was given a mandate by the citizens to rule in terms of the Constitution. It is also our hope that the opposition will begin to add value to the national politics and the national development agenda. Gone should be the days where the opposition were just known for chanting the “Mugabe –must-go” mantra. Citizens need to hear alternative policies that can lift this country from the economic quagmire that was largely occasioned by the illegal economic sanctions. The first step for the opposition would be to vehemently call for the suspension of these ruinous sanctions in totality. We know the MDC-T has the capacity to do that because the sanctions came at their behest. Obviously, the West will listen and act accordingly in exactly the same manner they did in 2002 when they slapped Zimbabwe with the sanctions.

The opposition, MDC-T in particular, must open a new page in which Zanu PF is considered as a partner in the national development agenda. Politics must be a market place for political and economic ideas where those selling the best ideas must be given uninterrupted mandate to rule. In this case, Zanu PF sold the best products on the marketplace in 2013 which customers bought in abundance.

We have witnessed a past era wherein political protagonists wished death for rivals. The MDC has, for the umpteen times, written epitaphs for former president Robert Mugabe. They have openly rejoiced over the deaths of Zanu PF officials. Even the men of cloth aligned to the MDC, have been praying for the demise of former president Mugabe. President Mnangagwa has shown them how the political game is played.

Even the grassroots supporters of the political parties must take a cue from ED’s gesture. Elections are on the horizon and there are unruly elements that are already planning to unleash violence on rivals. It’s pointless to kill for ED or Tsvangirai when the two can meet and converse in peace. The two have shown their supporters that politics is not about violence. Brothers must remain brothers, notwithstanding their political differences. In a family, members can choose to go to different religious denominations but still co-exist peacefully. That must be the same with politics.

Days of maiming and killing in the name of a leader are gone in this new dispensation.  In his inauguration speech, President Mnangagwa called for unity and tolerance among Zimbabweans irrespective of their political differences. He said: “I encourage all of us to remain peaceful, even as preparations for political contestations for the next (this year) year’s harmonised elections gather momentum. The task before us is much bigger than competing for political office. Let us all play our part to rebuild this great country.” He has indeed walked his talk by visiting a political leader whose chief agenda is to dethrone him (President Mnangagwa) in this year’s elections.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.