Zimbabwe is not a choir where everyone must sing to one tune – legislator says


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If we agree on that, the point then becomes how we administer our politics. Our politics must be administered with tolerance, which means that we must be able to tolerate different political views and political parties as a starting point. If we agree on that, it means we have a shared view. What is the problem in Zimbabwe currently is that there is no nation that was built since 1980. After1980, we managed to build a country and we managed to define boundaries, but we did not manage to build a nation based on values and principles, which is why our politics has a lot of violence. Our politics has a lot of hate speech as even my Chief Whip was indicating and someone was clapping hands and celebrating that an MP was ignored and denied a chair during a national function of the burial of a hero.

If you are doing that, at what point do you expect that same person to cooperate with you when you do not regard them as human beings like you and a national leader like an MP cannot be acknowledged at national events and cannot be respected by anyone. The main challenge that we have in Zimbabwe is a majority of Zimbabweans especially politicians. They love their political parties more than the country Zimbabwe. The people that I have seen in my political journey love their political leaders and their Presidents at political party levels more than they love their country so that even if that person is wrong and messing up, they will not be in a position to say yes or no. So the problem that we have cannot actually be regulated through the Patriotic Bill because patriotism is not a concept that you can regulate through legal processes.  It is an attitude that one has towards their country. How do you cement patriotism, make everyone feel that Zimbabwe is their home? Allow everyone to enjoy even when people come for Independence Day celebrations, acknowledge me as an MDC person when I come there. Accept that Zimbabwe has ZANU PF which is present at the Heroes Acre every time when you are burying a hero. Also acknowledge that Brian Dube can come there as a member of the MDC and still is a member of Zimbabwe. Accept when you see Happymore Chidziva coming there and say this person is from CCC and is here and a Zimbabwean. That way, you would not need to then regulate anyone.

The reason why people end up possibly doing what the Chief Whip was saying, trying to do things through unorthodox means, is because of the intolerance that is there that makes people end up going for other methods of trying to get their voices heard. If you cannot be heard in your own country, you may end up thinking that audience from outside may be relevant. What I believe in is national dialogue. Let us agree that we need to dialogue as political actors. We need to dialogue as national leaders. We need to understand each other. I must know Hon. Chinotimba better than what I read in the newspapers. I must be able to understand a war veteran. I was not there during the war of liberation. If I was alive and grown up, I could have gone to war but I did not. I must only hear from him and respect him. The reason why I end up failing to respect a war veteran is because I only know the other side of a war veteran possibly who was doing a ZANU PF slogan. In that case, when I see a war veteran, I see a ZANU PF member yet I am just supposed to see my liberator.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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