WITH the 2023 elections fast approaching, all attempts to discredit ZANU PF’s victory through the “legitimacy” question are fast fading; attention is now focused on the MDC run council’s mal-administration brought to the fore by the Covid- 19 pandemic.
While COVID-19 has significantly disrupted our lives in unimaginable ways, there is also something positive that we can glean from the recent events related to the reconfiguration of our political and social conversations.
Given that the MDC Alliance runs most local councils under the banner of the dubious SMART cities concept, a lot was expected in terms of service delivery, but they botched the urban residency.
However, the opposition led councils have during the Covid 19 shown their incompetence with most failing to deliver the most basic of service delivery such as clean running water during this critical time.
The ZANU PF Government, through its able leader President E.D. Mnangagwa, has intervened through its people oriented programs to take control of services usual delivered by local authorities such as water provision and delivery of health services at council run clinics.
It is clear that the local and national government structures cannot afford to work in silos any more. They need each other more than ever before in order to enforce social distancing, quarantine and lockdown measures, hence the call by President ED Mnangagwa for collaborative working relationships to fight Covid 19 pandemic, between politicians, State and non-State actors and ordinary people in their communities.
Not only are social conversations shifting towards dealing with survival in the face of a pandemic, we are also realizing that the coronavirus knows no political affiliation, race, class, gender and sexual orientation. In the same vein, this is an opportune moment for our leaders to provide strategic direction and political will to address the elephant in the room.
For all our interventions against COVID-19 to bear fruit, they require maximum compliance from all the relevant stakeholders. We have seen in South Africa parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters and African National Congress sharing the same podium in order to address the common challenge. The same situation can happen in Zimbabwe, especially at a time like this, where scoring cheap political points like what MDC`s Nelson Chamisa is doing, that must be the last thing on our minds.
While some countries are going to emerge from the aftermath of COVID-19 with battered economies, limping healthcare systems and fragile airline industries, Zimbabwe must cease the moment to leverage on depolarisation at the level of social and political conversations to build a common national vision.
It must tap into the current convergence of thinking among Zimbabwean Such a platform can build on the Political Actors Dialogue framework, but also become more inclusive by acknowledging the input of civil society organisations, faith-based communities and student union formations. We can choose to be winners rather than losers.
There is much more that can be harnessed when a country operates on the basis of a common vision and direction. We can fight COVID-19 together and we can arrest youth unemployment, we can push back against sanctions, and we can build a more prosperous and cohesive Zimbabwe. ENDS