Zim needs healing over everything else

HARARE - Zimbabwe is a bruised nation. Citizens have endured crisis after crisis, the bulk of which happened during the reign of former president Robert Mugabe, who had almost turned the country into a personal fiefdom.

What we have is a battered economy, grappling with myriad challenges — record unemployment figures, cash shortages, struggling industries which are routinely forced to turn to the parallel market for foreign exchange as the green back has disappeared from the formal market, hospitals operating without basic drugs and equipment among others.

The country is a divided society with heavily-polarised institutions in need of urgent effective healing processes. Several issues need to be addressed starting with victims of the Gukurahundi atrocities of the 1980s, estimated to have claimed the lives of over 20 000 civilians according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. The State-sponsored violence during the run-up to the 2008 presidential run-off election, which then MDC leader — the late Morgan Tsvangirai — pulled out of, claimed the lives of over 200 party supporters.

These are some of the challenges that the new government of Emmerson Mnangagwa should immediately set out to deal with. This is no mean task and it requires men and women who have Zimbabwe at heart, selfless individuals who are prepared to go that extra mile to see their country back on track. It is not a job for the self-centred, the greedy and egoistic.

The noise witnessed in Harare on Wednesday, which culminated in the loss of six lives after the military was called in to diffuse an MDC Alliance protest in the capital, should have been handled better. Leaders are there to protect their people and surely should never lead their flock to the slaughter.

Now is the time when all citizens, civil society, opposition political parties and their leaders must remember that Zimbabwe is bigger than all of us. There is a legacy we should leave behind for future generations. One day we will be required to account for what we left behind for these generations.

Unity of purpose will necessarily lead to sincere processes towards healing, something seriously deficient to suit the country’s sustainable development agenda. This will lead to transformation of people’s lives for the better because Zimbabweans have suffered for far too long.

That Zimbabweans are peace-loving and must not be exploited to benefit selfish individual agendas but harnessed to work towards the betterment of society as a whole.

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