We choose optimism

02 Dec, 2018 - 00:12 0 Views
We choose optimism

The Sunday Mail

Editorial Comment

It is tempting to take a pot-shot at forked tongues that demand an end to bond notes while at the same time saying they do not want to pay import duty in foreign currency.

We could also throw jibes about how the same serpentine tongues in one instant demand perks for sitting in Parliament and in the next attacking their own vice-president for attending to Parliamentary business.

It would be easy to focus on the hypocrisy of appealing to the African Union and Sadc about the July 2018 harmonised election outcome, while at the same time refusing to accept the observer mission reports those two bodies compiled about those very polls.

But there are more important things for the nation to focus on, such as the recently concluded Commission of Inquiry into the August 1, 2018 Post-Election Violence in Harare.

Everyone will have an interpretation of the actual findings and recommendations.

Some of those interpretations and reactions will undoubtedly be informed by a lack of grasp of the differences between mere presentations and hard evidence, and thus will be inimical to all notions of progress.

Being a democracy, people are allowed to choose to stagnate or trudge along while the rest of the nation steams ahead.

Some of the interpretations and reactions will be progressive, taking the entire process for what it really is: a first building block in a national dialogue that will start to ease tensions and dismantle parochial approaches that have for too long inhibited nation-building.

The very fact that President Emmerson Mnangagwa established a commission of inquiry composed of eminent persons, and declared that he would let the chips fall where they may, points to his commitment to transparency and the quest for truth.

The Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry, His Excellency Kgalema Motlanthe, is of the disposition that, “Truth is an ally of all revolutionaries. Only counter-revolutionaries are served by lies.”

And the Second Republic is founded on truth.

The establishment of the Commission of Inquiry provided Zimbabweans with a platform to express themselves.

In the larger scope of things, it really is not the issue of whether or not verbosity attempted to trump lucidity, or politicking tried to drown truth.

The issue is people freely came forward to give their accounts.

This showed they had faith in the process that President Mnangagwa set in motion.

They came because they knew they would be heard, that Government had opened space for self-expression.

Even more telling is that some people volunteered to bear testimony after hearing what others had said.

Several came forward to set the record straight because what they had heard, largely from politically-aligned deponents, sat uneasily with them and they had to clarify matters.

This is indicative of a society that is coming to terms with violence and its effects, and this is being made possible by a platform that the President has built.

We can tell you that Mr Motlanthe has been quite perceptive in this regard, while also pointing out that the task at hand, vis-à-vis maturing into a society that accepts divergent views, will be no stroll in the park.

His own observation that deponents leaning towards Zanu-PF only saw violent MDC Alliance supporters on the streets on August 1, 2018; and that those leaning towards MDC Alliance only saw soldiers shooting innocent Harare residents on that day, speaks volumes of the journey ahead.

The important thing, though, is that it is a journey we have started walking.

This is a basis for national healing and national dialogue.

President Mnangagwa could have pursued a technically legalistic process after August 1.

He could have let the police simply go about their job of arresting suspects, the National Prosecuting Authority prosecute the charges, and the courts sit in judgement.

But he discerned the need to suture wounds that have a strong political premise by establishing the Commission of Inquiry.

Let no one think that this in any way means President Mnangagwa has sought to subvert the technical legalistic processes and make them redundant. No.

The Commission of Inquiry paves the way for these processes, but now within a context better appreciated by the progressive majority.

If anything, the hearings have added integrity to the legal processes to come.

In a nutshell, the Commission of Inquiry provides the foundation for a re-imagined future; one more optimistic than the violence of yesterday and the polarisation of today, with hope for tomorrow.

The socio-political advancements offered by the commission bolster the robust economic interventions of the Second Republic, feeding hope for a Zimbabwe that delivers on the promise of its potential.

As linguist Naom Chomsky has said, “Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so.

“If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours.”

We choose optimism.

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