BY this time next week, Zimbabweans will have known which among the political parties participating in today’s election would have won the right to run the country’s affairs for the next five years.
From this crucial election a new political dispensation will emerge — a dispensation totally different from that born out of an unworkable inclusive government that presided over the country’s affairs for the past four or so years.
In it would be a President unencumbered by the three-headed creature born out of the Global Political Agreement; new legislators unburdened by the dictates of a hung Parliament of the past five years; a new breed of councillors and renewed confidence in the future of the country unencrypted by the bureaucratic consultative process seen during the lifetime of the inclusive government.But regardless of which political party would have won the hearts and minds of the people of Zimbabwe to emerge as the legitimate winner, both winners and losers must realise, lest we forget, that they are all Zimbabweans after all regardless of the colour of one’s skin, tribe, gender, creed, religion or political affiliation.
The parties must realise that winning or losing this election is not the end of the world; that for losers, there is always the next time while for winners, the real work to steer the country’s economy towards a better future would have just started.
Winners must, realise that they have been elected to be servants and not masters of the people. Theirs is to lead by example and to implement all the promises they made to the people of Zimbabwe during their campaigns.
Both winners and losers must, remember the famous slogan bequeathed to them by the late vice president John Nkomo which has become the rallying point in efforts to promote peace during this election which goes thus: “Peace begins with me; peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us.”
Never must Zimbabweans allow their individual circumstances to blind them from the responsibility they all have of remaining calm, peaceful and disciplined during and after the announcement of the results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which has the sole mandate to do so in terms of the Constitution.
They must celebrate with the sensitivity that others may not have won, and that in any contest be it in sport, education or elections, there must emerge a winner and a loser.
There should be nothing shameful about losing and nothing magical about winning to the point of denigrating those who lost.
This, more than during the campaigning period, places immense responsibility on leaders of political parties to show true leadership in whatever circumstances they find themselves in, as winners or losers.
The message has to be one and the same coming from the leader of each respective party: Accepting defeat and congratulating the winner or accepting victory and acknowledging the role played by the vanquished and pledging to work for all Zimbabweans. Winners must therefore avoid the temptation to provoke others or to respond to provocation.
After this election, Zimbabweans have the potential to once again, like they did in 1980, show the rest of the world what it means to coexist in both victory and defeat. There should be no room for retribution, anarchy, revenge or settling of personal scores among parties who yesterday were electoral competitors.
Lest we forget, the country must quickly put the election behind it and focus its energies towards the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in less than a month. The indaba offers the country an opportunity to rebrand itself as it moves to reintegrate among the community of nations.
Zimbabweans have an obligation to greet and welcome visitors to the country as one united team called Zimbabwe.
So far, we must place on record our observation and appreciation to the leadership of the three main political parties ZANU-PF, the MDC-T and the coalition of MDC and ZAPU for a peaceful campaign period.
We say well done to you all.
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