Zimbabweans are once again faced with the reality of the pain, sorrow and tears that come with Covid-19, in just over a few days, known people or friends, have either died, or have tested positive to the virus.
We are trying to imagine a Zimbabwe whose politicians are compassionate to our suffering. Imagine just for this once, a country in which the Coronavirus is not a tool to score political points.
We are imagining a country in which politicians give citizens reprieve or rest from the incessant political bickering, which has been an emotionally exhausting and draining process.
The strain and anxiety from the pandemic is in itself enough, meaning that we have to be spared in this season from any further emotional bludgeoning by power hungry politicians.
Woefully disheartening is in the insanity that some would seemingly harbour a secret wish for the pandemic to further escalate, as a self-fulling prophecy, which proves that they are the naturally anointed leaders who could have saved tormented Zimbabweans, from this evil pandemic causing chaos everywhere.
We have suffered enough, the pain and trauma are real, necessitating empathetic, compassionate leaders, whose responses to the pandemic are sensitive, full of love and care. Responses that unite us as humanity, give hope, above all saves lives.
We have reached full capacity to take anymore pain.
One just has to rewind this tape a bit to understand how playing politics with people’s lives can result in painfully lethal consequences.
I argue here that, this kind of retrogressive politics has resulted in the high fatality rates suffered in the United Kingdom (UK) now at over 75,000, with a high record of 58,784 new cases just last Monday alone – according reports this is a result of the fast-spreading new strain of the Coronvirus.
Meanwhile, in the US there are more than 20.7million confirmed cases and 353,000 fatalities.
Consequently, as I have argued before, the machismo leaders in these countries, were more concerned with power retention, rationale science leading to procrastination and a resulting senseless loss of lives, black women or minorities suffering the most.
A lot of the measures Johnson is taking now could have been taken months ago.
Before I even get far with Chamisa’s response, I tried to find what his shadow minister for health (name?) has been offering as an alternative in response to the pandemic, to both government, citizens and even their party supporters, I found nothing.
More intriguing as I argue further, is that, is it a mere coincidence that Mbare an apparent MDC-Alliance stronghold, recorded the highest number of Covidiots, over the festive season, who in their hundreds attended against all wisdom a New Year’s eve super spreader crossover bash.
This is exactly what is problematic with patriarchal models of power, rooted in neo-liberal thinking, they are more about power and playing to the gallery of market forces and in our instance donors too, devoid of empathy or reason.
I don’t write in a vacuum, but with a bigger picture in mind.
Take for instance, countries that did well in responding to Covid-19, which include Belgium, never mind how deeply polarised the politics is – that is the whole point I attempt to make.
The first reaction to the imminent danger posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, when the country became a hot spot in Europe, this was after failing to form a government for months, a result of the never ending bickering among the political parties, the pandemic jolted them into action.
In the split of a second, the first female Prime Minister of Belgium was elected, backed by all the opposition political parties, with a clear mandate to handle the pandemic.
Today, former Prime Minister, Sophie Wilmès is counted among the global leaders, who rose to the challenge of the pandemic, building resilience and mitigating its negative impact.
In Chamisa’s instance masses are only as important as they are vehicles for accessing power and retaining it. Not educating or giving supporters proper information on Covid-19 and its dangers, has nothing to do with President Mnangagwa going on leave, it has nothing to do with Harvest House being taken.
It absolutely has nothing to do with the MDC-T camp and its own internal contradictions.
It has everything to do with what you really care for.
Up to yesterday Trump remained fixated on the Presidential election, oblivious to the incredible pain and suffering around him.
A response to the Covid-19 pandemic should now be less political, meaning it is time for us as a nation to unite and fight, save ourselves. Politics of doom and gloom are not going to benefit any particular political party.
A ruling party is at times as good as the party opposing it. So Killer Zivhu will have kodak moments holding a ventilator just to rub it into our sorry faces.
Chamisa misses the point that this is no longer about him and his unsatiable quest for the State-House, but, about Zimbabweans and how as a nation, we put aside our differences, unite and fight for survival.
Surviving future generations will judge were each person stood on this day.
By failing to put the nation first in response to the pandemic, Chamisa is just digging himself in, like Trump into a political hell hole, from which he will have difficulty to climb out.
Grace Kwinjeh is a journalist based in the Americas. She can be contacted on Twitter @gracekwinjeh or Facebook Grace Kwinjeh