President Emmerson Mnangagwa did the unthinkable when he visited Morgan Tsvangirai at his Harare home before he left for South Africa never to return.
Some welcomed the gesture at it seemed to be in line with Mnangagwa’s new thrust of letting bygones be bygones and that no Zimbabwean is more important than the other.
Others, however, brushed it off as mere politicking. They accused Mnangagwa of trying to cash in on an ailing foe.
But Tsvangirai’s family thanked Mnangagwa for the visit and making sure that the State funded his medical bills.
Indeed, Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Robert Mugabe, had also paid Tsvangirai’s bills. But Mnangagwa can now go a step further than his predecessor by declaring Tsvangirai a national hero, because he is indeed a national hero.
He may have failed to become President even after beating Mugabe in 2008- more so due to Mnangagwa’s machinations- but Tsvangirai remains a hero because he brought about democracy to the country.
Tsvangirai brought about the most viable opposition to the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
He deserves to be declared a national hero to demonstrate the dawn of a new era, a new dispensation, a new nation, that Mnangagwa is talking about.
Mugabe’s administration held unnecessary grudges with nationalist leaders who should otherwise have been declared national heroes despite their faults.
People like Ndabaningi Sithole for example stand out.
Reports that the government is already doing everything to ensure Tsvangirai has a dignified return are welcome. Mnangagwa should just top this off by declaring Tsvangirai a national hero.
People will talk. Some might even protest. But Mnangagwa will have demonstrated that he means what he is talking about. A new era, a new thinking. A new vision. A new Zimbabwe.