Let’s have shared interests in 2021!

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AS we enter 2021, it’s high time for the country’s political gladiators to bury their differences and identify the national interest and forge a common vision and values to end the country’s myriad of challenges.

 

It is a tragedy of leadership that since attaining independence in 1980, the country has dismally failed to come up with shared national interests and shared values.

The national interest, often referred to by the French expression raison detat (interest of the state), is mostly defined as a country’s goals and ambitions, whether economic, military or cultural. The concept is an important one in international relations where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist school.

In our context, especially under the rule of the late former President Robert Mugabe, the concept of national interest was often associated with political realists who wish to differentiate their policies from idealistic policies that seek either to inject morality in foreign policy or promote solutions that rely on multilateral institutions which might weaken the independence of the state.

It is common cause in our country that since Independence we have failed to clearly define the national interest and how to protect it. We have failed to come up with an agreed vision and values. The lack of a shared vision and values is demonstrated aptly by policy inconsistencies since 1980.

From day one the country was not sure of the kind of state it wanted to be — socialist, capitalist or a mixed economy. We have had no shared vision on land reform, indigenisation and empowerment and the constitution making process, just to mention a few.

As we enter 2021, the national interest must have to do with bread and butter issues, the advancement of economic and social development. The parochial approach that party positions are national interests retards development and cannot be tolerated in a democracy we claim to be.

Sovereignty does not entail the butchering and abuse of citizens under the guise of protecting some woolly and undefined national interest. The national interest must capture and live the dreams and aspirations of the citizens. The national interest should be anchored in democracy, good governance and human rights. Zimbabweans must be the authors of their destinations!

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