In a rare show of political maturity in the politically-divided nation, Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Friday visited ailing opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mnangagwa’s deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, another longtime rival of Tsvangirai’s, accompanied the president to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president at his residence in Highlands.
Mnangagwa assured the nation of Tsvangirai’s recovery from colon cancer and disclosed the latter would soon return to neighbouring South Africa for assessment.
“He is fine and recuperating very well. He says he will soon be going back for further medical check-ups in South Africa,” Mnangagwa said.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC deputy president, welcomed the visit by the head of state.
“This is the new politics we want to see, the politics of peace, the politics of working together, the politics of feeling for one another. This is the direction and we hope it is the kind of talk that will be walked and talk that will be sustained,” Tsvangirai’s deputy said.
Social media was abuzz with Zimbabweans around the world praising Mnangagwa's gesture.
They called on the same spirit to prevail ahead of elections scheduled for August.
Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Robert Mugabe, was hostile to the opposition and ever lampooned Tsvangirai as a Western puppet.
The military, then headed by Chiwenga, spearheaded a violent campaign against opposition supporters after Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the 2008 elections.
Mnangagwa was alleged to be the brains behind the crackdown.
Armed forces are on record vowing never to recognize a president without liberation credentials, in reference to Tsvangirai.