I have struggled to understand this mantra.
‘A friend to all and an enemy to none’!
What does that even mean?
How on earth does anyone become or even strive to be ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’.
Granted, I also would want to be a friend to all, and have no enemies.
Yes, I indeed do not willfully hate anyone or seek to create enmity – but, wherever possible be conciliatory, and love those who hate me.
However, I am also someone driven by uncompromising principles and moral values – which, when faithfully adhered to, can inevitable lead to me stepping on a few toes, and making a number of enemies along the way.
That is bound to happen – if one has any strong moral values and principles guiding his path in life.
As much as an individual may be a good friend, or even close relative – but, if he, for instance, sexually violates his young daughter – my moral beliefs and principles of social justice will automatically dictate that I stand with the victim, and report the abuse to authorities.
What, then, will that make me in the eyes of my friend or relative – who was dear and close to me?
Will he not regard me with hatred?
Will I now not be an enemy in his eyes – as much as I will never harbor an loathing for him as a person, but only for the particular repulsive act?
In other words, anyone who is truly led my strong morals and principles – which he exercises without fear or favor – can never truly be ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’.
If you do not make enemies along the way – but, always working to be friends with, and be loved by, everyone – then there is something definitely wrong with your moral compass.
And, that is indeed what we witness with the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa administration.
Does anyone actually know what Zimbabwe’s foreign policy is, and what principles they stand by – except, of course, being ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’?
What do we really stand for as a country?
What are our guiding principles that define us, particularly in foreign relations – which, if other nations fails to adhere to, we will never hesitate to condemn and castigate them?
Or, are we so concerned about being ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’ that we elect to look the other way should any country clearly follow a path of injustice and crookedness?
In fact, when last did we hear Mnangagwa speaking for the people of Palestine, for example – and, against Israeli occupation, segregation and oftentimes brutal disproportionate attacks?
Never, I would say!
Does he not love portraying himself as some anti-imperialism crusader?
Yet, how can he say anything against Israel or their US backers – since he wants to be ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’.
On the far end of the spectrum, we watch in horror as the Zimbabwe government shockingly not only stand with, but actively supporting Russia’s invasion and barbaric murderous military campaign on its weaker neighbor Ukraine – to the extent of actually voting in favor of the east European power in the UN General Assembly.
It would have been far much better – although, still unacceptable and deplorable as spineless – had the Harare administration abstained, like others who do not want to get entangled in this tag-of-war between the West and East.
Nonetheless, there are absolutely no values or principles at play in these worrisome actions by Mnangagwa’s regime – as what morals are there in not standing with the unjustly treated, but in fact supporting the perpetrators of the gruesome aggression?
Tragically, this is merely out of self-preservation on the part of Zimbabwe – as opposed to any principles.
As with my earlier illustration – on what moral grounds would I be seen demanding justice for the sexually violated young girl – had I also been abusing my own daughter?
The Zimbabwe regime is fully aware that they can easily also find themselves in front of both the UN General Assembly and Security Council for their own savage attacks on the citizenry’s human rights, vicious closing up of democratic space, and rampant high-level corruption that has authored the impoverishment and suffering of millions.
In such a scenario, they would definitely need the protection of the same Russians and Chinese – who saved their bacon in 2008, when a similar fate came upon the country.
Maybe there is honor amongst thieves, after all!
Nevertheless, in all this, it is undeniable that Zimbabwe does not have any clear-cut ideology which maps its foreign policy.
Merely declaring to be ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’ can never, under any circumstances, be considered as foreign policy.
It is just an opportunistic mantra – which means absolutely nothing – but, simply an excuse that prevents the country from taking any meaningful international stance, founded on unflinching moral values and principles.
Surely, anyone who goes through life desiring to be ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’ is in all likelihood a weakling – who seeks to please and curry favor with those around him, than standing firm on any specific values.
That is why I am not a darling of anyone in the ruling establishment or even the opposition camp – since, my only loyalty in life is towards the ordinary people of Zimbabwe, and a ferocious disdain for any injustices, irrespective of the perpetrator.
That is what defines me – not trying to be liked – which, means I end up fearlessly holding to account anyone, whether from the ruling or opposition parties.
If my main objective was to be ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’ – I would opt to ‘see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil’, in an attempt not to step on anyone’s toes – thereby, looking the other way In the face of the untold suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans, and the struggles they endure daily.
However, in standing for justice, without fear or favor, it is inevitable that I will make enemies, and not be a friend to all.
Yet, we find the Zimbabwe government trying to achieve this feat!
Anyway, why should anyone be particularly surprised?
What morals and principles can anyone genuinely expect from a people who have made careers out of stealing, killing and destroying?
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or: firstname.lastname@example.org