WE do not doubt that President Jacob Zuma's call for the IFP "to come home" comes from a good place in his heart. That is not the same as saying we think it will happen or that it will be ideal if it did.
The IFP has alreadydismissed the proposed marriage. Without using as many words, the party sees this as an attempted acquisition rather than a merger.
We sympathise with the IFP view.
We would rather see parties across the political spectrum beginning to cooperate on issues of mutual concern and adopting opposing poles only when the situation requires. Politicians and their supporters need to remember that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics.
Our democracy needs to mature to such a state that we realise that differences of opinion are not necessarily divisions.
Being an opposition party does not necessarily mean being anti-establishment.
If the ANC and IFP do eventually merge, let it be because both parties find themselves so similar in outlook that they no longer see the need for both to exist and fish in the same pond. It should never be merely to swallow the weaker party.
As the ANC itself has shown, democracy works best when the people have options.
It might not be perfect, but democracy, as we know it, remains the best way of ensuring that the voice of the people gets to be heard and that the powers that be account for the trust placed on them.