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'Zimbabwe's National Dialogue monopolised by a few'

by Staff Reporter
04 Apr 2019 at 14:17hrs | Views
Zimbabwe's national dialogue processes must deal with the problem that many Zimbabweans feel, and indeed are, alienated from the system economically, socially and politically, a leading academic has said.
 
Speaking at a transitional justice policy dialogue meeting convened by the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) on Tuesday, 26 March 2019, Dr. Kaulem from Arrupe Jesuit University said that the national dialogue would not be successful without realizing that Zimbabwe was dealing with a spiritual crisis, a crisis of values and virtues that pushed many out of the economy, politics and society.
 
"This is because Zimbabwe as a nation-state has always, since 1890, been monopolized by a few," said Kaulem.
 
"It has always been, since colonialism, a fort, protecting some against others. The main purpose of national dialogue is to cultivate a national spirit that is supportive of building a proper nation with a viable economy and a healthy political tradition. With this spirit, we can develop principles and values that will guide our national dialogue."
 
His views were supported by co-panellist Dr. Webster Zambara who said it was the role of national leadership to remove obstacles for dialogue and let the people speak to the future they really want.
 
"We are having a dialogue of the deaf. Each speaking in his direction and another in their direction." Said Zambara in reference to the ongoing initiative that seem to lack a connection with political leadership clearly avoiding each other.
 
Speaking at the same event, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Executive Director, Blessing Gorejena said "For an effective and sustainable national dialogue we must be listen to the expectations of the Zimbabweans in and out of the country and make the processes as inclusive as possible"
 
Contributing from the floor, Ms. Senele Bhala from Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said genuine dialogue required humility from our leadership to let it be.
 
"How do we convince our elders to smell their armpits and be humble so that you can engage in meaningful genuine dialogue that is not cosmetic but that is engrained in the values of wanting to change and listen actively," Bhala said.
 
Dr. Fay Tung, a former Cabinet Minister in the first post-colonial cabinet and author of Re-Living the Second Chimurenga said the problem was in the system that we have created which remains exclusive and needed to be fixed for the nation to move on.
 
"What system did we inherit and create? How did we get to where we are as Zimbabwe." Tung asked.
 
Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe has been dogged by multiple problems which has seen an increase in the call for national dialogue.  The dialogue process has however failed to take off with multiple initiative being pursued.  President Mnangagwa has commenced dialogue with political parties which the main opposition has dismissed.  On the other hand the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has in the past convened a National Leaders' Breakfast meeting which Mnangagwa did not attend.
 
The national transitional justice has said before the dialogue takes of, the country must set the key virtues, values and principles that will guide the process to ensure that it is inclusive and sustainable.  Alec Muchadehama who chairs NTJWG said there are too many processes going on without an agreed vision.
 
"It is a good thing that the dialogues have started, but we have to develop a set of principles and an agreed vision to tie these processes together." Said Muchadehama
 
The NTJWG is a civil society platform which has been pushing for implementation of constitutional provisions relating to transitional justice since 2014. Over 99 organisations have been actively involved in its work which has since seen the operationalisation of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) in 2018. Recently, ZLHR which sits on the NTJWG Board has won a case allowing the NPRC to work for 10 years starting from 5 January 2018.



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